Our problems remain epistemological.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022

Our Culture’s Muse

     It is also noteworthy that Enoch Powell was in life and continues to be—even long after his death in 1998—a muse or focal point for much art, drama, other fiction, pop music, and modern political and wider social commentary. One recalls: Jonathan Coe’s Middle England (2018) (fiction); Chris Hannan’s What Shadows (2016) (a play); Andrew Smith’s The Speech (2016) (fiction); Sunder Katwala, ‘Powell: “best understood as part of our history”,’ British Future (June 15, 2012), <https://tinyurl.com/24ffucxt> (“There are many debates about identity, immigration and integration that we still need to have. A centenary after his birth, Enoch Powell’s contribution to them are best understood as part of our history now.”) (commentary); C.J. Sansom’s Dominion (2012) (fiction); Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (2009) (commentary); Brian Walden (Labour-MP, for Birmingham–All Saints, and Ladywood), Walden Reminisces, BBC Radio 4 (Oct. 3, 2004), <https://tinyurl.com/3786xawk> (“On the issues [Powell and I] were fiercely opposed and [we] couldn’t discuss immigration for five minutes without disagreeing. But unlike many people, including leading Tories, I never regarded Powell as a racist.”); ‘NCS: Manhunt,’ BBC One (Mar. 12, 2002), <https://tinyurl.com/yu6j75uy> (Marc Warren’s “I am an Englishman” speech was expressly influenced by Powell’s St. George’s Day speech (1961)) (television drama); Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters’ Club (2001) (fiction); Shivaji Sondhi, ‘Enoch Powell and the invention of Thatcherism’ (1999) IV(7/8) Biblio: A Review of Books 24 (reviewing Simon Heffer, Like The Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1998)) (“It has come as a delight then to come across Simon Heffer’s recent biography of the man who died last February 9th, and to discover that the cardboard Powell was fiction.”) (Biblio is an Indian literary journal), <https://tinyurl.com/249kz7ar>; Christopher Morgan, ‘[Westminster] Abbey vigil for Powell enrages bishops,’ The Sunday Times (Feb. 15, 1998) (“Unexpected backing [for the abbey vigil], however, came from the Association of Black Clergy. Charles Lawrence, its chairman, said: ‘Powell was not a single-subject person and served his country well. Each person stands before God and deserves the same level of love.’”); Ayub Khan Din’s East Is East (1996) (a play); Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) (fiction); Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988) (fiction); Paul Gilroy’s There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (1987) (commentary); Samuel Selvon’s Moses Migrating (1983) (fiction); Howard Barker’s The Loud Boy’s Life (1980) (a play); David Edgar’s Destiny (1976) (a play) and Tedderella (1971) (a play); Millie Small’s Enoch Power (1970) (pop recording); Arthur Wise’s Who Killed Enoch Powell (1970) (fiction); The Beatles’ Get Back (1969) (pop recording); Cartoon Archetypical Slogan Theatre’s Muggins’ Awakening (1968) (a play); and any number of items within the collection of the United Kingdom National Portrait Gallery, <https://tinyurl.com/kc5dpnp2>. 

See also ‘Question Time,’ BBC One (Dec. 11, 2014), <https://tinyurl.com/2uk7jc44> (Russell Brand describing Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament (South East England), as a “pound shop Enoch Powell”) (at 1:45ff). One cannot help but notice that Brand thought “pound shop” was a legitimate criticism.

For an effort (which I think succeeds) at portraying Powell (the individual) and also the debate on Powell fairly, see: Denys Blakeway, Documentary, ‘Rivers of Blood,’ BBC Two (Mar. 8, 2008), <https://tinyurl.com/3ma6jmeb> (produced for the 40th anniversary of Powell’s 1968 Birmingham speech).

Seth Barrett Tillman, Our Cultures Muse, New Reform Club (Aug. 1, 2022, 2:36 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2022/08/our-cultures-muse.html>;

I forgot one: Monty Python's Travel Agent Sketch: <http://montypython.net/scripts/travagent.php>; <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ewY8CnFae0> (at 3:08ff); 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

DOBBS is now The Law of the Land

At 18 weeks, you may call this what you want. But it is manifestly more than a "clump of cells" and 2/3 of Americans consistently agree that there is no "right" for anyone to kill it. Roe silenced all principled debate and nuance — and the conscience of America — for 50 years. But as one wag put it, ROE was a clump of words. Let us begin again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Monday, July 11, 2022

Friday, July 08, 2022

Two Issues: Overturning Roe v. Wade, and Immigration

Seth Barrett Tillman, Two Issues: Overturning Roe v. Wade, and Immigration,  New Reform Club (July 8, 2022, 2:22 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2022/07/two-issues-overturning-roe-v-wade-and.html>; 


Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Characterizing Sources At The New York Times


Seth Barrett Tillman, Associate Professor

Maynooth University School of Law and Criminology

Scoil an Dlí agus na Coireolaíochta Ollscoil Mhá Nuad

(academic title & affiliation for identification purposes only)


 July 5, 2022


The New York Times



Re: Peter Baker, ‘New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on Jan. 6 Chip Away at Doubts,’ New York Times (July 3, 2022), <https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/03/us/politics/new-insights-into-trumps-state-of-mind-on-jan-6-chip-away-at-doubts.html>.


In Baker’s article, he quoted attorney Josh Matz and proceeded to describe Matz as “as a lawyer for House Democrats during both of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trials in the Senate.” That was all true. But it leaves out something significant: Matz is currently one of the attorneys of record for E Jean Carroll, a plaintiff, who is suing Trump in a federal district court in New York. See Court Listener <https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/18418220/carroll-v-trump/> (Dkt. No. 60). Given that Matz is on the opposite side from Trump in ongoing litigation, I suggest he is not well positioned to give a wholly unbiased judgment in relation to Trump. If Matz disclosed his current connection to Carroll v Trump to Baker, then I suggest Baker should have reported it. And if Matz—inadvertently—failed to disclose this to Baker, then perhaps the thing to do is for the New York Times to issue a suitable correction. See, e.g.Josh Matz, Foreign Emoluments, Alexander Hamilton & A Twitter Kerfuffle,’ Take Care Blog (July 12, 2017), <https://takecareblog.com/blog/foreign-emoluments-alexander-hamilton-and-a-twitter-kerfuffle> (To be sure, there’s always a fine balance to be struck between scholarly nuance and word limits, especially in op-eds and works of legal advocacy. Many capable lawyers and legal scholars fail, at times, to ....”).

     Le meas,

          Seth Barrett Tillman

Seth Barrett Tillman, Characterizing Sources At The New York Times,’ New Reform Club (July 5, 2022, 9:38 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2022/07/characterizing-sources-at-new-york-times.html>; 

Twitter: <https://twitter.com/SethBTillman/status/1544319122665881605>; 

Monday, July 04, 2022

A Fourth of July Dayyenu

In the Seder reading of the Haggadah, the Jews remember the liberation of their forebears from slavery into the Promised Land of Israel, and God's other miracles and blessings, various and sundry, for good measure. Each element of the hymn, explained Norman Podhoretz, is the subject of its own sentence, and each sentence of the series concludes with the word dayyenu, which can roughly be translated as “That alone would have been enough for us.” The idea, said Podhoretz, is that, "not content with 'that alone,' God went on and on and on to pile up wonder after wonder and marvel after marvel: so many that those participating in the seder invariably grow fatigued by the time they finish reciting them all.'"

It seems fitting that we Americans, if we be not ingrates, should submit our own verses, punctuated with dayyenu, in remembrance of the many miracles and blessings bestowed upon our country. Our verses might include:

If mankind had only had the opportunity to discover such a rich continent and, not merely to settle it and survive off it, but to open it to the world and to thrive, that would have been enough.

If Americans had only contributed the Declaration of Independence to the annals of human achievement, without consummating it or bringing its ideals to fruition, however imperfectly, it would have been enough.

If Americans had only produced one president, George Washington, who, though his popularity could have made him a king, laid down power voluntarily and gave us a model of American virtue, it would have been enough.

If Americans had only had the opportunity to sacrifice our country for a chance at a new birth of freedom, and then to help the fight to liberate the European continent from the murderous scourge of Nazism, and then to face down the murderous scourge of communism that succeeded and exceeded it, and then to see the world out of presumptive poverty and into presumptive prosperity, it would have been enough.

Humanity's history tells a story of savagery and violence, and its language is a language of war and base survival, with only recent entries into the lexicon pertaining to rights and freedom. Without the yoke of authority, the great minds before America's founding taught life was solitary, nasty, poor, brutish, and short. If we had had only the chance to prove them wrong, if we had had only the right to argue for the miracle of liberty, instead of fighting for mere survival -- if we had only the chance to celebrate that right this Fourth of July -- it would be enough.

Happy Independence Day. Dayyenu.