Lazy Sunday XXII: Reading

Summer is drawing to a close, and with it free time for reading.  One of my enduring frustrations as a student was the lack of time to read what I enjoyed (even though my English and history courses in high school and college often presented me the opportunity to read many excellent works).

As an adult, the situation has improved only marginally, as work often eats up most of my time, both during the day and at night.  As a blogger and politics junkie, I also tend to read vast quantities of quick news stories and opinion pieces, while neglecting longer-form works that would be more satisfying.

Reading short articles on the Internet is like scarfing down a box of Cheez-Its:  it’s enjoyable in the moment, but it just raises my blood pressure and leaves me unfilled: an unhealthy indulgence in large quantities.  A good book, or even a well-crafted short story, is like a steak dinner:  filling, satisfying, and sustaining.

I’ve released two reading lists, in 2016 and 2019 (the full 2019 list is a SubscribeStar exclusive), but I thought this Sunday I’d feature some recent posts on books, short stories, and pieces I’ve enjoyed:

  • McClay & Sheaffer on American History” – This piece examines a new American history textbook from Wilfred McClay, who once mailed me a copy of the Italian novel The Leopard after I wrote to him (he’d written about the book for a conservative publication).  My girlfriend’s father actually owns a copy of this book, and I had an opportunity to flip through its glossy pages while in New Jersey.  My post offers up an analysis of the state of American history education.
  • Summer Reading: The Story of Yankee Whaling” – I was still in the process of reading The Story of Yankee Whaling, a fascinating account of America’s whaling heyday aimed at younger readers, when I wrote this post.  It was a charming—and hugely informative—book, which gave me access to an entire forgotten industry and its role in American history.  The book dealt with its subjects sympathetically and unapologetically; there is no hand-wringing about whether or not it was right to kill whales for their blubbery oil.  Instead, it simply detailed—and what thrilling detail!—the tough lives of whalers, and the gory particulars of their bloody, necessary trade.
  • Reblog: Conan the Southerner?” – This post dealt with an interesting piece from the Abbeville Institute, a Southern history website with a strong Jeffersonian streak.  The original post details the influence of rural Texas and its mores upon the creation of the Conan the Barbarian character.  Strength, honor, integrity, hard work—these are the hard-won morals of the titular barbarian king, and they are deeply rooted in the Southern tradition.
  • Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Mother Hive’” – my History of Conservative Thought class read this chilling short story one morning as an icebreaker.  It’s about the insidious infiltration of a dangerous foreign element into a proud but aging beehive.  The infiltrator—a wax-moth—fills the heads of the young bees with abstract claims of a utopian society, all-the-while laying its eggs and creating great strains on the hive.  Fewer healthy bees are born, much less willing to work to support the colony, so more and more work is shouldered by a diminishing number of healthy workers.  It all ends in a fiery blaze, with hope for the future, as a young Princess and her loyal retinue escape to rebuild.  Written in 1908, the story sounds like it describes the modern West today—a terrifying warning that, I fear, we have not heeded.

So, there you have it.  A little extra summertime reading for you before the academic year resumes.  Teachers at my school report back in the morning, and students are in the following week.  Yikes!  Where did the summer go?

Enjoy your Sunday,

TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday XVIII: SubscribeStar Posts

For the past few weeks I’ve been pushing my SubscribeStar page more regularly, as readers have no-doubt noticed.  I’ve picked up one subscriber; naturally, I hope more will sign up!

Here’s the pitch:  I post a new, original essay exclusively to my SubscribeStar page every Saturday.  I also made #MAGAWeek2019 a SubscribeStar exclusive—that’s four posts about people or ideas that made America great (this year’s listJohn Adams, Alexander Hamilton, President Trump’s Independence Day Speech, and fast food).  For just $1/month, you get access to these essays.

To put that in perspective:  I’ll probably buy a pizza today for $12.  That’s what a one-year subscription to my SubscribeStar page will cost.  That’s at least fifty-two (52) original pieces, not including bonus content and current and future #MAGAWeek posts.

Even if you can’t read them on the Saturday they’re released, they will always be there!  And with new content every week, your subscription gains value with each post.  Right now there are ten SubscribeStar exclusive posts, including the #MAGAWeek2019 ones, and that number will continue to grow.

I’ll also post additional special content from time-to-time, in the vein of the #MAGAWeek2019 posts.  The long-contemplated Portly Politico Podcast, should it ever launch, will also be exclusive to SubscribeStar.

With all that said, this week’s edition of Lazy Sunday is dedicated to looking at the great SubscribeStar Saturday posts that are already on the site (excluding the #MAGAWeek2019 posts, which were the subject of last week’s Lazy Sunday).

  • The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019” – The long-awaited successor to “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016,” this list of recommended summer reads will give you plenty of conservative brain food to feed your mind and your soul.  I give detailed reviews of my four recommendations.
  • Asserting Conservatism” – This essay argues for defining conservatism in positive—that is, on its own—terms, rather than as merely against the Left.  Standing athwart history, shouting “STOP” was a necessary step in the Buckleyite days of old-school National Review, when international Communism threatened to infiltrate and topple our institutions.  Culture Marxists have accomplished what Soviet Marxists could not, and it’s time to push back, not merely stem the tide.  Doing so will require a vigorous articulation and defense of conservatism—and a willingness to fight against Leftists.
  • Christians Protect Other Faiths” – Christianity gets a bad shake, considering it built Western civilization (with an alley-oop from ancient Greece, Rome, and Israel).  The tolerance Christianity teaches is a boon to believers of other faiths, as Christ teaches conversion through persuasion, and the basic dignity of all people, Jew and Gentile.
  • Immigration and Drugs” – This piece pulls from a couple of posts at VDARE.com, which linked illegal immigration from south of the United States border to the opioid crisis.  One solution from the author:  bomb the poppy fields in Mexico, not just Afghanistan.
  • Mid-Atlantic Musings” – During #MAGAWeek2019, I was in New Jersey.  This post is a reflection of my visit (spoiler alert:  I very much enjoyed it).  It also details my one-day trip to Coney Island, which is basically Myrtle Beach in Brooklyn.
  • The Real Color of Environmentalism is Red, Not Green” – Yesterday’s post, in which I compare Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ludicrous Green New Deal to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal.  Both rely on excessive federal and executive power, and the Green will ruin the economy and our nation just the way the original one did.

So, there you have it!  There’s a lot of great material, with more coming every Saturday.  Please consider subscribing to my SubscribeStar page for just $1 (or more!) per month to gain access to these and other essays.

Happy (and Lazy!) Sunday!

–TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019

Today’s post is the first in my SubscribeStar Saturday series.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page.  For the first installment of SSS, ALL subscriber levels, including the $1 tier, will have access to this list.

Three years ago, I released my popular “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016.”  It featured three must-read books for your summer, including a fourth “Honorable Mention.”  The same criteria from 2016 will apply to this year’s list.  To quote myself:

The books listed here are among some of my favorites.  I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!  These books have shaped my thinking about the many issues I’ve covered over the past two months.  I highly encourage you to check them out.

In that spirit, here is the definitive Summer Reading List 2019:

1.) Patrick J. BuchananThe Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority (2014) – I have to be honest—I’ve been reading this book off-and-on for nearly two years, and am about 75% through it.  That pace is not because it’s a bad book.

Quite the contrary, The Greatest Comeback is a must-read for any political history junkies.  After twin defeats in the 1960 presidential and 1962 California gubernatorial elections, Nixon was a national loser.  Buchanan, who worked for and traveled with Nixon during the long decade of the 1960s as a researcher and writer, gives a first-hand account, culled from what must be a filing cabinet’s worth of handwritten notes and newspaper clippings, of Nixon’s historic, unlikely rise to the presidency.

Nixon’s reputation now suffers from the railroading that was the Watergate scandal.  Lost in the Left’s never-ending victory lap is how shrewd Nixon’s political instincts were.  Nixon’s tireless support for Republican congressional candidates in 1966 led to historic gains in those midterm elections, likely hastening Lyndon Johnson’s political demise and restoring Republicans’ spot as a viable alternative to Democrats.  That loyalty paid off for Nixon in spades.

Consider, too, the challenges that faced Nixon going into the 1968 presidential election:  he had to defeat liberal Republicans within his own party (Buchanan expends a great deal of ink explaining the odious treachery of George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller), while also fending off potential challengers to his right, namely California Governor Ronald Reagan.  An increasingly-unhinged anti-war (and all-too-often pro-Communist) Left reviled the old “Red Hunter,” and their dominance of the press continued to hound Nixon’s every move.

And through it all, Nixon persevered, engineering the titular “greatest comeback.”  He would go on to win a forty-nine-State landslide in 1972, losing only deep-blue Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.  For that story, check out Buchanan’s sequel, Nixon’s White House Wars:  The Battle that Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever (2017), which I will probably finishing sometime during Nikki Haley’s second presidential term.

To read the rest of The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019subscribe now for $1/month or more on SubscribeStar!