I was in San Francisco for a few days, and have been sick almost since I returned. So I haven't yet told you that my latest Brainwash column is up. It's on the art of gift-giving. I do enjoy this time of year—despite all the self-induced pressure to find my friends and family the perfect gifts, I take pleasure in the opportunity to quit thinking about myself so much.
I also commend to your attention Kevin Michael Grace's piece at The American Spectator on Evelyn Waugh's centenary. Waugh as an anarchist? Read and see!
A few months ago, the Canadian newsmagazine The Report folded. I was rather sad to hear the news, as I had much fondness for the place that gave me my first full-time job in journalism. More importantly, I was concerned about my former co-workers, many of them friends, who were now out of work.
One of them, Kevin Michael Grace, has detailed the death—actually, the murder—of the magazine. He makes a compelling case that its publisher has seriously abused trust. More than just The Report's former employees and subscribers should be interested in what Kevin has to say. As Kevin says, its publisher insisted that "The Report was more than a business—it was a cause." It was the standardbearer of Canadian conservatism. And its demise is indeed a scandal, in more ways than one.
The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire—we hold history's record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas.
—Aldous Huxley, "On Silence"