Author: R. J. Stove (R. J. Stove)

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The Redemption of Saint-Saëns, 100 Years On
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The Redemption of Saint-Saëns, 100 Years On

“I am merely a genius, not a god,” mystery writer Rex Stout’s fictional detective Nero Wolfe said. “A genius may discover the hidden secrets and display them; only a god can create new ones.” Such a genius was French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, who was born in Paris in 1835 and died at age 86 in...

The Ride of the ‘Woke’ Valkyries
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The Ride of the ‘Woke’ Valkyries

Mere pandemics cannot stop the Richard Wagner bibliography from expanding, indeed from metastasizing. Yet, even as the catalogue of new books on the famed, 19th-century German composer expands, “woke” culture threatens to drive him, and the Western civilization he represents, into a state of cancellation. Vast quantities of ink have been lavished upon every bizarre...

Alien Maestro
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Alien Maestro

If you ask historically literate lovers of classical music to identify the leading conductors from the 20th century’s early decades, they will supply a profusion of names: Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Willem Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer, Artur Nikisch, Leopold Stokowski, Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, Bruno Walter, Felix Weingartner, Serge Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux, and Sir Thomas Beecham, for...

The Worst Verse Since 1915
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The Worst Verse Since 1915

Exactly 50 years ago, T.S. Eliot died.  Exactly 100 years ago, “Prufrock” appeared.  What better moment, then, to perform the long-overdue public service of identifying the single worst poem to have been published during the last century?  To name and shame?  To award the IgNobel Prize for (Nominally Versified) Literature?  A dirty job, but someone...

European Union
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European Union

Sometimes short books on great musicians markedly surpass longer ones.  Aspects of Wagner, by British philosopher and ex-parliamentarian Bryan Magee, provides a much better guide in its 112 pages to the Master of Bayreuth than do most other Wagner-related books of seven times the size.  Similarly, Edmund Morris’s 2005 Beethoven: The Universal Composer (256 pages,...

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Aussie Election

Miss Julia Gillard (one takes particular pleasure in applying the honorific “Miss” to so stentorian and charmless a femocrat), the prime minister of Australia, faces an interesting challenge in her bid for reelection on August 21.  Goodness knows, the Labor Party that she now leads—and which has been in office since 2007—should win at a...

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How Aussies Lost Their Pride of Erin

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze” Some recent Australian cultural trends—massive Islamic immigration, for instance—are ...

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How Aussies Lost Their Pride of Erin

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze”   Some recent Australian cultural trends—massive Islamic immigration, for instance—are so...

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In Darkest London, Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part article written by a white male Catholic convert, 48 years old, who has no specialist theological training whatsoever, is of strictly average intelligence, and represents no interest group or political movement.  It derives solely from a recent visit to London, in which nothing spectacularly horrible occurred, and...

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In Darkest London, Part I

The following is written by a white male Catholic convert, 48 years old, who has no specialist theological training whatever, is of strictly average intelligence, and represents no interest group or political movement.  It derives solely from a recent visit to London, in which nothing spectacularly horrible occurred, and which was spent mostly among people...

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Love it or Leave It?

As ululating headline after ululating headline blares forth Wall Street’s apocalypse; as Obamamaniacs promise race riots to break whitey’s collective spirit once and for all; as concepts like Peak Oil move from the fringes to the mainstream of media discourse; as America is forced to apprehend, in Fay Weldon’s droll aphorism, that “the fin has...

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Two Cheers for Howard

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” said Yogi Berra at his most Chestertonian.  Charles de Gaulle, in more meditative style, observed: “Les fins des régimes sont toujours tristes.”  Both maxims are relevant in the context of Australia’s general election on November 24, 2007, which saw John Howard—prime minister since 1996—crushed by an untried but personally...

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Bland Rube Triumphant

Let us now praise famous Queenslanders, in particular the most famous Queenslander of the lot: Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, who died, aged 94, on April 26.  One of Australia’s most sure-footed and most intuitively brilliant political leaders, Sir Joh, as everyone called him (though he received his knighthood only in 1983, it is now impossible to...

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A Tale of Two Queenslanders

Peter Hollingworth was born in 1935.  After completing his national service, he joined the Anglican ministry, serving both at the parish level and in philanthropic roles.  He spent a quarter of a century helping to run a leading Australian charity, Melbourne’s Brotherhood of Saint Laurence.  Appointed Anglican archbishop of Brisbane in 1989, he was named...

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Take My Guns, Please

Worried about your civil liberties?  Concerned that the Potomac sniper’s terror, though now concluded, will lead to the shredding of the Second Amendment?  Then spare a thought for the helots Down Under, who are facing the prospect of unlimited gun confiscation after the horrific shooting spree of October 21, 2002, which killed two students and...

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Charlie Is Their Darling

On October 25, 2000, central Sydney’s traffic stood still for hours, for the first time since the Olympiad. Inside the late-Victorian Town Hall, approximately 2,000 pilgrims witnessed the Aboriginal faith’s latest canonization: the state funeral of Charles Perkins, who had died on October 18 after 29 years of daily medical dependence on the “whitefella” culture...

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Australia’s Pat Buchanan: Out, But Not Down

If 1998 is remembered in Australian political history for nothing else—a probable assumption, given the administrative gridlock which otherwise prevailed—it will go down in the annals for two events: Prime Minister John Howard’s upset reelection on October 3; and, of longer-term significance, Pauline Hanson’s failure to retain her parliamentary seat. This latter development eliminated the...

The Iron Lady Down Under
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The Iron Lady Down Under

She is the most powerful, the most revered, and the most reviled woman in Australia today. Before February 1996, almost no one even in her home state of Queensland had heard of her. Before September 1996, she was still largely unknown outside the depressing tribe of psephologists. Now she sends Indonesian and Thai bigwigs, however...

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Geoffrey Blainey and the Multicultural Nirvana

One’s kindest possible response to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s typical attempt at a sitcom is Mark Twain’s quip about The Vicar of Wakefield: “Nothing could be funnier than its pathos, and nothing could be sadder than its humour.” Hence the astonished pleasure inspired by the Corporation’s dazzling new comedy Frontline. A merciless skewering of current-affairs...

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Australians All, Let Ostriches

“Australians all, let ostriches, / For we are young and free”—the attempt by an expensively educated Australian schoolchild to notate the first two lines of Australia’s national anthem (the first line of which is “Australians all, let us rejoice”). Bill and Hillary not surrealistic enough for your jaded tastes? Alarmed by passing signs of incipient...