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The Pope and the Press

When the Extraordinary Synod of the Roman Catholic Church ended (December 1985), thousands of words were written about the event by religious journalists of every variety. More interesting, however, from a rhetorical point of view, was the pre-Synod journalism; it

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Temporizing on the Thames

It is one of the chief distinguishing features of the philistine that he thinks himself, above all things, “openminded.” While the converse of this proposition is untrue, modern culture having witnessed an explosion in the doctrinaire varieties of philistinism, it

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The Man of Mode

“Man at his best” is both the slogan and promise of Esquire magazine. “Best,” in this context, turns out to mean all that money can buy in the way of automobiles, wristwatches, adoring women, and clothes. Fernando Lamas’ paradoxical aphorism

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Rights of Clergy

Any sensible kid in America wants to be a newsman when he grows up or, better still, when he doesn’t. Politicians may have the power to make laws and budgets, but it’s the journalists who make the politicians. Besides, even

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Muffled Voices

“The Noise of the City Cannot Be Heard” was the title of a very popular song in the Soviet Union just after World War II. According to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the song was so much in demand that “no singer, even

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A Woman’s Dreams

“Most women have no Characters at all,” wrote Alexander Pope: “Good as well as ill, / Woman’s at best a Contradiction still.” The contradiction of womanhood will perhaps never be fully solved, but it has generally been considered manageable within

The Celebration of Chagall
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The Celebration of Chagall

Whimsy—clumsy or fantastic—fills the minds of those viewing the art of Marc Chagall. Two hundred oil paintings, gouaches, etchings, stained glass, and theater designs, chosen for their quality and their significance in the artist’s career, drawn from public and private

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Black and White—and Red All Over

Don’t look for it at the corner news stand or in the promotionals from Publisher’s Clearing House. Except for professional Soviet watchers, few Americans even know of the existence of Culture and Life, an “illustrated monthly magazine of the

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Writing Without Letters

Whatever happened to the old middle-to-highbrow American culture? Once upon a time, there was a fair-sized literate class that kept up on fiction and verse by reading the great organs of literary opinion. These days there is a great gulf

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Paparazzi

Andy Warhol used to say that the day would come when every American would have his five minutes on the Tonight Show. Warhol, although he squandered his talents on films and interviews with nonentities, was still a prophet of

“A Scientific Faith’s Absurd”
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“A Scientific Faith’s Absurd”

Science, that is, natural and physical science, is supposed to be pure. Those who do science keep their work free from any taint of political belief or social prejudice. The scientific method is itself value-free, beyond good and evil. That,

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Thunder on the Right

National Reviewhas been the flagship of the conservative movement for almost 30 years. From the very beginning, its editors set the agenda for American conservatism. NR’s peculiar mixture of capitalist anticommunism with the concerns of traditional Catholicism defined the

Typefaces – Pulpits and the Press
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Typefaces – Pulpits and the Press

“The grand Pulpit is now the Press,” Thomas Carlyle argued a century and a half ago, adding that “the true Church of England, at this moment, lies in the Editors of its Newspapers. These preach to the people daily, weekly;