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Issue #10: One thing John Ruskin (and James Bond) can teach you about being politically correct

Issue #10: One thing John Ruskin (and James Bond) can teach you about being politically correct
By Aurelio Porfiri • Issue #10 • View online
There is something exalted in the innocence of their feeblemindedness: one cannot suspect them of partiality, for it implies feeling; nor of prejudice, for it implies some previous acquaintance with their subject…

John Ruskin
John Ruskin
I have taken a liking to John Ruskin. I mean, I am not familiar with all his work but this invective from his Modern Painters makes me think he was really a great man: “Writers like the present critic of Blackwood’s Magazine deserve more respect; the respect due to honest, hopeless, helpless imbecility. There is something exalted in the innocence of their feeblemindedness: one cannot suspect them of partiality, for it implies feeling; nor of prejudice, for it implies some previous acquaintance with their subject. I do not know that even in this age of charlatanry, I could point to a more barefaced instance of imposture on the simplicity of the public, than the insertion of these pieces of criticism in a respectable periodical. We are not insulted with opinions on music from persons ignorant of its notes; nor with treatises on philology by persons unacquainted with the alphabet; but here is page after page of criticism, which one may read from end to end, looking for something which the writer knows, and finding nothing. Not his own language, for he has to look in his dictionary, by his own confession, for a word occurring in one of the most important chapters of his Bible; not the commonest traditions of the schools, for he does not know why Poussin was called “learned;” not the most simple canons of art, for he prefers Lee to Gainsborough; not the most ordinary facts of nature, for we find him puzzled by the epithet “silver,” as applied to the orange blossom, evidently never having seen anything silvery about an orange in his life, except a spoon. Nay, he leaves us not to conjecture his calibre from internal evidence; he candidly tells us (Oct. 1842) that he has been studying trees only for the last week, and bases his critical remarks chiefly on his practical experience of birch. More disinterested than our friend Sancho, he would disenchant the public from the magic of Turner by virtue of his own flagellation; Xanthias-like, he would rob his master of immortality by his own powers of endurance. What is Christopher North about? Does he receive his critiques from Eaton or Harrow based on the experience of a week’s birds’-nesting and its consequences? How low must art and its interests sink, when the public mind is inadequate to the detection of this effrontery of incapacity! In all kindness to Maga, we warn her, that, though the nature of this work precludes us from devoting space to the exposure, there may come a time when the public shall be themselves able to distinguish ribaldry from reasoning, and may require some better and higher qualifications in their critics of art, than the experience of a school-boy, and the capacities of a buffoon.” I find it quite amusing that such a public expression of rage came from one of the most renowned art critics in the world. Today, the Politically Correct atmosphere makes it almost impossible to express even a healthy distaste for someone else’s opinion. I can see also myself, though I’m often accused of being too outspoken, that I am too cautious in exercising my right to express just indignation. Perhaps I should learn this very thing from Ruskin and tell it as I feel it.
Some people still say that the Politically Correct is just an invention of the right to jeopardize real social issues. So, let us introduce James Bond. According to Jamie Weiss (dmarge) this is what we can expect after Daniel Craig: “With Craig now bowing out, there’s been a huge amount of speculation as to who will fill his shoes and what they’ll bring to the role. While some actors like Tom Holland and Idris Elba have been rumoured to be taking the helm, some actresses have, too. Lashana Lynch, who played Nomi – the MI6 agent who inherited Bond’s 007 designation after his retirement at the end of Spectre – might very well be the next Bond. I mean, she kind of already is. Many fans have fiercely rejected the proposition of a female Bond – but if they didn’t like that idea, they’ll really dislike the latest revelation about the next James Bond. Barbara Broccoli, the daughter of Albert R. Broccoli and both the producer and rights holder for all the modern James Bond films, revealed during a podcast interview that she’d be open to the idea of James Bond becoming non-binary, with the only proviso being “we just have to find the right actor””. Ok, let us blame the right…
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Aurelio Porfiri

Alternative thinking…think different! A newsletter that is inspired from the You Tube channel “Ritorno a Itaca” and that will deal mainly with Catholic issues, cultural things, Tradition and traditionalism for English speaking audiences.
This is a project by composer, conductor, writer and educator Aurelio Porfiri.

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