Broadly Sympatico Links
No particular rhyme or reason to the following sites – except that they tend to be (a) the pages I consult most often, and (b) slightly offbeat. (If you need my site to tell you where The New York Times is, you should get out more.) The usual proviso about a link not automatically constituting an endorsement applies here, in spades. Many of these sites I look up from pure enjoyment, many from work necessity, some through mild interest. You work out which is which.
Current Affairs (USA)
- The American Conservative: No way known to man that this was going to escape a position at the top of the list. Even if it didn't come near the start of the alphabet, which it does. Few are the mags which a writer would still cherish even if they were indifferent, or hostile, towards his work. The American Conservative is among the few. Being published there, and rather handsomely paid to boot, is a bonus.
- Chronicles: The second US mag ever to publish my work (The American Spectator was the first). Famous for more or less reinventing Southern Agrarianism in our time. Rare among literary journals in that it insists on all its poets being able to rhyme, scan, and make sense. Amazing.
- The New Criterion: The third US mag ever to publish my work. Now available in Australia (mostly at Borders'). Perhaps better known to antipodeans than either of the two preceding mags. Has a much greater knack for choosing books worth reviewing than many a more pretentious American periodical.
- VDARE: Brainchild of finance journalist Peter Brimelow, whose impressive books include Alien Nation and The Worm in the Apple. For years, VDARE (a magazine that just happens to be online instead of in print form) stood almost alone in questioning the multicultural / mass-immigration orthodoxy to which George W. Bush, as least as much as any pre-9/11 Democrat leader, is shamelessly enslaved. Routinely publishes pieces on non-American topics; and has helped, by periodically commissioning work from me, to pay my own bills. Makes efficacious use of the Net medium, which by its very nature encourages short sharp paragraphs, plentiful bullet-points, and lots of hyperlinks, rather than leisurely thumb-sucking pseudo-profound discourses about nothing much.
Current Affairs (Britain and Europe)
- Rivarol: A lot of this is rather too ideologically hard-core even for me, who am by no means squeamish about my political reading. Inevitably, even in the milder features there's so much which deals with purely French internal administration, as to be almost meaningless outside France. Still, you may find yourself (especially after, for example, yet another prominent Dutchman has been butchered for political incorrectness) in occasional need of sulphurously xenophobic Gauls, in which case, look no further. Actually Le Spectacle du Monde, a monthly, is much more agreeable all around, though politically somewhat similar. But its Web presence appears to be nonexistent, save for a few links telling you how to buy it.
- The Quarterly Review: A quirky and understated little magazine which has a genuine breadth of vision, and a good supply of serious articles on subjects that mostly haven't been done to death elsewhere. Based in Sudbury, Suffolk; perhaps this is the reason for its success in avoiding London-based narcissism.
Current Affairs (Australia)
- National Observer: Soft-spoken Melbourne-based quarterly (hitherto entitled Australia and World Affairs) more influential than its circulation and low profile might lead people to expect. Useful and substantial articles – 4,000-5,000 words, many of them – on political and cultural trends, whether in Australia or overseas; plenty of footnotes (hurrah). The publication’s clean, austere appearance gives a good idea of its contents. Chooses with rare perspicacity the books it reviews, large numbers of which are otherwise completely ignored in Australian periodicals. Deserves greater media attention than it receives.
Interesting Websites By Individuals
- Dispatches from the Hogtown Front: From Canada, like the Kevin Michael Grace website mentioned below. (Hogtown, in case you shared my own puzzlement as to what it might be, is Toronto.) Blogger Michael Monastyrskyj, familiar to VDARE readers, is slightly less ferocious in tone than KMG. But in the short time his blog has existed, he's already acquired an eye-popping collection of grotesque reports, all unimpeachably accurate it would seem, about multiculti/PC horrors in the land which gave us Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien.
- The James Franklin Website: Meet Associate Professor Franklin, from the University of New South Wales' School of Mathematics. The man who put the discipline back into "interdisciplinary." Author of two especially valuable recent books: Corrupting the Youth and The Science of Conjecture. Both show a fascinating blend of erudition, lucid prose, and intellectual originality always grounded in hard evidence. The breathtaking range of subjects treated in his published articles (many of which are also available at the site) can be gleaned by glancing at representative titles: "Catholics versus Masons", "How a Neural Net Grows Symbols", "The Sokal Hoax and Postmodernist Embarrassment". Nothing human seems alien to him, unless you count Foucaultians as human. The jury is still out on that last question.
- The Kevin Michael Grace Website: Joseph de Maistre is alive and well and living in ... British Columbia!?!? Yep, that's as good a method as any of describing Kevin Michael Grace, a bracing reactionary whose output I discovered when I became (presumably) the sole occasional antipodean purchaser of the glossy, and very expensive – hence unsubscribable-to – Alberta Report. Alas, this mag has gone the way of all flesh, but Mr Grace has his own website now, quite exceptionally unpredictable in its range of topics. On what other blog will you find a Portuguese poet called Manuel Bocage (flatteringly left unidentified), not to mention Vilfredo Pareto (through the conduit of James Burnham's analysis), some untranslated German verse by Eduard Mörike (d. 1875), and Glenn Gould's pianism (which he detests)? Curiously addictive. Fortunately the financial problems which threatened to silence his blog (and him) some months back have now, it appears, eased.
- The A. C. Kleinheider Website: This beguilingly ornery Tennessean possesses one of the most original prose styles, surely, in cyberspace. A strange mixture of Stonewall Jackson and Tobacco Road. I can't better the descriptions of Kleinheider quoted, on his site, by other bloggers: "A.C. Kleinheider is a gentleman and a scoundrel. He is a perfect reactionary yet also bold enough to pioneer a new mode of expression that I shall call 'post-irony.' See his appropriation of ghetto quips. He deals bons mots, smackdowns, and verbal pugilism generally. Cocaine too [I think those last two words are meant to be a joke - RJS]"; and "Kleinheider remains the smartest, most insightful person I read who is regularly utterly wrong." Judge for yourselves, y'all, and pass the Jack Daniels.
- The Sophie Masson Website: Surveying mankind from China to Peru, Mlle Masson (now living in Invergowrie, New South Wales) is one of the most astonishingly prolific novelists and essayists now active, in Australia or anywhere else. How does she do it? That is, produce fiction and commentary at such a rapid rate, without compromising her standards and without losing her freshness of outlook? Not sure, but her method (whatever it is) obviously pleases Random House and Germany's Droemer Verlag, to name only two of her publishers.
- The Marty Nemko Website: A career adviser with a difference. Instead of giving his audiences soft soap, he asks (despite being based in California) harsh questions. He mocks all the most cherished platitudes of career psychobabble, notably the whole self-esteem racket, which inspires some of his most withering prose: "Many people would be more successful if they lowered their self-esteem. American students score near the bottom among industrialised nations, but have the highest self-esteem ... Within the United States, African-American achievement is below average, but they have above-average self-esteem. These are not coincidences." That's from his book Cool Careers For Dummies. Do look up, also, his lethal onslaught upon self-help gurus, and his delightful evisceration of the "glass-ceiling" myth. Contra-suggestible and pugnacious, Nemko purveys tough love in a field full of oleaginous frauds.
- OzConservative: Australian contributions to the blogosphere are mostly dismal things, unless you like village-atheist assumptions unexamined since about 1965, assertions posing as arguments, and lashings of four-letter words. (The four-letter word department's all-time local champion: Tim Blair, who referred to an opponent as "the f**king dumbest dumb f**k of them all".) But OzConservative looks good. Mark Richardson, previously unknown to me, lives in Melbourne. Clearly he is literate, has brains, and has courage. He provides a link to The Independent Australian, a new magazine – also Melbourne-based – which may be worth buying. (Its Web presence to date is limited; I've not seen it in newsagents; and while it's listed by one Melbourne library, it's not actually stocked there). With luck, The Independent Australian can avoid the disastrous decisions which have doomed so many antipodean predecessors: repetitiveness; unauthorised copying of overseas models (an especially foolish gambit, given today's near-universal Net access); the refusal to pay authors or to copy-edit; a mania for accepting submissions WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS ...
- The Fred Reed Website: For those who like outrageousness combined with genuine wit and adult insight, Fred Reed (erstwhile Marine and Vietnam veteran now living in Guadalajara, Mexico) is the Hunter S. Thompson that Hunter S. Thompson should've been. This site gives the original versions of numerous columns which, in their magazine incarnations, are usually shorter and not always as effective. Any author who can, like Reed, describe Oprah as "500 pounds of bear liver in a plastic bag" has got my vote. Emphatically recommended: the site's gift store, devoted to such treasures as beer-mugs proselytising for "The Church of Fred (Not Just Another Religion)."
- The Steve Sailer Website: Another polymath, this time in America. His movie reviews mostly appear in The American Conservative; his articles on immigration, mostly in VDARE. He seems to spend every day and night at the keyboard, judging by his prodigious output. Like Mlle Masson in this respect if in no other, he is remarkably skilled at avoiding repetition. I defy anybody to resist one recent Sailer intro: "Possibly the most prominent American female economist today is Deirdre McCloskey – who, perhaps not coincidentally, used to be the prominent American male economist Donald McCloskey."
- Taki's Top Drawer: Yes, the Taki, of Spectator fame (his columns are among the poor old Speccy's few readable sections these days) and latterly of The American Conservative fame. In which last capacity, he long countersigned most of my pay-cheques, so naturally I'm not going to say nasty things about him, even if I somehow wanted to. Anyhow, here is The Poor Little Greek Theodoracopulos Boy in bulk. (I especially enjoy his capsule autobiography, where he says he was educated in Pentonville Prison.) Interesting that his American Conservative articles are consistently more polite than his kick-'em-in-the-groin philippics for other mags.
- Theodore's Royalty and Monarchy Site: As far as I can tell, this clearing-house for matters monarchical is unique on the Net in its scope and breadth. Don't expect bells-and-whistles graphics (a waste of time on most non-broadband computers anyhow), just solid hard work, lucidly presented. The site's maintained, and was devised, by Theodore Harvey. Unable and unwilling myself to keep squaring the circle of passionately defending the Windsors and trying to be some sort of Catholic, I nevertheless greatly respect the unselfish dedication shown by projects like this one. When not at his computer, Mr Harvey plays the cello in North Carolina's Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. He was born only in 1978. How dare anyone so young be allowed to have a brain?!?!?
- Chandos Records: Outstanding in particular for its encyclopædic coverage of British music – John Ireland, Sir Arnold Bax, Sir William Walton, etc. – and for the stunningly sumptuous orchestral sound which is its aural trademark, Chandos continues to enrich the CD world, although (like nearly every other record company) it has cut back on its release rate since the heady era of the 1990s. I can't understand why it wastes time and money on recording operatic performances in English translations. By doing so, it thumbs its nose at the whole market of Continental Europe. Yet everything else about Chandos spells a class act.
- Gimell Recordings: Everyone who reveres superlative choral singing should know about this CD label, founded by conductor (and erstwhile Spectator columnist) Peter Phillips as a showcase for his Tallis Scholars. All Gimell discs are sung, recorded and annotated with loving care. Perhaps one day Gimell will issue a genuinely bad CD, but it isn't looking probable.
- Hyperion Records: Another excellent one-man CD firm which has enlarged our understanding of choral repertoire, solo vocal repertoire (the complete Schubert Lieder edition, for instance), chamber repertoire, and to a lesser extent orchestral repertoire. Recently it suffered from an absurd British court ruling (against which its appeal failed) that seems designed to send all boutique labels bankrupt. All the more reason to support this valiant and life-enhancing enterprise with our wallets.
- The Organ Historical Society: For us organists, this is indeed (as the site proclaims) "pipe organ heaven." Based in Richmond, Virginia, the Society has a gigantic collection of organ-related sheet music, CDs, and books for sale. If you actually join the Society you get discounts, but most of the merchandise is such good value to start with that the members-only price reductions seldom amount to a lot.
- The Pietro Mascagni Website: The one-stop shop, as Americans would say, for matters Mascagnian. Cavalleria Rusticana's composer wrote far more than just that torrid 1890 operatic masterpiece. This site hits you over the head with the details of how much more. Good selection of pix as well.
- The Sergei Rachmaninoff Website: Most handsomely designed, with appropriate music audible. How typical of the mean-spirited denigration which has so often followed Rachmaninoff around, that it should've taken till 1990 for the Rachmaninoff Society to be formed. Anyway, here it is, with one of today's greatest Rachmaninoff pianists - Vladimir Ashkenazy - as its patron. See also my own recent bouquet offered at Rachmaninoff's tomb.
- The Max Reger Website : Who’d have thought there were enough besotted fans of this fairly obscure German composer (1873-1916), vaguely Chestertonian yet dyspeptic in appearance, to warrant an elaborate website for him? Find out more about Max Reger than you ever thought it possible to know.
- The Ottorino Respighi Website: Home page of the UK's Respighi Society. At last, the most underrated of 20th-century Italian composers (no, make that the most underrated of 20th-century composers from anywhere) gets his cyberspatial due. Lots of useful links, and anyone who ends up wanting to join the Society can do that online also.
- The Louis Spohr Website: Home page for the Spohr Society of Great Britain. Good to see this sadly neglected yet eminent German composer (1784-1859) being paid lavish homage. In his own day, and long afterwards, many considered him equal or superior to Beethoven. Nobody now would ascribe to him that cosmic level of genius; but even I have heard enough CDs of Spohr’s music to perceive something of his great creative gifts. Oddity: at 6'7", he must have been about the tallest major musician who ever lived, no?
- The Richard Strauss Website: Originally I had a different link here, to a German site which was very much a work-in-progress. But in December 2005 I found an Austrian site - with plenty of English-language material - which surpasses the German one in every respect. Almost overwhelmingly comprehensive, but very clearly designed, so there's no danger of getting lost. There's a welcoming message from the composer's two grandsons, Richard Junior and Christoph. Why not test your level of Strauss knowledge (and, if you're lucky, win a prize) by doing the online quiz?
Religious Websites("Tradition is the democracy of the dead." - Chesterton)
- International Una Voce: This organisation is one of the best-known and longest-standing defenders of the Tridentine Latin Mass, which (as St Pius V put it in 1570) every priest "in every land and for all time" may licitly offer. A very handsome website, unusually easy to use, with a genuinely global focus and some splendid graphics.
- The Pius XII Website: Aims to rescue the memory of this great pope from the calumnies of historical illiterates out for a fast buck, and of their "Catholic" enablers. Includes extracts from the work of Pius's recent biographer, Sister Margherita Marchione. One particularly haunting comment from the Pontiff bears citation: "The day the Church abandons her universal tongue [Latin] is the day before she returns to the catacombs."
- The Remnant: Fortnightly, outspoken, and well written magazine (based in St Paul, Minnesota) which passionately defends the Tridentine Latin Mass and works tirelessly for its restoration throughout the Catholic Church. Is unaligned to any particular Catholic group. No-one could accuse it of pulling punches, and yet it is determined to avoid the crankish (who are apt to infest traditional Catholicism, and who are repeatedly reprehended by editor Michael Matt). Incorporates an online bookstore.
- The St Gregory Society: Less renowned than Una Voce, but still does very valuable work (from its headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut) arranging for priests to offer Latin Masses, and also issuing recordings to an impressively high standard. The other products of its online gift shop, including calendars and greeting cards, are without exception well produced.
- Touchstone: Not specifically Catholic, this one. Yet many a traditional Catholic finds most traditional Anglicans, for instance, to be much more civilised than are the demented Germaine-Greer-channeling harpies abounding in his own communion. Touchstone's subtitle, "A Journal of Mere Christianity", gives the C. S. Lewis flavour of its pages (orthodoxy with a small as well as, sometimes, with a large o). A monthly periodical; based in Chicago. Another handsome and easily navigable site.