Tag: Analysis

Philip Larkin: A Voice for Our Day and Time

 

Of all of the things one could accuse Philip Larkin of, rightly and wrongly, being a philosophical conservative or a Christian poet would hardly make the list. While he displayed certain instinctively right-wing attitudes and was by all accounts an admirer of Margaret Thatcher, Larkin hardly fleshed out a grand theory of conservative being or thought, and his pronouncements on religion certainly place him very far from any church. Yet, one of his lesser-known poems “Vers de Société,” is both an exploration of the decay of traditional society transposing itself upon the life of one man, and of the tragic almost-Christian, a thinly veiled autobiographical narrative.

Framed within an unnamed narrator’s thoughts on, and correspondence about, a party invitation, “Vers de Société” encapsulates in remarkably few words the conservative critique of modernity. The narrator reflects pensively upon all of the time that he has already wasted at parties that he knows will be quite similar to this one, conversing about little because his interlocutors know nothing beyond the present day; his time would be much better “repaid/Under a lamp, hearing the noise of wind.” However much he wishes to engage in study, to use his precious free time in pursuit of the wisdom of ancestors, he knows very well that “All solitude is selfish” in the view of modern society.

His only way to express acceptable piety is to be seen, because these social gatherings have replaced the little platoons, like an organized faith community, that would have been the center of life fifty or a hundred years before. But God has fled and real mystics, men who probe, as the poet does, at the open wounds of life, are unwelcome as reminders of some tradition greater than glossy magazines and vapid calls for equality. The poem, on this plane, is transformed into a stunning indictment of modern society, content to act without God or precedent, and comfortable only insofar as reflection is far away. Inextricably linked with this thread of the poem is a tragic vision of the near-Christian.

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The teen responses I have heard in response to the school shooting in Florida provide no indication that they have applied any critical thinking or analysis, nor that there are any teachers encouraging critical and analytical thinking. I recognize that teen brains are still developing, and that teen hormones mean that emotions often overtake thinking. […]

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From Harry Enten at Five-Thirty-Eight: There’s a belief, which I don’t share, that the growing share of nonwhite voters in the population, particularly Latinos, is giving Democrats an enduring advantage in winning elections. The theory — known to some as the “Emerging Democratic Majority” — works only if voting patterns stay the same and Republicans […]

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Is it in the best interests of someone to keep a promise?  Here’s a simple method to analyze if it’s in the best interest of the person making the promise.  It’s useful in all areas of life, and may be of interest to those debating whether or not Trump will honor the promises he’s made. […]

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