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February 22, 2005



Or indeed a train ride through some of the snow-sprinkled shires, as I did today (Herts, Beds, Northants, Leics). As the train rattles along the tracks, every now and then you pass a village scene. One thing stands out: the church, centuries old and dominating its surroundings.

Mrs. Peperium

There used to be a rule in architecture that church spire was to the tallest structure in a town or city signifying man's relationship to God. Sounds like you had a beautiful trip.


Normal hum-drum work-type stuff in the morning. Then went to a think-tank's lunch event and felt very poor amidst the investment bank bosses in the crowd - got talking to one in the lift on the way out, agreeing that the problem is we're very good at convincing ourselves ("ourselves" being English Rightists). Got stuck on the slower train back and couldn't be arsed to do any work, so I had a kip and then gawped out the window.


Since this site is known for being something of a crack den (as in crack pot theories) I posit that Blimpish is actually a composite character. There is no way someone can do all the things he "does." However, I do not think that he is a creation of Mr. P and I know, due to his cleverness, that he is not my creation.

Andrew Cusack

This is slightly tangental, but a fascinating book I recently read was 'America's British Culture' by Russell Kirk. I had alway supposed that the United States had a strong British inheritance but reckoned it was more a whimsy than actual fact. However, reading this book fortified that whimsy into a conviction.

Thus, when I eventually start my own university, it will be built upon firm principles that are 1) Judeo-Christian (Catholic, essentially) and 2) Anglo-American.

Do pick up the book sometime though.

Mrs. Peperium

What crack pot theories?

the Cardinal's wife

Oh, that reminds me, Misspent, Mrs P has now abandoned the butler theory and believes Blimpish is actually Prince Charles.

Camilla Parker-Bowles

By the way, dorks are highly underrated.

Mrs. Peperium

Wait a minute, we are on now Russell Kirk now not who HRH Blimpish is. Mr. Cusack, I was trying to see if we had a copy of that book. I don't think we do. The University is largely a Judeo-Christian and Catholic undertaking isn't it? Isn't it strange Cardinal Newman never was able to get his off the ground in Ireland? Perhaps that's where you should stake your ground. For an architect, are you familiar with John Simpson? Or his colleague, the Greek fellow? (I've blanked on his name) He recently did an extension on Magdalen College and is doing a new quad at Princeton. Both Gothic and very good Gothic. Both are part HRH's group of five classical architects. They draw quite a bit upon the Georgian wonder Sir John Soane.

Andrew Cusack

Demetri Porphyrios I believe is the chap of whom you speak. Spectacular stuff produced by all of them, really.

For a number of reasons, primarily my loyalties to my homeland of New York and its greater commonwealth, the United States, my university (under the patronage of St Nicholas) must be located stateside. If not the city of New York, than the state of New York. And if not the state of New York, then probably Maryland, as it has a heritage both English and Catholic and thus is the apotheosis of all that is good and holy. The Eastern Shore of the Cheasapeake (or Bay of the Mother of God, as originally named) is quite beautiful.

As for Newman and Ireland, I believe the rather pigheaded Irish hierarchy were a bit suspicious of Newman since he had ideas and was their intellectual superior in almost every way. Thus the Catholic University was allowed to be subsumed into the Royal University and is now University College Dublin; a most un-Catholic sort of place. Shame.


I hear about Newman that he was a brilliant thinker (which I think is beyond question) but not exactly the most practical man - a couple of things he tried didn't work. And hey, even as a thinker, he persuades only the few (don't forget he became R.C. after being on the losing side in the Anglican debates).

I will allow the discussion to proceed on the varying theories of my identities. Given that Misspent has e-mailed with me on many an occasion, if HE thinks I'm some kind of construct, then I'm a bit worried!

Andrew Cusack

Am I the only one whose 'nom' is not 'de plume'? I feel rather left out. Perhaps I shall reinvent myself as Nicholas Heaney, a dashing young Anglo-Irish reporter for an English newspaper, the mysteriously deep resources of which allow me to transverse the globe in a series of misadventures during which governments are toppled, mysteries solved, and an intimate cohorterm of international chums amassed.

Think 'the Adventures of Tintin' rewritten by an anglophone, but with a disarmingly attractive Italo-Bavarian girl of noble lineage instead of a dog.


That definitely is an improvement on the dog, Sir Nicholas.


I knew about the HRH Blimpish theory, you told me over coffee.

Mr. Peperium

Blimpish, I am surprised. Though a reader of First Things, you must have missed the article that appeared some months ago on Newman. It completely demolished the old wive's tale (told by old Anglican wives) that Newman's conversion was nothing more than the fruit of his frustration over being denied high office in the C of E. I cannot cite chapter and verse, let alone issue and page number, but do a search on their website; you will find it.

Mr. Cusack, what I like most about you is that, though as proudly as Catholic as I am, you are still capable of flourishes like the one about Italo-Bavarian girls of noble lineage. One of the things that made me Catholic was the dourness of most serious Protestants. Even their joy has something of a Pagan grimness about it. As Chesterton once wrote, Catholicsim does have rules and these rules are boundary walls. But within those walls is a playground.

the Cardinal's wife

What happens in Chicago stays in Chicago.


Mr. P: I haven't gotten around to that article, but I didn't mean it in terms of Newman having stifled ambition. What I meant was that he was on the losing side in the debates over where the Church should be going: the Tractarians weren't successful, and the Church drifted away from his position. If the Tractarians had have won, then Newman it doesn't seem unreasonable to suggest he would've lived with his creation - whether offered higher office or not.

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