Letter from Melbourne: mirror to the post-democratic world

Things are very serious here in Australia. There is a mental health crisis. We have endured a state of emergency since March 2020. Normal rules of government decision making have not applied. We have pursued a medical utopia of COVID Zero at stunning cost. It is really something that should never happen again, and hopefully, at the right time in the right way by the right people, will be deeply investigated and reflected on.

The Burning Archive Podcast #10 – The Parallel Polis and the Power of the Powerless

The latest episode of The Burning Archive Podcast is out and available on all the usual platforms, including Apple and Spotify. When faced with cultural decay and ruined institutions, what is a podcaster to do? In this episode, Jeff Rich turns for hope to the traditions of the Eastern European dissidents of 1960-90 Eastern Europe. … Continue reading The Burning Archive Podcast #10 – The Parallel Polis and the Power of the Powerless

The Burning Archive Podcast #8 – Cultural Decay and the meaning of the Burning Archive

I have posted episode 8 of The Burning Archive Podcast  - Cultural Decay and the meaning of the Burning Archive. You can listen to this podcast on Spotify, Apple and other platforms. In this episode I discuss cultural decay - the theme of cultural pessimists for centuries, and of this writer for a decade or more, including many posts on this … Continue reading The Burning Archive Podcast #8 – Cultural Decay and the meaning of the Burning Archive

Writing between the lines

"Persecution cannot prevent even public expression of the heterodox truth, for a man of independent thought can utter his views in public and remain unharmed, provided he moves with circumspection. He can even utter them in print without incurring any danger, provided he is capable of writing between the lines."Leo Strauss, "persecution and the art … Continue reading Writing between the lines

Announcing my podcast, The Burning Archive

Dear readers - you may now become dear listeners. Yes, I have started a podcast - The Burning Archive podcast. You can listen at Spotify, and all the other podcast platforms, Apple, Google et etc. The show is about all things history and culture. It takes to heart William Faulkner's statement from Requiem for a … Continue reading Announcing my podcast, The Burning Archive

The persistence of the Mahabharata

One year ago I was about to fly to Bali, as it turned out in the last window of easy international travel before wide COVID travel restrictions. It was a wonderful, relaxing, luxurious and rejuvenating trip. Part of the regrowth came from the direct experience of the cultural traditions that India disseminated over South East … Continue reading The persistence of the Mahabharata

Sound and fury told by the American cultural “elite”

There are few funny stories to emerge from American politics over the last two months, especially during the constitutional embarrassment of the latest faux and cursed impeachment. There is, however, one story that stands out as laugh-out-loud funny, and symptomatic of the cultural decay, which has been a constant theme of this blog since its … Continue reading Sound and fury told by the American cultural “elite”

On living not by lies

2020 has taught us through bitter experience that our societies are not vaccinated against totalitarianism, and certainly not the mutant strain of "soft totalitarianism" described in Rod Dreher's Live Not by Lies: a Manual for Christian Dissidents (2020). The last year has seen lockdowns, curfews and bans on the most fundamental human relationships (attendance at … Continue reading On living not by lies

My last words on 2020 from Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial

Oblivion. Death. The rites we practise to farewell the dead. What better themes to end 2020? This afternoon I have begun a reading plan for 2020 that incorporates listening to audio books, and in one afternoon I have completed, while talking a lunchtime walk and doing the pre-dinner dishes, the magnificent sentences of Thomas Browne's … Continue reading My last words on 2020 from Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial

Fragments from the Burning Archive: Mikhail Bakhtin

I plunged again into my white box of old handwritten index cards today, and pulled from the archive, laid down in my twenties and thirties, a fragment from Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975), the Russian literary critic and philosopher. The text comes from a late work of Bakhtin, Speech Genres, although I took the text from Clark … Continue reading Fragments from the Burning Archive: Mikhail Bakhtin