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Revisiting the pubic region, so to speak

07/08/2012

You will probably remember the separate triumphs (for low values of the word, that is) of the educational authorities of South Bend, Indiana, and of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, posted here six weeks ago. Here’s an example, rather closer to home, of the wish being father to the thought.

EDIT: Now, I’m not going to turn this into yet another obituaries page, but I really have to mark the loss of a pair of tremendous literary stylists. Yesterday, we had the news of the death of Sir John Keegan, whose books made military strategy immensely accessible. My favourites are the mould-breaking The Face of Battle (analysing three battles in similar landscapes) and The Price of Admiralty (which did the same for naval confrontations).

This morning the death was announced of Robert Hughes. He was primarily an art critic, of course,and I’ve always felt much the same way about art criticism as the variously-attributed (Steve Martin, Frank Zappa and Elvis Costello among others, but I choose to believe it was the delightful Zappa) quotation about music criticism: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. I was bowled over by Hughes’ brilliant (and, for an Englishman, profoundly embarrassing) The Fatal Shore, published in 1987 to coincide with the bicentenary of Australia’s inglorious foundation by the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Harbour.

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