March 30, 2016


Tolkien & Anglo-Saxon England: Protectors of Christendom (Bradley J. Birzer, 3/30/16, Imaginative Conservative)

J.R.R. Tolkien's love of the Anglo-Saxon language and culture is legendary among both Tolkien scholars and aficionados, as is his hatred of all things French. His biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, wrote that he suffered from "Gallophobia."[1] His student and friend, George Sayer, commented that when Tolkien stayed with him and his wife, he very politely ate Sayer's wife's French cooking. Below the surface pleasantries, though, lingered old hostilities. Though Tolkien wrote a beautiful thank you note for the dinner, "he seemed to detest everything French" Sayers bluntly noted.[2] Even as a child, Tolkien had disliked the sound of French.

His personal feelings carried over to adulthood and into the classroom, where he trivialized French achievements. To his students, for example, Tolkien compared the complex and Christianized Anglo-Saxon language and culture to the relative simplicity of the Normans: "At the first of these classes he handed round some sample passages of medieval English he had had typed out. One of them was an English translation of the first verses of the Gospel according to John," a student remembered. "'You see,' he said triumphantly, 'English was a language that could move easily in abstract concepts when French was a still a vulgar Norman patois.'"

New study: people from French-speaking countries are more likely to become jihadists (Zack Beauchamp, March 29, 2016, Vox)

How do people become terrorists, many are asking, and what can we do to stop it?

A new study, by the Brookings Institution's Will McCants and Chris Meserole, tried to examine this question by looking at the available data on people from around the world who have traveled to fight in Syria and Iraq.

They found something surprising: The countries most likely to produce people who leave to fight in Syria or Iraq tended to be French-speaking, or heavily influenced by French language and culture.

So too is the rooster surprised by the dawn...

Posted by at March 30, 2016 4:51 PM