Daily Archives: October 26, 2012

Educator and Cultural Critic Jacques Barzun Dies at 104;

 

Historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator Jacques Barzun, who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history, was probably best known for viewing the West as sliding toward decadence. He died Thursday night at his home in San Antonio.  He was 104.

His remarkable curiosity and manifold interests and accomplishments, encompassed both Berlioz and baseball (and many other subjects.) He stood with Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell and Lionel Trilling as one of  the mid-20th century’s most wide-ranging scholars. He tried to reconcile the achievements of European philosophy and culture with the very different American intellect and culture.

He wrote dozens of books across many decades, demonstrating that old age did not necessarily mean intellectual decline. He published his most ambitious and encyclopedic book at the age of 92 (and credited his productivity in part to chronic insomnia). That work, “From Dawn to Decadence,” is an 877-page survey of 500 years of Western culture in which he argued that Western civilization itself had entered a period of decline.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barzun showed little interest in taking political positions. This was partly because he became a university administrator and had to stand above the fray, and partly because he approached the world with a detached civility and a sardonic skepticism about intellectual life.

He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near — one that could cause “the liquidation of 500 years of civilization.” It looks like he won’t be around to see it.

 

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Afternoon swing state polls updated here…

Check these out, some of them have changed around since this morning:

Colorado: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (OnSight Public Affairs)

Colorado: Obama 47%, Romney 46% (Purple Strategies)

Florida: Romney 51%, Obama 46% (Sunshine State News)

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 48% (Rasmussen)

Iowa: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (Gravis)

Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 49% (Gravis)

New Hampshire: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (New England College)

North Carolina: Romney 53%, Obama 45% (Gravis)

North Carolina: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (Civitas)

Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (American Research Group)

Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Purple Strategies)

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 46% (CNN/ORC)

Virginia: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Purple Strategies)

Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Newsmax/Zogby)

Wisconsin: Obama 49%, Romney 49% (Rasmussen)

 

Just Returned From Early Voting…

After having done the Friday Morning radio show on WSHC with John Case, Elly and I set out to go to Charles Town, WV, for a visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse for early voting. Since John and his wife, Carol, were already planning to vote today, Elly and I arranged to meet them at the polling place and to have lunch afterward at our favorite Charles Town restaurant, Mezzaluna.

We spent over an hour from getting into the Court House line through voting at the booth. I never expected that it would take that much time, but the lines were very, very long. It seems like many of our fellow citizens were there to vote early… but remember, this was the third day of early voting and it was still mobbed this morning.

But we HAVE voted and I feel very good about it. The odds are very low that West Virginia will agree with me on most of the votes… particularly it is not considered likely that WV will go for Obama. But you have to vote your conscience anyway, and I did.

The Courthouse is a famous location in Jefferson County since it was here that John Brown was tried and convicted for the Harpers Ferry raid during the Civil War. Now it’s famous as the place where Elly and I do early voting.

I hope everyone out there remembers to vote, either early or on election day.

 

Friday Morning Humor – What if Men were treated like Women?

I found this yesterday and, believe me, this is a clear statement:

There you go, Ladies… pass it around.

Are you ready for the morning swing state polls?

Here they are:

Colorado: Obama 51%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

Veterans are becoming an observed community.

Colorado: Obama 46%, Romney 43% (Project New America)

Colorado: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist)

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 49% (Gravis)

Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 45% (Project New America)

Iowa:: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

Michigan: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Foster McCollum)

Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist)

North Carolina: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Public Policy Polling)

Pennsylvania: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (Rasmussen)

Florida’s in question this morning… but it’s fairly close. Colorado is moving toward Obama.. first time all week.

We’ll look for updates later.