There’s good reason to think we are no longer producing things that centuries hence will give the illusion of glory and fixity.
Queen Anne and Louis XVI were “in flux,” as Barzun writes. But they were Queen Anne and Louis XIV. Clown World is about the mayor of London trying to exercise his influence to create more gender balance among Wikipedia editors. Egalitarianism in unpaid labor. How inspiring! I tend to think of it as a “lean back” strategy. Women are outpacing men in college, in medicine, and in law. Slow down, ladies, and start contributing to the world’s collective knowledge about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. That’s Clown World.
Dublin has a major housing crisis, a homelessness problem, and a potential financial calamity on its hands. Housing prices in Dublin have been rising at a 20 percent clip over the last three years, while wages rose at a 2 percent clip. But the Irish political class has already moved on from legalizing abortion to the pressing issue of excising blasphemy laws from their constitution in another nationwide referendum. I guess that’s what they’ll tell the German creditors when the economy comes crashing down on their heads again: We lived in Clown World.
The brother bishops of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick put out little press releases about how his sexual predations have not only resulted in a few legal settlements with adult men (long known about), but probably included a minor (a probability they merely hoped wasn’t true). Everyone’s known about “Uncle Teddy’s” behavior’ for years, but nobody said anything because of the power he wielded, or the scandal it would cause his institution, or something. The Catholic Church is a leading institution of organized religion in Clown World.
Faced with the serious problem of having subsidized Chinese mercantilism and the reconsolidation of the Chinese Communist Party over Chinese society for decades, the U.S. has decided to pick trade fights with Canada over softwood lumber and signal potential retreat from the Korean Peninsula. The United States is Clown World’s Great Hegemon. Some of its biggest exports to China are Treasury notes and loud movies about enormous children’s toys.
Even thinking about this puts one in the mood for a cleansing read of Ecclesiastes and a kettlebell workout session scored by “Flight of the Valkyries.”
Michael Brendan Dougherty