Archive for category Classics

Cockroaches and Loos with Views: The struggle for dignity in political language

On 16 May 1923, Leon Trotsky wrote a remarkable little article in the newspaper Pravda — “The struggle for cultured language”. This article is republished below because of the debasing of our political language, the dehumanising of political opponents and people. Julius Malema and Premier Helen Zille are politicians. They both clamour for media attention [...]

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Hypatia of Alexandria: a thinker for our times and a super hero on film

Popular films on historical topics are often scoffed at by historians. Film buffs often dismiss them as “worthy” movies. I confess that I love historical dramas. No matter how distorted the history or biography — they make us think, read, research and even write. Popular historical dramas are also action movies with great costumes. This [...]

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The Devoted Friend — Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was not only one of the best playwrights and poets of his time. He also wrote the most beautiful moral tales for children.  The Devoted Friend as the title suggests is about the meanings of friendship and reciprocity. Richard Conyngham knows that telling a story with “a moral is always a very dangerous [...]

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“Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell, 1946

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. [...]

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“The Soul of Man Under Socialism” by Oscar Wilde, 1891

The chief advantage that would result from the establishment of Socialism is, undoubtedly, the fact that Socialism would relieve us from that sordid necessity of living for others which, in the present condition of things, presses so hardly upon almost everybody. In fact, scarcely any one at all escapes. Now and then, in the course [...]

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“Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? [...]

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“Common Sense” by Thomas Paine, 1776

Introduction PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts [...]

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