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The Potemkin Village of Georgetown

by Mark Judge

Posted: Jan 07, 2015 11:11 AM


It is all well and good to break down the barriers that previously have made so many private institutions in this country little more than ghettos. But unless this is accompanied by comparable efforts to insure that these institutions are able to retain something of their historic identity, the resulting “pluralism” is almost certain to end up functioning as a Trojan horse for homogenization. Even as we congratulate ourselves on our openness to diversity, we shall, in fact, be becoming more and more alike.


-R. Bruce Douglass, Georgetown at Two Hundred

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Hilary at the Phil.

by Jay Nordlinger

Posted: Dec 29, 2014 01:39 PM

Hilary Hahn; photo by Michael Patrick O'Leary

In my upcoming “chronicle” for the magazine, I have a note on a New York Philharmonic concert, guest-conducted by Jaap van Zweden. Actually, I have notes on two such concerts. My chronicle is Van Zweden-heavy.

On one of the concerts was a soloist, whom I do not mention. She was Hilary Hahn—always worth mentioning. I’ll give her her due here.

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Make your gift before the new year!

Posted: Dec 23, 2014 12:46 PM

The year may be winding down, but there is still time to make your gift and receive a tax deduction for 2014! Donations of any size are most welcome, as every contribution helps us to maintain the robust network of support that we need to make The New Criterion a thriving presence in America's cultural discussion. 

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A Look Inside the Anti-Police Protest Movement

by James Piereson

Posted: Dec 23, 2014 11:24 AM

Many of the supporters and enablers of the anti-police protest movement of recent months have insisted that it is overwhelmingly a peaceful movement largely made up of idealistic reformers and members of minority communities. They insist that it is not a “radical” movement with an animus against either the police or middle class society. That narrative has been undercut by the tragic shooting of two New York City Police officers last week and by a march in New York City a few days before that during which protesters chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now.” 

There was another protest event on the Brooklyn Bridge a few weeks ago that should have been taken as a signal that the movement was spinning out of control from peaceful marches into violent confrontations with police.  That event, along the arrests that followed, gives us a window into the inner character of the protest movement.

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The Climate of Hate

by James Piereson

Posted: Dec 22, 2014 12:17 PM

When you heard the terrible news from Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon, were you completely surprised to learn that a gunman killed two police officers in cold blood? Or were you, at some level, expecting some kind of atrocity like this to happen?

Well, you can put me in the latter category.  I’ve had a sick feeling in my gut ever since the protests began against police last summer.   It seemed inevitable as these protests gained strength that they would culminate in some senseless tragedy.  And now it has come to pass.

Anyone with eyes to see should have known that the demonstrations of recent months would eventually lead to violent attacks on the police.  Despite claims that the protests were “peaceful,” they in fact were marred by violence from the beginning.  In Ferguson, Missouri, where the protests began last August, demonstrators rioted, burned buildings, and threatened police following the death of Michael Brown in an altercation with a police officer.  These scenes were repeated both in that city and across the country a few weeks ago when the grand jury refused to indict the police officer in the incident.

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In Case You Missed It

by Christine Emba

Posted: Dec 19, 2014 03:22 PM

Window in Chartres Cathedral, dedicated to the Life and Miracles of St. Nicholas

Recent links of note:

A Scandalous Makeover at Chartres
Martin Filler, New York Review of Books
Does the famous cathedral need a garish facelift? The French Ministry of Culture seems to think so.

Rejecting the "BuzzFeed" Model
Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative
“By encouraging this atmosphere in the news, we feed people’s cravings for the silly, the crass, and the thoughtless—and the more we feed those inclinations, the less we cultivate an appreciation for the nuanced, the thoughtful, and the serious.”

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Is a Palestinian State Next?

by James Piereson

Posted: Dec 19, 2014 11:03 AM

President Obama surprised most everyone with his decision to accord diplomatic recognition to Cuba and propose lifting the economic embargo on the communist state, which dates back to 1959.  Many observers felt that the United States would wait until the Castro brothers were out or dead before extending diplomatic recognition.  On the other hand, the move should not have come as such a surprise, since American leftists have been campaigning for decades against the embargo, particularly since the Castro regime lost the patronage of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.  In their eyes, Cuba is a poor and backward country not because of the policies of the Castro government but because the cruel capitalists in America have closed their import markets to Cuban sugar.  In addition, Barack Obama has made it a point to govern from the far left and to seize every opportunity he can find to stick his finger in the eye of the American right.  In that regard, the recognition of Cuba was a "twofer:" he delighted the left and outraged the right. Those were the basic calculations behind the decision, not that the policy was outdated, or that recognition and trade will bring any benefits to the United States, or that they will bring political and economic reform to Cuba.  The decision brings benefits to the two governments now in power, but to hardly anyone else. 

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In Review: “Make a Joyful Noise”: Renaissance Art and Music in Florence Cathedral

by Leann Davis Alspaugh

Posted: Dec 18, 2014 12:57 PM

Trumpeters and Young Girls Dancing, 1431-1438. Images via

The consecration of Florence’s Santa Maria del Fiore on March 25, 1436, must have been, even by Renaissance standards, a day of unrivalled spectacle and splendor. The jeweled vestments of Pope Eugene IV dazzled alongside the glittering garments of the Medici retinue. Brunelleschi’s dome resounded with polyphony by Guillaume Du Fay and the inimitable organ improvisations of maestro Antonio Squarcialupi. The maestro would have had his choice of grand instruments: the one above the south sacristy door housed in a marble loft decorated by Donatello or the one in the north sacristy decorated by Luca della Robbia. Three of the latter’s marble panels form the core of “Make a Joyful Noise,” a small exhibition of pieces traveling during a renovation of the cathedral museum.

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About ArmaVirumque


( AHR-mah wih-ROOM-kweh)


In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.


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