Walter Starkie was an enthusiast for Gypsy music and culture, a professor of Romance languages, a director of the Abbey Theatre, an accomplished violinist, a literary translator and a harbourer of the hope that Ireland might experience a spiritual awakening which would incorporate a great deal of fascist political doctrine, ‘properly understood’.
In spite of television documentary investigations proclaiming the notorious Black Diaries of Roger Casement to have been solely his own work, there is still an excellent case to be made that they are forgeries, based on erasures and interpolations, designed to blacken Casement’s name.
Angela Merkel’s style, which is based on caution, analysis and calm calculation married with a commitment to tolerance in the public sphere, has seen her win three successive election victories. Will she be able to add political imagination to these virtues in the final phase of her career and so transform European politics?
It is clear that no real effort was made by the Irish government to seriously consider alternatives to the strategy of institutionalisation developed in the nineteenth century. Adoption was illegal until 1952 and boarding out was resisted on the religious grounds of concerns about proselytism.
In the original Chandler novels, mansions, money and manicured lawns did not necessarily presage either virtue or happiness. In Black-Banville’s remake we seem to have taken cognisance of what has happened in the interim, with a Philip Marlowe who strangely equates sports cars and ‘money to burn’ with ‘class’.
Animals have been divided into those we watch TV with, those we eat and those we’re scared of. If ‘becoming animal’ is understood in Hiberno-English as an unfortunate consequence of excessive alcohol consumption, here it is rather a way of perceiving that we exist on a planet that we share with innumerable other species that we continue to destroy in vast numbers.
Was the recent arrest, trial and execution of North Korea’s number two politician just another sign of the madness of the regime? Or was it perhaps a sign to the people that things could actually change for the better and that no one – none of ‘them’ – was necessarily too powerful to evade punishment?