Month: June 2010

Churchill, Obama, and the Sacking of Generals

Churchill, Obama, and the Sacking of Generals

“It is dif­fi­cult to remove a bad Gen­er­al at the height of a cam­paign: it is atro­cious to remove a good Gen­er­al.” —Churchill

Oba­ma and McChrys­tal (White House pho­to by Pete Souza, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons).

What can we learn by com­par­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s dis­missal of Gen­er­al McChrys­tal to Churchill’s dis­missals of Gen­er­als Wavell and Auchin­leck, two dis­tin­guished com­man­ders in World War II? I hope it will not be anoth­er reminder of how stan­dards of con­duct have dete­ri­o­rat­ed.

Dif­fer­ences first. Churchill’s gen­er­als were removed for not suf­fi­cient­ly oppos­ing Irwin Rommel’s Afri­ka Korps. McChrys­tal was not under­per­form­ing, and his sit­u­a­tion bears more resem­blance to that of Gen­er­al Dou­glas MacArthur, the Kore­an com­man­der relieved in 1951 by Pres­i­dent Tru­man for insub­or­di­na­tion.…

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“Jennie” with Lee Remick Revived on CD

“Jennie” with Lee Remick Revived on CD

We are hap­pi­ly informed that one of the finest-ever films about Win­ston Churchill, fea­tur­ing the late Lee Remick as his moth­er in Jen­nie: Lady Ran­dolph Churchill, is now avail­able on CD from Ama­zon. It was orig­i­nal­ly a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary, “The life and loves of Jen­nie Churchill,” broad­cast on ITV in Britain and PBS in the USA in 1974.

On 4 May 1991 the Inter­na­tion­al Churchill Soci­ety held a din­ner for Lee, then dying of can­cer, on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, to present her with our Blenheim Award for notable con­tri­bu­tions to our knowl­edge of the life and times of Win­ston Churchill.…

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Purple Prose: Brooks Stevens

Purple Prose: Brooks Stevens

"Kip" Stevens with his 1951 Excal­ibur J

The blogsite of Hem­mings Motor News sees fit to post my  1982 arti­cle on Brooks Stevens, along with a gra­tu­itous opin­ion: “Per­haps Richard Langworth’s ten­den­cy toward pur­ple prose in this pro­file of Brooks Stevens in Spe­cial Inter­est Autos #71, Octo­ber 1982, is appro­pri­ate, giv­en the pic­ture he paints of the leg­endary design­er.” Aside from the fact that Hem­mings paid only for first rights and is there­fore in copy­right vio­la­tion, it’s nice to be remem­bered.

Reac­tions: A one­time edi­tor of SIA wrote: “I see noth­ing purple—it reads like an essay in The New York­er.” (Ah, if only Hem­mings paid New York­er rates!)  A Packard Club col­league wrote: “Naah, not pur­ple, maybe faint mauve.” A blog read­er wrote: “Ugh, I can’t read it.…

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