Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar is a working curmudgeon with a cat-killing curiosity in politics, religion, history, and other manifestations of irrational human behavior. He resides in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a semi-autonomous region of the United States (a waning political experiment on the third planet of a minor solar system in a remote corner of the Milky Way galaxy), with his wife and other assorted wildlife.

Jacques is a son and grandson of Baptist missionaries and educators. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father was a school headmaster for more than 30 years (and prior to that, a B-17 navigator in the last months of WW2). He grew up in the Middle East during the turbulent 50s, 60s, and 70s, but left just before Lebanon’s nightmare 15-year civil war began in earnest. Most reputable historians do not associate the onset of that tragic conflict with his departure.

After attending college in Oklahoma and working for a large oilfield servicing company now forever identified with the dark lord Dick Cheney, he moved his family to Hot Springs in 1994. Jacques spends most of his time reading, blogging under a barely-disguised snotty “Freedom” pseudonym, and staring at the sun. He works tirelessly for the OAFS (Obsessive Alliteration-Fondness Syndrome) Foundation, as both its only benefactor and sole beneficiary.

Jacques’ political pilgrimage has meandered across much of the left-right continuum. Once a staunch conservative (by all the standard litmus tests), he found himself suddenly adrift when the rest of the country lurched hard-right after 9-11. He is a frequent critic of our national love affair with wars, rampant nationalism in general, and the resurgent, xenophobic frenzy that masquerades as patriotism.

He defines his religious confession as Zen Baptist, a burgeoning movement (of one) within the Southern Baptist Convention that is seeking to reclaim the mantle of Christian orthodoxy from fevered fundamentalists just itching for Armageddon. Monsieur d’Nalgar may be reached by sending him your questions telepathically, or by sending him money. He prefers the latter.

Most commented posts

  1. Bane of fundamentalism — 10 comments
  2. An obituary — 10 comments
  3. Climate change in Arkansas — 8 comments
  4. Some powerfully stupid stuff — 7 comments
  5. On a hill far away — 6 comments

Author's posts

Dec 08 2017

We all have so much work to do

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: ‘Trump is where he is because of his appeal to racism’

By Donald McRae, Friday 8 December 2017 13.26 EST

 

Like all people my age I find the passage of time so startling,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says with a quiet smile. The 70-year-old remains the highest points-scorer in the history of the NBA and, having won six championships and been picked for a record 19 All-Star Games, he is regarded widely as being second only to Michael … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/12/08/we-all-have-so-much-work-to-do/

Nov 24 2017

Preserve this precious heritage

 

Important!

Several months ago, my friend Betty Halaby, an exile from Palestinian Jerusalem, gave me the following article, printed on three pages in all caps. Searching for an online version to copy here, I ran across this fitting preface:

— Monsieur d’Nalgar, Vendredi 24 novembre 2017 à l’ère commune

 

…it has always been a very short distance from serious social science to parody, and many have enjoyed the trip. Probably the most frequently reprinted example is Horace Miner’s … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/24/preserve-this-precious-heritage/

Nov 21 2017

War

Important!

Why must I live in this grim age
When, to a far horizon, God
Has ebbed away, and man, with rage
Now wields the sceptre and the rod?

Man raised his sword, once God had gone,
To slay his brother, and the roar
Of battlefields now casts upon
Our homes the shadow of the war.

The harps to which we sang are hung
On willow boughs, and their refrain
Drowned by the anguish of the young
Whose blood is … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/21/war/

Nov 20 2017

Memory is stubborn

Invention of the Mizrahim

By Susan Abulhawa, 20 Sept 2017

 

The State of Israel was conceived at the turn of the 20th century in Eastern Europe by a group of elite European Jews who launched a movement called Zionism that sought to establish a physical nation state exclusive to Jews. It was a typical settler colonial enterprise, complete with the narrative of a divine mandate and a non-existent or savage indigenous population, central to which was the myth … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/20/memory-is-stubborn/

Nov 09 2017

Trumpet players have taken up the cornet

With Paul Manafort’s indictment, Donald Trump is done

By Garrison Keillor, Tuesday 31 October 2017 08:13 GMT

 

When his old campaign manager was indicted Monday, Mr Trump called me on the phone, crying like a baby, and begged me to endorse him. I said, “You’re already President, Mr President. You were elected.” He said, “I’d still like your endorsement.” I have a recording of the phone call. It’s so sad. Donald Trump is done. He couldn’t get elected … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/09/trumpet-players-have-taken-up-the-cornet/

Nov 06 2017

Thoughts and prayers

Why I’m no longer talking to God about gun sprees after the Texas shooting

By Grace Dent, Monday 6 November 2017 17:36 GMT

 

After the killing on Sunday of 26 members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in Wilson County, shot dead in the middle of a church service, I am calling a personal moratorium on the issue of solving gun-related terrorism with “thoughts and prayers”.

I just don’t think my prayers are working. Obviously, I … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/06/thoughts-and-prayers/

Nov 03 2017

Shameless wealth transfer

A Tax Plan for a New Gilded Age

By the New York Times Editorial Board, November 2, 2017

 

With their new bill that would slash taxes on the wealthy and blow up the federal budget deficit, House Republicans and President Trump are making it absolutely clear whom they are working for — the top 1 percent — and whom they consider dispensable. Well, that’s pretty much everybody else.

The bill, which House leaders unveiled on Thursday after weeks … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2017/11/03/shameless-wealth-transfer/