Author's details

Date registered: June 13, 2010


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.

Latest posts

  1. Daesh has a mother — November 25, 2015
  2. Their own culpability — November 25, 2015
  3. Original sin — November 25, 2015
  4. An almost Kafkaesque reality — November 23, 2015
  5. Historians and other nincompoops — November 23, 2015

Most commented posts

  1. Bane of fundamentalism — 10 comments
  2. Climate change in Arkansas — 8 comments
  3. Some powerfully stupid stuff — 7 comments
  4. Oh brother where art thou? — 6 comments
  5. When dead birds fly — 5 comments

Author's posts listings

Nov 25 2015

Daesh has a mother

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

By Kamel Daoud, Nov. 20, 2015


Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/25/daesh-has-a-mother/

Nov 25 2015

Their own culpability

How the United States helped create the Islamic State

By Juan Cole, November 23


Did the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 lead to our current crisis over the Islamic State?

The question has been posed baldly in this campaign season, as when a young woman at a campaign rally said to GOP candidate Jeb Bush (using an alternate name for the militant group), “Your brother created ISIL.” It was not so much the invasion itself, … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/25/their-own-culpability/

Nov 25 2015

Original sin

The Politics of Thanksgiving Day

By William Loren Katz, November 26, 2014


With family excitement building with the approach of Thanksgiving, you would never know November was Native American History Month. We would do well to recognize Native American resistance to colonialism on Thanksgiving instead of the myths about Native American dinner with Pilgrims.

Thanksgiving remains the most treasured holiday in the United States, honored by the White House since Abraham Lincoln initiated the holiday to rouse northern patriotism … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/25/original-sin/

Nov 23 2015

An almost Kafkaesque reality

Part 1:  I am so tired of having to explain why Palestinians deserve to live

By Dina Elmuti, November 19, 2015


Every day, I desperately attempt to make sense of the senseless. I feverishly try to patch and weave together the pieces of history to understand and grapple with the calamities that have bestowed us today. But reality has satirized itself too many times over. By the time we update the list of murdered Palestinians, the list is … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/23/an-almost-kafkaesque-reality/

Nov 23 2015

Historians and other nincompoops

Whoa there, David Cameron! Haste and rhetoric is no recipe for peace

By Robert Fisk, Sunday 22 November 2015 19:28 BST


Eisenhower famously sent some brusque advice to Anthony Eden in 1956 when he decided that Britain’s deceitful war in Egypt should come to an end. “Whoa, boy!” were his words. And they should be repeated now to the politicians, historians and other nincompoops who regard themselves as the soothsayers of eternal war.

Each morning, I awake to … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/23/historians-and-other-nincompoops/

Nov 21 2015

Oh brother where art thou?



Sent in response to yet another letter from Lloyd Hoffman, our perennial village idiot.  Beyond an acute addiction to alliteration (the whole thing hangs off the phrase “prattling preachery”), I think I have writer’s OCD — I tweaked this for at least three days before finally submitting it.  And I’m still not really happy with it…

– Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar, November 21, 2015


Dear editor,

Oh my little brother, where art thou NOW?!  Week after week … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/21/oh-brother-where-art-thou-2/

Nov 20 2015

Zara’u fa akalna, nazra’u fa ya’kulun

Stories My Father Told Me

By Helen Zughaib with Elia Kamal Zughaib, November/December 2015




One evening about 10 years ago, after a family dinner filled with my father’s stories of his childhood and youth in Damascus and Lebanon, my mother and I were in the kitchen when she said, “Someday, we ought to record your father telling his stories.” Many of them told about experiences with his parents and paternal grandparents, whom he referred to using the … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2015/11/20/zarau-fa-akalna-nazrau-fa-yakulun/

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