A Jack Fowler Morning Jolt: NR Podcasts and Remembering Linda Bridges

by Jack Fowler

Ear Friend,

I am accused, rightly, by my colleagues – including surely the vacationing Jim Geraghty, whose colossal shoes my tiny feet will try to fill this week – of trading in lousy puns, such as the salutation. Groan if you must, but please be tolerant . . . because I think this one applies to what follows.

If you aren’t yet a fan of podcasts, you should be. At least the podcasts produced by NR and featuring NR’s talent — they are very much worth your while. Here’s a sampler:

· David French’s new podcast, “The Liberty Files,” launched last week. The inaugural episode features a conversation with Professor Mike Adams from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, who has been alongside David (a First Amendment attorney) in various battles on behalf of liberty. It’s great stuff.

· I got around this weekend (finally!) to listening to Jay Nordlinger’s terrific “Q&A” podcast interview with Princeton professor Robert George. You can catch it here.

· When he’s not gallivanting on some beach, Big Jim broadcasts a daily podcast conversation, “Three Martini Lunch,” hosted by Radio America’s Greg Corombos, on the day’s pressing matters. At NRO we park them here. You ought to listen.

· Every week my pal John J. Miller, on his podcast “The Bookmonger,” gives ten minutes to the author of a new important book. It’s always quick and interesting. Lend it an ear — try this recent episode with Rod Dreher about his new book, The Benedict Option.

Okay, a busy and somber day ahead of us: We’ll be attending the funeral service for our late colleague, Linda Bridges. Here is the formal and beautiful obituary which was published in the April 17, 2017, issue of National Review:

LINDA BRIDGES came to NR in a way that was characteristic both of her and of WFB. The literary critic Hugh Kenner, polymath and archpriest of high modernism, had written Bill criticizing the lede of one of his columns as too rambling. Bill published Kenner’s letter, and a detailed defense of his handiwork. Into this smackdown waded Miss Bridges, a junior at USC, majoring in English and minoring in French, who forthrightly offered her own opinion. Bill knew a good thing when he saw it and offered her a job when she graduated in 1970.

Linda wrote (about the arts, most passionately) and cleaned up other people’s writing, which she did with unerring care. She loved the sheer mechanics of putting out a magazine: She used a manual typewriter to the last (and acquired one in Cyrillic), and sometimes daydreamed about owning her very own linotype machine. But when the computer age bore down like a glacier, she mastered its techniques too. She served John O’Sullivan as managing editor and WFB as his primary late-life amanuensis, deciphering his handwriting and typing, checking the details of his multitudinous books. Along the way she co-wrote two of her own, with NR vets: The Art of Persuasion: A National Review Rhetoric for Writers, with William F. Rickenbacker, a guide to usage that was, like its co-authors, learned, eccentric, and delightful; and Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement, with John Coyne Jr., informed by her unmatched knowledge (and love) of its subject.

Linda was a devout parishioner of St. Mary the Virgin, that highest of Anglo-Catholic churches (her church would have to be beautiful, and detailed). In her free time she traveled, often with her long-time roommate Alice Manning, from Cortina, Italy, for skiing, to the Orient Express. On her office door and around her desktop she pinned cut-out cartoons she found particularly amusing; there were many. Her smile lit up a room, her laugh filled it. She died, a month before her 68th birthday. R.I.P. And, –30–.

Kindly pray for her soul’s deservedly peaceful repose. Now, I’ll limit the remainder of today’s Jolt to three NRO recommendations.

One: Jay Nordlinger’s new “Impromptus” column is a worthwhile expansion of his piece in the latest NR magazine, “A Defender of His Country,” about Russian democracy champion Vladimir Kara-Murza, twice poisoned — as can happen to Russian democracy champions.

Two: Aaron Hedlund proposes the cure for the House Republicans’ current funk over Obamacare repeal and replace. From his piece:

Given the united Democratic opposition, inside-the-bubble D.C. thinking has made the tug-of-war between Republican moderates and the Freedom Caucus into an impossible zero-sum game. But a viable path for free-market health-care reform still exists — if Republicans in Congress can coalesce around some key ideas, such as pursuing smart insurance deregulation that puts families back in charge, creating a targeted and robust free-market safety net, and unleashing productivity and innovation by unshackling the health-care-delivery system.

Three: Jim Talent has a most informative Corner post on defense spending, China, and America’s national security interests.

I’ll catch you tomorrow, but before I do, why don’t you go book that cabin on the National Review 2017 Trans-Atlantic Crossing?

Best, and a Dios, Linda –

Jack Fowler

The Morning Jolt

By Jim Geraghty