NYR DAILY

England Loses

An England fan, following Iceland's elimination of England from the European Football Championship, Nice, France, June 27

England has now left Europe twice in four days, with the second departure allowing this writer some small sentiment of retributive justice for the stupidity of the first. After the unmitigated and unfolding disaster of Brexit, the English national football team was defeated 2-1 by Iceland yesterday in the European Football Championship. Iceland!

The Case for Paying Ransoms

Nicolas Henin, one of four French hostages released by ISIS, arriving back in Paris, April 20, 2014

Is it better to remain morally consistent and refuse negotiation with an allegedly evil organization, but watch your citizens get beheaded? Or sign up to a principled agreement not to negotiate with “terrorists,” but then negotiate nonetheless, pay a large amount of money to release your citizens, and simply deny the fact publicly?

The Ninety-Minute Anxiety Dream

England's Wayne Rooney during England's World Cup match against Uruguay, June 19, 2014

In Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, the chorus interrogates the chained Titan as to what gifts he gave human beings. In addition to fire and thus technology and civilization, Prometheus says he sowed in human beings blind hope, as a way of forestalling doom. There is something of this in the soccer fan.