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Nicholas T. Parsons

NICHOLAS T. PARSONS is a freelance author, translator and editor based in Vienna. A graduate of New College, Oxford he spent two years in Italy teaching at the British Institute of Florence and as Reader in English at the University of Pisa before returning to UK to work in publishing for ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 he settled in Central Europe with his Hungarian wife, the art historian Ilona Sármány, and has since published some 17 books on cultural topics, writing also as Louis James. These include the Blue Guide Austria and the Blue Guide Vienna as well as the first English guide to Hungary to be published following the “system change” of 1989. His essay-length Xenophobe’s Guide to the Austrians (Louis James) has been in print for 20 years. His recent books are Worth the Detour: A Cultural History of the Guidebook from Pausanias to the Rough Guide, and Vienna: A Cultural and Literary History (Signal Books / Oxford University Press). His latest work is A New Devil’s Dictionary: Lexicon for Contrarians, a reformulation for our times of Ambrose Bierce’s satirical take on disingenuous language.

8 September 2018
"At the very end of July 2018, conveniently into the holiday season, the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) quietly issued a devastating report on the conduct of the IMF in respect of the three Greek bailouts since 2010. The IEO is the watchdog of the overarching board of the IMF (i.e. including Asians and Latin Americans), but in the case of the Greek debacle it had found its functions exceptionally difficult to carry out."

21 March 2018
"In 2016 the famously “consumer friendly” Wells Fargo, one of the few US banks to have survived the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, was revealed to have fraudulently opened over a million new accounts for existing customers without their knowledge in order to generate fees from them. Wells Fargo employees were under such pressure from their managers to sell up to twenty “financial products” a day that many succumbed to stress (frequent weeping, vomiting and panic attacks)."

8 February 2018
"Not long before the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris I happened to read a column in the now woefully sanctimonious Financial Times in which the writer went out of her way to sneer at the know-nothing bigots who would soon be claiming that huge immigrant flows into Europe gave cover for the movement of terrorists. As it turned out, several of the perpetrators of the Paris outrage had indeed slipped in and out of Europe posing as migrants, and more were to follow."

19 January 2018
"The Protestants of Hungary endured years of “Babylonian captivity” when the peasants were obliged to conform outwardly to Catholicism while privately adhering to their Calvinist or Lutheran beliefs (hence the name “secret Protestants”). Catholic zealots pressed the theory that Hungary was the regnum Marianum, which referenced the tradition that King Saint Stephen had placed the country under the protection of the Virgin Mary. Nevertheless Lutherans and Calvinists survived until Joseph’s Edict laid the foundation for the more pluralistic approach to religious conviction of the Enlightenment."

19 July 2017
"Many would question whether special legal accommodation should be available for Muslims on account of their “profound convictions”, unless we are sure that such convictions are compatible with our secular state. After all, the Inquisition acted from “profound convictions” which were not necessarily a guide to desirable behaviour."

25 January 2017
"Austria has also toned down its earlier Pharisaic attacks on Hungary (it could hardly do otherwise since it is now facing the same brickbats from human rights bodies that Hungary did), but the left liberal lobby in the EU continues to try and distract attention from its lamentable performance on this issue by viciously attacking Hungary for demonstrating that the EU emperor had no clothes."

14 May 2015
"I cannot resist making a few comparisons with Hungary’s recent election by way of conclusion. The Labour leader, rather a decent man, rang Prime Minister David Cameron as soon as the result was clear and congratulated him on his win. In 2014, when Fidesz won a second two-thirds majority in Hungary in an OSCE monitored election, the leader of the Hungarian Socialists pointedly refused to congratulate Viktor Orbán."

17 March 2015
"Bruckner has denounced the consequences of multicultural policies that refrain from demanding a minimum level of integration from settlers, thus creating political, religious and social ghettoes that are segregated from mainstream society. Ironically this situation means that many of those immigrants who actually wish to escape from the claustrophobic and authoritarian confines of a highly conservative culture remain imprisoned in it (...)"

total: 21 volumes | 18/page

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