To those who mock me for owning a print set of the 1989 Encyclopædia Britannica when the whole thing, current, is available online, I refute you thus: while paging through volume 3 to check on the Chicago school of economics, I stumbled across Benedetto Croce, and after two paragraphs conceived an incredible admiration for the man. This is principally because of the anti-fascist stuff and the intellectual/emotional resilience he was forced to display after being orphanedI only partially agree with his critical theory. And he lived in Vico's house!
The link above isn't very good, but here's the part of the Britannica article that got me:
The first period of Croce's life (until about 1900) was the period of Croce's agony. Orphaned (with his brother, Alfonso) by the earthquake of Cassamicciola in 1883, his life became, in his words, "a bad dream." The stable world of childhood and youth was shattered, leaving him forever marked. Henceforth, he was a solitary figure, despite his considerable activity in the world.
His salvation lay in work. Disillusioned with the university, he set out upon an austere course of study, to become one of the great self-taught students of history. His writings of this period are universally alert, intelligent, and engaging; although limited in scope, they show a fine sobriety of style, as well as wit, irony, and a fiery polemical spirit... Nevertheless, he was subject to a constant and profound malaise. Subliminally, he desired but saw no public relevance for his activity; the limited world of erudition palled on him.
The test was to be Fascism, the political attitude that places the nation or race at the centre of life and history and disregards the individual and his rights. So gradual was this preparation that Croce himself did not at once perceive it... But as the character of the regime revealed itself, his opposition hardened, becoming absolute, beyond compromise. He became, within and without Italy, the symbol of the opposition to Fascism, the rallying point of the lovers of liberty. In Fascism Croce saw not merely another form of political tyranny. He saw it as the emergence of that other Italy, in which egoism displaced civic virtue, rhetoric dislodged poetry and truth, and the pretentious gesture displaced authentic action.
The concept of heroes interests me. Who are your heroes (and optionally, why)? I want to know, seriously. Send them in and I'll post them, unless you'd rather I didn't. Homecoming game today, 9 a.m. tailgate at Fred's. I have to go buy lemon juice for the Bloody Marys.