Cultural Revolutions

Paul Piccone, R.I.P.

The death on July 12 of Paul Piccone, the ebullient editor of Telos, has deprived Chronicles of a close friend and energetic collaborator.  Paul exchanged articles and ideas happily with the editors of this journal and invited Thomas Fleming, Samuel Francis, and me to participate in his never-ending conferences, always put together on the spur of the moment, lambasting the modern state.  His concept of a discussion was to have several agitated participants go head to head, before he would break up the fight by outshouting everyone else.  And his voice was unique, with its resonance, Abruzzese accent, and the shower of words that it carried.  Paul could mix indelicate phrases with arcane philosophical terms and multiple allusions to long-dead European social theorists—all in a single unexpected outburst.  Ideas excited him more than they did almost any other man I have met, and part of his considerable charm arose from the fact that, even in his 50’s and 60’s, he personified Plato’s aspiring philosopher, who throbbed with the passion to know.

His generosity was legendary, even for a Latin.  Among his friends, it was a joke that Paul would bring home a hobo, if given a chance, from his Lower East Side neighborhood, over the protests of his long-suffering wife, and feed and lodge him for months.  Although not the hobo in question, I enjoyed the hospitality of...

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