Remembering Joe by S. M. Hutchens

Remembering Joe

"To whom much was given, of him much will be required."

Noblesse oblige—it's in the Bible. I've never seen a stronger sense of this than I did in my teacher and friend Harold O. J. Brown, a Harvard  College graduate magna cum laude, Danforth and Fulbright fellow, coach of the Harvard rowing team the year it won the Henley Regatta, fluent in a number of modern languages, etc., etc. He had a strong sense of his giftedness, but what I think was seen as humility among those with whom he worked most of his life I would interpret as noblesse oblige, which isn't exactly the same thing.

Not that he wasn't genuinely humble, too—he understood perfectly well that we are to esteem others as greater than ourselves—but I did see signs that it wasn't exactly easy for him. Joe liked to belt out "Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes" from Iolanthe from time to time, and with some gusto. This, however, he would only do in the company of close friends, probably when lowliness of heart was getting to him and he was tired of dealing with exalted lowliness of brain.

S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor and longtime writer for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more from the online archives

31.4—July/August 2018

Right Before Our Eyes

Life & Love Are Real Despite Theatrical Illusions by Anthony Esolen

16.10—December 2003

Calculating Christmas

on the Story Behind December 25 by William J. Tighe

32.2—March/April 2019

What Gives?

on Properly Rendering Things to Caesar & to God by Peter J. Leithart

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00