The Weary Lion and the Wary Lamb

tensions-remain-high-at-israeli-gaza-border-1Author’s note: Like many Jews around the world, I’ve been following the news out of Israel closely the past month and a half. In this piece, I continue to explore my responses to the conflict in Israel and Gaza. I began these explorations in my previous post, “Sitting in Pain in Israel and Gaza.”

The enemy of Israel shakes hands with the enemy of the Jews. The mother of the kidnapped scholar shakes. Just after the explosion, five fresh eggs shake.

In some places, the enemies of the Jews disguise themselves as enemies of Israel. In some places, an enemy of Israel disguises himself as a Jew, a Hasid in fedora boarding an egged bus.

Some days, the enemies of Israel and the enemies of the Jews quietly sip coffee. Yesterday, you had to listen carefully to hear a thin sliver of quiet while the mob on the Parisian street caught its breath.

You going to the Enemies of the Jews show? The Enemies of Israel is opening. I have to show my face at the solidarity rally. Besides, I hate heavy metal music.

An enemy of Israel marries an enemy of the Jews. Their daughter, a religious Zionist, marries a boy in the Givati Brigade.

[Read more...]

In Praise of the Printed Book, Part 2

By Warren Farha

Guest Post

Continued from yesterday.

An increasing torrent of books and articles reflect on the Internet as The Great Distraction, and I’ve had the opportunity recently to read a few. The first I’ll mention is The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future, by Mark Bauerlein.

Bauerlein is not saying that millennials—youth who’ve grown up in the Digital Age—are less intelligent than their predecessors. He is saying that due to the digital environment in which they live and move and have their being, they are working with a much smaller store of acquired knowledge, contrasting the dizzying quantity of information available online with that which has actually been embraced and mastered.

Bauerlein collaborated with former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia on the influential NEA reports Reading at Risk and To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, which combined careful research and a sense of urgency about the rapid decline of reading in all age groups in the United States.

The omnipresence of screens and immersion in texting and social media have steadily pushed aside time devoted to reading or attendance to serious music, theater, and fine art. Bauerlein warns: [Read more...]

Prime Time Secrets

Recently I completed work on the first season of The Americans, a new FX drama about Soviet spies posing as D.C. suburbanites in the Cold War heyday of early 1980s America. My prior job was on Boss, about a ruthless Chicago mayor desperate to hide and survive at any cost an equally ruthless degenerative disease.

Loath as I often am to watch TV at night after a day spent creating it, I am hooked enough on Breaking Bad that ahead of its final chapter this summer I’m catching up on back seasons of the saga about a terminally ill high school chemistry teacher who puts his lab skills to use in the crystal meth business to secure the financial future of his family.

But I’m way behind on Mad Men, about a 1960s ad exec whose primary marketing campaign consists of maintaining his fabricated identity.

What gives with all the secrets that form a kind of landscaping in prime-time television? [Read more...]

My Online Footprint

Part Two: Repentance

In Part One of this post, aptly subtitled “Resistance” by our new Good Letters editor, Cathy Warner (who deserves a shout-out for the various transitions she has navigated), I explored the practical side of my abstention from all forms of social media except email.

While acknowledging the theoretical cost on both personal and professional fronts of my anti-social stance—all those missed connections and lost opportunities, fewer Shares, Tweets, Likes and whatnot compared to other GL bloggers—I had yet to see my way to the time and self-promotion required for a more sizeable online footprint.

But as hinted at by my closing question, there were rocks still to turn over, and uncomfortably so for what would be found lurking in the dirt:

“Or might there be another reason behind my relative reclusion, an underlying one that has more to do with things spiritual than practical, with the very faith-based reasons for which this blog exists?” [Read more...]

Finding Poetry and Meaning in Internet Clicks

Three minutes, maybe four. Six minutes, maybe seven. A little bit of time.

This morning open Google chrome to my homepage the University of North Carolina Asheville. Once it’s loaded, a quick glance at upcoming events. A post Civil War lecture.

First thought: Living in the South, I really should know more about the Civil War and its aftermath. Click.

The link takes me to the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement’s Appalachian Studies Authors Series. I’ve already received an e-mail message and read a story in the Asheville Citizen Times about this series. [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X