October 14, 2003

So, it's National Marriage Protection Week. What does that mean? Apparently not much. At least not anything that might make an actual difference in terms of actually protecting actual marriages. It doesn't mean special discounts from babysitters, florists, romantic restaurants and marriage counselors. (If I were designing a week to bolster marriages I would insist, to paraphrase Rupert Everett, "By God, there should be dancing!") But no, NMPW is merely a political bone for social conservatives and the religious right…. Read more

October 14, 2003

In light of the discussions below of civlity vs. incivility and justice vs. jealousy, the following seemed appropriate. This aggressively impolite rant is from St. John Chrysostom (347 – 407), from his ninth homily on 1 Corinthians. Here Chrysostom turns his wrath on the "covetous and rapacious" wealthy man who does not do all he can to help the needy. It's a primal scream of a sermon that would doubtless today earn him criticism — without irony — for preaching… Read more

October 14, 2003

"The challenges we face today cannot be met with timid actions or bitter words; our challenges will be overcome with optimism and resolve and confidence in the ideals of America." — President George W. Bush, Oct. 10, 2003 "Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out." — President Vaclav Havel The White House is currently… Read more

October 14, 2003

… listen:there's a hell of a good universe next door;let's go edward estlin cummings was born 99 years ago today. sadly, cummings died in 1962, before the advent of desktop publishing — which he likely would have put to better use than anyone before or since. my undergrad lit thesis was on cummings and yeats. we had to do yeats&someone because our seminar prof was a yeats obsessive and he wasn't thrilled that i considered e.e. worthy of mentioning in… Read more

October 10, 2003

In comments to the post below, the apocryphally named "Jonathan Maccabee" asks: "Where in anyone's Scripture does it say to make people suffer because they are comfortable? … this sounds like warmed-over Marxism to me" He rails against "[taking] a comfortable person down, appealing to jealousy." And "to associate an insistence on civility with upper-class bigotry" is, he says, a kind of demagoguery. Appeals to justice are not the same as appeals to jealousy. That's not a minor distinction. To… Read more

October 10, 2003

There's an old principle for preachers, adopted also by some journalists, that says fidelity to the truth calls us to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The comfortable take offense whenever anyone follows this advice. They know better than to claim this treatment is unfair — fairness and justice are not concepts they're trying to promote — so they end up sniffing that it just seems rude. "Civility" becomes the last bastion of those who cannot appeal to justice… Read more

October 10, 2003

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Pope John Paul II and Vaclav Havel head home with Turtle Wax and the boxed edition of the game.) In a 1999 Christian Science Monitor article, Michael Theodoulou provides an introduction: Ms. Ebadi was Iran's first woman judge before the revolution, after which the ayatollahs decided women were too emotional and irrational to hold such posts. She now lectures in law at Tehran University, is a… Read more

October 10, 2003

So I head over to the Federal Election Commission site to print out some mail-in voter registration forms. Getting ready for another round of do-it-yourself-voter-registration-drive. I click on the link and find this message: The FEC is updating the National Mail Voter Registration Form to reflect recent changes in Federal law. The new form will be available shortly. "Recent changes in federal law?" Why does that sound so ominous these days? And will "shortly" be before, or after November 2004? Read more

October 9, 2003

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but Turner Movie Classics is showing A Face in the Crowd. I'm not suggesting that newly elected California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is like "Lonesome Rhodes" — the megalomaniacal entertainer played by Andy Griffith. But the Patricia Neal character sure does remind me of Maria Shriver. (Bonus points to Kathleen Sharp for slipping a quote from A Face in the Crowd into her Salon article on Schwarzenegger's hazily documented history of harassing and humiliating women.) Read more

October 9, 2003

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." — National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, September 2001 "Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?" — President George W. Bush, September 2002 The subtlest change in New York is something that people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its… Read more

Follow Us!



Browse Our Archives