I posted previously about this wonderful trend on YouTube. Here’s another example, and honestly, if you can watch this and not smile, laugh and just feel great about the world, you have no heart. And probably no soul. Also, I want a t-shirt like Jamel’s.
One of the things I most admired about Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia was their enduring friendship and respect for each other. It is shameful that each has become a symbol for an ideology, a talisman, rather than being held up as a symbol or talisman of decency, civil discourse, considered thought and the utter irrelevence of political disagreements to a meaningful relationship.
And, of course, I so admire and am grateful for the work RBG did in the name of gender equality. I rather felt that went without saying, but perhaps it should also be said. Remarkable life, career, woman – tough as nails.
…and the world just got a bit dumber. What a great mind, thinker, writer (I don’t even like jazz and yet I love to read his ideas about jazz), musician. We could use him now. I gather he wasn’t well enough in the past few months to comment on current headlines.
I love this reflection of his on education – we have, unfortunately, lost this attitude. The last time I worked in a traditional teaching venue any talk like this would get you fired:
Mr. Crouch said in an interview with The Times in 1990 that too many discussions of race were “simple-minded and overly influenced by the ideas of determinism — if you’re poor, you’re going to act a certain way” — a self-perpetuating path that, he said, his public-school teachers had stopped him from taking.
“These people were on a mission,” he said of his teachers. “They had a perfect philosophy: You will learn this. If you came in there and said, ‘I’m from a dysfunctional family and a single-parent household,’ they would say, ‘Boy, I’m going to ask you again, What is 8 times 8?’
“When I was coming up,” he continued, “there were no excuses except your house burned down and there was a murder in the family. Eight times eight was going to be 64 whether your family was dysfunctional or not. It’s something you needed to know!”
I have been thinking about how profoundly 9/11 changed my life, changed my worldview. It affected my friendships, my family relationships (such as they were and some were never much), my career. It drew me to people with whom I otherwise might not have spent time, including my oldest brother. It crystallized for me so much which I already knew but – despite years of living overseas, years of education – had not been able to articulate. It forced me to see some people in ways I had been avoiding. The only other world event that had this same profound effect on me was the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I’ll sign off today with a lovely quote from Brendan Behan, one that sums it all up for me – To America, my new found land: the man that hates you hates the human race.
One of the most delightful things on the internets these days is the trend of videos of (mostly) young African-Americans listening to music they have not previously heard. I was introduced to these by a friend and I warn you, they can take you down a rabbit hole, literally spending hours watching! It is so delightful and can actually bring tears to your eyes. Perhaps I am sentimental (ok, no perhaps about it) but I truly think these young people give me more hope for the future than any candlelight vigil/hand-holding peace/anti-racism march ever could. My three favourites (and it is hard to choose) are the twins, and Jamel (wears his heart on his sleeve – so lovely) and – there aren’t a lot of women doing this, so far — K.S.O. (she is truly fun to watch!). FYI, there is a good piece about the twins at the New Yorker and while I largely agree with what she writes, I think she misses some points (she is probably being politically correct) and she also puts too much focus on modern music, as opposed to the clip I am about to leave y’all with – one of the twins (they don’t always appear together) listening to Sinatra sing Ol’ Man River. Unbelievably touching.
Princess Diana died on this day, 23 years ago. Gosh, I cried and cried. I even phoned my mother and woke her up to talk about it (remember, it was just short of midnight when the news came out on this side of the pond). I have grown to quite like Charles and Camilla over the years (she seems like rather a blast!), but at the time I was – like many women my age – protective of Di. We grew up with her – we were, more or less, her age. We, as the kids today say, felt her. Not in a gropey way, but in an emotional way. She was frequently criticized for not having been bright, but that is far from the truth, as you will see if you watch the documentary below. She was not only bright, but had high emotional intelligence and tremendous self-awareness and wit. There is a moment here that cracked me up, at roughly the 16:35 mark, where she refers to herself as a “fat Sloane Ranger.” Further, it is often said that the silly Meghan Markle is similar to Diana – I think not. Whatever issues Diana had with the Royals, she believed in doing her duty and doing her best – she discusses this in the below doc as well. She also gave her time with the Royals far more of a chance to succeed.
I meant to post about Bari Weiss’ magnificent resignation letter, and about Andrew Sullivan’s statement later that same week (sheesh -six weeks ago! I’m a bit slow to follow up), but got distracted, likely by something absurd. I will instead make a simple statement: the upside of all the woke madness is that Sullivan is now blogging again. Yay. Reminds of ye olden tymes in the early aughts. He is not charging (yet) – I imagine he will, eventually, and that is justifiable. In the meantime, here’s a snippet of this week’s column:
In the current chaos, I’ve come to appreciate Marcus Aurelius’s maxim that “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” And I have to say I’m horribly conflicted on some issues. I’m supportive of attempts to interrogate the sins of the past, in particular the gruesome legacy of slavery and segregation, and their persistent impact on the present. And in that sense, I’m a supporter of the motives of the good folks involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. But I’m equally repelled by the insistent attempt by BLM and its ideological founders to malign and dismiss the huge progress we’ve made, to re-describe the American experiment in freedom as one utterly defined by racism, and to call the most tolerant country on the planet, with unprecedented demographic diversity, a form of “white supremacy”. I’m tired of hearing Kamala Harris say, as she did yesterday: “The reality is that the life of a black person in America has never been treated as fully human.” This is what Trump has long defended as “truthful hyperbole” — which is a euphemism for a lie.
But here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does. In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.
Emphasis mine. And it can’t be emphasized enough.
Listen to this man. Goosebump-inducing.
Although Italy has seen some protests these past few months, inspired by the protests in the U.S. after the death of George Floyd, they never amounted to the kind of mad tearing down of statues and such by the mob as we have seen in North America. A few statues in Italy got paint thrown on them, but nothing else ensued. I think one of the reasons this sort of revising of history has not taken off in Italy the way it has in younger countries, is simply that they have so much history around them. They couldn’t begin to tackle it all – it would be exhausting. (Heck, if Italy got rid of everything tainted with slavery they would have to remove everything Roman.) One example: on my way to classes in Perugia these past few years I have walked by the plaque seen below. It shows the Fascist symbol – the fascio littorio — with Anno XI, meaning Fascist year 11, i.e. 1933 (the year the building was put up, one assumes). No one even seems to look twice at it. True, the university where I study has a Fascist-era painting in one of its main halls that has been revised – the face of Mussolini has been painted over with a generic Italian man’s face – but I can see why that needed to be done.