RBG

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.

Stanley Crouch Died…

…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!”

This New York Times obituary is surprisingly fair.

September 11th

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.

For today’s anniversary, I would like to outsource my links to myself – what I posted last year; and in 2015; and 2018.

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.

Sinatra will Save us Yet

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.