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.

Princess Di

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.

The Upside of the Woke Madness

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.

La Storia

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.

Baltimore and Log Cabin Republicans

I love a good political ad – regardless of whether I would vote for the candidate – and I have written about some excellent ads from Democrat candidates here, here and here. Today I give you two more – both Republican.

Rock on, Kim Klacik.

And how about this?

I should really try and find some strong Canadian political ads, but we’re not that good at it.

VJ Day 75

Full text of Hirohito’s speech of August 14, 1945 accepting the Potsdam Declaration. To consider: many Japanese people were unaware of the extent of their country’s predicament and, surprised by the speech, had difficulty agreeing with the Emperor’s orders; the Japanese he spoke was “court Japanese” and very unlike the street language non-royals would have used; he specifically mentions the atom bombs as part of his decision. Revisionists can say what they like, but President Truman’s decision shortened the war and saved lives, both Japanese lives and Allied lives.

To our good and loyal subjects:  After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in our empire today, we have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.

We have ordered our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that our empire accepts the provisions of their joint declaration.

To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by our imperial ancestors and which we lay close to the heart.

Indeed, we declared war on America and Britain out of our sincere desire to insure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.

But now the war has lasted for nearly four years.  Despite the best that has been done by everyone–the gallant fighting of our military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of out servants of the State and the devoted service of our 100,000,000 people--the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives.   Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, nor to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our imperial ancestors?  This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the joint declaration of the powers.

We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire toward the emancipation of East Asia.

The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met death [otherwise] and all their bereaved families, pains our heart night and day.

The welfare of the wounded and the war sufferers and of those who lost their homes and livelihood is the object of our profound solicitude.  The hardships and sufferings to which our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great.

We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, our subjects.  However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that we have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.  Having been able to save *** and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, we are always with you, our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.

Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion that may engender needless complications, of any fraternal contention and strife that may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.

Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith of the imperishableness of its divine land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibilities, and the long road before it.  Unite your total strength to be devoted to the construction for the future.  Cultivate the ways of rectitude, nobility of spirit, and work with resolution so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.

Emphasis mine – I love the use of understatement. I also quite like the line about enduring the unendurable.