From nearly two weeks ago — oops! I am a bit behind on stuff. Here is the article, and here is a podcast which features my radio interview with Andrew Lawton concerning the article.
After a few months in which I was not permitted, due to some top secret work I was doing, to write any articles or op-eds, I am back.
My latest – about our beloved Paris.
First of all, must vent. I created this huge, long, magnificent post about this great article, full of quotes and clever observations and links to modern media (in all its pitiful lack of glory) and then, I don’t know what happened, but I lost the page. Lost it! And it was not saved as a draft. Dagnabbit! Stupid WordPress.
I am too lazy to try it again so I will simply tell you to click here and read the whole damn thing and then weep. Weep because so little has changed and weep because even more people now have a stupid worldview and no understanding of history than when this article was written and weep because there are no more writers and astute thinkers of Martha Gellhorn’s caliber. (Seriously, we should just recycle great journalists of the past and avoid many of today’s clowns and their willful blindness.)
“The Arabs of Palestine” was written by the brilliant, glorious Gellhorn in 1961. Remember that when you are reading it. 1961. You will think, at times, she is talking about 2015, but for the changes that have taken place in regards Egypt’s relationship to Israel and but for the references to the Cold War.
Weep! And read. And take away some new expressions. I like her references to “Mad Hatter conversations”. I have had many of those in my time, but one of the few good things about getting older is learning to avoid the Mad Hatter types. Of course this means I avoid many people I used to greet (including some family members).
Very important. From last year but truly timeless.
I’ve often thought of my experience of adulthood thus far as one of incrementally discovering that there’s no institution, or walk of life, in which everybody isn’t just winging it. Growing up, I assumed that the newspaper on the breakfast table must be assembled by people who truly knew what they were doing; then I got a job at a newspaper. Unconsciously, I transferred my assumptions of competence to (among others) people who worked in government. Then I got to know a few people who did – and who’d admit, after a pint or two, that their jobs involved staggering from crisis to crisis, concocting credible-sounding policies in cars en route to press conferences, exactly as portrayed in The Thick of It.
By the way, the author of this column wrote this very helpful book — I read it shortly after my brother died and it did indeed allow me to do just as its title suggests.
I am very happy about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. That said, had the decision gone the other way, it would only have been a matter of time before marriage equality became the reality in all 50 states. This is the way the free world goes as well it should. (And I remind you that I have been for gay marriage since ye olden tymes.) What I am not happy about is people acting as though the biggest threat out there were people in free countries who don’t support gay marriage. And I was disgusted yesterday at so many people mocking Justice Scalia’s and Justice Thomas’s dissenting opinions on the matter, rather than being grateful for a civilized, democratic process.
The real enemies to all of us are the people who carried out the attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait yesterday (and in so many other places on other days) and their supporters/apologists. And yesterday, I heard almost nothing about the attacks on North American news. Italian TV was a bit better, thankfully. But people in Toronto and Los Angeles and all parts between should have been making those attacks their top news story, Twitter post and Facebook item for discussion.
A column in the Wall Street Journal — from a supporter of marriage equality — sums it up better than I ever could. Here’s a small section of it:
On my other computer screen, I looked at a photograph of five men in orange jumpsuits, their legs bound. They were trapped like dogs inside a metal cage and hanging above a pool of water. They were drawing their final breaths before their Islamic State captors lowered the cage into the pool and they drowned together.
What was that about human dignity?
The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter. It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.
You can’t get married if you’re dead.
Here is a link to the whole thing.
I was sorry to see Sun TV go under, though I had pretty much stopped watching it over a year ago. The more voices out there, the better, and, of course, nearly 200 journalists out of work is never a good thing. And yes, a number of those journalists were/are friends of mine. In fact, when it first started, I remember a friend and I were joking about how it felt like our friends had started a news network in their garage. I knew so many people in the original lineup, both people in front of and behind the camera.
That aside, the amount of glee certain people are getting out of Sun’s demise is unseemly, especially when the gleeful folks tend to be fans of the CBC and tend to say things like, “Canadians don’t want Sun TV! Sun wanted a free market, and the free market has spoken!”
Um, well yes. It has spoken for Sun, because Sun didn’t get a billion dollar hand-out from the feds every year, the way the CBC does. If the CBC ever had to answer to the free market, it would go under, and probably much more quickly than Sun. The CBC’s ratings are dismal, but their ratings don’t matter, because they are guaranteed funding. In all probability, if Canadians had the choice of whether to pay for the CBC or not, they wouldn’t want our public broadcaster anymore than they want Sun.
At any rate, there were some talented folks at Sun, not the least of whom is Ezra — I wish him luck with this venture.