Tag Archives: news

Tutu and Didion

Too lazy to write two posts, so I will include both of these very different people here. Bishop Tutu died and the laudatory headlines were everywhere. Would anyone, I wondered, have the courage to write about his, er, uncomfortable relationship with Jews and the Jewish state? Melanie Phillips to the rescue with this must-read. (I had not been aware with just how vile some of Tutu’s views were. Now I – distressingly – am.) Apart from Phillips, though, there has been little criticism or challenging of Tutu – it reminds me of when Helen Thomas died and nobody would mention the antisemitic elephant in the room. It was all, what a feminist icon, blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

My internet friend Rick McGinnis (still have not met him, but hope that I will, one day, post-pandemic) wrote about Joan Didion three years ago. An original take – as he calls it, her “uncomfortable fit” in American (counter) culture.

Good 2021 News

Twenty-one scientific discoveries – in other words, the year has not been entirely about the plague, even if the headlines might indicate that it has been so. Obviously, vaccine news – both about COVID and malaria – is at the forefront, but there is more. What I find particularly fascinating (and not unrelated to Kennewick Man):

Between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago, a teen ambled across wet sand near the shores of an ancient lake in what is now New Mexico’s White Sands National Park. The fossilized prints from this slightly flat-footed youth are challenging theories of when humans first crossed into the Americas. The prints, described in September in the journal Science, date to a time when scientists think towering glaciers had walled off human passage to the continent from Asia.

Read about all twenty-one.

Beryl O’Links: First 2021 Edition

The case against the Iran Deal (to which, stupidly, the Biden administration apparently longs to return) – by Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, two gentlemen I was fortunate to lunch with on a press trip I took to Israel in the aughts.

Nervana Mahmoud’s beautiful tribute to her mother, who died of Covid. I imagine I would be touched by this eulogy at any point, but perhaps due to the death of my brother from the same virus I feel a special connection to Mahmoud’s words.

Rats are playful, feeling, living creatures – heck, they giggle! We should not be torturing them in labs (or anywhere).

A fair and thorough analysis of why Trump lost, from the Claremont Review of Books.

A vegan restaurant gets a Michelin star. Take that, snooty anti-veganites!

Silvia Foti’s grandfather was a Nazi. But in Lithuania, he has been celebrated as a war hero.

As human birth rates fall, a rewilding is unfolding. (I rather like this.)

Navalny is all-in on bringing down Putinism. I hope he succeeds. If he does it will be with the help of courageous protesters in Russia.

A wolverine caught on camera in Yellowstone for the first time. Extraordinarily cute little gaffer.

So cool: Caligula’s Garden of Delights, unearthed and restored.

And finally, Cloris Leachman died a few days ago. Enjoy what I think is one of her funniest MTM moments (from the episode where Phyllis’ husband is cheating on her with Sue Ann Nivens – yes, I have encyclopaedic knowledge of MTM):

Beryl O’Links: Thanksgiving Edition

Friends, I posted yesterday – see my previous post, “Sunday Sanity” – about how a certain kind of article (a rational, historically accurate article that challenges a beloved-by-the-chattering-classes narrative) could never appear in The New York Times. Turns out I was wrong – Bret Stephens on the 1619 Chronicles.

More on the wonderful Stanley Crouch.

Noor bin Ladin on how being Osama’s niece has caused her less grief than her support of Trump.

On Philip Larkin’s heartwarming side.

To be filed under “Duh!”: alcohol consumption rises sharply during pandemic.

Sue me: I like BHL!

Why T. S. Eliot still matters.

Though it’s hard for some to admit – seriously, I have seen people tying themselves into pretzels to not admit this – the Abraham Accords are a positive and huge development.

Grizzly kills hunter: the animals are done with us, part one.

Parrots curse visitors to wildlife park: the animals are done with us, part two.

More Lionel Shriver

There is sanity out there:

Maybe we should enlarge the lens. Frankly, I’m weary of the whole category ‘white people’, which throws folks of wildly different backgrounds, from Russians to Jews to Scots, into one big indiscriminate pot. So let’s talk about people, full stop. As a species, we’ve been treating each other like shit from the year dot. The horrors to which we’ve subjected one another, including slavery but a great deal else, are so incomprehensibly dreadful that no one, as an individual, could conceivably bear the crushing weight of all that torture, mass murder and sadism. If guilt is inherited, then every last one of us should be condemned to Dante’s nine circles of hell.

None of us chose the world in which we emerged. We didn’t pick our race, sex or natal nationality; any inbuilt leg-up or disadvantage these traits conferred at birth was not of our making. We didn’t select which awful history soaks the ground at our feet. It’s insensible to feel ‘guilty’ or ‘ashamed’ about something you didn’t do. It’s entirely sensible to feel regret, sorrow and abhorrence about the likes of slavery. It’s commendable to be informed about the past and to try to understand the nature of its wretchedness, as it’s also commendable to strain to leave the world a little better than you found it. But claiming that what happened before you were born is all your fault is not only ridiculous. It’s vain.

Coleman Hughes: Sanity

Readers, I’m in awe of this young guy. I am torn between just wanting to read everything he has written but also being madly jealous that a 24-year-old is this smart. Sheesh! When I was 24 I was still learning the alphabet. Here he is in conversation about current affairs, but you can find other clips and also, check out the link above for City Journal contributions. A special thanks to my clever nephew for introducing me to him.