We have much to celebrate, flaws and all. We can celebrate and we can be honest about those flaws – one does not prohibit the other. One Canadian we can celebrate is Norm Macdonald. This is too funny.
I’m a day late with this, but ever since I lived in France – lo, those many years ago – I can never look at the calendar on June 18 without thinking of this speech, the magnificent call to resistance made by Charles de Gaulle to his occupied people. They didn’t really answer it, but hey, the guy tried. And regardless of his less attractive traits, he had honour here – as did his niece, who joined the fight and as a result of her courage was sent to a concentration camp. Mercifully, she survived.
My first exposure to this speech was when I was working as an au pair to two little boys in a snooty part of Paris. I remember making breakfast for them one morning in June, and they began reciting this appel, word for word. Remarkable! I was young and had not heard of it at that point, though I knew who de Gaulle was. I asked about it and they explained that it was the 18th of June, the day of de Gaulle’s great speech. They had memorized it in school. I believe, back then, all French kids did. I hope they still do. De Gaulle was an interesting fellow. I read this book last year and learned, among other things, that he was an adoring and gentle father with his mentally-challenged daughter. Such a contrast to the public belligerence. So very human.
Now have a listen and appreciate your goosebumps:
…check out a couple of posts on my other website.
…that something this entirely sane and sensible was in The New York Times.
I’m not 87 yet, or 72, but I hope to reach each age in decent health and in not too decayed a state. I think one way to achieve that is to keep active. Here are a couple of examples of people of a certain age making contributions, following inspirations and staying in the game (yes, I know, a rather cringey expression, but it suits here): Hazell Jacobs is an 87-year-old woman who, during the early days of pandemic, decided to do something creative with her time. A lover of scarves, she started a blog that has become internationally popular, even being featured in the New York Times; and Gerald Stratford is a 72-year-old man who has become the “king of ‘big veg’ gardening” and appears in a Gucci campaign. Curiously – or perhaps predictably – both are Brits.
I am a fan of Ernest Hemingway, so I loved, loved, LOVED Ken Burns’ documentary series about the writer. I especially appreciated that Edna O’Brien was one of the interviewees. She was one of my favourite writers as a teen. I thought I knew so much about him, but I really did not: the family suicides; the first heartbreak that scarred so deeply; the open-mindedness about people’s struggles with sexuality; the concussions in the last years, traumas that kept him from using his talent at the end; the deep depression that led him to be institutionalized; his longing for a daughter. I found the latter so touching – this macho fellow wanted a daughter. Above all, what surprised me was that he had written short stories so sensitive and clear, including one – Up in Michigan – about date rape (long before we called it that). It was, at the time, not included in a short story collection he had published, as it was deemed too controversial. The only thing the series lacked was an entire episode devoted to his love of cats. Hemingway would never approve of that aspect of his life being neglected.
My once-upon-a-time colleague — at the Ottawa Citizen — John Robson, sums it all up so well.
Of course, criticism of Israeli government actions is not inherently anti-Semitic. If it were, Israel would be full of Jewish anti-Semites. But it’s one thing to note mistakes and condemn individual acts of brutality and quite another to equate a democracy where Arab Muslims have full rights with a blood-soaked tyranny where Arab Muslims have no rights.
Space precludes discussion of the unequalled persistence and virulence of anti-Semitism. But you’d think its extraordinary history, including the Holocaust, would make decent people everywhere very wary of this mental and moral poison. Instead, the New York Times observed on Sunday: “Divisions within the (Democratic) party have burst into public view, with the party’s ascendant left viewing the Mideast conflict as a searing racial justice issue that carries echoes of U.S. politics.”
This comparison to American slavery is nothing short of demented. And nobody would expect any other nation on Earth, even a tyranny, to tolerate endless bombs and rockets, stabbings and car attacks, rhetoric of annihilation and periodic invasion attempts. So what’s the deal with Israel?
To coin a phrase, j’accuse.
A post for both, which you can find at my other site.
A propos of nothing, I miss the heck out of this band and this song.