Monthly Archives: April 2017

‘Tis Holy To Love What Death Has Touched

My eldest son died 17 years today, the first Sunday after Easter. Judah Halevi, the great 12th century Jewish poet, captures the paradox of loving what is mortal.

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Lit, An Antidote to Authoritarianism

Literature’s universalism functions as an antidote to the exclusionary politics of figures like Donald Trump and Marine LePen.

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House of Spirits, Authoritarians on the Rise

Strong men (and occasionally women) the world over appear to be having a moment, leading to interest in authoritarianism. Isabel Allende’s description of brutal landowner Esteban Trueba in “House of Mirth” reveals some disturbing similarities to Donald Trump.

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Handmaid’s Tale, More Relevant Than Ever

With Hulu set to release “Handmaid’s Tale” tomorrow, I gather together all my past posts on Atwood’s dystopian classic. The novel isn’t only important for liberals but has lessons for rightwing women as well.

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To Save Planet, Scientists Must Protest

Saturday’s March for Science is a sign that scientists are realizing they don’t have the luxury of remaining aloof from politics. Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” explores the issue.

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Kosinski Foresaw Our Television President

Jerzy Kosinski’s 1970 novella “Being There” describes a man whose obsession with television helps him thrive and even ascend to the White House. Sound familiar?

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Little Flower, If I Could Understand

In celebration of Earth Day and as scientists protest anti-science measures in Washington, Tennyson’s “Flower in the Crannied Wall” is a good poem to revisit. Tennyson holds the tiny flower as a scientist might but then honors its immense complexity.

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Sports Injuries, Declining Magical Powers

My tennis performance, once decent, has declined since I suffered a foot injury and underwent cataract surgery. I therefore find myself identifying with Ged In LeGuin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” and Taran in “Black Cauldron” when they suddenly find themselves stripped of magical powers.

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Calling Out Trump’s War Enablers

Too many beltway insiders are singing the praises of Donald Trump’s foreign policy bellicosity, with Brian Williams unironically quoting Leonard Cohen’s “I am guided by the beauty of your weapons.” He should quote Dylan’s “Masters of War” instead.

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