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Musings from a long life


Thu, Dec 23rd, 2004
Posted in Commentary

Begin with the Epic of Gilgamesh, a cycle of poems composed perhaps three thousand years ago. It is a tale of heroism, morality, a struggle against the fear of death. Call it the first novel. Leap across millennia to the epic of the unraveling of DNA’s structure by Frances Crick and James Watson by-passing only a few decades Albert Einstein’s fateful formula; Energy equals Mass times the speed of light squared. Jump about in time (as I did pulling dusty books off crowded shelves) for glimpses of Freud, Jung, Machievelli, Descartes, Darwin (and his fateful “theory” of evolution), Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb), R.H. Tawney (Christianity and the Rise of Capitalism and The Acquisitive Society), ah, here is The Lonely Crowd (by three authors, Riesman, Glazer and Denney). Was it about this time when Kinsey probed our sexual attitudes and behavior ushering in a sexual revolution? So many white men! My birthday 84 years ago marks the year when women were finally able to vote! After all that time from the Bill of Rights to my birthday, my mother could accompany my father to the voting booth and cast her ballot!Sara Teasdale, an American poet of little note, in 1929 published a collection of womens’’ love poems though not self-consciously “feminist,” revealed distrust of men and resentment of male domination. A rebellion was taking definite shape. Piles of books rise around me, Newton, Pythagorus, Leibniz and scattered here and there women of every color and calling including Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison who won a Nobel Prize for the power of her prose, the poet/novelist May Sarton who early in the struggle of gay people confronted the deadly hypocrisy of white academia and a still earlier voice of the author of The Well of Loneliness, a quiet, brave “confession” of a lesbian’s suffering (the author’s name slips from a fading memory). Noam Chomsky, Bob Marley, Martin Luther King, Jr., Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, Chief Josph, Abraham Lincoln, Galileo. Garibaldi, some of the piles topple over. Poets, philosophers, novelist, obsessed emperors, sly diplomats, corrupt Popes, liars, thieves, murderers, pimps, prostitutes, journalists. The titles of books read and forgotten carry me on a dizzy trip of discover, re-discover, wonder, nostalgia, and a grief too deep to measure. This welter of bound print, some of it in languages I could speak and read before losing memory and ener .....
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The other side

Fri, Dec 10th, 2004
Posted in Commentary

The conservatives in Fillmore County are going to have to come up with a way of identifying themselves to each other. It could be a simple secret handshake, or a wink and a nod. Come to think of it, it shouldn’t be that difficult to spot each other; ..... 
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For the love of the game

Fri, Dec 10th, 2004
Posted in Commentary

This time of year, when the harvest is stored and winter begins to show its hand, there is a primordial call that beckons me, and a few other local men, to gather for just one more season.

“I’d like to play one, maybe two years ..... 
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Two different views on religion and politics

Fri, Dec 3rd, 2004
Posted in Commentary

It appears that the readers and the contributors and writers on the opinion pages of this newspaper generally fall into roughly two broad religious/political groups.

First, there are those who live in an imaginary world that con ..... 
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