Monthly Archives: August 2020

Racism, Non-Racism, and Anti-Racism

Do you remember “the non-aligned nations.” [1]  We used to hear about them all the time.  We don’t hear that designation anymore although we still hear about the nations.  Why is that? You wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers … Continue reading

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Chico and the Man

  A lot of attention is being paid these days to racial and ethnic slurs.  I’d be happier about that if I thought it was helping the situation, rather than just being a justification for complaining about it. But in … Continue reading

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Looking back on the Democratic Convention

I am so glad it is over!  Ever since I claimed the right to vote for the candidate who seemed best to me [1] I have voted for Democrats for President and I will this time, too.  I will say, … Continue reading

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Boredom: A Sermon to Myself

Since this is a sermon and since I come from a tradition where sermons are, nominally at least, based on texts, I have a text to offer.  This comes from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem and it is said to be a … Continue reading

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Viral Falsehoods

The English language—no, the American language—has a “don’t fence me in” style. In the soil of the American language, any word can become invasive. I remember thinking, when I first heard the expression “a fun party,” that it had happened … Continue reading

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“Slightly soiled, but but very much alive.”

I was reading along happily in the science section of the New York Times when I came across this paragraph (below) and especially the clause, “slightly soiled, but very much alive.” Seems harmless, doesn’t it? Except that I had just … Continue reading

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Retreat, Hell…

In 1952, a movie about the Korean War was released with the riveting name, Retreat, Hell! Or, more properly, “Retreat? Hell…” The rest of the line in “We’re just attacking in another direction.” For a military force that is entirely … Continue reading

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Parables: The Power of What Is Not There

If the irony weren’t too heavy, I would  say that I love reading the work of scholars because it gives me a chance to ask really simpleminded questions. I think of “scholarship” as digging ever more deeply into the technical … Continue reading

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