It’s probably unrealistic to expect more than a handful of folks with an inordinate capacity for useless information to recall Portia Nelson, the late American lyricist, artist, performer and 20th-century renaissance woman.
Her most widely quoted creation was a 1976 poem “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.” As hippiedom transmogrified into New Age, “Autobiography” became an instant hit with all sorts of self-help and self-discovery groups, emerging as a cultural icon, reprinted in numerous publications and on pretty posters. Continue reading
One day last week this newspaper’s banner headline wasn’t about pressing news. Prompted by George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points, it informed us that the former US president “rejects claim that Israel was behind Iraq war.”
Cause for celebration? Are we vindicated at last?
It’s not that we didn’t know that Israel’s security was hardly uppermost on Bush’s scale of priorities. It’s not that we ever suspected him of going to war for us. Still, it’s nice, perhaps for the sake of keeping the formal record straight, to have Bush’s denial of yet another anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. Continue reading
Even Barack Obama’s midterm electoral humiliation won’t redeem US foreign policy. The problem didn’t begin with the history-deficient mind-set of American students who’ll earn their bachelor’s degrees in 2014. But the intellectual rootlessness of the class of 2014 exacerbates the flaws. Today’s students/tomorrow’s leaders fertilize the soil into which bad seeds are sown by the current Washington elite.
On the simplistic level it was a hoot to read that to the class of 2014 Beethoven is a movie pooch, Michelangelo was a computer virus and Czechoslovakia never existed. For the past 13 years Beloit College’s Mind-Set List by Tom McBride and Ron Nief was a guaranteed source of hilarity, because each year the ignorance quotient it registers seems to climb to unprecedented, more grotesque and inconceivable heights. Continue reading
Quite incredibly, representatives of Western democracies on UNESCO’s executive delivered a self-destructive blow to their own heritage when demanding that Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron be removed from the inventory of Jewish heritage sites. UNESCO’s resolution redefined them as mosques – as if Muslim from time immemorial. It sought to detach seminal biblical place-names from any Jewish connections.
It’s one thing to willfully subscribe to mind-blowing colossal deception; it’s quite another to shake the foundations beneath one’s own civilization. Continue reading