Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The permission structure of anti-Semitism

 Trump’s Menacing Rosh Hashanah Message to American Jews

This Semitic sorting never ends well, because justifications for abusing Jews have a way of metastasizing. Permission structures for anti-Semitism are rarely restricted to their original target. Once a society starts accepting attacks on entire swaths of Jews—for being too liberal, too religious, too secular, too pro-Israel, too anti-Israel, too whatever—that acceptance will grow. And when Jewish existence becomes conditional on staying in the good graces of a non-Jewish actor or movement, it becomes an impoverished existence—provisional and precarious, forever looking over its shoulder.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

CB: Emily Wilson's Homeric bros

 How Emily Wilson Made Homer Modern:

And it rankles her that men whom she considers self-appointed guardians of the Western canon have questioned a woman’s fitness to do Homer justice. “Any woman who has lived with male rage at close range has a better chance of understanding the vulnerability that fuels it than your average bro. She learns firsthand how the ways in which men are damaged determine their need to wreak damage on others.”

Commonplace book: Ross Douthat's religious conspiracies

 New Yorker:

In one column, Douthat offered his own approach to assessing fringe ideas. “To be a devout Christian or a believing Jew or Muslim is to be a bit like a conspiracy theorist, in the sense that you believe there is an invisible reality that secular knowledge can’t recognize,” he explained. “But the great religions are also full of warnings against false prophets and fraudulent revelations."

Sunday, September 10, 2023

'Now, as ever'

"A declaration made by the poet and scholar Eve Ewing in 2017, at an event in our stores, resounds. 'No more than ever,' she said, 'I am sick of people saying, Now more than ever. ... By saying, 'Now as ever," by looking not to the next new thing but to the last enduring thing, we are more likely to grasp our unique and not not so unique challenges..."

Jeff Deutsch, In Praise of Good Bookstores

My coffee shop

There are sunflowers on the counter. 

And a customer’s pottery 

And another customer’s prints on the wall. 

And families

And students

And the manager’s dog

And readers like me. 

And it all fills my soul. 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The pro-life right's Trump problem building a 'culture of life'

The folks celebrating the Dobbs decision this week are, shall we say, an optimistic lot. Some of them genuinely believe that taking away the right to abortion is something that will someday be celebrated by the larger society -- that while it might be controversial now, it sets the stage for a broader societal reconsideration of what "life" means and who we protect.

"I believe we will defeat abortion in the long run, just as the abolitionists defeated slavery," Tim Carney writes for the Washington Examiner. "I believe that in our children's lifetimes, American society will agree that abortion is an intolerable evil and American society will welcome every child, expected or unexpected."

Maybe. I am pro-choice, but the possibility has occurred to me that sometime in the near future I'll be judged a monster for that position by, well, people like me who are just trying to do their moral best.

But Carney and his fellow travelers have a problem that stands in the way of achieving their goal: Donald Trump.