Pundit Wire

Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” at 50

ReaganPointing2_thumb1It was the evening of October 27, 1964. Barry Goldwater’s quixotic campaign for President was careening toward catastrophe. Dispirited Republicans glumly awaited their worst presidential showing since Alf Landon defeated Franklin Roosevelt in Maine and Vermont.

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Peace In Our Time?

991x991Houston’s Main Street Theatre is currently staging a revival of Noel Coward’s rarely-performed Peace In Our Time. The play is one of Coward’s least known, and for good reason. When it was first produced in London in 1947, the British people were still shell-shocked from World War II and prostrated under post-war austerity. They were looking to Coward for comic relief, not a dark glimpse into what might have happened had England been overrun by the Nazis. But that is the subject of the play. (Photo Courtesy of Main Street Theatre)

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E-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-æ-d-i-a

EncyclopediaI wonder how Jiminy Cricket would have handled the æ.

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An EVEL Day for Britain?

big-ben-450819_640Having just survived a bitterly-contested vote over Scottish independence, Britain is now plunging headlong into yet another identity crisis. This one is called, “English Votes for English Laws”—EVEL for short.

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Please, No More “Latte Salutes”

322388_1280x720I watched the video of President Obama saluting his Marine escort with a coffee cup in his right hand. Then I watched it again. And again.

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“We have catch’d Scotland …”

Scotland In 1707, when the Scottish parliament voted to dissolve itself and send representatives to the parliament in London, the Speaker of the English House of Commons exulted, “We have catch’d Scotland and will bind her fast.”

That boast held true for over three hundred years. But on September 18, the people of Scotland will have the chance to vote on whether they wish to remain “catch’d” or to recover their independence.

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The news summer from hell and the end of optimism

globe By this point in the summer, a sane person could reasonably conclude that the world is going nuts.  Spiraling out of control, descending into darkness, making optimism a delusional last recourse – that kind of feeling.

“What fresh hell is this?” – the question Dorothy Parker asked when her doorbell rang – now applies to the news.  If you’re staying informed, you’re licking the razor.  Unfortunately, not following what’s happening in the world isn’t really an option.  These horrors seize our lizard brains; we’re hard-wired to pay attention to danger.

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Thought’s Colors

college hill There we go, forty years almost to the day, when I registered in a seminar with John Hawkes in Providence.  The New York Times of August 24 cites these seminars somewhat playfully in its book review section.

Then as now, “creative writing” seemed an indulgence when it tried to be an academic discipline, something for the leisured classes.  The difference in 1974 was that, with a bit of academic aid, it came for free if you were willing to drive a taxi to make ends meet.  I did.  Financial persecution of students today makes this unimaginable.

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