Pundit Wire

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)

Read More »
Also posted in Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

E-n-c-y-c-l-o-p-æ-d-i-a

EncyclopediaI wonder how Jiminy Cricket would have handled the æ.

Read More »
Also posted in Culture, Media, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

Read More »
Also posted in Campaigns & Elections, International, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Read More »
Also posted in Culture, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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.

Read More »
Also posted in History, International, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Read More »
Also posted in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, International, Media, National Security, Religion, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Read More »
Also posted in Culture, Education, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering Todman

todman The August 17 Washington Post carries a fine obit on Terence A. Todman, deceased August 13. No quibbles with Emily Langer’s synthesis of this remarkable man, my first boss in 1986 in the Foreign Service.  Just a few footnotes to add:

I was Ambassador Todman’s press officer the day he gave his fateful news conference in Copenhagen, denying that his future posting would be South Africa…

Read More »
Also posted in History, International, Media, National Security, Politics, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment