The stigma of the Unworthy Unhealthy

By now it’s apparent that the president is untethered to reality. If he were to be impeached, a compassionate chief justice might declare him incompetent to stand trial because he lacks the mental capacity to be responsible for his words or acts. But the Republicans who sniffed his musk last week aren’t blissed by the clueless stupor his narcissism affords him. They’re fearful of their constituents.

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Closing the Ring


If I felt a sense of accomplishment, I can only imagine how Wagner felt when he completed the work in 1874. He wrote the words and the score. It took him 26 years. For much of that time he endured poverty and neglect, illness and ridicule—with little help and little prospect that his masterpiece would ever be performed in its entirety. Continue reading Closing the Ring

Misogyny? Baloney!


After Donald Trump won the White House in November, we had a spate of editorial commentaries purporting to explain the role that gender played in Hillary Clinton’s defeat. For some pundits, the answer was obvious: this country is as irredeemably sexist as it is racist.

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Anglo-American Speechwriting


Logos (logic) and pathos (emotion) are self-explanatory, but ethos is more elusive. Essentially, ethos means building a bond with the audience, so that the audience will trust the speaker and be receptive to the speaker’s message.

To illustrate, I gave two particularly appropriate examples, about 60 years apart, of how two very different British prime ministers used ethos when they addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress.”


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“Exit Tsar”


March 15 marks the 100th anniversary of the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.The milestone has attracted little notice. It is the opinion of most historians that Nicholas was a failure: feckless, dimwitted, reactionary—and henpecked to boot. But as Robert Massie makes clear in his admirable biography, Nicholas and Alexandra, the real Nicholas was more complex, more human and more interesting than the caricature.

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