In right-to-life theology, the woman’s right is non-existent. She’s a vessel. Pro-life? It might help us to look beneath our legal and social burquas once in a while. It’s not pretty, and it sure as hell isn’t nearly as moral or pro-life as you think.
Long celebrated in the Black community as Freedom Day, Independence Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth is a time for get-togethers, picnics, concerts and reflection. Establishing federal and state legal Juneteenth holidays guarantees attention to painful United States history that is still unknown to many Americans, an annual assessment of racism in society, and celebrations of Black culture, history and achievement.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning “Napalm Girl” photograph by Nick Ut of terror-stricken Vietnamese children fleeing an aerial attack on their village, taken 50 years ago this month, has rightly been called “a picture that doesn’t rest.” But the image formally known as “The Terror of War” has also given rise to tenacious media-driven myths.
From July 2021 to the end of March this year more than 1,500 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states. A report on book-banning in public schools found that of the banned books, 467 — or 41 percent — contained main or secondary characters of color; 247, or 22 percent, addressed racism; and 379, or 33 percent, of the books contained LGBTQ+ themes.
Today we read the Sinclair Lewis of “Main Street,” “Babbitt,” “Elmer Gantry” and “It Can’t Happen Here” not for literary value but the way Margaret Mead studied the Balinese character–for ethnographic insights. Lewis’s novels are a window into an America not nearly as dated as his reputation.
Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” published in January 1968, worthy of any top-100 list of the best books of the last hundred years and an essential read–and re-read-today, is a meditation, a polemic, a manifesto, a provocation, a valentine and an elegy to the red desert and to American wilderness.
Bob Woodward’s and Robert Costa’s “Peril,” third in the trilogy of Woodward’s books on the Trump administration, isn’t history. It’s most revealing in what it does not say. It’s tragicomedy. It’s a chronicle of trash foretold. And it’s prediction. The worst is ahead.
George Packer’s “The Last best Hope,” published in June, attempts to explain how the United States devolved into the furies of Donald Trump’s last year–the pandemic, the BLM marches, the Jan. 6 insurrection–by diagnosing four separate Americas that no longer communicate. It’s a dour, guilt-ridden book by a liberal looking for penance in all the wrong places.
Millions throughout the world’s African community start weeklong celebrations of Kwanzaa today, Dec. 27. For the African-American community, Kwanzaa is not just any “Black holiday.” It is a recognition that knowledge of Black history is worthwhile.
What historian Arthur Schlesinger had detected in 1992 in a few trends is now orthodoxy–from both sides, neither for the better. The “ethnic rage” of diversity-preaching liberals and the fundamentalist, doctrinaire “monoculturalism” of conservatives has the country in a state of paralysis. Schlesinger wanted a renewed melting pot. But that’s not the solution.