Today at the Editor’s glance: Weather: Mostly sunny. A slight chance of showers in the morning, then a chance of showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 80s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph, becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30 percent. Friday Night: Partly cloudy. A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening. Lows in the lower 60s. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.
In Court: A sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. before Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano in Courtroom 101 in the case of Cornelius Baker, who was sentenced to die for the murder of Elizabeth Uptagrafft in January 2007, but whose death-penalty status was upended by a series of higher court decisions. See: “The Strange Case of Cornelius Baker’s Dangling Fate on Death Row, 13 Years After a Bunnell Murder” and “Prosecution Asks for Temporary Halt in Cornelius Baker Death Penalty Re-Sentencing.”
On Free For All Fridays, host David Ayres welcomes U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz and Florida House Rep. Paul Renner to talk about numerous issues, from the just-ended legislative session to the war in Ukraine, with questions from the audience, starting a little after 9 a.m.
The Garden Club at Palm Coast presents the Treasures in the Attic Rummage Sale, March 18 and 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Shepherd of the Coast Lutheran Church 101 Pine Lakes Pkwy, Palm Coast.
“The Revolutionists,” by playwright Lauren Gunderson, a comedy about four women during the Terror in the French Revolution, is staged at Palm Coast’s City Repertory Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The Revolutionists propels France’s fight for equality and freedom to modern times with this bold, brave and blisteringly funny new work about feminism, legacy and standing up for one’s beliefs. At The CRT in City Marketplace, 160 Cypress Point Parkway, Suite B207, Palm Coast. Tickets: $20, or $15 for students. Book tickets here. See the preview, “Badass “Revolutionists” Guillotine France’s Reign of Terror in City Repertory Theatre Comedy.”
Notably: John Calhoun, “the quasi-official rhapsodist of American nationalism,” as Richard Hofstadter too kindly described him, but who is better known as one of the unqualified master bigots of the Republic, was born on this day in 1782. Slavery, he declaimed in the Senate in 1837, “is instead of an evil, a good–a positive good.” By which he meant it was the best thing for relations between whites and Blacks. There would have been no Southern Strategy to help Nixon win without Calhoun, who invented it. Today is also National Biodiesel Day. Eat fries.
And it is John Updike’s 90th birthday anniversary. I have too much to say about this writer: he helped me become a naturalized American, my new nationality and adopted tongue being one and the same, but my youthful admiration of him, since waned, also made me the lousy, florid writer I am today. He also had his DeSantis side in his reactionary Vietnam era: “The police were clobbering protesters while people like me cheered,” he wrote in “More Stately mansions”–as a character in a short story, but as we learned in Self-Consciousness, his six autobiographical essays, he meant it. He also had a racist side too few critics caught on, as in the distasteful “Morocco” and “Venezuela for Visitor” stories, which read as if he never got over Rudyard Kipling, or lines like this, stained with stereotype and scatology, from one of his Bech books: “I live luxuriously, in the hotel where visiting plenipotentiaries from the Emperor of China are lodged, and Arabs in white robes leave oil trails down the hall.” And there is this, again in the original Bech (1970): ““Mr. Bech,” she said, “we admire your gifts of language but wonder if you aren’t, now and then, somewhat racist?” What follows is revealing, and disturbing, of both Bech and Updike, as Bech is asked about his use of the word “Negress,” a use he claims to be “accurate” without acknowledging the possibility that the question might put the lie to his certainty. The student tells him the word has “distinctly racist overtones.” In a display of both Bech’s and Updike’s mean streak, Bech will later again use the word as he reflects to himself on the day’s events: he wants the last word. It’s vengeful, it’s racist. But prejudice is foreign to no one. Updike could still turn a phrase like nobody’s business. Just look at the description of Amish country in Rabbit, Run, in the quote below, during Harry Angstrom’s first escape from the wife and mother of two he calls, also vengefully and endlessly, a “mutt.” Updike was no friend of Gloria Steinem. And yet exasperated as I so often feel about him, I miss him. Updike died of lung cancer in 2009.
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