A look back at Conkrite and a look at reporting today that’s worth reading. And one note: How many times have I read or heard the argument that the person in a position of responsiblity who is most popular is likely to be the person who won’t say what needs to be said? Politician, reporter, professor, poet, administrator—if people who aren’t qualified to judge do the judging of these people in positions of responsibility in what’s little more than a popularity contest or a scratch-my-ego festival, then the popularity of those people in the position of responsibility or authority means nothing.
“I spent my summers at Princeton doing things most of my other classmates took for granted. I spent one summer vacation reading children’s classics that I had missed in my prior education — books like Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, and Pride and Prejudice. My parents spoke Spanish, they didn’t know about these books.”—
Sonia Sotomayor, what she actually said — that she was not exposed to these books in childhood because her parents were not native English speakers. Thanks, Pat Buchanan, for distorting this so frequently that even CNN has accepted your version of the facts. (via nerdshares) (via rosasparks) (via lauraf229)
I would take issue with Ms. Sotomayor on two points. First, I think she’s mistaken if she thinks most of her fellow students had read these books. I give her very high marks for reading these books on her own during the summer “break” because she improved herself by doing so; many of her classmates surely failed to work at language and literature the way she was doing. Second, I wish she had not chosen the label “children’s classics” to classify these works. While a child can “read the words” of Huckleberry Finn, for example, he or she most likely needs a parent or teacher to explain the depths of Twain’s critique of a religious and racist society struggling with, for example, race relations. The United States would benefit if citizens of all ages were to read, discuss, and understand that book…the book Hemingway pointed to as the best book we’d had in America: “All American writing comes from that.” At a lecture I attended with my then 13-year-old elder son, Saul Bellow fielded this question: “What should I buy my son for his 13th birthday?” Bellow responded that the member of the audience should read Huckleberry Finn along with his or her son. Anyway, only an “adult” who is poorly read fails to understand that a “children’s classic” can be substantive, that the phrase “children’s classic” does not signal something “childish.”
“I cut the radio off, crisscrossed the room, pausing for a moment, to turn on the black-and-white TV. Wagon Train was on. It seemed to be beaming in from some foreign country. I shut that off, too, and went into another room, a windowless one with a painted door—a dark cavern with a floor-to-ceiling library. I switched on the lamps. The place had an overpowering presence of literature and you couldn’t help but lose your passion for dumbness.”
Somebody asked me if I was going to post my favorite Willie and Bob songs, seeing as how I went to see Willie and Bob. Well, I blather on about all kinds of things whether or not people take an interest, but if people are going to be ASKING me these things… I guess you’ll just have to suffer through this story that is about neither Bob nor Willie but includes a beautiful audio file for you to listen to, so that’s something.
When I was a kid (relatively a kid — 12, 13 — when people start to listen to music that they find out themselves) I was generally interested in Bob Dylan. I had a few friends who were, too. I liked (and, naturally, enjoy much more now that I’m a whole twelve years wiser) all his classic stuff from the 60’s & 70’s.
As I was entering high school, Time Out of Mind came out. My much-beloved art teacher/academic team coach/mentor/second mother would play it in the art room throughout those four years (she has good taste) while I would sit in the comfy chair back in her office and do self-directed study (that means reading a lot of books, mostly about the Amarna period of ancient Egypt, which utterly fascinated me).
My much-beloved now-husband also enjoyed the album and discussed it with me at length and even now we sometimes do a call-and-response of various lyrics from “Highlands.” (You don’t read women authors, do ya? / How would you know and what would it matter, anyway?)
Bob Dylan’s had a lot of great albums. I missed the 60’s and 70’s entirely (I’m not upset about that every day, you know), but it’s pretty amazing to me that he put out a beautiful album while I was paying unique attention.
That is a particularly rich song. I love it. And I, for one, enjoyed the story about your teacher playing the album. I can see it now: “failbetter” doing the opposite of failing, doing so well, in fact, that she needs to be separated from the class so she can go at her much faster speed!
On July 4, 1776, Congress completed editing Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence by cutting 25% of it. And what did Jefferson call this edit? “Mutilations.” (Information learned at The National Archives in Washington, D.C.)