Archive for June, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts, who knew?

What happens to someone who lives by words when words fail them? That’s me, right now, at least for a few minutes before I explode with a torrent of gleeful ones. Already struck dumb with happiness by the Chief Justice after last week’s anti-Arizona immigration ruling, I am again left speechless after his championing of the Obama healthcare bill. What’s the word for a positive double-whammy? Be still, my heart!

It’s about time that racist, xenophobic states should be reminded that we may be a confederation but there is a federal government and that in civilized countries such as the one in which we are lucky enough to be living, the federal government generally has the common good at heart. It’s good that the Supreme Court supports an administration that understands how inequitable it is to deport young people who have committed no crime except being brought to this country as infants. Their parents are guilty of an illegal action? What parent wouldn’t choose to be, when the goal is to give their family a future where there was none? It’s also time to recognize that the hard-working community of Hispanics, legal or illegal, the one mainly targeted by immigration laws similar to Arizona’s, is the mainstay of manual labor in this country. Where we would be without it, I don’t know. Read more…


No Rodney, we cannot get along

Rodney King who died a few days ago will be remembered mostly for his bafflement at the furor caused in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers who had beaten him up in a videotaped incident. The acquittal caused LA to erupt in violent protests. Fifty-three dead, 2000 injured, scores of arrests, the riots were spectacular but more surprising was the reaction to the 25-year-old’s plaintive suggestion that we all get along. In those pre-YouTube, pre-Twitter days, the short sentence still managed overnight to become comedy fodder with endless parodies and repetitions, causing guffaws across the land, with King coming across as a moron for even thinking of the possibility. That, I’ll have you remember, at a time when people did actually sometimes get along. Read more…

Facebook: is it over?

For those who don’t believe Facebook could soon become obsolete, remember that the Third Reich was destined to last a thousand years, that communism mushroomed, grew, and died all within 70 years, that the mighty Roman Empire lasted but a few centuries. Civilizations, like trees, like rock groups, have a finite lifespan. So do social media (Friendster, MySpace).  Facebook will be around a while—800 million fans won’t opt out all at the same time–but its days are numbered. For multiple reasons and not, as popular wisdom has it when something is doomed, victim of its own success.

So why is FB doomed? Let me count the ways. Read more…

Words/expressions to retire

Some words–too extreme, too intense, too vehement–raise my hackles. Others I find inaccurate or incorrect. And some are just tired and need to be put to pasture.  Examples:

  1. Outrageous.  Spoken with sputtering indignation. The word is a favorite of politicians, council men and women, hedge fund managers, irate people denounced or caught as having strayed, dipped sticky fingers in the till, lied in courts of law or to the SEC, cheated on spouses, uploaded videos of crotches… and generally been guilty of indiscretions or of a variety of pathetic crimes and misdemeanors. This is a word to be reserved for Hamlet’s exclusive use, so he can recite in full his tirade about “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”
  1. Decadent.  Spoken with a wink and a smirk, particularly about a) rich desserts, with points for gooey chocolaty ones; b) for redecorated bathrooms, especially when done in pinkish marble and golden faucets, or $6,000 shower curtains (note: any “save vs. splurge” imitation will do as fans of the Kardashian style will not know the difference between gold and plate.) The word decadent may still describe the Borgias or civilizations fallen through their own excesses.
  2. Read more…

Oh, mama, can this really be the end?

The horror film or the science fiction book often starts like that, doesn’t it, with small seemingly unrelated facts, harbingers of the end? One fly buzzing around an eatery, settling repeatedly on uneasy diners’ hair and hands and plates; one crow sitting on a telephone wire, staring at kids on their skateboards; one mangled body found in a wood; and so on, until the bad things start developing.
Is something equally dire going on in our world? Have we seen enough scary movies and read enough scary stories to recognize the signs? Are we hurtling toward the end or at least toward some kind of explosion? Start with the killing sprees and murderous rampages of governments intent on destroying their own people, secure in the knowledge that world institutions and leaders may disapprove and even wring their hands but not take a step to stop the massacres. Read more…

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