Author Archive for jdbernard743

Lolita is Back…

Marilynn and I have been battling for years over the derivation and significance of Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov’s infamous 1955 novel. To refresh your memory, the first-person narrator is a middle-aged literature professor obsessed with a 12-year-old girl whom he nicknames Lolita and with whom he becomes sexually involved after marrying her mother. The premise is creepy, but the book is an acknowledged masterpiece of world literature often cited as one of the best books of the 20th century.

Our disagreement centers on her belief that the book could only have been written by someone who experienced or fantasized about what is described in its pages, while I think it’s a work of pure literary imagination. The Annotated Lolita unpacks my side of the story. The Nabokov text in The Annotated Lolita is 309 pages, but the book is itself is 455 pages, including Editor Alfred Appel Jr.’s 67-page introduction, 6 pages of bibliography, 6 pages of Nabokov notes, and 138 pages of annotations. Serious scholarship. read more

What’s Next for Us?

I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering how America got itself into the current dystopian mess – hate crimes, mass murderers, white supremacists, voter suppression, QAnon, and thousands of American “patriots” storming the US Capitol, with some intent on murdering the Vice President for performing his Constitutional duty. Maybe if we knew how we got here we could turn things around. The question is how did we get here?

Three recent Supreme Court cases may tell the story. They are:

1. Bush v. Gore (2000) read more

A Modern Adaptation…

A glooming peace this morning with it brings, The sun for sorrow will not show its head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things, Some shall be pardoned and some punished. For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Politics and Friendship…

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is a man of few words. He is the boyfriend of Mme. Precious Ramotswe, the title character in Alexander McCall Smith’s literary series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. A car mechanic by trade, Mr. Matekoni is a simple man – wise and laconic. When asked to explain something, he often responds with “I have no more words,” a phrase I sometimes use when M and I are in the midst of a heated discussion.

Today, I’m speechless as I watch our newly inaugurated president fight to restore order to a country reeling from an assault on its capitol while addressing the need to vaccinate the entire population against a killer virus, repair the damage to our place in the international community and deal with long lines at food banks, police brutality, immigration crises and racial division. I, literally, have no more words. read more

A Different Ending…

You can’t make it up. Or…maybe you can. A TV celebrity with a reputation for infidelity plays at being POTUS, the President of the United States? What could go wrong with casting like this? Could it possibly have a happy ending? Suspend your disbelief for a New York minute.

After a successful state dinner with the French president and his wife, but with his teenage child living in the White House, he pursues a woman, not his wife. They have sex. Headlines in all the papers. He refuses to comment. The press camps out at her apartment hoping to get a statement. read more