Archive for Writing

A Faustian Bargain…

I’m both fascinated and repulsed by Donald Trump, and since 2016 I’ve been looking for a character in literature to use as a metaphor for his rise and fall. 

In the beginning I thought his affection for golden toilets and chandeliers made Jay Gatsby a comparable figure, and I wrote an essay making the case. Both are criminal pretenders, but Jay Gatsby operated behind a quiet, tasteful, polished persona. Trump could never pull that off. 

Then, his penchant for lying brought Pinocchio to mind. Imagine the image of that nose based on the number of lies told during his term? Enticing as that is it’s not a fair comparison. Pinocchio was kinda cute, but Donald is anything but cute. Still, the little puppet being manipulated is tempting. read more

Vaccines…a Cautionary Tale

Health officials are beginning to wonder whether it will be possible to contain a spreading killer if society does not take more aggressive, intrusive measures. ‘Right now, we are paralyzed,’ said [the] director of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta leading the Federal Government’s epidemiologists tracking the disease. ‘We don’t have the data to fight this epidemic,’ he said yesterday.  

Opponents of widespread mandatory testing argue that it is unnecessary and could prove self-defeating by frightening possibly infected people away from the medical system.” February, 10, 1987 (NY Times) read more

Bon Courage, mes Amis…

“Lately one heard the expression ‘Je suis las’,” it meant I’m tired of the way I have to live my life, and this is what Mathieu saw in their faces, in the way they walked. But then, he would think that, he cared for the people of Paris, as though he were a guardian.” Alan Furst – A Hero of France

I’ve just finished two books about the French Resistance in World War II. Madame Fourcade’s Secret War and A Hero of France. Both are about spy networks. I thought they would provide some relief from the Trumpian news cycle but was surprised to find a number of parallels. read more

Scrap All Vanity Projects…

In the chaos of the moment, many of us are asking what we can do to right the ship of state. We talk. We read. We watch. We give money if we can. We “like” things on Facebook. We email our friends and urge them to support candidates – and vote. But, somehow it doesn’t feel like enough.

I write a weekly blog, like this one, and because of the president’s actions and the abundance of low hanging fruit I’ve become more political than I wanted to be. It’s satisfying to some extent but not wholly so. read more

Who Gets the Last Word?

America is exhausted…

In the middle of the most devastating pandemic in 102 years, Americans watched the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis. They learned of the police break-in and murder of an innocent black woman, Breonna Taylor, in Louisville. They watched as police used tear-gas and flashbangs to break up a peaceful protest in Washington in order to give the president a Biblical photo op. They saw unidentified federal troops dispatched to Portland and Seattle to quell “violent left wing” Black Lives Matter protests .  read more