Politics

Jeepers Keepers

I know not; am I my brother's keeper?

In the Old Testament story of Cain and Abel, this was Cain's answer to God when God asked where his brother was. The true answer, of course, was that Abel was dead, because Cain had just killed him.

The answer itself, however, has resonated down the years not as an alibi to murder, but as a reproof against those who refuse all responsibility for the good of humanity.

Or, as many modern-day conservatives would put it, why should healthy, provident me have to pay for unhealthy, improvident others? Read more about Jeepers Keepers

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Careful with those facts, Eugene!

"I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right."

Attributed to George M. Cohan, it's the first rule of politics. Or the first one I was taught, anyway.

In a long-forgotten political campaign on the South Side of Chicago back in 1960-something I worked on a press release for my now long-forgotten candidate in which I outlined the misrepresentations of his opponent and refuted them with the facts of ours. Read more about Careful with those facts, Eugene!

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The Schoolyard

Once upon a time, in a now long-abandoned schoolyard, I got the better of a boy who was irritating me in some long-forgotten way. I wasn't good at fisticuffs, but (and this must have been the 4th or 5th grade) I found I could do pretty well if I grabbed my opponent by one arm and started swinging him around. I could get going pretty fast, too, and then I would let go. Ta Da! Irritant disposed of. Read more about The Schoolyard

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Running in Circles

I remember years ago an argument in some classroom or other over the shape of history. Straight line or circular? That is, does history proceed in a straight line, events stringing along one after the other (the highway version) or even piling one atop the other (the ladder version) in some kind of teleological journey to the future? Or do we simply repeat ourselves, over and over again, like a dog chasing its tail, in pursuit of a future that is never reached, our eyes fixed firmly on the forever vanishing promise of that little white tip of the tail. Read more about Running in Circles

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Games

It's been de rigueur for parents of this last generation to worry about the effects of video games on their children. The violence. The sexism. The increasing isolation of the gamer who sits alone at a console with little need or desire to venture out into the wider world.

As a gamer myself (although the players of World of Warcraft would laugh at me), I have long understood the rubric of "kill 'em all, take all the money." I'm afraid my daughter will be tempted to inscribe it on my tombstone. Good thing I don't plan on having one. Read more about Games

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Laws or People

I can remember years ago thinking that the concept of laws not men was, in some way, essentially unfair. The fairness of it, of course, is the concept that no matter who you are, no one is above the law. The men in the concept stands for those who have traditionally thought themselves above the law.

I, in my innocence, interpreted men as people. And people, I thought, should be more important than the law. In other words, the person who steals to feed his starving family should be treated differently than the guy who just wants a Mercedes. Read more about Laws or People

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