I'm a sucker for Christmas songs. I'm not so far gone that I'm okay
with department stores playing some pop princess's version of "Baby It's Cold
Outside" on an 85-degree early November day here in central Texas. But let me
join in on a round of "O Holy Night" or "White Christmas" and I'll get choked
up every time.
Whatever you think of essayist
Christopher Hitchens, you have to admire his willingness to have a debate about
God with just about anybody. Since he wrote God
is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything, he's taken on theologians,
rabbis and Fox News pundits.
I am not a fan of Disney princesses. I can deal with the
tiaras and the pink, but I'm disturbed by the sexualized visions of thinness,
the suggestion that to be ugly is to be evil and the promotion of extreme
body modification in order to get the guy.
A special Christmas review of noteworthy books, movies and music.
Categories include theology and spirituality, history and current
events, fiction, poetry, children's literature, movies on DVD, classical
music and popular music.
“I have been even as a man that hath no strength, free among the dead . . . Shall thy loving-kindness be showed in the grave?” —Psalm 88
Some days I feel as old as father Abraham, doddering father of a teen-aged daughter who last week attended her first “real” concert, at the crowded Aragon Ballroom in Uptown. When will my own days feel real again, the frozen clock hands begin to turn again? When will this chemical burning in the veins stop, and hope, perhaps, be recompensed? I wear this long wool coat against the cold that hurts me, covered with two scarves, my face covered to avoid any feeling of cobwebs, with their every thread feeling like a tiny razor blade slicing the skin. There is no ounce of benignity in this feeling. Maybe that is why the winter mask, last week found at Target, most accurately resembles a terrorist accessory, all black- hooded with eye slits. Were I to wear it, I would appear on campus like an ISIS recruit, no doubt a proud servant in his mind, clouded by the violence of the mission and sentence he honors. O the necessary horrors, those airstrikes occurring in the body’s battleground, leveled at the cells. If I were to wear the black hood, guise of a hangman (not the one hanged), I fear that campus security would target me, bucolic space locked down in emergency protocol. That’s all I would be: self-terrorist, strapped with the various wires of my sickness.
On the day the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal, Iowans Bob Vander Plaats and Donna Red Wing had a chance meeting and hugged one another—even though they are culture warriors on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate. Vander Plaats heads Family Leader, which supports traditional marriage; he believes Red Wing’s lesbian marriage is unnatural. Red Wing, head of One Iowa, an LGBT rights group, has called Vander Plaats “bigoted” and “cruel.” But a few years ago, at Red Wing’s initiative, the two met for coffee and struck up a friendship. Since then they have been trying to soften the rhetoric of their organizations while still sticking to their principles (Washington Post, July 4).