(after an image by photojournalist Gerald Herbert)
That little tragedian, the dragonfly, wings smeared with earth’s black blood, stands glued to its stem like an orator. It will never leave this soapbox now. Just hangs there spread-eagled, a wee-Jesus on a crucifix of grass. Some undertaker draped its rainbow in a shroud of pitch, shined its tar-ball shoes, closed those onyx eyes for good. It has become an effigy of itself. It wanted to tell us that it died for our sins. But its lips are sealed. This orator without a speech, ne of the meek, so busy inheriting the earth, it never noticed the evil tide bubbling up from earth’s slit jugular, it never saw that drop of gleaming crude on Judas’s lip.
Inauthenticity can come in a variety of forms. Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, which she and Anne Rosellini adapted from a Daniel Woodrell novel, bends over backward to convince us that its portrait of life in an Ozarks community blighted by poverty, drugs and brutality is the documentary truth. But the picture is as phony as a three-dollar bill.
The 1950s and 1960s are often cited as the golden age of television. Those were the days when comedians such as Groucho Marx and writers such as Rod Serling worked in the business. That era produced many programs that still bear rewatching (The Dick Van Dyke Show, for one, and I say this not just because I had a boyhood crush on Mary Tyler Moore).
A writer in the Century some years ago recalled in passing the
era when mail was delivered twice a day. He noted, somewhat
whimsically, how that practice ensured at least two hopeful moments in
I’m not sure why I found it so endearing, the surgeon’s always saying, upon hearing his patient’s slightly hopeful rephrasing or reply just after he’s been told the how and the why of the surgery or recovery, a fine-mineral fear inset in optimism, “From your mouth to God’s ear.” The surgeon said it encouragingly, with a smile. Considering it, it took me only a little while to realize what it signified: “We can’t really know, but it’s good to hope so. Who knows? Let’s hope so. But also don’t mistake my taking of a measure, my neutral explanation. Elsewhere is your treasure or rescue, if any exists. Nothing is promised, either.” By then, I was content to drift in uncertainty’s ether.
For one day in December differences were set aside between Israelis and Arabs in the Haifa region of northern Israel. A soccer tournament was organized that brought together more than 200 Arabs, Jews, and Druze. The event was planned to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas truce that took place on the front lines of World War I on Christmas Day. Legend has it that some German and British soldiers even played soccer. The soccer tournament in Israel came at a time when Israeli-Palestinian relationships were at their lowest point in years (National Catholic Reporter, December 20).