Something about that wall: In 1996 writer William Zinsser and his spouse met with Duong Tuong Tran, a writer, poet and Vietnam’s most influential art critic. The Vietnam war didn’t come up until Duong Tuong described his visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. He said he had written a poem while at the memorial, and offered to let the Zinssers read it.
Say you’re sorry: A sincere apology can mend a broken relationship and heal the grievance of an offended party. But forced or insincere apologies, including ones in which the offender doesn’t acknowledge his own wrongdoing and only expresses regret that the wounded party was offended, are ineffective and can even backfire.
Listen up: Judaism is a noisy religion, according to Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain: Jews pray together loudly. They study scripture in groups, and argue passionately with each other. But sometimes, says Sacks, you learn something about your own religion through an encounter with another one.
Indiscriminate love: In August 1998, Sam Bowers, a former Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was finally convicted of a crime he had committed over three decades earlier. In 1966 Bowers and some fellow Klansmen torched the house of Vernon Dahmer. The fire killed Dahmer and injured one of his three children.