In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
I'll admit it: I'm one of those people who, back in the 90s, learned Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" and played it note for note without even realizing it was written by the great Leonard Cohen. Glad to say I'd moved on by the time The West Wing, Scrubs and !@#$% Shrek got hip to the song, but still: no excuse for that.
Here's some good news: despite our short collective attention span, despite the fiscal-cliff debacle dominating the headlines shortly after the Newtown shooting, the U.S. scourge of gun violence is still part of the national conversation. Now, every time I hear a public official mention Newtown and Aurora but not Chicago—which experienced a startling spike in gun homicides in 2012, mostly in poor, black neighborhoods—I'm ashamed at the implication that some killings deserve more shock and outrage than others. Still, whatever it takes to motivate people to take on the pro-gun lobby, I'm grateful to see it happening.
I'm back around after spending most of December away, and I'll get back to the current-events blogging directly. But first, I mentioned recently that I've been writing and home-recording a song for each liturgical season.
Normally my siblings and I spend December 26 goofing around together. This year, however, we felt the need to create something that addresses an important issue facing our Christian sisters and brothers elsewhere in the English-speaking world.
I used to write a lot of very personal songs. Confessional stuff, bewilderingly specific and self-consciously literate. I grew out of it. Now I write mostly church music.
Megan McArdle thinks that gun-control measures wouldn't accomplish much but that training kids to run at a shooter instead of away might. That's a weird payoff at the end of a 4,500-word post, but it's not as offensive as Charlotte Allen's argument.
As a kid I loved to play Monopoly. Loved it. Friends and I would have marathon games, fighting over close readings of the rules, bargaining for half an hour while the dice and younger siblings sat idle, the whole deal. My sisters still talk about the time I prematurely ended a game I was losing by flipping the board over and scattering the pieces everywhere.
In case you missed these when they made the rounds right after the election, the University of Northern Iowa's collection of women's suffrage postcards has some great examples (via Gwen Sharp) of postcards used as anti-suffrage propaganda. A number of them rely on the specter of men left to care for a household while their wives are off voting in luxury.