Thursday, February 16, 2017

How naïve I am. Who knew that academics could wind themselves into such a frenzy?  The writer of this article unravels the frenzy by cutting it open with a very sharp, Gordian knife.

I am taking a chance by sending it to some friends who will understand it and may be offended. I hope they will still love me. Other’s will say they don’t like kitchen slop served as a fancy dinner. Put on your rubber boots and wade in.

The Perverse Ontology of Intersectionalism

Nice analytical piece by Helen Pluckrose. Consider the incoherent fuckwittery of, for example, "queers for Palestine" and the recent unholy alliance of feminism with Sharia law (I refer of course to Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the recent Women's March blindly followed by white middle class pseudo-intellectuals giving new meaning to Kornbluth's The Marching Morons). The permutations of idiocy […]

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"If you're not in over your head
how do you know how tall you are?"

Paraphrased from T. S.  ELIOT... . Dec 29, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Looking through miscellanies, scraps of notes, ideas, quotes from books that I thought worth saving, I came across this note that I thought might interest you. There’s no date on it.


It was a cold Sunday, and Danny sat with me, almost silent, for hours listening to my rants, or adolescent poetry; it was always without comment and I knew I knew that he wasn’t really alone with me. Mr. Boston, and Johnnie Walker were his real company, and he swam only with them in their own murky pool that was far from me. The two bottles stood on the small table, full in the morning, empty by three in the afternoon, the winter light darking the room, as the sun dropped behind the Jersey Palisades. But he was my audience, nevertheless, captured by those bottles in my room.

Scraps from years of penciled notes on backs of envelopes and borrowed sheets of paper. I don’t know whether some un-cited pieces are my own. Most are, unfortunately, undated.

“Talent is worthless without a work ethic. Always do your best –no shortcuts.”

From William Butler Yeats

“Say my glory was I had such friends.”

“When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And faced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

W.B. Yeats


“Well, a person grows up with a lot of preconceived notions
And Marriage is the graveyard of many of them.”

Irving Stone
Adversary in the House (life of E.V. Debs)


Defuncti injuriâ ne afficiantur (“Let the dead suffer no injury”), although the saying seems to have originated with Poe. 
De mortuis nil nisi bonum is Latin for the more familiar expression, “Speak only good of the dead.”

I lean over reaching for the telephone. I want to call my father. Then I realize…

SWAG –Simple Wild Assed Guess.

Language determines Thought Say this, Say this, until you believe this.
Edwin Sapir, Benj Whorf.

Benjamin Lee Whorf was an American linguist and fire prevention engineer. Whorf is widely known as an advocate for the idea that because of linguistic differences in grammar and usage, speakers of different languages conceptualize and experience the world differently. This principle has frequently been called the "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.

The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
These notes on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis concerning linguistic relativity and determinism are from a book on 'The Act of Writing' by Daniel Chandler.

You are not who you could have been.
You were never who you could have been.

Do I have to be anyone beside who I am?


Who are you required to love, not who you are required to hate…

Which God? The one with the Compassionate Voice
Or the one with the Condemning Voice?

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

March 26, 2016

Being Irish

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”

“When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book, and slowly read and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and their shadows deep.”

W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

My new theory, that you could omit anything if you knew that the omitted part would strengthen the story and people would feel something more than they understood.

Hemingway. .

Feb 26, 2016

Ninotchka  (Spelled it right on first try!!

William Friedkin tells the story that he was in Billy Wilder’s apartment when he saw a small card, framed, on the wall next to a Braque. He asked Wilder what it was and was told that it was one of the audience cards collected at previews of the Garbo-Melvyn Douglas Film, Ninotchka. The card read, “This was one of the funniest films I ever seen (sic). So funny that I peed in my girlfriend’s hand.”

March 14, 2016

The bar was dark but I could make out that she was a used up 40 year old who was waiting for someone who she knew wouldn’t show up. I kept my eye on her and asked Fat Charlie for a Jack with water on the side, He knew to give me a double and soon refilled the glass without being asked. I wondered what she was drinking—it was a lady’s drink, and, now, my eyes having adjusted to the light I saw a snarl pasted on her mouth but I didn’t think she meant it. I would know later on.

She had nice blond hair but had decorated it with a black stripe down the middle—I wondered why, but there’s no accounting for taste these days, even in the forty year old generation. Tattoos, piercings, nothing surprises me anymore, though I am critical.

I’ve always been attracted to the subjective, certainty repels me, after all who favors death and taxes.

I find myself more interesting when I am lying. Don’t you?

Find your form and play it.
Be yourself, and not someone else.



“You could pray to her, but you couldn’t expect an answer.”

Graham Greene, Brighton Rock.

“For Faith without fanaticism,
For understanding of views not shared,

We pray that we may live,
Not by our fears but by our hopes,
Not by our words,
But by our deeds.”

When I die give what’s left of me away
To children and old men who wait to die,

And if you need to cry
Cry for your brother walking
The street beside you.

When you need me,
Put your arms around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.”

Meditations before Kadesh

Its taken some time
to get here, but
less than you would think.

The view back is fogged
And filled with missteps
But we’re fine.

But they aren’t and there’s
The rub—So easy
For me,
So very hard for them.

It pains, it hurts, it
Spoils the day.

I want to leave you something,
Something better than words or things,
Look for me in the people I’ve loved,

If you cannot give me away,
At least let me live in your eyes
And not in your mind.

You can love me best
By letting hands touch hands,
By letting go of children
Who need to be free.

Love doesn’t die, People do.
So when all that’s left of me is,
Give me away.

I am not sure—I think I wrote this in 2006. But maybe it’s a quote..

Woody Allen: There’s chances gone by that you can’t have back again.

.mek April 2016

Written to Steve a few months ago…

Looking through miscellanies, scraps of notes, ideas, quotes from books that I thought worth saving, I came across this note that I thought might interest you. There’s no date on it.


It was a cold Sunday, and Danny sat with me, almost silent, for hours listening to my rants, or adolescent poetry; it was always without comment and I knew I knew that he wasn’t really alone with me. Mr. Boston, and Johnnie Walker were his real company, and he swam only with them in their own murky pool that was far from me. The two bottles stood on the small table, full in the morning, empty by three in the afternoon, the winter light darking the room, as the sun dropped behind the Jersey Palisades. But he was my audience, nevertheless, captured by those bottles in my room.


From the Norton Museum in Palm Beach   July 2004

Eugene Delacroix : “I go to work as other men go to their mistresses.” Plaque on the staircase to the second floor. “

Kara Walker: “Who am I beyond the skin I’m in?” d. 1969.  another plaque

Picasso: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

“Death and exile are best met alone.” Napoleon.

Yes, I want to be attentive, to see how things work, to see what things people find to do. I am a watchman, I guess, like Alvaro Mutis’ Maqroll.
But my habit of being at a distance from my life-and for that matter being distant too from the lives of those around me—removes me from what is real. I am always peering through a window to see what’s real. But I can’t feel through the glass—that’s the way I want it.  July 2004

One must see beauty when young and accustom oneself to it.

Ben Hecht: “The rule in art is that you cater to the masses and kow-tow to the elite. You can’t have both.”

Bertrand Russell: “Life is a competition to be the criminal instead of the victim.”

Vladimir Nabokov: “My loathings are simple: Stupidity, Oppression, Crime, Cruelty, Soft Music.

Salvatore Dali:  “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.”

French Proverb:  “When we cannot get what we love, we must love what we can get.”



Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better… Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved.
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on your eyes
And not your mind.
You can love me most
By letting Hands touch hands,
By letting Bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn’t die; People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away


Heard in a Granta Conversation, Podcast, March 2016

We are living in a Post-Truth Era
Or Post-Truth Politics

We are in the Information Age
No, the Over-Information Age
No, the Mis-Information Age
Intelligent people believe in the Elders of Zion

We are inundated with so much Information
That people don’t know what to believe, and in defense
Believe nothing—or anything.

March 27, 2016

Virtue Ethics
The role of one’s character in determining or evaluating ethical behavior.
Emphasizes duty to rules.
Derives rightness or wrongness from the outcome of an act.

April1, 2016

Woody Allen: “There’s chances gone by that you can’t have back again.”

Andy Rooney: “Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.”

John Steinbeck: “Write freely as rapidly as possible, and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or re-write until the whole thing is down. ‘Rewrite in progress’   is usually an excuse for not going on.

Nietzsche: “Every word is a preconceived judgement.”

Robinson Davies: “Sentimentalism is the philosophy of boobs.”


April 22, 2016

With few exceptions most of our Dads were gin players, and my Father was no exception. In fact, in his case he played at a very high level, and, for instance, here, at Southpoint, a fellow owner told me that it was he who paid my father’s rent. That he had “card sense” was no surprise to me, as the roster of his fellow players in New York was quite impressive, something I came to appreciate only when I became a teen ager. In any event, recently I began to play gin with my computer, and have reached the “expert” level, as determined by my computer. I have no idea whether my computer is hustling or patronizing me, but I do seem to be winning game after game. Fear not, friends! I have no intention of entering the real world of gin. Drinking it suffices.

However, playing gin reminds me of my father, and last night I recalled this story, which he was fond of repeating to all who would listen, whether or not they had already heard it:

A man comes home unexpectedly from a business trip only to find his best friend in bed with his wife.
               “Let’s settle this amicably,” says the friend.                   

The businessman thinks this over, and says, “Okay, let’s play a game of gin   to decide who keeps her.”

The friend agrees, and the husband adds, “Let’s play for ten cents a point to keep it interesting.”


This is from a book of poems called “Regrets Only” that I bought in 2006.

Apparently trivial detail...can show us the world, the beauty to which we
are always, sooner or later, saying goodbye. –Robert Kelly

This is the last verse of Saying Goodbye, by Barbara Crooker

One night, a year from now, or twenty or ten,
one side of this brass bed will be empty, one
pillow undented, one space under the log cabin
quilt smooth as stone. Sooner or later, one of us
will sleep alone. And all these nights, katydids
arguing their did-nots/did-toos outside the screen,
when sleep takes us before love does, will be long
and black and full of regret.

From English author Evelyn Waugh’s letter to American author Thomas Merton on Aug. 13, 1948, quoted in Mary Frances Coady’s “Merton and Waugh: A Monk, a Crusty Old Man & The Seven Storey Mountain” (2015):

Never send off any piece of writing the moment it is finished. Put it aside. Take on something else. Go back to it a month later and re-read it. Examine each sentence and ask “Does this say precisely what I mean? Is it capable of misunderstanding? Have I used a cliché where I could have invented a new and therefore asserting and memorable form? Have I repeated myself and wobbled round the point when I could have fixed the whole thing in six rightly chosen words? Am I using words in their basic meaning or in a loose plebeian way?” . . . The English language is incomparably rich and can convey every thought accurately and elegantly. The better the writing the less abstruse it is. Say “No” cheerfully and definitely to people who want you to do more than you can do well.
All this is painfully didactic—but you did ask for advice—and there it is.


Written by Andy Rooney a great philosopher, a man who had the gift of saying so much with so few words. 

The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

When you're in love, it shows.

Just one person saying to me, 'You've made my day!' makes my day.

Having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

Being kind is more important than being right.

You should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned....
That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in any other way.

I've learned....
That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I've learned....
That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I've learned....
That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned....
That life is like a roll of toilet paper.
The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I've learned....
That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned....
That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned....
That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned...
That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned....
That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned....
 That when you plan to get even with someone,
you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned....
That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned....
That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned....
That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned....
That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned...
That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned....
 That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned....
That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned....
That I wish I could have told my Mother that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I've learned....
That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I've learned....
That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned....
That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, you're hooked for life.

I've learned....
That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned....
That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Andy Rooney



The following are called paraprosdokians.  A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence is unexpected and oft times very humorous:

·       If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they'd eventually find me very attractive.

·       I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they're flashing behind you.

·       Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.

·       Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

·       I'm great at multi-tasking--I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.

·       If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

·       Take my advice — I'm not using it.

·       My wife and I were happy for twenty years; then we met.

·       Hospitality is the art of making guests feel like they're at home when you wish they were.

·       Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

·       Ever stop to think and forget to start again?

·       Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.

·       He who laughs last thinks slowest.

·       Is it wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly?

·       Women sometimes make fools of men, but most guys are the do-it-yourself type.

·       I was going to give him a nasty look, but he already had one.

·       Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

·       I was going to wear my camouflage shirt today, but I couldn't find it.

·       If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

·       Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let her sleep.

·       If tomatoes are technically a fruit, is ketchup a smoothie?

·       Money is the root of all wealth.

·       No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

May 13, 2016

Dr. Peter Probis looked through his instrument through her eyeball into her brain., The doctor paled as he watched so many memories dropping away.

Mek May 21, 2016

From, The Sport of Kings, C.E. Morgan

“We founded this nation under the illusory notion of independence, and we have suffered from that disastrous ideal ever since, this notion that a man’s life is entirely distinct from the life of his neighbor; that the poisons in his water have no bearing on the cleanliness of his neighbor’s water; that the sufferings of a laborer has no direct relationship to the purchaser of goods; …that the health of the land is divorced from the health of the collective. We’ve turned freedom from tyranny into freedom from each other.” 

I am against capital punishment except for graffiti artists and litterers.


 "Littering is the perfect example of an everyday disunity in society. It's a horrible thing to see because it sort of encapsulates the idea that you're in it alone, that there isn't a shared ethos of trying to protect something shared. It's the embodiment of every man for himself. It's the opposite of the military. "

Rachel Yehuda, quoted by Sebastian Junger in "Tribe. How PTSD Became a Problem Far Beyond the Battlefield."


This Is A MUST Read: Take A Gander At This Amazing, But Little Known, 9-11 Story
Days with Lorna Subritzky Friday, 11 September 2015, 10:16AM
This incredible story is from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15:
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.
All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain.
As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”
No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.
While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland, to have it checked out.
We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that’s 11:00 AM EST.
There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.
After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”
Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.
In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.
Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.
People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.
We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.
Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.
And they were true to their word.
Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel.
We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!
We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.
We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.
What we found out was incredible…..
Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.
Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.”
Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.
Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day.
During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips.
Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.
In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.
It was absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time.
Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.
Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days.
He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.
He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
“He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.
He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
“The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
“I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.
It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”
“In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward. Let’s not forget THIS fact.

This is one of those stories that needs to be shared. Please do so…


This morning, for the first time in my life I saw a “sleeping net” used. A woman in a 1937 movie placed a sleeping net on her head. Instantly I knew what it was. I had never seen one before and had never heard of it.

How, I wonder, did I know what it was, and how it would be used? How did my brain or anyone's, for that matter, put together the idea of the sleeping net?


From the time I was 5 or 6, in in Forest Hills, I had a friend named Michael Avedon whose mother was related to a Hollywood producer who worked for MGM. His name was Dore Schary. I have seen his name on numerous films over the years, and knew that he was a man of some importance, but, although I was a constant visitor to the Avedon home I had never met the man. Michael had a beautiful sister, named Patricia, who became a manager of a ballet company, and a younger brother, Keith, who, in spite of being a polio victim, organized a rock and band.

Father Avedon was a professional photographer, and there is, somewhere, a photograph of my sister, Patti, taken by him. Our mother must have considered Patti to be worthy of portraiture as there is also a life sized, painted portrait of her somewhere.

Getting back to Mr Schary: Finally, after seventy years, I saw him. Turner Classic Movies showed a short promotional film about filming a western film, and Dore Schary narrated most of it. So, at last, I’ve seen his face and heard his voice.

++++++Dore comes from Isadore.

This morning, for the first time in my life I saw a “sleeping net” used. A woman in a 1937 movie placed a sleeping net on her head. Instantly I knew what it was. I had never seen one before and had never heard of it.

How, I wonder, did I know what it was? and how it would be used? How did my brain or anyone's, for that matter, put together the idea of the sleeping net?

Sometimes I think that my brain is similar to Artificial Intelligence. Imagine, before I knew that anything was happening in my brain, a search and a solution were instant and invisible, thousands of queries must have been shooting through my brain searching for the use of a black, balled up thing, in Spring Byington’s hand. Then it came to me, but I didn’t even know that I was seeking any information. But, of course, I was.

OK, now back to my brain. it wasn’t Spring Byington—I can’t remember who it was—and I can’t recall the name of the movie; and there was an actor who I thought was Leo G. Carroll, but on seeing the cast of characters I saw that it was another actor who I knew to play similar parts—but I can’t remember who it was either.

 Isn’t the brain wonderful?


Dore Schary   From the online encyclopedia.
·        Schary had his first success as a writer when a play he wrote, Too Many Heroes, ran on Broadway for 16 performances in the fall of 1937. He worked in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and in 1938 won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story as co-writer of the screenplay for Boys Town. From 1942 to 1943, he ran MGM's "B" pictures unit. He was with RKO Pictures when in 1948 he became chief of production at MGM.
·        Schary and studio chief and founder Louis B. Mayer were constantly at odds over philosophy, with Mayer favoring splashy, wholesome entertainment and Schary leaning toward what Mayer derided as darker "message pictures". In the postwar period, MGM's success began to decline. MGM's parent company, Loews Incorporated in New York decided that Schary might be able to turn the tide. Schary was involved in disputes at the studio with Mayer over films such as Battleground and The Red Badge of Courage. In 1951, Mayer was ousted and Schary installed as president. He was replaced in 1956 by Benny Thau, another long-term executive.
·        During his term, the studio system was coming to an end as a result of United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1948), the Supreme Court decision which severed the connection between film studios and the theaters which showed their films.[3] In addition, television was causing a decrease in theater attendance.
·        MGM swimming star Esther Williams would later state in her 1999 autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid, that Schary was just as rude, cruel, and as imperious as Mayer had been. She noted that she thought it appropriate that Schary was fired on Thanksgiving Day, since he was a "turkey". In 1956 in his final year running MGM, he appeared on the show This is Your Life. Host Ralph Edwards stated that there had never been a show where more stars appeared to honor a guest.
·        Following his departure from MGM, Schary wrote the Broadway play Sunrise at Campobello. The play won five Tony Awards. He wrote and produced the motion picture of the same name, which was issued by Warner Brothers, in 1960. He also had a brief uncredited role in the film as Chairman of the Connecticut Delegation.[4]
·        Politics[edit]
·        Although one of the studio executives who formulated the 1947 Waldorf Statement, he became an outspoken opponent of the anti-communist investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He served as National Chairman of the B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League and was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay to the office of New York City Commissioner for Cultural Affairs.[citation needed]
·        Personal life[edit]
·        Schary was born in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Central High School in Newark in 1923. He worked as a printer in his youth at Art Craft Press in Newark, N.J. He married (March 5, 1932) Miriam Svet (pianist and later recognized painter) with whom he had three children: the novelist and memoirist Jill Schary Robinson, psychoanalyst Dr. Joy Schary, and CLIO award winning producer Jeb Schary. Miriam and Dore Schary collectively have seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
·        Dore Schary died in 1980, aged 74, and was interred in the Hebrew Cemetery, West Long Branch, New Jersey. Miriam Svet Schary died in October, 1986, aged 74, and was interred next to her husband in Hebrew Cemetery.
·        Legacy[edit]
·        To honor his memory, the Anti-Defamation League established the Dore Schary Awards in 1982.
·        In popular culture[edit]
·        His name is used just for a rhyme at the very end of Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America Volume One: The Early Years, a satirical album from 1961: "That highly military / (script by Dore Schary) / Revolutionary War!"
·        In the 1948 RKO film, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (which he produced), Schary can be seen driving Cary Grant to the airport at the end of the film. Grant refers to him as "Jebby".
·        In I Love Lucy, Ricky Ricardo calls Schary's office from his Hollywood hotel room. In the episode "Don Juan is Shelved", Schary was played by Philip Ober, Vivian Vance's husband at the time.
·        In the popular one-act comedy "Adaptation", written by Elaine May, the lead character Phil Bensen names his son "Dore Schary Junior" and another actor plays the son for the rest of the show.
·        Actor Josh Pais will play Schary in the 2015 film I Saw the Light[5]
·        Dore Schary appears as a character in the Broadway biography of Moss Hart "Act One" written by James Lapine and produced by Lincoln Center Theatre in 2014.
·        Select Filmography
·        Fury of the Jungle (1933) - screenwriter
·        Fog (1933) - screenwriter
·        He Couldn't Take It (1933) - screenwriter
·        Let's Talk It Over (1934) - original story "Loves of a Sailor"
·        The Most Precious Thing in Life (1934) - screenwriter
·        Young and Beautiful (1934) - screenwriter
·        Murder in the Clouds (1934) - screenwriter
·        Red Hot Tires (1935) - additional dialogue
·        Mississippi (1935) - contributing writer
·        Storm Over the Andes (1935) - screenwriter
·        Chinatown Squad (1935) - screenwriter
·        The Raven (1935) - screenwriter
·        Silk Hat Kid (1935) - screenwriter
·        Your Uncle Dudley (1935) - screenwriter
·        Her Master's Voice (1936) - screenwriter
·        Timothy's Quest (1936) - screenwriter
·        Song and Dance Man (1936) - screenwriter
·        Mind Your Own Business (1936) - screenwriter
·        Outcast (1937) - screenwriter
·        The Girl from Scotland Yard (1937) - screenwriter
·        Big City (1937) - screenwriter
·        Ladies in Distress (1938) - screenwriter
·        Boys Town (1938) - screenwriter
·        Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940) - original story
·        Young Tom Edison (1940) - screenwriter
·        Edison, the Man (1940) - screenwriter
·        Behind the News (1940)
·        Her Master's Voice (1937) – screenwriter
·        Married Bachelor (1941) - screenwriter
·        Here Comes Kelly (1943) - story
·        Lonelyhearts (1958) - screenwriter, producer
·        Sunrise at Campobello (1960) – screenwriter
·        Act One (1963) – director, screenwriter
·        As Head of MGM B Unit[edit]
·        Joe Smith American (1942)
·        Kid Glove Killer (1942)
·        Journey for Margaret (1942)
·        Bataan (1943)
·        Lassie Come Home (1943)
·        For David O. Selznick[edit]
·        I'll Be Seeing You (1944)
·        The Spiral Staircase (1945)
·        Till the End of Time (1946)
·        The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
·        The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
·        As Head of RKO[edit]
·        Crossfire (film) (1947)
·        Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
·        They Live By Night (1948)
·        Station West (1948)
·        Every Girl Should Be Married (1948)
·        The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
·        The Set-Up (1949)
·        Adventure in Baltimore (1949)
·        The Window (1949)
·        Produced While Head of MGM[edit]
·        Westward the Women (1951)
·        The Hoaxsters (1953) - documentary
·        The Last Hunt (1956)
·        Designing Woman (1956)
·        Theatre Credits[edit]
·        Too Many Heroes (1937) - writer
·        Sunrise at Campobello (1958) - writer, producer
·        A Majority of One (1959) - producer, director
·        Triple Play (1959) - producer
·        The Highest Tree (1959) - writer, producer, director
·        The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1960) - producer, director
·        The Devil's Advocate (1961) - writer, producer, director
·        Something About a Soldier (1962) - producer, director
·        Love and Kisses (1963) - producer, director
·        One by One (1964) - writer, producer, director
·        The Zulue and the Zayda (1965) - producer, director
·        Brightower (1970) - writer
·        Herzl (1976) - writer, producer

.mek   July 9, 2016

.mek   July 9, 2016


Daniel De Foe
1666 The Great Fire of London
Charles II
James II asked to leave because of his Catholicism
Mary II
William and Mary Protestant
Anne, niece of William

Gene Autry            Champion
Roy Rogers           Trigger
Lone Ranger          Silver
Dale Evans            Buttermilk
Hopalong Cassidy Topper
Tonto                      Scout
Tom Mix                 Tony
Gen.Robert E. Lee Traveller  and Lucy Long

July 12, 2016


Letter to Eddie Goldberg July 19, 2016

I want to thank you for the Indignation suggestion. It’s as though Philip Roth followed me from Horace Mann to Ohio Wesleyan, originally a Methodist school, that had required chapel; not that I was disturbed by the chapel requirement. Like Marcus, I was assigned a dorm room with one of the few Jews at OWU, and like Marcus, I was rushed by two non-sectarian fraternities—except that I was also rushed by Sigma Chi, and pledged to it, until National Headquarters instructed the local that the “No Jew Allowed” rule would be adhered to.

Believe me, it didn’t bother me, as I thought that people had a right to associate with people with whom they felt comfortable.

I was not a joiner, anyway, and thought I’d remain independent which worked out well for the two years that I remained at OWU.

During those first two years I was a four point student without opening a book due to the education I had received at the hands of the Masters at Horace Mann.

This was particularly peculiar as at Horace Mann I was probably one of the bottom six in my class. Yes, one of those six became a neuro-surgeon and when I met him at University Hospital, Manhattan,      wearing greens and a funny hat-- I figured he was an orderly. “No,” he explained, he “was a neuro-surgeon”…

Later he wrote a text. While at the hospital Maria delivered our oldest son, Aaron.

At the end of my sophomore year I was asked to be editor of our literary publication, the OWL, a job which I was honored to accept, although in my junior year, when I actually had to study, I left OWU, and my editorship.

I had made friends at two fraternities, one a left leaning, non-sectarian fraternity, known as Beta Sigma Tau, founded just after WW2 by some forward thinking veterans, who attended college on the GI bill. This was a fraternity where Jews and Blacks joined independent thinkers.  The other a fraternity whose members were mostly athletes and preppies, but no Jews. .

Sigma Chi fell off my list; and I enjoyed the independent life which gave me time for shiskas, and to become engaged to one. Again, like Marcus, I found S.R., the BJ Queen of OWU. The independent life also gave me time for library study, having dinners at an English Professor’s home, and many beer drinking hours with a philosophy teacher at The Little Brown Jug, a college saloon on Sandusky Street, named after a famous race for harness races held annually in September in Delaware, Ohio.

Is that Gross Driving?

I might have mentioned to you that, unlike Marcus, my Dad and I got along pretty well, and that he was a very good card player, and handicapper. In fact, when he left the drug store business and went to Florida his life was composed of horses, cards, golf, and dinner. He enjoyed his life, and had zero
trouble adjusting to early retirement.

Here’s how he retired: One day, he handed the keys to the big store to me, and asked whether I thought I could handle it. I gulped, said, “yes.”  I did okay.
He never asked me anything about the business after that, and I never complained. I had Gross if I wanted to whine.

Getting back, for a moment, to harness racing. In New York when I was, maybe ten years old, he took me to Belmont a few times. He was invariably approached by touts, who knew him from the old days (the thirties, I expect.) He explained to me their role, which didn’t impress me very much. I am sure that you know how they worked—But there was one other thing that he explained to me, that had stuck with me, ever since—on the way back to the car one afternoon he pointed to a bus at the edge of the parking lot. “You see that bus, Mike? That’s the Break Even Bus.”  He waited for me to ask, “Break Even Bus?”  And only then explained, “when the horse players lose here, at the flats, they get on that bus that takes them to Yonkers to the harness races, so that they can Break Even.”

He didn’t snigger, but ten year old Mike did. I was a cynic at an early age.


”You would imagine that at least in death uncertainty would vanish.” Philip Roth, Indignation

For me uncertainty appears to be enduring and the natural state of things.  .mek

🏢🔐🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢What a dilemma!

Don’t believe half of what you know.

From Everyman, Philip Roth

“How long could he watch the tides flood in and flow out without his remembering, as anyone might in a sea-gazing reverie, that life had been given to him, as to all, randomly, fortuitously, and but once, and for no known or knowable reason?”

“Always, he had been invigorated by stability, never by stasis. And this was stagnation.”

(At his parents’ grave.)  “‘I’m seventy-one. Your boy is seventy-one.’ ‘Good you lived,’ his mover replied, and his father said, ‘Look back and atone for what you can atone for, and make the best of what you have left.’”

Three words rarely heard these days from a movie, Florence Foster Jenkins, with Meryl Streep

Chum (as in friend, pal)


Poem written in October 1998

There is a woman
Glimpsed through the spaces between
The keys on the keyboard.   She types.

I do not have even her
handwriting to interpret.
Only her words that charge at me
Careless of clues.

I try to distill
the meaning from the words
But they will not distill.
Instead I am left with what remains:
A mulligatawny.

Large pieces hidden like icebergs
Under the sea, unidentifiable, foreign,
“beyond summary or comprehension,”
Foreboding, foreshadowing.

Come, “let our tongues engage,
Let us discover our secret names.”
It is time to discover our secret language.

.mek Oct 31, 1998


Citizen: Thanks! For the photo and the blood pressure advice.

We've always been concerned about Maria’s low blood pressure.
Only once did she faint and that was maybe 25 years ago
 in Mexico in the mountains on a dirt road near Ixtapa.

The doctor in Mexico believed it was due to the altitude.
It may also have had something to do with our encounters
with drug dealing gangs, rebel guerrillas and a Mexican colonel
who questioned us at length, while blithely waving a large, pearl handled ‘44.

But I'm not a doctor so I don't know.

We were accompanied by a friend, Tony R., a Greenpoint boy,
who had been in Special Forces in Vietnam, having joined
at the earnest behest of  Federal Judge Mahoney, in a courtroom,
at the Eastern District courthouse.

Tony, bearded and wearing about a pound of thick gold necklaces,
and a Presidential Rolex on his wrist, whispered that he had spotted machine gun nests
in the verge of the woods near a stream in which women were on their knees washing clothes,
using the boulders in the water to rub the dirt out of the clothing.

The colonel, however, exercising professional courtesy to Tony, who he recognized as a knowing colleague, brought out the mayor who gave us golden keys to the town -- which was unnecessary as there were doors on neither the many gambling houses nor were there doors on any of the fast houses. Keys were superfluous.

Keys, doors, or not, we were accompanied by two loving, and eagle-eyed wives, and so, better judgement prevailed, and we passed on the mayor’s and even the colonel’s hospitable invitations.


September 3, 2016

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Daniel Berrigan: 

“After Daniel Berrigan, poet, priest and antiwar leader, died last April 30, the New York Times referred unfavorably in its obituary to a 1973 speech that was unflinching in its criticism of Israel’s militarism and repression of Palestinians, and that earned the Jesuit the enmity of many Israel supporters. We publish that speech in full below because so many of the points that Berrigan made 43 years ago are as fresh today as then, notably his understanding of: the destruction of Palestinian human rights and property, the importance of refugees, the complicity of leading American Jewish organizations in Israel’s militarism, and, most crushingly, the spiritual effect of Israel’s emergence on the formerly “peaceable” Jewish presence in society. 

On the scales of the spirit, as the nations are finally judged, it is a tragedy beyond calculating, that the State of Israel should become the repository, and finally the tomb, of the Jewish soul…. in place of Jewish compassion for the poor and forgotten, Israel should legislate evictions, uprootings, destruction of goods, imprisonment, terrorism.

Titled “Responses to Settler Regimes,” the speech was given to the Association of Arab University Graduates in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 19, 1973, shortly after Berrigan completed his parole in a federal sentence for acts of resistance against the Vietnam war. The speech was printed that month in American Report, a publication of Clergy and Laity Concerned, the anti-Vietnam War group. We dug up the original on microfilm, and Tamara Nassar transcribed it. –Editors. 

Responses to Settler Regimes

I come before you this evening, as a non-expert in every field of human expertise, including the subject you have invited me to explore. I wish to include also in my field of inexpertise my own religious tradition; I am a non-expert Christian, by any conceivable standard.

This admission is in the interests of both clarity of mind and of moral conduct. I am interested, as a Christian, in one thing only; in so simple a thing as sane conduct in the world. The experts in my tradition, the theologians, the biblical scholars, and by and large, the hierarchy, go in another direction than mine. “Sane conduct” (whatever that means) is taken for granted; what really counts is the jot and tittle of the tradition, or its worldly prospering, or its honorable reception among peoples. Sane conduct is taken for granted; are not Christians by definition sane, in touch with the truth, destined to share infallibly in their reward?

I say no. The exemplary conduct of expert Christians, as indeed of most experts in human disciplines is to fiddle while the world burns. Hardly sane! A kind of lethal fatalism, looks equably upon combustible human flesh, shrugs its shoulders the better to nestle the violin, and coax from its entrails the immortal (and irrelevant) stroke…

Sane conduct in the world. Let me explain. I do not believe it is the destiny of human flesh to burn; and for that I am in trouble, as are my friends, to this day. I do not believe that a violin concerto, however immortal in execution, is the proper comfort to offer a napalmed child. I believe that the fiddler should come down from the roof, put his violin aside, take up on his extinguisher, raise a cry of alarm, break down the intervening door. I believe that he should on occasion of crisis destroy property in favor of human life.

You see, I am a heretic in a consuming and killing culture, as well as in a complicity church.

These are troublesome statements; but do not call them naïve, or shrug them off as generally accepted by the civilized; or, in the presence of scholar, as irrelevant. Do not say: it is of course the generals who light fires, we deplore that. I answer: Most scholars, most priests, most Jews, most Arabs, while they would prefer some less horrendous sight than the burning flesh of children, are not seriously shaken in their style of mind, their taxpaying, their consumerism, their spiritual, economic, or political complicity, by such “incidents.”

I begin in so odious a way because I do not wish to narrow our question so sharply as to exclude ourselves from its orbit. I do not wish to take us off the hook, even while I wish to say something unequivocal about one instance of cruelty, racism, murder, as political tools.

It is of course scarcely possible to open the moral question of Israeli or Arab conduct today, without exciting the most lively passion, and risking the most serious charges. A war is underway. We are assured by the Israelis, and by most of the Jewish community throughout the world, that the war is a war of survival. We are assured just as vehemently by the Arabs that the war is one of expansion and aggression by Israel.

Moreover, the interests of the super powers are deeply imbedded in Near Eastern soil. Those interests include western oil contracts, and, East and West, an impalpable element of outreach, something hard to define, a cold war afflatus perhaps, something called an “ideological sphere of influence.” In any case, both East and West are shoring up their interests with that most concrete and bloody proof devotion: arms, and more arms.

Certainly these facts must be respected, if this evening and the days to follow are to be more than an exercise in national or racial or religious frenzy. A ceasefire has been offered by Egypt; something unprecedented in the history of this conflict. Moreover, the terms of the ceasefire seem reasonable and clear of Arab arms-rattling. The offering includes a declaration of de facto respect for the existence of Israel, a de facto state; it asks for a return to the boundary lines which existed before the 1967 War, and some justice for the Palestinian people.

Suicidal Adventure

In the seriousness and sanity of the ceasefire offer, therefore, I believe that events themselves are helping set the stage for a fruitful study. In supporting the Egyptian proposal, I hope to answer those who would make the present war into an Israeli spasm of survival. Nothing of the sort. Or those who would make the critics of this war, into proponents of Israeli extinction. Nothing of the kind. Or those who would make critics of the united states, into supporters of the Soviet Union; nothing of the sort.

In calling attention to this proposal I am simply urging that attention be paid to the first sane option that has arisen in the course of this suicidal adventure. Indeed there are no sides worth talking about tonight. There are indeed immense numbers of people whose lives and rights are being violated, degraded and denied. Any real solution will take into account these peoples: the Palestinians—a people without a country; the Israelis—a people in danger; the Arab nations—a people invaded. How carefully one must proceed on these matters if he is not to worsen an already tortured situation. I endorse the Egyptian ceasefire proposal while opposing many aspects of the Egyptian regime, and of the Sheikhdoms, and of Jordan and Syria. We must take into account their capacity for deception, which is remarkable even for our world. We must take into account their contempt for their own poor, a contempt that would be called legendary if it were not horrifyingly modern. We must take into account their willingness to oil the war machinery of the superpowers making them accomplices of the American war criminals. We must take into account their cupidity masked only by their monumental indifference to the facts of their world. no, I offer no apologia tonight for the Arab states any more than I do for Israel.

I do not wish to begin by “taking sides”; nor indeed to end by “taking sides.” I am sick of “sides”; which is to say, I am sick of war; of wars hot and cold; and all their approximations and metaphors and deceits and ideological ruses. I am sick of the betrayal of the mind and the failure of compassion and the neglect of the poor. I am sick of foreign ministers and all their works and pomps. I am sick of torture and secret police and the apparatus of fascists and the rhetoric of leftists. Like Lazarus, staggering from his grave, or the ghost of Trotsky I can only groan: “We have had enough of that, we have been through all that.”

Thus this evening, and my presence here. When I received the invitation some months ago, I winced. Another crisis? If the nerve ends of Israelis and Arabs were raw, so were mine. More; why should I enter their back yard on a cleanup project when my own, America, was a moral shantytown? And the war broke; and I winced again; and very nearly begged off. Then a better, second thought occurred; something like this. If it was important to speak up while the peace, at least a relative peace, held—then why not when a war broke? Indeed, did not the need for dispassionate and reasonable courage increase, while the guns were cutting down whatever rational exchange remained alive? If the first casualty of war was the truth, might it not be important to prevent, at least on one scene, that mortal casualty from occurring?

Human Community

I do not wish to heap conflict upon conflict. If I seem to concentrate upon the conduct of Israel, it is for reasons, which to me at least, are profound, of long pondering and finally inescapable. It is not merely because my government, which has brought endless suffering to the world, is supporting Israel. It is not merely because American Jews, as well as Israelis, have in the main given their acquiescence or their support to the Nixon ethos. The reasons go deeper, and strike harder; they are lodged in my soul, in my conception of faith and the transcendent, in the vision Jews have taught me, of human conduct in a human community.

I am (to put the matter as simply as I know how), I am paying an old debt tonight. It is a debt of love; more properly, a debt of outraged love. I am a western Christian, in resistance against my government and my church. That position, as I read it, makes me something very like a Jew. It is of that uneasy circle, ever changing, widening, contracting, including, excluding, that I wish to speak. I am a Catholic priest, in resistance against Rome. I am an American, in resistance against Nixon, and I am a Jew, in resistance against Israel. But let me begin.

A common assumption exists in the West, buttressed by massive historical and religious argument, to the effect that Israel is exempt from moral criticism. Her people have passed through the gentile furnace; how then shall the goy judge the suffering servant? And is not the holocaust the definitive argument for the righteousness of this people, heroically determined to begin again, in a promised land, that experiment in survival which so nearly went awry, so often, under such constant assault at our hands?

Mean of Love

In such a way, bad history is mightily reinforced by bad faith. The persecutor is a poor critic. His history weighs on him; like a bad parent, he alternates between cruelty and indulgence, without ever striking the mean of love.

In such a way, Christians yield to Israel the right to her myths; to indulge them, to enlarge them, to live by them, even to call them biblical truth. If the Jews are indeed the people of promise, and Israel the land of promise; then it must follow that God has willed the two to coincide. The means? They are swallowed up in the end, they disappear into glory. And if the means include domestic repression, deception, cruelty, militarism? And if the classic refugee people is now creating huge numbers of refugees? And if technological warfare has become the instrument of expansion, and pre-emptive warfare the instrument of so called peace? And if this people, so proud, so endowed with intelligence, so purified by suffering, sends its military missioners into every part of the world where minority people are bleeding under the heel of jackboots? Israeli military advisers in Iran, Israeli military advisers in Iran, Israeli military advisers in Ethiopia? And if these advisers (that cruel euphemism under whose guise America kindled the Viet Nam holocaust) are sought and hired because Israelis have become as skilled in the fashioning of espionage and violence as ever were their oppressors? Are such means as these swallowed in glory? Or do they stick in the throat of those who believe, as Judaism taught the world to believe, “Thou shalt not kill”?

I started to say something about my own church, and I proceed to talk about Israel. I did so advisedly. I did so because today my church has helped Israel exegete her own texts—wrongly, harmfully, as I believe. My church has helped Israel in that project of the settler state—whether of South Africa or Israel or the United State—which is to seek a biblical justification for crimes against humanity.

For a Christian who is trying to understand and live by his own tradition, the confusion of bible and imperialism in Israel represents an altogether unique tragedy. We in the U.S.A. learned to bear the filthy weight of South African religious violence, even while we abominated it. We learned to survive the filthy weight of American religious violence, even while we abominated it. In both cases, we tried to separate out the corrupt cultural elements from the truth of a tradition, and to live by the latter. We learned to do this, because we knew at least something of the history of Christianity, in both its criminal and saintly aspects.

But you must understand our horror, our sense of impoverishment, almost our sense of amputation. For while we had known criminal Christian communities, and suffered at the hand of our own renegades, and seen Viet Nam assaulted in the name of Christian civilization—we had never known a criminal Jewish community. We had known Jewish communities that were a light to the gentiles, that were persecuted, all but erased, that remained merciful, eloquent, prophetic. But something new was occurring before our eyes… the Jews arose from the holocaust, a cause of universal joy, but the Jews arose like warriors, armed to the teeth. They took possession of a land, they exiled and destroyed old Arab communities, they (a minority) made outsiders of those who were in fact, the majority of citizens. Then, they flexed their muscles; like the goyim, the idolaters, the “inhabitants of this earth,” like Babylon and Egypt and Assyria; like those kingdoms which Israel’s own prophets summoned to judgment, Israel entered the imperial adventure. She took up the imperial weapons, she spread abroad the imperial deceptions.

In the space of 25 years, this metamorphosis took place. The wandering Jew became the settler Jew; the settler ethos became the imperial adventure. More, the thought of Nietzsche, of Camus and Fanon was vindicated; the slave became master, and created slaves. The slave master created a “shadowy other.” Israel had emerged from the historical shadows determined to take her place in the company of nations; an ambition no decent conscience could object to. But the price of her emergence was bitter and heavy; and it continues. That price indeed, neither Israel nor ourselves have yet counted up. But we do know a few of the human items who have been placed on the block of Israeli hegemony. They include some one and a half million refugees, whom Israel has created in the process of creating herself.

Coinage of Israel

And let us not hesitate to state the price in Israeli coinage. Something like this; not only a dismal fate for foreign and indigenous victims, but the failure to create new forms of political and social life for her own citizens. The coinage of Israel is stamped with the imperialist faces whose favor she has courted; the creation of an elite of millionaires, generals and entrepreneurs. And the price is being paid by Israel’s Oriental Jews, the poor, the excluded, prisoners. Do we seek, analogies for this “sublime adventure of return”? They are not hard to come by. But they do not exist, alas, in the dreams of Zionist rhetoricians; they exist rather in the real world, where Zionist violence and repression joins the violence and repression of the great (and little) powers; a common method, a common dead end.

It is entirely logical for instance, that Russia, which crushed the Czechs, is now in the process of crushing the Ukrainians, and bottling the brains of political dissidents on the shelves of psychiatric morgues. It is entirely logical that the U.S., which determined to crush the Vietnamese, also spent a considerable part of the ‘60’s “mopping up” political dissidents at home. Imperialism has no favorites; it freezes all it touches. It is thus not to be wondered at that torture has been applied to Israeli citizens as well as to suspect Palestinian terrorists. It is logical that Israeli workers are exploited, even while the indigenous peasants are rooted out and their villages destroyed. Logical too, that racist ideology which brought the destruction of the Jewish communities at the hands of the Nazis should now be employed by the state of Israeli, fostering the myth of the “barbarian Arab,” and of Israel the “sublime expression of the liberation of the Jewish people.”

If only a people could know itself! If only a people could stand back from the welter of claim, the barrage of propaganda, the blood myths of divine election, the rhetoric which assures it that its case before history is unique and virtuous and in fact unassailable! If that could happen, Israeli would see, as indeed some of her own resisters, some of her own victims, some of her own friends, do see; that she is rapidly evolving into the image of her ancient adversaries. That her historic adventure, which gave her the unassailable right to “judge the nations,” has veered off into an imperial misadventure; that she carries in the world, the stigmata of the settler nation; that she is ranged not at the side of those she once stood with, and succored and protected from extinction; the poor, the despised, the victims of the powers of this world.

Sacred Books 

No. she has closed those books, her sacred books. Her prophets shed no light upon her politics. Or more exactly to the point, she has not passed from a dispossessed people to a democratic state, as she would claim; she has passed from a dispossessed people to an imperial entity. And this (I say it with a sinking heart) is to the loss of all the world; to her own loss, and to the loss of Palestinians, and Americans, and Jews in the diaspora, and Jews in Russia, and the Pope in the Vatican, and Vietnamese, and Cambodians, and South Africans, and Chileans. For it is of moment to us all (I almost said of supreme moment) that Jews retain their own soul, their own books, their own vivid sense of alternate paths to the light, so that Jews might be the arbiter and advocate of the downtrodden of the earth. On the scales of the spirit, as the nations are finally judged, it is a tragedy beyond calculating, that the State of Israel should become the repository, and finally the tomb, of the Jewish soul. That in place of Jewish compassion, Israel should legislate armaments and yet more armaments. That in place of Jewish compassion for the poor and forgotten, Israel should legislate evictions, uprootings, destruction of goods, imprisonment, terrorism. That in place of Jewish peaceableness, Israel should legislate a law of expanding violence. That in place of Jewish prophetic wisdom, Israel should launch an Orwellian nightmare of double talk, racism, fifth-rate sociological jargon, aimed at proving its racial superiority to the people it has crushed. My sense of loss here is something more than academic. Let me say this; when an American is resisting the murder of the Vietnamese people, one of his chief sources of strength is the conviction that around the world, there exists a spiritual network of those who have put their lives to the same resistance. A network of conscience. One is joined in this way, to Blacks and Cubans and Brazilians and Chileans and so many others, who have made it their life’s work to create a better method than murder for dealing with human conflict. Now at any moment of my struggle, in the underground or in prison, did resisters such as I take comfort from the conduct of the state of Israel? Could we believe the rhetoric that she was packaging and huckstering in the world? I must answer no, in the name of all. Rather than being comforted, I was tempered and sobered. I knew that I must take into account two bitter facts about Israel: 1) that if I were a conscientious Jew in Israel I would have to live as I was living in America; that is, in resistance against the state. And 2) the reaction of Israel to my conscience would be exactly the reaction of the United States; that is to say, I would either be hunted by the police, or in prison.

Which brings me to a reflection nearer home; the American Jewish community and the Viet Nam war: by and large, that community’s leadership, I stress leadership, fervent in support of Israel, was also fervent in support of Nixon. It was a massive support indeed; and it did not gather in a political vacuum. Nixon is a political manipulator of great astuteness; religion and religious interests are part of the fulcrum he exerts on world events. So he was able to mute the horrific facts of the Viet Nam war in light of Jewish concern for the wellbeing of Israel. The plain fact was that Mrs. Meir wanted Phantom jets and Nixon wanted re-election. Another fact was also plain, if of less moment to either party; in Nixon’s first term alone some six million Southeast Asians had been maimed, bombed, displaced, tortured, imprisoned or killed. This was one of those peculiar facts which must be called free-floating; it was a statistic, it did not signify. To put the matter brutally, many American Jewish leaders were capable of ignoring the Asian holocaust in favor of economic and military aid to Israel. Those of us who resisted the war had to live with that fact. The fate of the Vietnamese was as unimportant to the Zionists in our midst as was the state of the Palestinians.

But I venture to suggest that it is not merely we, nor the Vietnamese who must live with that fact. So must Israel. So must the American Jews.

If there is an ultimate hope in all this one must, of course, pay tribute to the great majority of the Jewish community which refused the bait offered by Nixon, and peddled by their own leaders. Their acute and legitimate concern for Israel never became a weapon against Vietnamese survival. They refused that immoral choice offered them by a leader who would make a price of the safety of one people, the extinction of another. As you may recall, the American Jewish community rejected that choice, and for that we must honor them.

Ceaseless Rage

I cannot but reflect how strong is the irony of this occasion; a Jesuit priest speaking of the sins of Israel. A member of the classic oppressor church calls to account the historic victims of Christian persecution. History has spun us about, a gap of blind man’s bluff. In America, in my church, I am a Jew. I am scarcely granted a place to teach, a place to worship, a place to announce the truths I live by. I stand in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pay for the victims of our ceaseless rage, I stand in front of the White House. And a question arises from both powers; how shall we deal with this troublesome Jew?

How does a Jesuit, a member of the church elite, come to such trouble? How does the son of the oppressor come to be oppressed? Even while the oppressed, the Zionist, the state of Israel, becomes the oppressor? I can offer only the clumsiest of clues.

The power of the Jew, as indeed the power of the priest, arises from the questions which his life raises. It comes from no other source. It cannot come from adherence to the power of this world. When the priest becomes the civil servant of the Papal State, he loses his true dignity, he becomes a secular nonentity. His passion for justice is blunted, his sense of the sufferings of the world grows dim and abstract. And the same holds for the Jew.

And I venture, for the Arab. Human life today, if it means anything, is meant to raise a cry against legitimated murder. Our lives are meant to be a question mark before humanity, whether we are Arab, Jew, or Christian. When a Zionist or American Catholic or an Arab Apologist loses that momentous dignity, he becomes a zero, his soul is torn in two. Let Amos Kenan, the Israeli writer, speak the bitter truth: “I believe that Zionism came to establish a shelter for a persecuted people, and not to persecute other people. Even when facts strike me in the face and prove to me ex post facto that Zionism was nothing but a useful tool to deprive the Palestinian Arab people of their homeland, I will stick to the lie.”

Let him stick to the lie. But let him also know, the lie sticks to him. It sticks in the throat, it sticks to the very soul. To the point where a Christian must continue to ask of Israel those questions which Israel proscribes, ignores, fears. Where indeed are your men of wisdom? Where are your peacemakers? Where are your prophets? Who among you speaks the truth to power? Where are the voices that abhor militarism, torture, bombing, degrading alliances with the great powers? Israel knows the answers. She has dealt with “this people,” who are her truest people. Her peacemakers, her men of truth and wisdom, are dispensed with, are disposed of. They have neither power nor voice in the affairs of the Israeli state. Many of them are in prison, or hounded from the scene, living in exile. They are equivalent to Palestinians; no voice, no vote; non-persons.

Savage Triumph

These are among the most sorrowful facts of the world we live in. Israel, that millennial dream, belonged not only to Jews, but to all of mankind—it belonged to me. But the dream has become a nightmare; Israel has not abolished poverty and misery; rather, she manufactures human waste, the byproducts of her entrepreneurs, her military-industrial complex. Israel has not written justice into law; she has turned the law of nature to a mockery, creating ghettoes, disenfranchised peoples, exiles, hopeless minorities, cheap labor forces, Palestinian migrant workers. Israel has not freed the captives; she has expanded the prison system, perfected her espionage, exported on the world market that expensive blood ridden commodity, the savage triumph of the technologized West; violence and the tools of violence.

In Israel, military might is increasingly both the method and the goal of political existence. Her absurd generals, her military junk, are paraded on national holidays before the narcoticized public. The model is not the kingdom of peace, it is an Orwellian transplant, taken bodily from Big Brother’s bloody heart. In Israel, the democratic formula is twisted out of all recognition; the citizens exist for the well-being of the state; it follows, as the imperialist corollary, that that measure of terrorism and violence and murder is applied to dissidents, as shall guarantee the “well-being of the state,” as the ominous phrase is understood by those in power.

Who will save us from such saviors? I venture to say; neither Egypt nor Libya nor Syria nor Al Fatah nor Golda Meir nor General Dayan; neither Migs nor Phantom jets nor nuclear skills. After such saviors do the gentiles lust.

The present course, I suggest, leads to the same dead end for both sides. The settler state and the long settled state, both are in mortal danger, daily increasing, of metamorphosing into slave states, clients of the fascist super powers. At home, a slave mentality is progressively created; the reduction of rights of citizens, slave labor forces, slave wages, the domination of slave masters, politicized police, the militarization of national goals and policies.

Then the same process is in internationalized. Such a nation inevitably becomes the instrument of great-power politics. It serves as a foreign military for one or another of the world powers, to that purpose everything is mobilized, including the truth itself.

To demobilize the truth may be one useful way of putting our task. Other terms occur; to demilitarize the truth, to demythologize it. In any case, to snatch the truth from its betrayers and belittlers. I wish you well in the task.

Dear Friends, my concluding words are addressed especially to the Arab peoples. My argument with you is also made in a spirit of love and even deep concern. You have suffered greatly from colonialism and colonization and your demand for justice and self-determination deserved more attention than it has received.  Yet my central argument with you is ultimately my argument with the Jewish people, in the sense that both of you have ignored your own symbols and history. But in different ways. Israel has betrayed her exodus by turning it into military conquests. And the Arabs have often betrayed their resistance to rhetorical violence and blind terrorism. The question of the weekend is: What else can we do?

Some two or  three years ago Eqbal Ahmed suggested, I believe, at one of these meetings, a massive and worldwide reversal of symbols on the part of the Palestinian people. If I understand him correctly he was saying something like this: What if the Arabs throughout the world would raise a great cry and implement their cry after the manner of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez? What if your cry became “let my people go?” What if your people equipped boats to enter Israeli harbors to speak the truth and implement the Palestinians’ right to return? What if you were to begin knocking on doors of the embassies—Russian, American and Israeli—demanding peace, demanding the restoration of your  rights and your homes. Taking into account at the same time Jewish fears, welcoming Jews to a community of compassion, welcoming Israel’s people to your sides among your people? “

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