Posts in category "Current events and social commentary"

Irony in Jane Austen bank note

Irony in Jane Austen bank note
When my friend Molly, another Jane Austen lover, informed me that our beloved author would be on the UK’s new £10 note, I replied that I wish I could spend one. Thinking more creatively, Molly said she would like to frame one. The design of the note was unveiled by the Bank of England this... Read more »

Significance in Brooks column about class “signifiers”

Last week New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about how the upper class perpetuates privilege for its children through “cultural signifiers . . . that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class.” A firestorm of comments erupted on Twitter and in Times responses, with many bashing Brooks and... Read more »

Hedy Weiss has the right to criticize

If I had read Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss’s review of Pass Over before hell broke loose in the theater community over it, I probably would not have pronounced it bigoted. Weiss may have missed the mark in some of her unfavorable comments about the current Steppenwolf production, but critics miss the mark at times. Much... Read more »

An introvert searches for ways to resist

Calls for toning down the political rhetoric — in reaction to last week’s shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and four others in Washington, DC — have felt perversely comforting to me. Oh, I’m not agreeing with the Republicans who blame the left’s anti-Trump rhetoric for the environment that led to Scalise’s shooting.... Read more »

The Old South persists amidst the New South

The states of the Confederacy have long intrigued me. As the rest of the country morphed into standardized American culture, my thinking went, the Deep South was different. I didn’t mean different in a good way. I wondered how much racism persists in the states that went to war over slavery. Every time I traveled... Read more »

The IRS help need help

A check from the IRS for thousands of dollars arrived in the mail last week, and I wasn’t happy. I sighed and shook my head, knowing that I would not cash the check and would be on the phone with the IRS for too long. The check was for $4,524.71. Aside from an enclosure promoting the... Read more »

If you tune out Trump, make it temporary

I really didn’t want to keep writing about Donald Trump, but here I go again. After the election, I commented to a number of friends, “It’s going to be an uninformed four years for me. I can’t stand hearing his voice, seeing his face, or reading about him.” More than one person replied that she... Read more »

After the march

After the march
What an exhilarating day Saturday was. After 10½ weeks of postelection shock, sadness, and despair, the Women’s March on Chicago left me feeling hopeful again. Grant Park was so jammed my five friends and I, perched on Columbus Drive just north of Congress, never figured out where the speakers’ platform was. I couldn’t hear every... Read more »

Dear Donald

Dear Donald, My supporters on the left think I’ve been foolish to be gracious during the transition. They say it’s naive to give you the benefit of the doubt. Since the election I too have wondered whether I’m naive. Do you remember that after we met at the White House, I said: “However you campaigned, once... Read more »

Practicing talking to strangers

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the difficulty of finding meaningful personal interaction every day — one of the three essentials, along with exercise and mental stimulation, that a speaker prescribed for a happy retirement. Not long after that I heard about a book, When Strangers Meet: How People You Don’t Know... Read more »