Category: Current events and social commentary

Viewing Atticus through today’s eyes

To Kill a Mockingbird has long been my favorite book. I’ve become less vocal about it, however, as Atticus Finch, the white lawyer who defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama, is reevaluated through modern sensibilities.  The hero has been taken down from his pedestal. Critics on the... Read more »

Tired of the arguments against gun control

I had a different post written for today, but a personal focus felt crass after a week when 19 innocent fourth graders were gunned down in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas. That came 10 days after 10 African Americans were shot in a Buffalo grocery store. In both cases, the gunman was an 18-year-old male... Read more »

Still riding the “L”

Taking the “L” home on a Sunday morning, I watched a woman give $10 to a man who was begging. The man noticed another $10 bill in her wallet and asked whether he could have it. She handed it over. Having just come from church, I remembered Mother Teresa’s famous statement about seeing Jesus in... Read more »
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Where is the line between frugal and cheap?

A restaurant check showed a $7 upcharge for substituting fruit for meat. The server had said that we could substitute anything, not mentioning a charge.  Although irritated, I wondered whether begrudging a few dollars when restaurants are hurting crosses the line from frugal into cheap. (I’m sidestepping the issue of feeling deceived.) But if it... Read more »

Shed the mask, get a cold

Illinois lifted its mask mandate on February 28. On March 9 I came down with a cold. Guess I’m being punished for support of lifting the mandate — although masks were intended as protection against COVID-19, not a cold. (A COVID test was negative.) Although scientists have not come to a consensus about masks’ effectiveness... Read more »

The working class and higher education

This is a tale about class differences and higher education. My sister’s daughters are both business majors. The older one, 23, a finance major, just began her career at a major corporation. The younger, 22, will graduate next spring with a combined BS/MS in data analytics and go to work for a major consulting company. ... Read more »
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The anxiety about misspeaking with people different from oneself

Recently a person I’d just met accused me of being intrusive when I asked where she lived and whether she’d returned to working in the office yet. Although I didn’t think the questions were too personal, she said I’d crossed a line and was interrogating her, soliciting information and not sharing anything about myself. I... Read more »

Criticize US, but don’t despair

A June Gallup poll found that only 43 percent of Americans, and just 31 percent of Democrats, are extremely proud to be American. This Democrat isn’t surprised. A pandemic rages, yet in some states only one-third of adults have been vaccinated. Most of the unvaccinated say they won’t be vaccinated, arguing for a right to... Read more »

How much space do you need?

For those of us who live in small apartments or condos, our homes added to the challenges of the pandemic. We lacked a variety of rooms to offer a change of scene during isolation. Now that I’m going out again, I no longer feel cooped up in my 3½ rooms. But the experience of confinement... Read more »
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Ambivalence might be the desired stance

As I was lamenting the departure of the Chicago Tribune columnists who took Tribune owner Alden Global Capital’s buyout offer, my favorite New York Times columnist published his last column. Frank Bruni’s June 20 piece was a gem. Reflecting on 10 years as a columnist, Bruni wondered whether the dogmatism of political commentators had contributed... Read more »