Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The attack of the racist bananas

It goes without saying that, being politically non-correct and even worse, white, I am a "racist." So are you, unless you belong to a Certified Victim Class™. Even self-proclaimed anti-racists (white) are unconsciously racist. Their children are racists in training. Their unborn are womb racists. Their eggs and spermatozoa are racist. Their genes are racist. Their DNA is racist.

As used as we are to that sort of thing, your blogger was brought up short by the headline of a linked story at Gates of Vienna:

Ministers respond to racist banana attack

The article appeared in something called The Local: Italy's News in English, apparently a news outlet for Italians who (a) belong to the New Red Brigades and (b) read English. Throwing bananas is racist if they follow a trajectory toward a black politician, especially a woman. 
Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge was speaking at a Democratic Party (PD) rally on Friday when an unidentified spectator threw bananas at her, missing the stage but sparking reactions of disgust from across the country.

Shocking cases of abuse have multiplied against Kyenge, an Italian citizen born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, climaxing earlier this month with a member of the anti-immigration Northern League party who likened her to an orangutan.
Being a retrograde sort, I can't quite wrap my head around the idea that one person throwing a banana or two at a politician is part of a series of "shocking cases of abuse." Comparing her to an orangutan, if that actually happened and is not just part of the Left's feverish imagination, certainly counts as abuse and deserves scorn. Why, it's like calling somebody a racist.

Let's see, however, what some Italians have against Minister Cecile Kyenge. In her case, she is not a minister in the sense that Jesse (Shakedown) Jackson is a "reverend" albeit widely unrevered. Kyenge is the Immigration Minister. Her job is to promote more immigration, especially from Africa, to Italy.
Tensions were running high even before the banana incident, after members of the country's right-wing Forza Nuova association left life-size dolls doused in fake blood at the rally.
The group was protesting over Kyenge's campaign to help children born in Italy to foreign parents obtain citizenship more easily.
In other words, she wants to institute birthright citizenship and chain migration in Italy, along U.S. lines.

Kyenge was gracious enough to say, "I do not believe the problem lies with me. There are some people who are not happy, who are showing their discontent, and it is my job to listen to that discontent," she told journalists. "I have to draw out the better side of Italy." The better side being those who want Italy to be something other than Italy. 

If she actually believes it's part of her job to listen to the "discontent," rather than try to stamp it out -- a dubious assumption -- she might learn something. Namely that if the discontented are "not happy," it's because they do not see why land that their families have inhabited for hundreds of years should be turned into a Third World catchment area by government decree.
Italy, which for decades was a land of emigration, has relatively little experience in dealing with immigration.

While millions of Italians fleeing poverty emigrated to the United States, Latin America and other parts of Europe throughout the 20th century, the Mediterranean country has only had to absorb large numbers of immigrants over the past 20 years or so, mainly from Africa.
Ah. It's a matter of inexperience. Give Italians another 20 years and they'll get used to being colonized. After all, back in the waning days of the Roman Empire, they managed it with no bother except half a millennium of social breakdown known as the Dark Ages.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Seen by half-light

In the periods of half-light at dawn and at dusk the everyday world becomes transformed into strange and fascinating shapes. Ugly things soften their outlines and sink into a background of subtle shapes. Ordinary objects become invested with a new grace, and, for a brief spell, acquire certain transient qualities which fade once more into practical realities as morning breaks, or darkness falls and blots them out.
... These periods of between-lights have a strange affinity with the psychic world, and to those who are familiar with the psychic life there is nothing unnatural about this affinity, any more than there is abut the dawn and the dusk in the physical world.

Phoebe Payne and Laurence J. Bendit,
The Psychic Sense

No one doubts that our mental life is divided into a perceptual category and a cognitive category. The first lets us experience physical sensations -- things we see, hear, taste, and so on. These perceptions seem to be arriving from outside of us, although obviously the mind must process them. The second category revolves around our thoughts, beliefs, questioning, and emotions.

Life would be a lot simpler if those two modes were all that affected us.

But "sensitives," or people with psychic receptivity, say we are in a continuous rainstorm of non-sensory, non-cognitive impressions from more-subtle planes of reality. Psychics are particularly impressionable to these phenomena. More often than not this is just a natural gift, not anything they worked to obtain, although they often have some bother trying to understand why they perceive things that others don't.

Psychics almost one and all claim that the rest of us share their paranormal receptivity -- we just ignore it. I think their special abilities feel so routine to them that they underestimate the barriers ordinary people have to overcome to even begin obtaining accurate conscious psychic impressions.

I've met a lot of psychics of varying degrees of development. There's no doubt that they have different skill levels. A few left me with the feeling they wanted very much to be channels for communication with the dead, pick up valid information about others' lives from items the subjects had owned, and so on ... but were kidding themselves. Still, the fact that psychics aren't equally talented doesn't mean paranormal abilities don't exist, any more than running is a fantasy because some can run faster than others.

Sensitives ask me why I'm talking with them or how I got interested in the subject. I can't supply a very satisfactory answer. At most I fumblingly try to express why I believe the paranormal, especially that involving extra-sensory perception, offers clues to a larger truth and reality than our senses or reasoning can. I add that I, personally, have no psychic faculties. Mind reading and taking messages from the departed are not up my street.

One, when I delivered that disclaimer, a psychic who was giving me a reading stared at me in disbelief. "You could be sitting in my chair," she said. "I've almost never met a client with so much receptivity."

I didn't agree then, and I still don't think I'm psychic in any way I'm conscious of. Well, all right, I seem now and then to pick up vibes from places -- usually when they make me uncomfortable, though there's no objective reason why they should. I'm oppressed by crowds, not just rowdy ones but some I ought to groove with, like customers at library book sales. Something about so many impressions striking me at once, hard to handle ...

With more study, and more living, since that encounter at the psychic reading I reckon I've reached a deeper understanding. We who aren't consciously aware of psychic influences in our environment still receive them, and their effects (especially  when we set up habitual defenses against noticing them) can scale from annoyance to emotional wreckage.

Those effects are hard to process because they feel like they're coming from ourselves, or the overt behavior of people we interact with. Many a time we take them for emotional states that we are responsible for, even if we don't know why.

Examples: Things are humming along but you suddenly feel depressed, or anxious. You can't pin it down to anything. It just invaded you.

You're checking out an apartment you're considering renting, it seems to be just the ticket. Yet ... it's not right. You don't even want to hear the rest of the real estate agent's sales pitch, want to get the hell out.

A rhyme dating back to the 17th century, concocted by an Oxford student:

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and I know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

Of course some of these feelings have matter-of-fact explanations, either stemming from the environment or an ordinary psychological stimulus. But according to many psychics, they could have nothing to do with us. We are unconsciously "tuned in" to metaphysical influences.

They fall into two main types: thoughts (or, some say, disembodied "thought forms") originating with living people; and projections from spirits on the Other Side. The latter may be deliberately malevolent, but evidence suggests the inner states evoked in us are more often fallout from the concerns, anxieties, or obsessions of the spirits.

People who cannot acknowledge such influences, or are simply unaware that they exist, are at an extreme disadvantage. Misinterpreting the possible cause, they look for it in all the wrong places: other people in physical reality they imagine are harming them, or as noted, some fault in themselves.

I have read that great relief can sometimes come just from recognizing that our unpleasant feelings may be external, thrust on us. It's not necessary (and probably impossible most of the time) to determine the source, and you might not want to even if you could. My own very limited experience along these lines suggests there might be something to the theory.

Constantly picking up emotions from others, in this world or from those who have passed on, seems to be most common among those with introverted or artistic personalities. While it may be their cross to bear, the load might be lightened by some study of psychical research and consulting a few psychics who can get a hit from whoever or whatever is influencing them. (In extreme cases, fortunately rare, corrupt spirits "attach" themselves to individuals.) I recommend seeing several psychics until you find one you strongly connect with intuitively, not just one you like or is impressive.

Finally, in this half-light world, intriguing mystery and supernal beauty exist, which the sensitive person can benefit from while others miss it. "Ordinary objects become invested with a new grace." The fading of the light and its gradual reappearance take us deeper into soul, ours and the world's.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Sir or Madam, Please do not be a gun crime victim

With every passing day, what passes for reality comes more to resemble a dream world, where the nonsensical is normal, scenes shift instantaneously, and the characters are people you know in waking life but behave like they never actually would.

Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club describes the latest (well, after a day it is surely no longer the latest) example of our public officials chasing their own tails and announcing that they're about to meet their goal. Like so many of his brief essays, "Lying as a Way of Life" is a miniature classic of calling out humbug.
Society is increasingly unable to solve its pressing problems not for lack of a solution or resources, but primarily from an unshakable determination not to face politically inconvenient facts.  Take for example, Chicago’s new crime-fighting strategy. “Chicago police are going to hand deliver letters to people suspected of committing or being victims of gun crimes in an effort to stem violence in the city, according to a new report.”

This is a triumph of PR over policy, fiction over reality and madness over sanity. Yet all the same everyone will sign up to the letter scheme like it might actually work even though they know it hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell.  
The strategy is not to find actual solutions to social problems -- that would put too many nanny state pod people out of work -- but to strike poses of undertaking bold initiatives. Almost essential to the process is upbeat, stirring nomenclature. "No Child Left Behind." "Head Start." "Taking a Bite out of Crime." "A National Dialogue on Gum Disease."

Making real progress invariably entails demanding responsibility, weeding out incompetence, refusing the path of least resistance, and other measures that are bound to be unpopular with many. No -- unpopular is yesterday's language. Today the danger is offending, especially offending members of Certified Victim Groups™ who may not know much, but know how to game the system with displays of reflexive outrage.
No one’s interested in fixing anything. It’s more lucrative to lie, cheat and steal. But not until the public rediscovers the truth and the facts once again  can the slightest progress be made made towards fixing anything. Yes, money is short. But far more importantly, sanity is in even shorter supply.  
Of course there is nothing new about being economical with the truth. That's part of human nature. But where it used to be confined to reservations like advertising, salesmanship, and campaign promises, there was a widely held notion that in the actual business of governing you put strict limits on it.

The Lying State is a state of mind that begins in small ways. The recorded message that tells you every 30 seconds for half an hour while you're on hold that "your call is very important to us." What kind of fool do they take you for? If your call was important to them, they would find a way to get you connected almost immediately. "Easy-open" packaging that is tough to open, or sometimes won't open at all. "Your money cheerfully refunded if you're not satisfied." "Open immediately: Important information" (a pitch to apply for a new credit card). "Call now to speak with a home roofing expert," when your expert is sitting at a toy desk in a call center in Falling Pines, Georgia or in India.

The process works, not for you but for its sponsors. So it seeps over into other areas of life. Charities that tug at your heart strings and pay their executives big bucks and their volunteers sweet nothing. Community uplift schemes that uplift winning politicians' political allies.

And eventually, the government will pursue any fatuous program, like hand delivering letters tied with ribbons to "people suspected of committing or being victims of gun crimes." Don't offend anyone. Beg. As Fernandez says, even the functionaries behind the farce know these childish moves are a waste of time and money, but the important thing is to issue press releases and hold news conferences to show they're doing something. Plus scoring points for exhibitionist compassion. They're the winners! Winners win. And losers lose.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Revving up the piano

Until recently, the piano -- like many other musical instruments -- hadn't changed much since the latter part of the 19th century.  That was then. This is now.

It's not a synthesizer but a traditional (in sound) concert piano from the prestigious German manufacturer Schimmel. The perfect gift for your Liberace-in-training nephew.

This sporty model also appeals to the young virtuoso set. Rumor has it that Lang Lang bought one for his idyllic retreat 20 miles north of Gander, Newfoundland.

From turbojet manufacturer Land & Hudson, this model includes a plexiglass head-up display. In lieu of a paper score, the pianist reads the notes projected electronically on the screen. Another feature nervous soloists will appreciate: the unit contains a sensor which can tell whether the operator is about to play something wrong. In that case a red LED illuminates and the readout flashes various messages, such as "PULL UP! PULL UP! Your left index finger is two keys below position" and "TOO SLOW APPROACH TO B minor 7th chord."

Unfortunately, the designer Sir Reel Blogg-Sweeney reckoned without the Union of Page Turners (motto: "One Good Turn Deserves Another"), which has sought an injunction and threatened to picket any concert using this piano.

Designed primarily for social gatherings, this piano serves not only for music and as a fashion statement with its Swedish sub-minimalist aesthetic, but can accommodate up to seven drinkers (or eight if the pianist is indulging). The case includes a liquor storage cabinet and concealed wine bucket.

A variant on the first Schimmel model, but with lacquered wood from the ultra-rare Bangladesh Sudoku Tree.

Not merely a triumph of pure form. A technological marvel lies beneath its graceful contours.

Feeling tired, Lisztless when you sit down to play? No worries! This honey has got your back, with its PowerKey™ function. Play-by-wire controls supply the oomph. You just supply the fingering!

Want to record your performance? You can skip the tedious microphones, cables, amplifier, and mixing board. Every time you touch a key, this model makes a note of it.

If you like being the center of attention, this Zinger 3SE is just the job for you. From the brain of a former Porsche engineer who took some curves a little too fast -- it is not known what happened to the lady in question -- and has been holding court in a Swiss sanatorium for the past 25 years, the 3SE is steady on the bumpiest scores.

Here, take the keys. Go on, you know you want to! Take this baby out on the Immanuel Velikovsky Memorial Freeway, and pass every other pianist on the road like they're standing still. Whip it! You can do the whole Rachmaninov Second Sonata and the Zinger 3SE won't even be breathing hard. When you get back to the showroom you'll be begging me to get you on the waiting list. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is there a priest in the house?

The Greek Orthodox Church has survived on its own since the 11th century, through wars and Turkish occupation. But it now faces the greatest threat of all -- "international lenders."
ATHENS, JULY 15 - The Greek government is being squeezed by international lenders to slash the salaries of about 9,500 priests to meet demands from international lenders to keep reducing expenditures, which could lead to resistance from the Church and clerics. There is no separation of Church and State in Greece. According to a report in the newspaper Parapolitika cited by GreekReporter, representatives of the lenders revived the proposal that had been set in 2011 to the government of then premier George Papandreou, according to which the state should stop paying the salaries of priests or at best to share it with the Church.
I had no idea the Greek state paid priests, and find the idea objectionable. But I am American, not Greek and not Orthodox (although I was very much taken with the dark and mysterious beauty of Orthodox churches I visited in Athens). Separation of church and state is one of the better developments to come out of the American and French revolutions. Still, it doesn't do to get wound up about it. Much of the most glorious and noble art in Western history was a product of an alliance between rich families (ironically, many of them bankers) and the Church in Renaissance Italy.

If the Greeks want to support their priests from the public purse, and Greek people are happy to wear the arrangement, then let it be. And it's no business of the international banking elite to tell them otherwise. Here is a sample of what the European monetary union has unleashed -- the relatively affluent countries making the rules that poorer countries can't meet, then acting as loan sharks. "Nice little church you got there, be a shame if something happened to it."

No doubt the Greek Orthodox Church involves a lot of politics and theological nonsense, but God still dwells in its house. The moneylenders that Jesus was so contemptuous of are unlikely to succeed where for a thousand years all the other threats from men have failed.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Because they could

Let us take our comfort as it comes. Six jurors seem to have based their verdict on evidence and refused to bow to racial politics. Legally, George Zimmerman is a free man.

Of course he will never be truly free throughout the course of his life. Death threats will be an almost daily routine. The mob still wants vengeance. Maybe the federal Department of Justice will put him in unconstitutional and immoral double jeopardy by ginning up some kind of "civil rights violation" charges, as they did to the cops who had been cleared in the case of Rodney King.

That will be Zimmerman's cross to bear. We -- all of us Americans -- have our own. We've been carrying it since the day the perverted charge against Zimmerman and farce of a trial began.

Commentator after commentator (including even some generally sympathetic to black racism) have noted the lack of a serious case for Zimmerman to answer. Their op-eds and newspaper columns and blogs have wondered, one way and another: how could the Florida legal system have perpetrated this gross violation of justice and decency?

Explanations come in various sizes, shapes, and (especially) colors, but it's ultimately pretty simple. The state persecuted Zimmerman, with the backing of Eric ("I am the law") Holder, on behalf of an ethnic group because they could.

It remains to be seen what the fallout will be, but The Powers had every reason to believe that unless Zimmerman paid an unconscionable price, the racial grievance industry would endanger lives and property. So they had to be bought off with a man's life.

The Powers also knew that if a stitch-up put Zimmerman away for decades, no one would be an activist for him. Most whites not permanently brain damaged by pathological liberalism, and probably some blacks (although they've been pretty damn quiet about it), believed he acted in defense of his life. Had the jury members sacrificed him the whites and others on his side would have grumbled for a few days, then flopped on the couch, picked up the remote, and tuned in to ESPN or Dancing With the Stars.

The DOJ's and state's legal paramilitary knew that even if their absurd charges and fumbling courtroom antics didn't draw blood this time, they would be seen to have shown "good faith." In the bigger picture, they won. They showed what can happen to any of us if we defend ourselves, families, or friends against an attack by a member of one of the protected classes (i.e., non-whites). They will watch and wait for their next chance. It probably won't be long.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Lawrence rides again

David Lean's immense 1962 biographical film Lawrence of Arabia has been re-released in Blu-ray, and not before time. The splendid new digital transfer captures both its majesty and detail as no earlier video has done. It's a greater movie than I remembered it from the two earlier versions I saw, one in a theater and one as a VHS tape.

Technically this is about the best Blu-ray disc authoring that has ever come my way. On a decent home theater system, it probably boasts more natural color tones and sharper outlines than you would have seen in almost any movie theater on its original release -- and the sound is unquestionably upgraded. Of course it's in the original widescreen aspect ratio, probably 2.35 to 1.

One courageous thing David Lean did in Lawrence was being the first director to use the widescreen dimensions for something other than cast-of-thousands spectacle. Even the battle scenes are on a human scale, probably historically correct: the Arab tribal "armies" seem to number in the hundreds, or sometimes a few dozen.

Not that there isn't plenty of eye food. I won't bang on about the landscapes -- they're part of the movie's legend, sometimes imitated but never surpassed, and overpowering in Blu-ray. The atmosphere of the British headquarters in Cairo and Jerusalem is designed with loving care.

The script, credited to Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, isn't afraid to settle down and explore the ambiguities of Lawrence's relationship with the British army command. The result is an artful blend of the psychological (at least on the British side -- the scenes with the Arabs are less convincing) and the emotionally stirring.

Another courageous act on Lean's part was casting Peter O'Toole, then unknown to movie audiences, in the lead of a very expensive picture. The financiers must have been sweating blood. O'Toole was brave as well. He has to fixate the camera in his aura for a good part of the three and a quarter hour running time (this edition; others have been re-cut in various ways), a daunting task for any actor.

In addition, he constantly risks being upstaged by distinguished character actors like Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Claude Rains, and Jose Ferrer. (The last-named is pure genius. His portrayal of a sinister Turkish army officer who watches the beating of Lawrence and, presumably, later rapes him is unforgettably chilling. Yet on the surface he seems to be doing practically nothing. Well, as Larry Olivier said to Dustin Hoffman after Hoffman stayed up all night to play a character who'd been up all night, "Dear boy, it's called acting.")

Peter O'Toole rises to the occasion. It's a pleasure to see him before he developed an extremely high opinion of himself and drank his meals.

The rest of the cast lets the side down one way or another. Omar Sharif chews the scenery, infinite though it is, as an Arab tribal leader called Sherif Ali. There should have been a new Sherif in town. Anthony Quinn, as the head of an opposing tribe, plays his character brilliantly -- the trouble is, the character he plays is Anthony Quinn. Anthony Quayle, renowned English stage actor (I used to listen to records of him reading poetry), is curiously bland. As an American reporter following in Lawrence's dust and trying to write his legend, Arthur Kennedy is suffocatingly dull.

The journalistic subplot strikes me as the movie's only serious misstep. What are we supposed to infer from it? That the famous Lawrence was a creation of a newspaper hack? But the whole rest of the film illustrates quite the reverse. 

Never mind. Lawrence of Arabia is a "great film" that actually is a great film. And at last it's presented in a format that allows its brilliance to be appreciated anew.

Friday, July 05, 2013

The end of the world as we smoked it

Barring a few urban safe houses ("cigar lounges") and private homes, you are unlikely to see anyone smoking a cigar in today's America. Those who enjoy the habit must meet in isolation, like early Christians in Roman catacombs.

I don't smoke and I can't argue the health case. Cigars are probably unhealthful. In other words, they are like millions upon millions of other hazards, including automobiles, mines where some go to work every day, power tools, tornadoes, &c. Danger lurks everywhere.

But cigars have gone the way of so many relatively innocent pleasures of a long-ago more relaxed era, including conversation and middle-class home piano playing. With the loss goes another: the glorious frivolity of the cigar box.

If they lower themselves to take notice of cigar box decoration, today's art connoisseurs would insist that it is not art but Kitsch. Whatever. It offers a window into another time and popular taste.

When I looked on Google Images for a few examples, I was surprised at the variety of styles.

A few associate cigar smoking with wealth and sophistication, as above. They seem to be relatively rare, however.

Not Kitsch in my estimation (below): delicate draftsmanship and refined beauty.

Others express the giddy romanticism of pre-Great War exotica.
Imagination runs wild, to put it mildly. Mark Antony was unaware that tobacco existed. Classicism was often invoked, although Greek maidens and Roman senators were not known for their smoking practices.

Fraternal organizations -- in this case, the Freemasons -- had their own dedicated cigar storage.

Cigar box designers were not inhibited about calling up images of satisfied prosperity.

Not to be outdone ...
Finally, let us not forget the inventor of the exploding cigar.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Good-bye, cruel world, I'm a baby boomer

I bookmarked this article a while back, thinking it might be worth a few lines, then forgot about it until I found it among the electronic detritus on my hard drive today.

Our reporter, Tara Bahrampour, covers religion (or as her Washington Post bio refers to it, "immigration").  
Last spring, Frank Turkaly tried to kill himself. ... In one grim respect he is far from alone: He is part of an alarming trend among baby boomers, whose suicide rates shot up precipitously between 1999 and 2010.
Let's agree that suicide in most cases signals a human tragedy -- not necessarily the suicide itself, but the despair and often physical pain that lead to it. While I question some of the assumptions quoted in the piece, I am not criticizing  or making fun of those who have chosen their exit.

Instead this is a look at how the article is cliché-ridden and soaked in false ideas.

To begin, take that "alarming trend." Every time I read "trend" (or that hack-writer standby, "growing trend") in a newspaper article, I flash back to a scene in Calvin Trillin's novel Floater. In an editorial meeting, one of the reporters remarks idly about having read of several people recently who drowned in their own backyard swimming pools. The managing editor snaps to attention: "Is that a trend?"
As youths, boomers had higher suicide rates than earlier generations; the confluence of that with the fact that they are now beginning to grow old, when the risk traditionally goes up, has experts worried. 
Ms. Bahrampour belongs to a different generation, one that takes note of a phenomenon when "experts" give us permission to worry about it.
To those growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, America seemed to promise a limitless array of possibilities. The Great Depression and World War II were over; medical innovations such as the polio vaccine and antibiotics appeared to wipe out disease and disability; the birth-control pill sparked a sexual revolution. The economy was thriving, and as they came of age, boomers embraced new ways of living — as civil rights activists, as hippies, as feminists, as war protesters.
Judging from this paragraph, I would place the reporter's age in her 20s. She has a superficial notion of the '50s and '60s, and that based on left-wing ideology -- the '50s were a terrible time of racism and conformity, but at least there were some promising developments in medicine. Then came The Pill and things were looking up. Finally the new dawn opened with civil rights activists, hippies, feminists, and war protesters.
Exacerbating boomers’ anxiety is a sense that the world is more treacherous than when they were young, he said. Then, the communist threat and the atom bomb loomed large, but they were distant and abstract; attacks like the ones on the World Trade Center and the Boston Marathon have changed this paradigm.

“These events used to happen 6,000 miles away; now they happen here,” Arbore [another expert] said.
Distant? A few hundred miles from the coast of Florida, World War III nearly started. It was so close during the Cuban missile crisis that the American secretary of state, Dean Rusk, said later: "We [and the Soviet Union] were eyeball to eyeball." In New York, at the United Nations, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev promised us, "We will bury you."

Abstract? I can still remember the front page of the New York Daily News following a test explosion in the Pacific of a hydrogen bomb. With a photo of a towering mushroom cloud, the headline said in huge type:


Yeah, not treacherous like the world the baby boomers have to deal with now. Back then a piece of cake, a doddle, a Disney fairy tale.

This ignorant young reporter probably has no place in her "narrative" for the Soviet Union and mutual assured destruction. Communism was a phantom, the source of "anti-Communist hysteria."  But to Ms. Bahrampour, it was the best of times, with hippies, feminists, etc.
Growing up in a post-Freudian society, [baby boomers] were raised with a new vocabulary of emotional awareness and an emphasis on self-actualization. But that did not necessarily translate into an increased ability to cope with difficult emotions — especially among men. Women tend to be better connected socially and share their feelings more freely — protective factors when looking at their risk for suicide. And African Americans and Hispanics tend to have lower rates of suicide than whites, possibly because of stronger community connections, or because of different expectations.
Yup, there you have the obligatory male bashing and fawning over "persons of color." White men can't cope with "difficult" emotions. They're pigs and they know it. No wonder they're suicidal.