Collective Pride and Collective Shame

Ethnic pride has always seemed a little strange to me. One’s ethnicity is simply a question of birth, and having been born into a particular group is obviously not an accomplishment. Most of us readily reject collective guilt but have no problem with collective pride. As comedian Doug Stanhope said, “Nationalism does nothing but teach … More Collective Pride and Collective Shame

The War on Christmas

} It’s as though the city is under siege. We have seen more than one would-be Xmas tree vendor hauled of in handcuffs. Happy Holiday goons forced a local store to take down a window display that slightly resembled a manger. Traditional Christmas drinks like eggnog are banned for the month of December, but our … More The War on Christmas

Fairy Tales

Money can’t buy happiness. This is the fairy tale that we tell ourselves to feel less envious of the rich and that the rich promote in order to feel safer. It’s true, of course, that happiness isn’t a commodity you can buy on Amazon. And it’s also true that rich can be quite miserable. But … More Fairy Tales

God vs The Evil Eye

In their attacks on religion, the so-called New Atheists—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (RIP), and Sam Harris—go after low-hanging fruit. They pretend that the most primitive, science-denying fundamentalists are representative of religious believers. But not all religious people believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, or that global warming doesn’t matter because Jesus will … More God vs The Evil Eye

The Imitation Game

I was next in line at the check-out counter at my local supermarket. The young man checking the groceries was going through the motions with the usual check-out patter: “How are you today?” “Did you find everything you wanted?” “Do you want the meat wrapped in plastic?” “Do you want help out with that?” “Have … More The Imitation Game

Fantasy Quotes

“In politics, money buys influence.”—Hillary Clinton “There’s no free lunch.”—Bernie Sanders “I’m sorry. I should never have said such a stupid thing”—Donald Trump “It’s hard to overestimate the importance of America’s moral leadership in the world.”—Noam Chomsky “Keep it simple.”—Jacques Derrida “Life is completely meaningless, and trying to make sense of it is a futile … More Fantasy Quotes

Telling It Like It Is

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a reputation among his supporters of “telling it like it is,” by which they seem to mean that Trump says what’s on their minds. If that’s what Trump is doing, he must think his supporters’ minds are filled with anti-Latino bias and bigotry. When the Latina governor of New … More Telling It Like It Is