Archive | Country Matters

The Luxury of Discomfort

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.23.47 AMMy heartbreak over Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s murders means nothing at all. It does not bring these men–all the people of color slayed by officials falsely claiming to enforce the law–back their lives; it does not return them to their families and friends. Once again I find myself–this middle-aged white lady in a boiling-over, messed-up major metropolitan area–at a loss about a country that so fiercely protects its right to bear arms and then slays people of color even when they don’t practice that right. God help them when they do. Drastic measures are the only sensible response. The question is: Which ones? When I was young I marched and whined and boycotted all the time. I still honor these actions (except for the whining) but see that something more is required. If the corruption is big–and it is monolithic–we must be so much bigger. We must be as uncomfortable as is required to effect true change. Discomfort is a luxury, for it means we are still alive.

Venus Approaches


July approaches, and peonies still preside on my bedside table though their season used to end in May. I chalk it up to the unseasonably mild weather, and complain not.

The baby doves on my fire escape are not babies anymore but also are still hanging out, peep-peep-peeping while their mother fusses over them like all the other Brooklyn mommies. Every morning as I drink my coffee I watch her nag them into flying a little further while their father observes from on high. Grace watches too, ears flattened, a burr forming low in her throat. Twice I’ve had to snatch her mid-air lest she hurl at them through the screen window; she seems to have located her predatory instincts quite nicely, thank you very much. Continue Reading →

The Problem With ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 9.30.35 AM“To Kill a Mockingbird” is mostly upheld for Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning portrayal of good daddy Atticus Finch, iconically clad in tortoise shell glasses and cream linen suits. But in viewing the adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel today, I am taken aback by its micro-aggression–by the racism it perpetuates and condemns in equal measure.

It was released at the end of 1962, which was the last year before the cultural upheaval that we associate with the 1960s. In 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot, and America seemed to not only lose its innocence but its self-assurance. The assassinations of Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X followed, as did the Vietnam War and Watergate and, well, you get the picture. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was filmed during America’s last year of post-World War II complacency. For better and worse, you can tell. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy