It is a rare occasion, but it does happen, that the New York Times magazine produces such a focus of fine writing and features that the rest of the paper is made nearly superfluous. Yes, the paper then is worth its full $5.00 price. Those are the kind of days where coffee on the balcony and the leisurely reading of the Times can stretch into the afternoon. Let me recommend the following:
Michael Ignatieff's "Mirage in the Desert" is a fine essay on the capacity of America for blinding itself to what it does in the name of evil. He mediates his argument through the events of remembering the D-Day warriors, Ronald Reagan, and Abu Ghraib, three of the most pivotal events on our recent newsscape. I am particularly struck by this paragraph, and am searching for the full text of Sorensen's speech. . .
Theodore Sorensen, who as a young man wrote President Kennedy's best speeches, gave a commencement speech of his own recently that was not so much an address as a cry of anguish. He remembered a time when you could go overseas and walk down avenues named after Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Hardly anyone is naming streets after Americans in the cities of the world these days. ''What has happened to our country?'' Sorensen exclaimed. ''We have been in wars before, without resorting to sexual humiliation as torture, without blocking the Red Cross, without insulting and deceiving our allies and the U.N., without betraying our traditional values, without imitating our adversaries, without blackening our name around the world.''Ah, the full text of that speech given at the New School, headed no coincidentally by a Democrat, former Senator Bob Kerrey, is HERE.
The issue also includes an interview with Ron Reagan that is powerful as well. The Son Also Rises is a much better interview than those I've seen on television, though it is short. I like this shot he takes at Mr. Cheney, the token Dick in the Bush Administration:
How did your mother feel about being ushered to her seat by President Bush?I'm headed back to the rest of the Magazine now, then maybe I'll break out a ballpoint and tackle the puzzle.
Well, he did a better job than Dick Cheney did when he came to the rotunda. I felt so bad. Cheney brought my mother up to the casket, so she could pay her respects. She is in her 80's, and she has glaucoma and has trouble seeing. There were steps, and he left her there. He just stood there, letting her flounder. I don't think he's a mindful human being. That's probably the nicest way I can put it.
Happy Sunday, folks, and don't forget to floss.