"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Audrey Munson, who posed for Daniel Chester French's Memory, above, was the acknowledged "Queen of the Artists' Studios" of the Beaux Arts period.
She was the model for the Walking Liberty half-dollar and the Mercury dime, for the figure of Civic Fame atop the Manhattan Municipal Building, for the statues and murals of the 1915 San Francisco World's Fair, and for dozens more civic monuments. At one time, 30 pieces of art based on her poses were housed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
At 39 she was confined to a mental institution, where she spent the last 65 years of her life in virtual anonymity, until her death in 1996 at the age of 105.
"Audrey Munson should be on a postage stamp," Barry Popik writes at The Big Apple.
P.G. Wodehouse provided a humorous anecdote about Audrey Munson. In his memoir he wrote that he was once working alone in an apartment which had been vacated by a sculptor. His wife told him to expect a woman who would redo the couch. Audrey knocked and asked if there was any work for her. Wodehouse responded, yes, and How much would it be altogether? You want the altogether?" she replied and walked into a bedroom. She emerged in an advanced form of nudity, which the Englishman considered pretty eccentric even for a lady decorator. #
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Party of Liberty
It's been a while since we've had a Moynihan tribute.
[H]e makes his stand against the anti-American and anti-Western onslaughts he perceives everywhere—but he is not about to suggest that it is a last stand. Moynihan has enraged Third World delegates, discomfited his Western European colleagues, and brought cheer to the hearts of Americans, who have taken to his brand of dukes-up diplomacy and feel that someone is at last talking back at the world.
That vintage Moynihan spirit, bottled, would be refreshing today.
* * *
Martin Peretz hears in present opposition to John Bolton echoes of past opposition to Moynihan:
The last nominee for ambassador to the United Nations about whom The New York Times was frantic was Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In fact, it was frantic about him twice. The first time was in November 1970, when Moynihan's name was, for a brief moment, floated as a likely candidate. The Times was quick to declare him the "wrong man for the U.N." The right man was Charles Yost, a foreign servant for nearly four decades so discreet as to be almost invisible…
After serving (quite magnificently) for two years as ambassador to India (in the tradition of John Kenneth Galbraith), Moynihan was named to the U.N. post by President Ford. Again, the Times found fault with the designee: "[T]he prospect of Mr. Moynihan at Turtle Bay has aroused among some friends of the United Nations genuine doubts about United States policy toward the world organization, and especially toward third world countries." The Times was carrying on what one could only call a vendetta against Moynihan for what were then surprising insights on race but are now--forgive the metaphor--white bread. But Moynihan was confirmed. I can still recall the bitter derision of the foreign affairs elite at Moynihan's insistence on putting the United States "in opposition" to the malevolent bargains the Soviets were then making with "the nonaligned," that label itself a lie.
Speaking of being "in opposition": Check out the barrage of sniping and insults in the comment boxes whenever New Republic owner Peretz – staunchly pro-Israel and described by Kos as a "Lieberman-worshipping neocon" -- makes a post at his own magazine'sblog. Reminiscent of the Iron Sheik taking the ring at Madison Square Garden or the Blues Brothers playing, behind iron bars, at a country-and-western dive, Peretz posts on, in spite of – in some cases, seemingly inviting – the abuse.
In the New Republic archives, a letter from three years ago makes, I think, some very useful observations in re the foreign-policy debate.
Ellen F. Heyman of Springfield, Va., wrote in her letter published March 27, 2003:
I would suggest two influences as the sources for the liberal unwillingness to use power for American self-interest. One is the surprisingly long-lived influence in liberal circles of Stalinist ideas regarding American malevolence, beginning with the Communist front groups of the 1930s and their co-option of many liberal causes, continuing through the argument over the Vietnam War, which still colors the foreign policy debate today.
The other has been the predominance of the realist school of foreign policy, where national self-interest is defined in the narrowest terms. American liberals have been made suspicious by the use of American power to support dictatorships, the tragic unintended consequences of which have included the reluctance of many peoples around the world to trust our commitment to democracy abroad.
The idealist school, which is currently crafting foreign policy, is not really conservative. Indeed, many are only accidental Republicans, products of the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party, having left to become Reagan staffers only when the McGovernite takeover proved discouragingly irreversible. They were originally ideological heirs of the anti-communist wing of the labor movement and the Democratic left.
Traditionally, it was not conservatives, the bulk of whom were either realists or isolationists, who espoused American interests. The idealists now framing foreign policy are anything but conservative. Hopefully, their policies will succeed in furthering both American ideals and self-interest and, in doing so, will help to banish the knee-jerk mistrust of American motives both at home and abroad.
Scoop Jackson's heirs are idealists. They aim to defend America by promoting freedom and democracy abroad, rather than by supporting bad-guys-who-happen-to-be-our-bad-guys. Critics have grounds – perhaps good grounds -- to fault the neocon enterprise for ill-advised adventurism and for overturning the international applecart in a flight of Wilsonian folly.
But it is a commentary on what has happened to American "liberalism" when liberal idealism is attacked by supposed "liberals" as capitalist imperialist militaristic oil-grabbing fascistic Bushitlerism (you fill in the rest). This is the language of the old Stalinists (or "progressives," as the No Longer So New Leftists style themselves). What Ms. Heyman calls the "Stalinist idea of American malevolence" has become widely accepted canon on the left side of the aisle in American political discourse, one of the sadder legacies of the Sixties. Hubert Humphrey was the liberal, not the Marxist radicals throwing rocks through his windows; but the latter now have been accorded the label, and they don't deserve it.
In short, foreign-policy idealists who are trying to promote the liberal tradition (even if they are making a cock-up of it) don't deserve to have their motives denigrated by "liberals" whose anti-American critique is rooted in Stalinism.
Brooks reminds me of the scene in Citizen Kane where Everett Sloane, as Kane's aging business manager, recalls a girl in a white dress whom he saw in his youth when he was crossing over to Jersey on a ferry. They never met or spoke. "I only saw her for one second," he says, "and she didn't see me at all - but I'll bet a month hasn't gone by since that I haven't thought of that girl."
[I]f you were to ask me what it was like to live in Hollywood in the Twenties I'd have to say that we were all - oh! - marvelously degenerate and happy. We were a world of our own, and outsiders didn't intrude. People tell you that the reason a lot of actors left Hollywood when sound came in was that their voices were wrong for talkies. That's the official story. The truth is that the coming of sound meant the end of the all-night parties. With talkies, you couldn't stay out till sunrise anymore. You had to rush back from the studios and start learning your lines, ready for the next day's shooting at 8 A.M.
You've played the Fortune Cookie Game – the one where you read your fortune and add to the end the words, "in bed." Now a new twist on the game is making the rounds: you take some proclamation of neoconservative vision and round it out with the words, "by killing people."
It occurred to me you can play the game with any number of statements from US history, since so many aspects of the American story – the great westward expansion; the Civil War; the struggles against Nazism and Communism – involved killing people.
Pick just about any grand and noble statement of national purpose or national defense and killing people has come into it.
A few examples:
[W]e should have such an empire for liberty as she has never surveyed since the creation by killing people. Thomas Jefferson
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons by killing people. Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here by killing people. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced by killing people. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses by killing people. Woodrow Wilson
The world must be made safe for democracy by killing people. Woodrow Wilson
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy by killing people. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances by killing people. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men – by killing people. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil, by killing people. FDR, D-Day Prayer
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world by killing people. JFK, Inaugural Speech
It's easy to make the American vision look ridiculous, thanks to this simple parlor game! More entries, anyone?
Those who have argued that Israel's response was "disproportionate" should learn how to feel shame. Hezbollah fired several thousand Katyusha and other rockets, almost all of them aimed at civilian targets -- and fired them from within Lebanese villages, crawling with "human shields". For more than a month, nearly a million Israelis were trapped in air raid shelters, while the devastation accumulated above them.
What would have been a proportionate response? Should Israel have lobbed a few thousand bunker-busters casually into Lebanon's villages and towns? If they had done that, would the Jew-haters and Jew-baiters of the world have shut up?
I recently finished listening to The Reverse of the Medal, and, oh, the pillory scene:
Jack was led out of the dark room into the strong light, and as they guided him up the steps he could see nothing for the glare. “Your head here, sir, if you please,” said the sheriff’s man in a low, nervous, conciliating voice, “and your hands just here.” The man was slowly fumbling with the bolt, hinge, and staple, and as Jack stood there with his hands in the lower half-rounds, his sight cleared: he saw that the broad street was filled with silent, attentive men, some in long toughs, some in shore-going rig, some in plain frocks, but all perfectly recognizable as seamen. And officers, by the dozen, by the score: midshipmen and officers. Babbington was there, immediately in front of the pillory, facing him with his hat off, and Pullings, Stephen of course, Mowett, Dundas … he nodded to them, with almost no change in his iron expression, and his eye moved on: Parker, Rowan, Williamson, Hervey … and men from long, long ago, men he could scarcely name, lieutenants and commanders putting their promotion at risk, midshipmen and master’s mates their commissions, warrant-officers their advancement.
“The head a trifle forward, if you please, sir,” murmured the sheriff’s man, and the upper half of the wooden frame came down, imprisoning his defenceless face. He heard the click of the bolt and then in the dead silence a strong voice cry “Off hats.” With one movement hundreds of broad-brimmed tarpaulin covered hats flew off and the cheering began, the fierce full-throated cheering he had so often heard in battle.
The scene is a cross between Atticus Finch leaving the courtroom ("Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing") and Sidney Carton at the Place de la Concorde.
It's hard to drive when your sunglasses are fogged.
Who is for aggressive and secret initiatives to monitor terrorist groups and suspects, trace their finances, interrogate captured combatants thoroughly and detain combatants as long as necessary?
Wow, quite a lot of hands today - even in Connecticut. Thank you.
And who is for prohibiting all the above, and revealing as much as possible about what intelligence and covert initiatives we have underway, because the public (and, oh, yes, our enemies, too) have a right to know?
Ned Lamont, thank you. Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Keller, thank you, as well. The gentlemen and gentlewomen from the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Gov. Dean, Mr. Moore, Ms. Sheehan, Mr. Baldwin — loved you on Saturday Night Live! — thank you all so much. #
Until yesterday, Senator Joseph Lieberman was the most prominent representative of the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic party. Today, that wing is down to its last few feathers.
The party's over for those nostalgic for the FDR-Truman-JFK-Moynihan tradition.
Meantime, John McLaughlin (Jawn! McGlocklin!) comments:
As the intellectual activists and radicals of the Democratic party left him, working class, small-town, and moderate Democrats rallied and voted with Senator Lieberman. It’s a very important lesson for Republicans who must win in blue states. The Democrat center is available. The political descendents of George McGovern are excommunicating the heirs to Scoop Jackson. As Ronald Reagan embraced anti-Communist Democrats, anti-terror Republicans should embrace Lieberman Democrats.
The Republican party of Texas' George W. Bush has an opportunity to regain the center in the state from which this president’s grandfather once served in Congress.
The leadership of the national Democratic party has abandoned the center and moved far to the left. The Republican party must seize the center once again.
Martin Peretz (a man increasingly besieged at the blog of his own magazine) turns to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to warn against the Peace Democrats mounting the ramparts in today's Connecticut primary:
If [Lamont], and others of his stripe, carry the day, the Democratic party will lose the future, and deservedly.
If Wall Street had its own Red Diaper Brigade, Ned Lamont was a legacy.
A tribute page to his late Uncle Corliss closes with a picture of the old man on a Cuban junket making obeisance to Fidel Castro. Accompanying is a line from his memoirs:
My final word is that in the battles that confront us today for America's freedom and welfare, our chief aim as public-spirited citizens must be neither to avoid trouble, nor to stay out of jail, nor even to preserve our lives, but to keep on fighting for our fundamental principles and ideals.
American Memory last week recalled Calvin Coolidge on the anniversary of his ascent to the presidency.
If you go to the Library of Congress' corresponding collection of sound recordings and listen to President Coolidge speak, you will note in his Mr. Pepperidge Farm locution more than a hint of Bert & I.
* * *
The Flying Yankee, a sleek diesel train of the 1930s, is being restored. You can buy naming rights to a seat, a car, or the baggage compartment.
* * *
The Smucker's principle suggests that, with a name like Chandler Woodcock, the GOP candidate for governor of Maine has to be good. But it's the bowtie that seals the Irish Elk endorsement.
We want a woman in the White House, we want some hist'ry to be made....To make the country hustle, give Uncle Sam a bustle, and make the Gen'ral Staff the ladies' aid. We want a woman with some know-how....Someone to carry on the fight....She'd eliminate a war and be home again by four, She's a woman and a woman's always right. She has a secret weapon that would cast a peaceful spell. It's "Bingo" played by Hotline with Nikita and Fidel. Evacuate the Pentagon; On this we're standing pat....But leave the building standing and we'll put in a laundromat. WE WANT A WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, Someone who really knows the score she would make the G.O.P. join the Democrats for tea, With a WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, and you know that it’s the right house, with a woman President in Sixty-Four.
And here is a vintage 1940s Saltonstall campaign elephant figurine. #
Sunday, August 06, 2006 Re Christians in the Middle East
Could someone versed in the Mideast explain why the Christian leadership there seems to see its interest as lying in the defeat of Israel? How would Christians fare better were the Holy Land under the submission of Syria, Al Qaeda and a nuclear-armed Iran?
I've been thinking about this question a good bit in recent days.
Israel has a reputation for making life difficult for non-Jews. Ask any Catholic or Melkite Bishop in the area. You think that the Christians are leaving en masse because they're off to St. Tropez for a few months in the sun? Nope. They are realistic. Making a living and building a future won't happen for them in South Lebanon, nor (for that matter) in Israel, nor the Palestinian territories. One does not want to be between the Muslims and the Jews...
Problem is, looking to any Catholic or Melkite bishop in the area for an accurate reading of the situation vis a vis Israel seems like relying on the Cuban news media for information on Castro's current health. For some reason – politics; a concern for the preservation and safey of their followers; an inclination to appeasement; ingrained dhimmitude; outright anti-Semitism; or any combination thereof – the Christian hierarchy of the Mideast seems about as reliable as Reuters as a point of reference. (Sorry to mix news metaphors, but you get the idea.)
Jerusalem's Latin-rite patriarch Sabbah, for example, is notorious for his pro-Palestinian sympathies.
As for Maronite Patriarch Sfeir, this 2000 interview is noteworthy for the views he expresses re Hezbollah:
Hezbollah is composed of some Lebanese young people who have been trying to push back Israel. And they have been successful in their attempts!
Asked if they are terrorists, he responds:
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir: This is the question. Hezbollah and some other observers claim that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation: they are trying to liberate their land from occupation. We have to define what is terrorism and distinguish it from resistance. There is a huge difference between the two ideas.
PB: How would you describe the difference?
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir: When a people has its all territory occupied, it has the right to defend its territory, its land and its existence. If there is no peaceful means to push away the occupier, they can utilise the arms. This is resistance.
PB: From this point of view, are the actions taken by Palestinians, such a suicide attacks against the Israelis, terrorist attacks or acts of resistance?
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir: Of course these are acts of resistance, because every day they are being attacked and killed, their houses destroyed; there is bloodshed every day. Naturally they have to resist.
Then there is the Middle East Council of Churches, which gets its website content straight from Pallywood. The council's news briefs for June includes criticisms leveled by the heads of the Coptic, Catholic and Episcopal churches in Egypt toward the Da Vinci Code – criticisms that, among all the barbs directed by Christian leaders toward the movie, were perhaps among the most unique:
Heads of churches rejected the materialistic and atheistic base of the film that ends with a Jewish logo propagandizing Jewish thought.
That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians…
These past few days the inability of millions of Westerners, both here and in Europe, to condemn fascist terrorists who start wars, spread racial hatred, and despise Western democracies is the real story, not the “quarter-ton” Israeli bombs that inadvertently hit civilians in Lebanon who live among rocket launchers that send missiles into Israeli cities and suburbs.
Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more. But what is lost sight of is the central moral issue of our times: a humane democracy mired in an asymmetrical war is trying to protect itself against terrorists from the 7th century, while under the scrutiny of a corrupt world that needs oil, is largely anti-Semitic and deathly afraid of Islamic terrorists, and finds psychic enjoyment in seeing successful Western societies under duress.
In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around.
I have ceased reading all newspapers and watching any news shows at this point. The coverage Israel receives simply depresses me. It is so terribly slanted, so one sided, so grotesque that I am forced to conclude that Israel, with the exception of the United States (the best friend any country can have, in my opinion), for the most part, stands alone. Israel must look to herself for her own defense, for her own protection, for her own success. The international community of nations will not now nor likely ever grant Israel full recognition or treat it fairly. So, if Israel must go it alone (but for the United States), then so it shall. I had a chat with a woman the other day who spent World War II first being hidden and then in a ghetto and then in a camp. She is worried, again. I think she is not wrong to worry.