Blog Archives

Remembering 9/11 Once More, for Good and Ill

I first published this in 2005 on my LiveJournal.  I re-posted it to this blog in 2010, and it got more hits than any other post on my blog at that time.  I think it’s sill relevant, so I’m re-posting it today.  One thing that is a bit consoling to me is that in the years since I originally wrote this, the jinogism and enthusiasm for war that I describe seems to have waned substantially.  Witness the opposition to action in Syria and the president’s backing away from his previous stance.  We can only hope that it stays that way, and that we don’t get sucked into yet another unending conflict.  Anyway, the original post follows:

I wasn’t going to write anything for the anniversary of 9/11, and I’m still not going to do so, per se.  I was, however, struck by this provocative article at The American Conservative (always an interesting magazine even for a liberal such as myself, as long as I ignore Pat Buchanan) and this one at  In that vein, I decided to post something I wrote back in 2005 regarding a 9/11 memorial I went to that year.  I have edited slightly for clarity and length, but it’s substantially as I wrote it six years ago, including a little heated prose against what I saw as the then-Administration’s policies.  I wish I could say the policies regarding the Infinite and Eternal War on Terrorism, on foreign policy in general, and on civil liberties and the surveillance state had changed since then, but much to my disappointment and disillusionment, they have merely got worse.  Anyway, here’s my piece (lightly edited to reflect the years since): Read the rest of this entry

Heading Down the Roller Coaster

Last time I essentially argued that the 90’s were the best decade, objectively speaking, of the 20th Century, perhaps of all human history.  I’d like to try to finish it now.

Basically, I argued that pretty much every decade except perhaps for the 1920’s had some major negative thing going on–world wars, depressions, social turmoil, the Cold War, and so on.  Those of us who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s (in my case, the latter, having been born in the same year as President Kennedy’s assassination) had it easy in a lot of ways–we never knew real privation, there were no draft and no wars to speak of, and it sometimes seems that the 70’s and 80’s served as backdrops to our parties.

Nevertheless, as I tried to point out in the earlier post, it’s hard to get across to those born after about 1970 or so just what it was like to live even during the tail end of the Cold War.  Maybe I was oversensitive, but the possibility of the Big One was always at the back of my mind.  Every time there was a news flash, a little knee-jerk reaction deep inside screamed “Omygod!  They’ve launched the missiles   We’re all done for!!!”  One of my most distinct memories of this sort occurred in the late evening in December of 1980.  The newsflash logo came on, my innards twisted in their usual fashion, and when the announcer came on, it was not the beginning of Armageddon, but the murder of John Lennon.  Tragic, but considering the alternative, a relief, relatively speaking. Read the rest of this entry

A View from Just Past the Top of the Roller Coaster

Several years ago, when my daughter was about three or four,  I was rocking her to sleep, and as is often the case, my mind was drifting around randomly.  I was thinking about the last century and the way things have been going in this one so far.  Having a child makes one think about such things, I guess (being forty-something probably contributes, too).  It was both interesting and tragic to think that I may have lived through the greatest and most hopeful decade of our country’s history, perhaps of the world’s history.  That decade is over and has been for many years; wherein the tragedy.

If you consider, the 20th Century was pretty much a mess:  the two bloodiest wars in human history, the increasing prevalence of full-scale genocides, the worst pollution the planet has know, global warming, &c. &c. &c.  We all know that already.  There were also good things, too–I’m aware of that.  Think of it, however, by the decades (a very 20th-Century way of looking at history, in fact, so appropriate here!). Read the rest of this entry

One Last Song for the Labor Day Weekend

For Those Starting School


School starts today both for me (as a college teacher) and my daugher (as a fourth-grader), coincidentally.  In different areas, school starts back at different times.  In any case, whether you’ve already started, start today, have not started yet, or are neither a student nor teacher, enjoy this video by Tom Chapin.

The Decline and Fall of Television: Index

The Decline and Fall of Television, Part I:  Prolegomena

The Decline and Fall of Television, Part II:  Definitions

The Decline and Fall of Television, Part III:  Bandwidth

DAFOTV, Part IV:  Junk Genres

DAFOTV, Part V:  Reality TV

DAFOTV, Part VI:  Enter the Internet

DAFOTV, Part VII:  By Your Command

One More Folk Song to Start the Week

Still as relevant as ever.

For Everyone Starting Back to School (Teachers, too!)

Music for the Fourth



The incomparable original, and one of the best covers.  Happy Independence Day.

The Revolution Starts Now