On this sad day, my Dissent essay on Christopher’s memoir is here and here we argued about the Iraq war on Charlie Rose and here we argued about it again, though as I recall, I didn’t do a very good job and Christopher did, weak as his position may have been. (It’s a small irony that Christopher died on the day the war officially ended.)
My new Think Again column is called “Is Inequality Over? News That’s Not Fit To Print” and it’s here.
My Forward Column on the drift toward Israeli theocracy is here.
Unsurprisingly, that column generated some criticism; some of which I might share were it not for the fact that people don’t understand that when you have a strictly limited amount of space, it’s impossible to do justice to specific, even important nuances in any given issue. Still there’s this:
Israel earns another failing score on freedom of religion index CIRI ranks Israel on par with Afghanistan, China, Iran and Saudi Arabia; indicates severe and widespread governmental restrictions on religious freedom.
And this: "This is an ideological wave that wishes to institute a different country here with a world view that forces something that is unrelated to a Jewish tradition on a secular majority," Livni said, adding: "This is nothing less than a struggle for the nation’s character sponsored by [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s silence."
George Whitman also died this week. I lived in the “Writer’s Room” over Shakespeare and Company for five weeks in 1984 and wrote a piece for the Boston Globe about him called "Feasting on Literary Intrigue by the Seine" in The Boston Globe in June of 1985, but I can’t find it. George claimed to be the illegitimate son of Walt Whitman, but he was born in 1913, and the poet died in 1892.
I went to Hot Tuna at the Beacon last Friday night. In case you are unfamiliar with them Hot Tuna is Jack Casady (Bass) and Jorma Kaukonen (Guitar and Vocals), both originally in Jefferson Airplane, with the rest of the band filled out by Barry Mitterhoff (Mandolin and Tenor Guitar) and Skoota Warner (Drums). I was looking forward to seeing them not only with G.E. Smith and Larry Campbell, both great, but especially with David Bromberg, whom I love and whom I’ve seen with Jorma as a duo. But nobody told me that Bromberg would only be there Saturday night, so, as dependable as these guys are, I was still disappointed to learn that I was there on the wrong night. Steve Kimock also only showed Saturday night. Still, Steady As She Goes is a pretty excellent album, and these boys just don’t know how to put on a bad show
Seven years ago, I saw the opening night engagement of Steve Tyrell at the Café Carlyle a big move uptown for a guy I was used to seeing at the Blue Note and other um, jazzier places. Steve is terrific entertainer and his voice is a weird a wonderful thing. In the olden days it sounded like a cross between Tom Waits and Dr. John. Now he’s much more a crooner, but a deeply charming and engaging entertainer. Nobody could have replaced Bobby Short, but Steve does a nice, respectful job.