Saturday, July 23, 2005

Tearing up Your Che Guevara Shirt

I got a few laughs from this funny article about Che Guevara t-shirts and accessories and other symptoms of political fashion victims, and you might like it too. The author asks a couple of very good questions:

"Why the hell was this moron wearing clothes advertising someone they have never even heard of? Furthermore, how the hell can any self-respecting person not know who Che Guevara is?"

The author goes on to suggest some alternative fashion items that just might become very big sellers too. Very amusing. Read it here.

Another Plum by Erle Stanley Gardner—and a Call for Action!

The Case of the Howling Dog is an excellent early installment in Erle Stanley Gardner's long series of Perry Mason novels—in fact, it is one of the best Masons I've read. It was the fourth Perry Mason novel to reach print, published in June 1934 after being serialized in Liberty magazine. In this book, Gardner clearly begins to indicate the kind of plot complexity he was ultimately able to bring to the Mason novels. Gardner was simply one of the greatest mystery plot writers of all time. In addition, the book displays Perry's legal manipulativeness at its very best, especially the outside-the-courtroom variety which was such an important element of the books (and so rare in the TV series).

The story has the classic elements of the Mason books: Perry going way out on a limb for his client, a damsel in distress; Della's intense loyalty and Paul Drake's good-natured professionalism; a tough, single-minded prosecutor in Claude Drumm; a cast of suspects and victims whose motives are perpetually murky; impressively clever and sneaky pretrial manipulation of evidence by Mason; a fast-paced, eventful story; direct, understandable prose; a good look at Mason's philosophy of the law; and fascinating, dramatic courtroom scenes with an effectively presented breakdown of a crucial witness. In addition, the central mystery of the howling dog is interesting and used to good effect.

Some flavorsome quotes for you:

"You're getting this case all mixed up, brother," Drake told him.
Perry Mason laughed grimly.
That's the way I want it," he said.


The courtroom atmosphere was stale with that psychic stench which comes from packed humans whose emotions are roused to a high pitch of excitement.


"What did Judge Markham think?" [Della] asked.
"I don't know," he told her, "and I don't give a damn. I know what my rights are and I stood on them. I'm fighting to protect a client."


[Mason:] "My idea of a fair trial is to bring out the facts. I'm going to bring out the facts."
[Drake:] "All of the facts, or just the facts that are favorable to your client?"
"Well," said Perry Mason, grinning, "I'm not going to try the case for the district attorney, if that's what you mean; that's up to him."


"We're a dramatic people," Perry Mason said slowly. "We're not like the English. The English want dignity and order. We want the dramatic and the spectacular. It's a national craving. We're geared to a rapid rate of thought. We want to have things move in a spectacular manner."


"If you don't put that woman on the witness stand, and she's convicted, it's going to mean that your reputation will be ruined," [Perry's legal assistant Frank Everly] said.
"All right," Perry Mason told him; "it'll be ruined then."


[Mason:] "There are lots of ways of trying a lawsuit. There's the slow, tedious way, indulged in by lawyers who haven't any particular plan of campaign, other than to walk into court and snarl over objections, haggle over technicalities, and drag the facts out so interminably that no one knows just what it's all about. Then there's the dramatic method of trying a lawsuit. That's the method I try to follow."


"If it doesn't go right," said Perry Mason, "I'll probably lose my reputation as a trial lawyer."
"But you've got no right to jeopardize that," said Frank Everly.
"The hell I haven't," Perry Mason told him. "I've got no right not to."


"A jury is an audience. It's a small audience, but it's an audience just the same. . . . [A]ll audiences are fickle."


"[District attorney] Claude Drumm, who had been smoking a cigarette in the corridor, came stalking back into the courtroom. . . . He strode with well-tailored efficiency, a dignified superiority toward the criminal attorney who must needs make his living from the trial of cases, rather than bask in the dignity of a monthly salary check, issued with the clock-like regularity with which government officials expend the money of taxpayers."



And here are the last words of the book (no plot spoilers involved), with Gardner's opinion on original sin:

"You," said Della Street, staring at him, "are a cross betwen a saint and a devil."
"All men are," said Perry Mason, unperturbed.


The Case of the Howling Dog is unfortunately out of print, but used copies are fairly easy to find, especially through online services. This is a Mason novel that all who enjoy the series—or would like to know what it's all about—should read.

It is also a book that ought to be adapted into a TV movie, and NOW!

The Perry Mason novels would surely be an excellent source for faithful adaptation into a series of films (as the A&E network did so effectively with several Nero Wolfe narratives a couple years ago, and Granada has done so beautifully with the Hercule Poirot series starring David Suchet). I think that enough time has passed since the Raymond Burr TV series for audiences to accept a new actor in the role, with the stories set in their original time frame. It is high time that some smart producer and TV channel undertook the project of bringing these wonderful stories to a new audience through film. Whoever chooses to do so will definitely reap great rewards.

Of course, I'm ready to begin work on the adaptations as soon as the contract is inked.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Christianity Today Cites Reform Club. . .

I recently used the TRC blog to publish my speculations about whether the story about a private investigator claiming to work for "rich and powerful people" (get the guy a better script next time, people) had been hired to successfully dig up dirt on Baylor interim President Bill Underwood. To my surprise, Christianity Today picked up on the story and what I thought about it. (Never assume you are blogging into obscurity, friends.)

Here's the relevant part:

The "Battle for Baylor" has more than its share of intrigue, not to mention ample opportunities for tea-leaf reading and code cracking.

The story took a turn to the ridiculous last week as the Waco Tribune-Herald reported (and editorialized) on a private investigator who claimed to be hired by "rich and powerful people" to dig up dirt on interim president Bill Underwood. Former Baylor insider Hunter Baker thinks it's a hoax—or that the investigator was actually hired by Underwood supporters in an attempt to "make Underwood look like a victim of evil conservative Christian types and let him ride into the presidency full time on a righteously indignant sympathy vote."

The rest of the article is worth reading, too, particularly for those watching the bold experiment still taking place in central Texas at the intersection of I-35 and the Brazos River.

The Confirmed Bachelor

Perhaps having been too much influenced by the sexual tint that pervades everything in our culture, I have often thought of "the confirmed bachelor" as a gay man whom everyone pretended was simply a fellow who avoided marriage and liked living alone. John Derbyshire has a few paragraphs in his discussion of former Conservative U.K. Prime Minister Ted Heath that causes me to reflect a little more deeply:

The bachelor life. Heath never married. He showed not the slightest sign of being homosexual, though, repressed or otherwise. He was a specimen of a type that, it seems to me, used to be much more common than it now is, and was certainly more socially acceptable: the confirmed bachelor. He simply had no interest in sex. Nowadays such a person is thought to be strange, to have issues, but the generality of people didn’t think like that 30 years ago.

Whatever you think of his politics (I detest them), it can hardly be denied that Heath lived a full and useful life. He reached the very summit of his chosen profession. He had an absorbing and uplifting hobby — playing and conducting classical and sacred music — to take his mind off his work. He was a keen and accomplished sportsman (racing sailboats). He had close friends, who loved him, spoke affectionately of him, and were loyal to him. In his youth he led men into battle, bravely and capably. He wrote, or at any rate dictated, half a dozen books. From the humblest of beginnings, he rose to wealth and power. He was very intelligent, though unimaginative and not well read. (Among his recorded remarks are: “I never read novels.”) He stuck to his principles, returned loyalty for loyalty, and committed no crimes.

Not many of us can hope to get as much out of life, or to leave as much of an impression on the world, as Ted Heath. Yet in that full and vigorous life, sex apparently played no part whatsoever. He simply wasn’t interested.

We used to be much more comfortable with that than we now are. (That “we” refers to we Anglo-Saxons: I think these remarks apply equally to both sides of the Atlantic.) There was a whole bachelor culture, certainly not homosexual, and not particularly hostile to women, though regarding them as a bit of a nuisance to be got away from as much as possible — in men-only clubs, on the golf course, on walking tours with other bachelors. Philip Larkin, who was heterosexual and liked sex, but unfortunately did not much like women, wrote very affectionately about that culture. It’s all gone with the wind now, alas. If I were to suggest to one of my male colleagues at National Review that we go on a walking tour in the Catskills together, I should get a very strange look.

The discussion reminds me that I have known some men of this type. They often end up living with mother after dad dies and plan trips to go golfing at St. Andrews because they have enormous disposable income. The part about the walking tour is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis who was a confirmed bachelor for many, many years before he met the woman he would marry as a pretense (for immigration purposes) and grow to truly love. He and his friends tromped all over England during his single days.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ramesh Answers TRC: Another Wild, Wacky Post on the Constitution in Exile!

Never has the great liberal White Elephant Constitution in Exile been discussed more frequently and with less reason than here at the Reform Club, but we've become positively intoxicated by stretching this canard to the breaking point. After mentioning that Ramesh Ponnuru (a notable conservative) mentioned the Constitution in Exile in a blog post, Mr. Ponnuru took the opportunity to make clear his own position on the unicorn of the conservative world.

Here it is, in full, reproduced at the same level as the original post noticing his post! That's the kind of accountability you get in the blogosphere! Read below:

EXILE, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Perhaps, given this post, I should clarify my views about the "Constitution in Exile."

1) I think it can safely be said that no conservative has ever used the phrase as much as Jeffrey Rosen and Cass Sunstein do.

2) In some sense, most conservatives believe that we are exile from the Constitution--that the way we are governed corresponds less to that document than it used to do and that we ought to increase that correspondence. I certainly do.

3) But the phrase, as used by the people who use it most, means something more than what I wrote in 2). It means that there is a movement, with a significant chance of success (or at least of doing damage), that wants to undo the New Deal and Great Society from the federal bench. This I do not believe. Nor would I want such a movement to exist.

Why Can't GWB Express Himself Like This?

Australian Prime Minister John Howard in response to a reporter's insinuation that British/American policies in Iraq are to blame for recent terrorism:

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

(Hat tip to Powerline) If G.W. spoke that way, he'd have been re-elected by ten points.

More on the Constitution In Exile or Less . . . Much Less

Found an interesting article on the CIE movement or lack thereof courtesy of our friends at Southern Appeal. Check it out.

Here's the telling paragraph:

In short, I despair of our supposed plans for toppling the New Deal. And in truth, there is no Constitution in Exile movement. Google the phrase, run it through Lexis-Nexis, search far and wide: No conservative or libertarian activist, theorist, or judge has used the term since its casual mention in 1995 (and few have ever heard of it).

This helps explain my shock as a dues-paying, secret meeting having, long term member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy at having never heard the term until it was brought up quite recently by a left-leaning commenter.

London Bombings—Some Interesting Facts

Consider the following, from Reuters today ("Blasts hit London again, 2 weeks after bombings":

"London police chief Ian Blair told reporters: 'We know that we've had four explosions or attempts at explosions. It is still pretty unclear what's happened. . . . The bombs appear to be smaller than the last occasion.'

"He said some devices appeared not to have gone off properly and only one person was injured, adding that he hoped London would now 'get moving' again."

This does not sound like the kind of well-planned and -coordinated attack that occurred two weeks ago.

The Reuters report noted that a witness at the Oval underground station in south London reported what appeared to be a would-be bomber alone in a carriage after a small blast:

"We all got off on the platform and the guy just ran and started running up the escalator. . . . He left a bag on the train."

Again, this is very sloppy work, and it is not clear whether this bomber intended suicide.

London Bombing Reprised

My article after the London bombing of two weeks ago turns out to have been stunningly prescient.

It might be worthwhile to reread.

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=8425

London Explosions—Early Speculative Thought

I believe that the explosions that took place in London today may turn out to be the work of a copycat, not the same group that arranged the bombings two weeks ago.

(Credit goes to my wife, Kristine, for this observation.)

I will explain later, as the situation develops.

Zycher, Bennett and the Genesis of Reform Club

Dr. Benjamin Zycher (a great sci-fi name) included a hit on Bill Bennett in his speculations about the new Supreme Court nominee. The drive-by shot reminded me of a more extended assault on the virtue guru by yours truly. I was and am a fan of Bill Bennett, but I felt a tremendous disappointment in hearing about his gambling habits. It seemed to me the conservative zines were determined to give Bennett a pass, so I tried to preserve the integrity of social conservatives (particularly of the evangelical set) with this piece for American Spectator.

Because it was original and not a whitewash, it was quoted by Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and several other web outlets. The best part, though, was that I saw an email one S.T. Karnick sent to the editor of American Spectator praising the short essay. That led to me writing for his magazine American Outlook and ultimately to this weblog, which we hope to someday expand into a more full-featured website with archived essays, short fiction, reviews, etc..

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Call Me Dr. Sunshine

In the time-honored Zycher tradition of finding a cloud in every silver lining, please allow me to ask a few irreverent questions during this swoon period for Solomon, oops, John Roberts, whom I assume to be a very, very good guy in the overall scheme of things, on the basis of reactions and such from many people whose judgment I trust. Nonetheless...

First: Will he be more like Rehnquist or Thomas, that is, will he be more or less willing, respectively, to defer to the whims of the state legislatures and Congress? Or will he be willing---make that intent upon--- enforcing the Constitution? Beats me.

Second: How deferential toward precedent will he prove to be? Or will he be willing/intent upon throwing out such silly and destructive decisions as that on "public use/takings" in Kelo? Beats me.

Third: Will the enthusiasm for Roberts among the Republican base allow W to nominate a squishball like Gonzalez when Rehnquist retires next year? And what about the prospective departure of that giant of legal reasoning, John Paul Stevens? Beats me.

Fourth: It is very good that W decided not to take the easy path and preserve the O'Connor seat as a Womyn's appointment. But it would have been nice to send a signal that shrinking from a real fight with the lefties is not in the cards, and the Roberts appointment is a missed opportunity to shove the nuclear option down their throats. Will W avoid a fight the next time around? Beats me.

Fifth: I assume that Roberts will not acquiesce in the latest fad, to wit, the use of foreign law and purported "international opinion" as a criterion with which to allow the judges to impose their own views on everyone else. Will any of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee ask Roberts about this? Beats me.

Sixth: Will anyone point out that we are in a legal/Constitutional mess not only because of the lefties and the desire of judges to get invitations to the Georgetown cocktail parties, but also because of such self-promoting gasbags as Bill Bennett, a hypocrite perfectly willing to put others in jail for their vices while making excuses for his? Because of Bennett, we wound up with the ineffable Tony Kennedy on the court, instead of Doug Ginsburg, because the latter smoked some pot while at Harvard, or something like that truly significant. Ginsburg would have been the best guy by far on the Court in a long time; will anyone tell Bennett to shut up when he starts to pontificate about strict constructionism and the like? On this one I think that I know the sad answer.

Anyway: Just asking.

Personal Request

Curt Purcell, if you're reading this blog, how about shooting me an email? You can get it off my contributor profile on the left side of the page.

Ramesh Ponnuru Cites Constitution in Exile!!!

We had a small tussle over whether various appointees embrace a theory of "The Constitution in Exile" which would require extreme rollback of federal powers. Karnick and I, plus citees from The Volokh Conspiracy (heavy legal experts), called B.S. on one of our commenter's assertions about the CIE. I have to give some credit to the commenter because Ramesh Ponnuru of NRO talks about it as a going concern with at least one judge here.

Supreme Court Thoughts

Of course, we now know John Roberts was the nominee. The Prowler at AmSpec helps us understand why Edith Clement was everywhere. She was a very good feint aimed at forcing Moore-On.org to send out their attack email and then have to send the same email with name altered. Message: we oppose anybody.

My reasons for thinking Clement was it were not related to the press buzz, but it doesn't matter now. After reading the AmSpec article, I'm wondering whether Rehnquist didn't influence the choice of Roberts, his former clerk. He may have threatened not to retire unless Roberts was picked. Pure speculation on my part (and we may have some sense of how good my speculative powers are).

The Prowler always has juicy inside-the-camp Democrat quotes about whatever's going on. So much so that some doubt their reality. Not I, being a big fan of the magazine's editor. Here's the latest one:

"We are expecting one, if not two, more nominees to the Supreme Court this calendar year," says a senior Democratic strategist. "We have to be true to our values and defend them against a nomination like Roberts, but we have to be realistic. He's going to get through. But we have bigger fights ahead that will be even more pivotal. We've advised folks to keep their powder dry and not to waste it on this fight. Wait for the biggies to come."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What People Forget About Bork . . .

This Supreme Court nomination brings back discussion of Bork because the left would like to see something like that happen again. It's the model. Of course, they had a majority and were still the dominant party then. The memory is that Bork lost for being extreme. I recall a little history and can suggest a different reason.

The reason Bork was demonized was simple payback. He was in Justice during Watergate. Nixon told Elliott Richardson to fire Archibald Cox (special investigator). Richardson resigned. Next guy down resigned. Bork agreed to do the firing at the behest of Richardson and his lieutenant because someone had to do it lest a full-blown constitutional crisis emerge. That act earned Bork everlasting enmity from the left.

Some commenters will ask why I'm making a post out of a response I gave to comments earlier. The answer is, "I feel like it."

Date It! Time-Stamp It! The Next Supreme Court Justice Will Be . . .

Edith Brown Clement. My prediction is in.

UPDATE: I'm now hearing that I am gloriously wrong! We'll see. I'm still hoping for McConnell.

UPDATE II: National Review Bench Memos says Roberts because he's just come back from London. Pretty strong reasoning.

UPDATE III: It's Roberts. Next time we get Alan Reynolds to make the prediction.

Love that Bob Newhart . . .

As a longtime fan of Bob Newhart who has since discovered as an adult the man was even funnier than I'd previously believed, I happily point you to an interesting story by Cathy Seipp in National Review.

Here's a funny bit:

Contrary to Hollywood tradition, the 76-year-old comedian has been famously and happily married for 42 years to the same wife he started out with. When she gets the last laugh on him, he likes to tell the story. “I said, ‘Do you think Joanne Woodward makes Paul Newman take out the recyclables?’” he said, recalling a complaint he made on garbage day. “She said, ‘If you were Paul Newman, I wouldn’t make you take out the recyclables.’”

All this is an especially good thing because Newhart lived with his parents until he was in his late ‘20s and almost never dated. “We didn’t need to dig for dirt to make this interesting,” an A&E producer noted a few years ago, when the cable network’s Biography series premiered Bob Newhart: The Last Sane Man. After a perfectly timed pause, Newhart added then: “Luckily, the bestiality thing never came up.”

The old show is apparently coming out on DVD. I'm priming for a 70's nostalgia moment and may have to pick it up.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lance Armstrong Recycles

The first rule of effective writing is not to try to do too many things at once.

For example, if you wish to write a poignant celebration of the human triumph that Lance Armstrong has achieved over adversity and the best cyclists in the world, go right ahead. Or if you'd like to write some pungent derision of the French who watch like cross ants each year as he tramples their little Alps, be my guest. But please, please, don't try to do both at once.

An egregious violator of this sacrosanct principle has penned this screed in today's American Spectator.

Holy Steam Rollers

Atheists of the world, unite!

Today's article in the Los Angeles Times reminds us how fearful atheists must be in a climate where religion is burgeoning out of control. With all these weird sectarian fundamentalist types spouting their weirdo creeds against stealing from, insulting, striking and murdering people, it must be a hair-raising time indeed for the harried community of nonbelievers.

On Wedding Crashers, Freddy and Fredericka

Our visitors from National Review Online may be interested in another article I have had published today, at the Washington Examiner newspaper, on Mark Helprin's excellent new novel, Freddy and Fredericka. The editors titled the piece, "A Modern de Tocqueville," which is a rather apt description of what Helprin is doing in the book. You may read the review here.

Our visitors from the Washington Examiner site may enjoy reading "Crash Course on Marriage," my review of the film Wedding Crashers, which appeared in today's issue of National Review Online. An earlier, shorter essay of musings on the film was published on this site on Friday. You may read the full review here.

We hope that you will stick around and enjoy the other writings offered here.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood of Christ

I spent some time last week defending Harry Potter against the charge that he is incompatible with Christianity. I have now finished the latest installment in the Potter saga, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I now think that I was not only right, I understated the case. J.K. Rowling's vision is not just reconcilable with orthodox Christian thought, it uses elements of Christian theology as a moral underpinning and as an explanation of why the world is as it is.

Now, I'm not claiming that Harry Potter's world is an integrated and purposely-thought-out Christian allegory, like Narnia. Neither is it a coherent mythical world whose author is so steeped in Christianity that everything is viewed through this lens, like the worlds Tolkien invented. But neither is Hogwarts a secular adventure, where evil is defined as material harm to others. Voldemort is evil not just because he has caused mayhem, or killed people. He is evil because he has deliberately torn asunder something within himself that was created to stay whole.

This revelation of what, in the wizarding world, constitutes the ultimate -- yes, I will say sin, although Rowling does not use the word -- comes while Dumbledore and Harry are pursuing information about Voldemort's past through means of the Pensieve. This device, to which we were introduced in Prisoner of Azkaban (and which is, by the way, a tempting object for any wife whose husband insists on contradicting her based on his own obviously faulty recollections) enables third parties to enter a virtual reality of another's memories. Dumbledore has gone to great effort to obtain memories of those who surrounded Tom Riddle, the future Voldemort, in his youth, in an attempt to identify his weaknesses and so defeat him. A breakthrough comes when they obtain an honest memory from the new Potions master, Horace Slughorn, a elderly man who taught Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts when Riddle was a student, and who previously provided what was obviously an altered memory.

Riddle has stayed behind after a gathering to question Slughorn alone. He wants to know about the making and use of a Horcrux, an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul:

I don't quite understand how that works, though, sir," said Riddle. His voice was carefully controlled, but Harry could sense his excitement.

"Well, you split your soul, you see," said Slughorn, "and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But of course, existence in such a form....few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable."

But Riddle's hunger was now apparent; his expression was greedy, he could no longer hide his longing. "How do you split your soul?"

"Well," said Slughorn uncomfortably, "you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation. It is against nature."

An act of violation. Against nature. I'm not sure you get much closer to an orthodox account of The Fall without actually quoting from the Philokalia. The language, and the idea, is right out of the Eastern Fathers of the Church. But there's more.

"But how do you do it?"

"By an act of evil -- the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: He would encase the torn portion --"

"Encase? But how--?"

"There is a spell, do not ask me, I don't know!" said Slughorn, shaking his head like an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes. "Do I look was though I have tried it -- do I look like a killer?"

Of course, later, the epicurian, comfort-loving Slughorn realizes that through his own careless attitude -- even telling Riddle that it's natural to feel some curiosity about these things....Wizards of a certain caliber have always been drawn to that aspect of magic.... -- he has contributed to the ascent of horrific evil in his world. His response? Instead of doing what he can to rectify his error, to assist those who are braver and more energetic than he, he succumbs to fear and shame and attempts to hide what he has done. The circumstances under which he relents lead me to another conclusion: in certain circumstances, magic in Harry Potter is a symbol of grace. But I think I'll leave that one for another post.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

He's A Survivor


The gentleman on the right in this picture is one of those many quiet heroes who came storming out of the soul-crushing experience of the Holocaust to fashion impressive careers in the United States. I use the word "fashion" advisedly, because this is Stanley Glogover, my grandmother's (father's mother) cousin, who grew up as a wealthy kid in Makow, Poland. His family owned the department store. In the United States, he became the fastest graduate ever of the Fashion Institute in New York City, doing three years of work in one. He was such an amazing student that they asked him to stay on and teach for a few years.

But between his Makow years and his stellar rise in the fashion industry, he had a six-year hiatus, replete with ghettos, concentration camps, a German experiment that consisted of opening his skull without anesthesia, a long stint at Auschwitz and a few years in Displaced Persons camps in Italy. Someday I hope to write the full story of his experiences.

His fashion career has made him much beloved of women the world over. He is the inventor of the maternity bra and the nursing bra.

Now he enjoys his retirement here in South Florida, where that photo was snapped a week or so ago. The question that puzzles me is: who is that funny-looking fellow on his left?