In The Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby has a powerful and beautiful reflection on Passover and the meaning of the “bread of affliction” and “the bread of liberation.” I was unfamiliar with the story of David Ben-Gurion’s testimony at the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry and his powerful analogy to the Mayflower. I was familiar with the quote from Primo Levi, and it has lost none of its power for being repeated.
In The Washington Post, Eric Garcia looks at the voting preferences of Latinos and especially Latino men. It echoes some of the things I called attention to in my series on the Latino vote last week. The money quote:
Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that no party is entitled to a constituency. Every campaign has to work to actively court Latino voters. Instead of expecting — as many progressives do — Latino men to automatically vote against someone who works against their “self-interest,” it might be better to ask what Latino men actually see as their best interests and how they view themselves — and then adjust accordingly.
Pollsters and the campaigns they work for need to set aside their biases or they will continue to be surprised on election night.
From Smithsonian magazine, the bizarre story of Violet Gibson, the Irish woman who almost succeeded in assassinating Benito Mussolini in 1926. She was declared insane and deported to England where she lived out the rest of her life in an asylum. There is talk of erecting a monument in her honor, which is a horrible idea. Mussolini was an evil man, but since when does a liberal democracy honor an assassin?
EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo has long been among the worst kind of conservative ideologue, fawning over Donald Trump, echoing Fox News and even appearing as a regular on Laura Ingraham’s primetime show, but the problem is not limited to Arroyo’s show. Monday night, EWTN’s News Nightly show featured an interview with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist from Georgia. This is insane. Birmingham Bishop Steven Raica: Call your office!
Here are dueling arguments for and against standardized testing. At USAToday, Sean-Michael Pigeon, a senior at Yale, argues that SAT scores open an avenue to poor, smart kids they would not otherwise have. Relying on “soft” metrics alone will always favor rich kids whose parents could afford violin lessons and sports league fees. At Teachers College Press, Joseph Soares, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest, argues that standardized tests are inherently racist and should be eliminated. I think the kid wins on points, not least because the professor has a ridiculous mistake in his first paragraph, writing: “Statues honoring enslavers and white supremacists have toppled across Europe and American [sic] on a scale not seen since Stalin’s statues were tossed onto junk piles after the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Statues honoring Stalin came down during the de-Stalinization program of the late 1950s. When communism fell, it was Lenin whose statues came tumbling down.
Need some good news? The Biden administration has released $900 million in education funding to Puerto Rico according to NBC News. The Trump administration had blocked the sending of the money because the former president had a great hatred for the island. It is difficult for stateside Americans to realize how poor the people of Puerto Rico are and how badly they need sustained economic assistance.
From Widewalls, a look at some of architect Frank Gehry’s most iconic buildings. Gehry recently turned 92 years old, and he has been undoubtedly one of the most inventive architects of my lifetime. Some of the buildings on this list are exquisite, most famously his Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and, less well known, the Fisher Center at Bard College. Others, such as the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis and the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle take the deconstructivist motif too far, resulting in ugly buildings. Love Gehry or not, he has caused our entire culture to rethink the possibilities of his art form. There is a word for that: genius.