The Roaring Twenties

The first couple of decades of a new century are like a hangover: the opposite of a fresh start. All the mistakes of the recent past are still festering in the blood, making us sick and stupid, and bringing out the worst in us. The third decade brings with it the roar of the newContinue reading “The Roaring Twenties”

Ivanhoe

Ivanhoe is not the star of the story that bears his name. Neither is Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, or Richard the Lionheart, who all have significant parts to play in the tale. The star is Rebecca, the “jewess.” That term, like “negress,” sounds not only old-fashioned to our 21st Century ears but racist, and thereContinue reading “Ivanhoe”

The Presence of the Past

History is the process of the past negotiating its terms of surrender to the future. Although the past cannot defeat the future, it will do, and is currently doing, all it can, to break as many hearts as possible in the present. Cruelty seems to be the guiding principle of those in power, in theContinue reading “The Presence of the Past”

The Impermanence of Human Life

We are helpless in this world. The years and months slip past Like a swift stream, which grasps and drags us down. A hundred pains pursue us, one by one. Girls, with the wrists clasped round With Chinese jewels, join hands And play their youth away. But time cannot be stopped, And when their youthContinue reading “The Impermanence of Human Life”