A few years back I wrote a story about a Florida panhandle folk artist named Woodie Long. Woodie died far too soon and left a beautiful widow and a country studio full of colorful, childlike paintings. His style was joyful.
A revealing thing happened in the grief-filled days that followed the massacre of helpless children and their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The headlines were immediate: All-women jury chosen for George Zimmerman's trial. What is the likelihood that you, a man, would face a jury of all women? What are the chances that one-third of the jurors judging you on a charge of second-degree murder identify their hobby as saving animals?
At a party a few years ago, a young reporter bounded over to my cluster of social nodders and, with the breathlessness of a born tweeter, chirped: "What's the new hot thing?!" Without disturbing my mascara, I replied: "Anonymity." She looked befuddled.
See if this makes sense to you: For years, I've argued with certain African-American people about their insistence upon using the so-called N-word which, to my ears, is, inalterably, a statement of self-loathing. They say I don't understand. They say the word no longer means what it has always meant. They say it's just a friendly fraternal greeting.
GUTHRIE, Ky. -- When determined women form a committee, move out of the way and take cover. Something's going to happen. What happened here was the salvation of a so-called railroad bungalow on a corner lot. It was about to be sold and moved, red brick by red brick, to the university over in Bowling Green, but the ladies of Guthrie galvanized and said: "Wait just a minute. This is ours."
You'd think they'd never seen a scandal before.
WASHINGTON -- We tend to remember leaders in characteristic poses. For Pope Benedict XVI, the college professor, it was delivering a much-misunderstood lecture at the University of Regensburg, which made controversial reference to Islam. For Pope Francis, it is kneeling to wash the feet of a young Muslim woman in a prison on Holy Thursday. With due respect to Benedict's learning, Francis' symbolic act managed to more effectively communicate the essence of the Christian gospel.
No one should pretend that dealing with leaks of highly sensitive and classified national security documents is easy. I remember hearing plenty of conservatives taking to the airwaves to accuse The New York Times of nothing less than "treason" for publishing materials provided by WikiLeaks.
Hold your applause. As milestones go, this one is disappointing. It is, at best, half a milestone. Or a down payment on a milestone. If you are of a more cynical bent, you might even call it an effort to forestall a milestone.
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