Sunday, October 11, 2020

Some notes, quotes and anecdotes:

*** Wifey and I are watching the Netflix series "Fauda." It's very good - kind of an Israeli "24." Fauda, which means "chaos" in Arabic, was developed by Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, based on their real-life experiences in the Israel Defense Forces.

A friend of mine originally from Jordan told me it was unfortunately very realistic. So as the first season was winding down (there are 3) I texted him a question regarding a plot twist between two of the Palestinian characters: "Do cousins marry cousins often in the Arab world or is it just in this show?"

He replied with his usual wisdom and wit: "They do. The religion discourages the practice, but the culture embraces it. Two of my sisters are married to their first cousins. I am not."

He's married to a blonde from Nebraska.

*** I don’t know if you read Jason Whitlock or not, but he’s always instigating something and is often awesome. Column today on The Black Trump rips into LeBron James: 

*** Writer Joseph Epstein has a fun essay about fame. Do I have it? Do I need it?

He says:

I also like to think I have passed beyond the fantasy stage in regard to my own writing. When I publish a book, I hope it will sell enough copies to repay my publisher and please my modest number of regular readers (7–8,000 or so). I am pleased by enthusiastic reviews but no longer crushed (ticked maybe, but not crushed) by damning ones. I have ceased accepting occasional offers to do interviews or appear on talk-radio shows. As for offers to give lectures, I set a high fee ($10,000) and write to the people, not all that many, who have made the offer that they are not to worry if they cannot meet it, for I have heard these talks myself and assure them they are worth nowhere near $10,000.

*** Jay Nordlinger writes about Irina Slavina, a Russian journalist. It reminds me of Ace of Spades who, commenting on some journalists self-aggrandizement, wrote something like: "Journalists like to compare themselves to brave firefighters, but you never hear brave firefighters comparing themselves to journalists."

Slavina had written on social media on Thursday that police and federal guards burst into her flat in an early morning raid. She said they were searching for evidence of links to Open Russia, an opposition movement funded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky that has been ruled undesirable by the authorities, amid allegations that it funded protests in the city.

“I don’t have anything,” said the journalist, adding that police confiscated her notebooks and computer as well as laptops and phones belonging to her and her husband and daughter.

“I have no means of production,” she said.

She set herself on fire in front of police headquarters.

It’s easy to judge such a person, negatively, but most of us have no idea what it’s like to be in her shoes. You may remember what Mohamed Bouazizi said, before setting himself on fire. (He was the fruit vendor in Tunisia, whose death in 2011 set off the Arab Spring.) “How do you expect me to make a living?”

When I hear about people such as Irina Slavina, I also think, “What do we journalists risk here in the Free World? Mean tweets? Nasty ‘comments’? Maybe we don’t get that cable ‘hit’ at 3:11 in the afternoon?” We are so very lucky.

*** This is a very interesting article at RealClearEducation: The Awful Economic Impact of School Closings

The average U.S. K-12 student affected by COVID-19 school closures has a learning loss of one-third to over half a year of schooling. Assuming a one-third year learning loss, the report authors estimate that on average today’s students can expect at least 3% lower lifetime earnings. Longer learning loss makes matters worse. The situation is more severe for students from disadvantaged households.   

*** This writer reviews Joseph Bottum's book "The Decline of the Novel."

O Novel, Where Art Thou?

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