Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Long-term trend: Worsening divide between the parties (New York Times)
Voters were asked to rate their own party and the other party on a 100-point scale, with 100 being best.
Since 1980, they have basically rated their own party at between 70 and 80.
What’s striking is their evaluation of the other party.
In 1980, they rated the other party a little under 50.
Today, they rate the opposition party at less than 25–and it continues to drop.
They don’t just “dislike” the other party, they think they are a genuine threat to the country.
In 2016, Pew reported that 45 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Democrats felt that the other party’s policies posed a threat to the nation. –New York Times, reporting on Pew study
Comment: Grim numbers
A Palestinian official on Wednesday said there are no plans to stop making payments to families of Palestinians who have been convicted of killing Israelis, contradicting comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“We will continue to pay them,” PLO Prisoners’ Commission Chairman Essa Qaraqaa told The Jerusalem Post. “What Tillerson said is not correct.” –Jerusalem Post
Comment: This is not over. The Trump Administration seems determined on this issue.
◆ RIP Philip Gossett, who restored great operas to their original text and lyrics He was a great scholar who brought his work out of the library and into opera houses, where conductors and singers were thrilled to perform the original texts, now that Gossett had removed the mistaken translations and omissions.
[Conductor Riccardo Muti] gave one example of the kind of restoration Mr. Gossett specialized in: Traditional productions of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” had the lascivious Duke of Mantua appear at a tavern in the last act and ask for “Una stanza, e del vino” (“A room, and some wine”), a seemingly innocuous request that is oddly met with disgust by the others on stage. –New York Times
The obituary also contains a smidgen of Gossett’s family history that deserves mention:
Mr. Gossett was born on Sept. 27, 1941, in Brooklyn to Harold and Pearl Gossett. His father was a furrier. After his family moved to Queens, he attended Forest Hills High School.
Mr. Gossett graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College, earned his doctorate from Princeton University after spending a year in Paris as a Fulbright scholar, and joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1968, where he remained for the rest of his academic career. –NYT
Comment: Why mention that background? Because it shows an extremely smart kid from an immigrant family in the New York Boroughs, educated in public school, eager to spend his life in the high arts. He did that with great distinction and creativity, as a professor, a consultant to symphonies and opera houses, and as Dean of the Humanities at the University of Chicago.
Allan Bloom’s background was similar, coming from lower-middle class roots in Indianapolis. (His parent were social workers). Allan always said that coming to Chicago as an undergraduate opened an intellectual banquet for him. I always thought Allan’s cri de coeur, The Closing of the American Mind, grew out of his incredulity and then disgust that later generations of students did not appreciate the great works and learning set before them. Worse, he thought, they combined ignorance and contempt.
Philip Gossett was my backyard neighbor, a colleague at the university, and a member of my synagogue. May his memory be a blessing.
Comment: Even if they passed the resolution, it would have no effect.
But the sheer idiocy, cloaked in modern academic jargon, is worth highlighting.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Robert Lieber for Palestinian payments to terrorists