It’s Kind To Be Cruel, In Theory

“Be kind,” someone* once wrote, “Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” Could anyone possibly object to such a sentiment? Viewing it from a religious perspective—as is so fashionable these days—it would seem to pass muster right across the board, from Abrahamic to Zoroastrian. It would be impractical and probably unwise to pass a law mandating kindness. Surely, though, that quality jibes with the spirit of our laws. Without kindness, how could we ever expect to succeed in our “pursuit of happiness”? It seems reasonable to presume, then, that at the very least, our nation’s most eminent jurists have some nodding acquaintance with the …

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Our Shattered Porcelain Anniversary

A fortnight from tomorrow, the nation will mark a twentieth anniversary of great historical importance. It would be lovely to think that we are all prepared for it, but there is no evidence of that. Customarily, the head of the Executive Branch would lead any national commemoration. Fairly or not, though, recent events on the other side of the world have lowered most people’s expectations from that quarter. Besides, everyone knows who really does the heavy lifting when it comes to conducting such national events. [Cue Frank Zappa’s I Am the Slime.*] Nevertheless, we still have a problem. Over the past two decades, television news …

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The Delta Blues

This pandemic has been going on for so long now that it feels like we’re living in “Groundhog Day”—without Bill Murray to entertain us. Worse yet, there’s a sequel coming: “Dumb and Dumber.” According to a study published last month in The Lancet journal EClinical Medicine, “People who had recovered from COVID-19, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits versus controls when controlling for age, gender, education level, income, racial-ethnic group, pre-existing medical disorders, tiredness, depression and anxiety.” The study found that the average decline in IQ was seven points. We don’t mean to mock the afflicted, but that is a loss …

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It’s Time Capsule Time

Considering the circumstances, we have decided to craft this Rant as a time capsule, intended to give readers in the distant future  a fuller sense of how the world in which they live came to be created. That may seem an excessively hubristic undertaking, even for this boastful age. On the other hand, perhaps there is no need to apologize. We are, after all, the Nation’s Oldest Newspaper.™ That unique characteristic doesn’t just invite, it requires us to imagine the otherwise unlikely survival of this flimsy bit of newsprint. Let us travel, then, into the future: here we are, face to face with…dwindling bands of …

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So Much for Progress

The American Conservative Union (ACU) boasts of being “the nation’s oldest conservative grassroots organization.” * Born in December, 1964—one month after, and in response to, Barry Goldwater’s epic electoral humiliation—the ACU is now 56. People used to say that’s “old enough to know better.” Now that folk wisdom has been supplanted by a line of movie dialogue: “stupid is as stupid does.” In ’64, the ACU’s conservative bona fides were above reproach. Among its founders was William F. Buckley, Jr., who famously wrote, introducing his magazine National Review in 1955, that it “stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” A more succinct definition of conservatism has yet …

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A Lack of Progress Report

Come Sunday it will have been 245 years since the U.S. of A. told King George III, “Thanks, we can handle it from here on our own.” So, how’s that working out? Let’s be optimistic and call it a mixed bag. We’ll begin with the meta-news. This will be our third paper since we resumed our traditional practice of manifesting on a substrate of newsprint. The distribution of said newsprint—always the true challenge—is going well enough; the downtown crew has been exceptional. On the editorial end, of course, there is infinite room for improvement. The true highlight has been the enthusiasm of readers and subscribers. …

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