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O My America: The Good Neighbor

by Lawrence Bush   I WAS EXCHANGING holiday gifts and family reports with a neighbor tonight and, for the first time in years, I waded into political waters with him. I talked about the poverty rate, especially among children, in our country — about 21 percent — and about the merciless quality of political culture in our […]

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O My America: Can the Left Repair Itself?

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics, by Mark Lilla, HarperCollins, 2017, 143 pages.  Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together, by Van Jones, Ballantine Books, 2017, 233 pages.   IS THE UNEXPECTED VICTORY of Doug Jones over Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race in […]

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O My America: Go Ahead and Boycott

by Lawrence Bush   YOU WANT to boycott Israel? You now have my blessing, thanks to Donald Trump. For the many years I’ve been associated with Jewish Currents, and for years before that association began (I was assistant editor 1978-83 and have been editor since 2002), the magazine has defined itself as “non-Zionist, pro-Israel.” This meant that we were […]

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O My America: Charlie Chaplin Speaks

by Lawrence Bush I GOT IN THE MOOD for Charlie Chaplin tonight, and I watched The Great Dictator for the first time in many years. This prescient 1940 film combines satire, both brilliant and low-brow, with balletic slapstick, sentimental shtik, wonderfully simple stage-settings, and chillingly relevant political insight. The speech that Chaplin delivers at the film’s end […]

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O My America: What To Do About Al Franken?

by Lawrence Bush   EVER SINCE the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, and wave upon wave of sexual abuse stories have polluted the shores, I’ve been waiting for this righteous uprising of women to be derailed by rightwing drivers of opinion — Oh, come on, can’t you tell the difference between sexual assault and some harmless flirting!. . . […]

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The Committee for the Proper Use of Senseless Violence

by Lawrence Bush   LAST NIGHT I WATCHED Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation (2016), which tells the story of Nat Turner’s 1831 slavery rebellion in Virginia. The film is soaked through with the intense physical, sexual, and spiritual violence of American slavery — the nearly four-hundred-year-old tradition of American slavery — and it inflamed me. […]

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Bopping through the Biennale

by Lawrence Bush   I’VE NOW BEEN demoted from the consort of a cherished dance educator in Slovenia to a tourist in Venice. (To read about my explorations in charming Slovenia, search “Bopping” in the search engine at right.) But everyone is a tourist in Venice, which is the most visually fantastic city this side of Mars, […]

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Bopping in the Balkans, part 3

by Lawrence Bush To read earlier installments, search “Bopping” at right. WE TOOK a free three-hour walking tour of Ljubljana today, with a cool and chatty young guide who knew his stuff and began by noting that “Slovenia is the only country to have ‘love’ in its name.” And he meant it.

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Bopping in the Balkans, part 2

by Lawrence Bush To read part 1, click here. WE’RE NOW IN VELENJE, an old Slovenian mining town rebuilt as “a socialist miracle, a town in a park” by Marshal Tito’s government between 1959 and 1964. I listened here yesterday morning to my wife’s keynote talk at the International Dance Pedagogy Conference. Susan spoke slowly and passionately to these English-as-second-language Slovenians about […]

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Fantasyland vs. The Counterculture

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, by Kurt Andersen. Random House, 2017, 462 pages.   WHEN MY SON Jonah was about 8, he articulated his first generalization about human beings, based on his perceptions of our none-too-diverse community in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. “Dad,” he said, “I think there […]

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