Open thread.

Long day, late night, another long day ahead, followed by another late night. Which means? Open thread.

You might start the discussion here. I’ll be back eventually.

Posted at 7:02 am in Same ol' same ol' |

98 responses to “Open thread.”

  1. David C. said on December 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I prefer to think of the walls as keeping them in rather than keeping me out. Being kept out of there is like being kept out of a demolition derby or a Lee Greenwood concert – the punishment is much more wonderful than the crime.

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  2. beb said on December 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Following all the football discussion over the weekend I’m surprised no one has mentioned the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher. Murder-suicides are all cases tragic but this one, where Belcher apparently apologized to his girlfriend after killing her, then went to the team’s facility to thank the coaches and trainers who had helped him before killing himself, is just weird. Almost “bath salts” weird.

    Then there’s the report that a study of 34 brains from deceased football players all showed signs of a form of dementia caused by repeated concussions. It raises the question can this problem be fixed or should football by banned for the health of the players?

    Finally there’s a political poll out that between asking people their opinion about the Simpson Bowles plan, asked them if ACORN had anything to do with the election. 49% of Republicans thought they had stole the election for Obama. Also 25% of those polled had an opinion about the Panetta-burns plan, a plan they made up just to see how honest people are with pollers.

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  3. alex said on December 5, 2012 at 8:19 am

    David, what you said reminds me of how a history professor once described the American and Australian colonies. Though we are taught in grade school to celebrate them as a refuge from religious persecution, the British regarded them as safely distant islands on which to dump their religious crazies and other undesirables. Somehow I doubt, though, that 400 years from now being a descendant of Citadel folk will have the same cachet as having ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.

    Speaking of religious crazies, my state senator is at it again. Having failed at making Biblical creationism part of the public school science curriculum during the last legislative session—as head of the senate education committee, natch—he’s dreaming up new ways to buck the system. I don’t know whether he’s really that stupid himself or just thinks this will be a crowd-pleaser among the stupid folks who elected him.

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  4. Scout said on December 5, 2012 at 8:24 am

    The Citadel sounds perfect for me and my Colombian partner. We should fit right in. I think my half Mexican grandchildren will enjoy visiting us there, also too.

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  5. coozledad said on December 5, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Wow. First they sold them on Bible based waterslides, then the creationist museums, now a Hobbesian gated community.

    When the dislocated urban hordes come beating on their door, it won’t be because they’re begging for food or looking to breed with their crosseyed offspring, it’ll be because they’ve lit a bag of dogshit on the stoop.

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  6. Mark P said on December 5, 2012 at 8:58 am

    The whole citadel thing is ridiculous. They fear a total breakdown of civilization, and their response is to build a Disneyland for morons to make money from tourists. Do they expect the tourists to pay with beaver pelts?

    Cooz, once civilization falls, I don’t think there will be many visitors. Who would want to visit a disease-ridden enclave of starving idiots?

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  7. coozledad said on December 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Who would want to visit a disease-ridden enclave of starving idiots? I don’t know the answer to that question, but you might start by contacting the Oklahoma department of tourism.

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  8. JWfromNJ said on December 5, 2012 at 9:34 am

    So shart stories?

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

    FYI — “genuine Patriots who wish to live without neighbors” is, in my opinion, an oxymoron.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 9:37 am

    JW, this might start us in that direction:

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  11. Judybusy said on December 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Scout, that was my first thought, too, that my partner and I surely would be welcome with open arms! The level of paranoia is truly bizarre, and what is up with all the goofy capitalization? Why not work to build community and reach across differences? Oh, I forgot, that wouldn’t involve the fun of guns and paramilitary action.

    In Minnesota today, we are shocked that the suspect in the shooting of a small-town police officer has been released for lack of evidence. I know, due process, but my sister and her family live there and it seems pretty clear this guy did the deed. I also found it interesting that the MRP article leads with the funeral’s being today, but the Star Tribune paper headline has the news of the suspect’s being released in large, bold type.

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  12. Mark P said on December 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

    cooz, you do a disservice to the same government department in Alabama. Surely Alabama would take priority, and I’m sure they have the answer. It probably involves the lack of unions, medical care, an educational system, and marriageable first cousins without mental defects.

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  13. Jenine said on December 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

    @JTMMO, I read it that way too at first and wondered what they thought the other Patriots would be if not neighbors. But they really prefer to live without neighbors “who are Liberal” (love the emphasis caps). I like the tourism angle very much. It’ll be like a stern, edgy Renaissance Faire.

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  14. velvet goldmine said on December 5, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Open thread — cool! I’d love to survey the journos in the group, even given that times have changed since we all went to college.

    My son, a sophomore in high school, is currently interested in studying journalism in college. But he doesn’t want to do quick-turnaround, daily paper stuff (his mother’s son). Instead, he’s interested in being a reviewer or possibly a feature writer.

    Even given the questionable future of the press, can any of you think of schools he should be thinking about? And also what he should specifically study?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    Oh — P.S. I wanted to mention to those of you who helped send Phoebe to her conference at Yale about 18 months ago that she recently got into her first choice school, Marlboro College in VT. You all get credit!

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  15. susan said on December 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

    in east-central Oregon. Didn’t work out so well. Bought up a big ranch outside of Antelope, changed the name of the town, took over the school district, brought in gobs of homeless people, eventually created mayhem, directed food poisoning, and murder. Here’s the whole story. Yikes. There must be something in the Amurkan psyche, or the human psyche seeing the wide-open spaces in Amurka as a place to wall-in or off. Kind of like fairy rings, although I betcha those folks would not approve of that metaphor.

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  16. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

    If you didn’t get a chance yesterday to read Nance’s link to the article about the fast-talking time-share salesman/owner (husband and wife – guy looks like Foghorn Leghorn, whose business partner wife has essentially frightening power-breasts), it makes a very good bookend for this bizarre residential fortress thing.

    I suppose a concurrent additional article might be about the cars these sorts of people probably drive; I’m betting lots of Ann Romney style Cadillac truck/urban assault vehicles.

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  17. susan said on December 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

    The first line: Gee,the Rajneeshees tried that back in the eighties…

    (Now, where is that correction button??)

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  18. BigHank53 said on December 5, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Alex, your state senator is pursuing a two-forked strategy.

    Goal #1: Theocracy! Praise Jesus!

    Goal #2: He doesn’t get theocracy! He loses! The world is now persecuting him for his beliefs! Now he is just like Jesus himself! Only with fewer nails and he probably knows who his dad is.

    Seriously, you see this over and over in the “culture wars”. There are plenty of non-controversial, non-confrontation things one could do in Jesus’ name: feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the poor, etc. But we get confrontations over school prayer, abortion, art funding, Christmas displays, and education. Those aren’t randomly chosen: they’re all about power. Power to spend other people’s money on your faith, power to make them repeat words they don’t believe in, power to make them do what you want.

    Naturally, your opponents dig in their heels, particularly when your position is blatantly unfair or unconstitutional. And you lose. Now you can devote all your energy to a nonstop pity-party, where you always get to have extra cake because the whole world is so unfair. I’m not joking here; every mythology has an allowance for cheating–when you are on the side of good and your side is losing, all bets are off. These evil, sanctimonious shits are determined to give themselves both the sanction of heaven and permission to toss out the rulebook.

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  19. velvet goldmine said on December 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

    As for the Citadel, I suppose the whole plan will either collapse or turn out to be a harmless collection of retired folks complaining about Obamer over a steam. But I admit it sends chills down my spine. I wish someone like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates would snap up all the properties and turn it into a wind-fuel plant or something.

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  20. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I got a disturbing email yesterday from my rightwing sister in Minnesota, I think she’s gone completely bonkers. She described what she called “watermelons”, advocates of spending tax payer dollars on rectifying global warming. Watermelons she says are green on the outside and red on the inside. What they really want to do according to her is to redistribute wealth to third world countries and their dictators.

    I kid you not. People really believe that shit?!

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  21. susan said on December 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Well, where’d the link go? Here is the whole story:

    (sheesh. As in rajsheesh.)

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  22. Connie said on December 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

    velvet goldmine, some years ago I found myself discouraging my child from following my career footsteps as a librarian, as I feel there is no future in it. She was horrified by my response. Next week she graduates from IU SPEA with an MPA and an MSES and it looks like she may be working in a winery in order to stay in Bloomington to continue her professional job hunt with SPEA resources.

    I think your son could major in any number of areas of interest – poli sci for example – with lots of writing courses, not necessarily in journalism.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Anthropology. Learning ethnography is the skill that empowers you in almost any field of human endeavor.

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  24. Sue said on December 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

    So, the Citadel is…
    a hippie commune without the hippies?
    That large a concentration of Ted Nugents in one spot will cause some kind of cosmic disturbance, mark my words. This is the dawning of the age of anti-aquarius, maybe?

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  25. coozledad said on December 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Watermelons she says are green on the outside and red on the inside

    Jesse Helms’ Salvadoran cumrag Roberto D’Aubuisson used to say the same thing at rallies while holding a watermelon aloft. He would finish the demonstration by splitting the watermelon with a machete at “red on the inside”.

    My guess is the Republican phrasebook is necessarily short and repetitive.

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  26. Dave said on December 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

    They ARE going to have a firearms museum. Why is it always Idaho, what attracts them to that state?

    Surprised no one has brought up the end of the world advancing down upon us. I’m a regular in a forum that was work-related and there’s one man on there, heavily into astrology, who is telling us all goodbye, he’s camped out in his home as a semi-recluse, from what I gather, in the woods north of Seattle. Oh, 16 days left.

    The fact that Dennis Kruse has anything to do with education has concerned me for awhile.

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  27. Heather said on December 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Journalism is a tough, tough field to make a decent living in right now. That said, you don’t have to go to J-school to be a journalist. I know lots of journalists and editors who didn’t. As Connie says, there are lots of relevant majors. He could also take some specific journalism courses. Maybe others can weigh in, but J-school doesn’t seem like the smartest investment right now.

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  28. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I think your son could major in any number of areas of interest – poli sci for example – with lots of writing courses, not necessarily in journalism.

    That would be my advice too. Develop some real expertise–in healthcare, education, transportation, environmental issues, sports, whatever. You then have the possibility of working in a general news organization, a specialty publication, or a communications job in a relevant organization. But get lots of writing experience. That’s not always as easy to do as it should be. Unless they are teaching writing classes, university professors do not get rewarded for helping students learn to write. Many of them are not good writers themselves, especially when it comes to writing for general audiences. But student newspapers, internships, and part-time jobs all offer opportunities to get real-world experience.

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  29. Mark P said on December 5, 2012 at 11:01 am

    BigHank — “he probably knows who his dad is.” I love that.

    Someone once pointed out that the people who want school prayer are not worried about their own kids, they want to make YOUR kids pray.

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  30. Basset said on December 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Agree on that, a new grad with a broader background and some work experience & good clips, reel, whatever kind of work samples would be more commercially viable than someone who just concentrated on the journalism training. I say this as an IU Bloomington telecommunications alum with a journalism concentration; if he can write (and shoot and edit and do websites and social media), he’ll have a good shot. IUB provides great opportunities in all of those directions.

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  31. Basset said on December 5, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Should say I was agreeing with velvet@14, several other posts slipped in while I was writing mine. MarkP does have a good point, though.

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  32. Catherine said on December 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    What, Wyoming isn’t close enough for a firearms museum? The Cody Firearms Museum, part of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, is actually pretty cool:

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  33. MaryRC said on December 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I suppose you could see this as the latest in a long line of closed communities established throughout American history — along with, say, the Oneida Community or that Catholics-only town in Florida envisioned by former Dominos Pizza owner Tom Monaghan (not sure what happened to that one).”

    This was interesting: “Living in a house, townhome or condo within the Citadel requires residents to voluntarily assume responsibilities for the common defense.” So in other words residents are obliged to take arms against … who? Starving hordes swarming the walls? Surly tourists who won’t tip? Presumably if all the tourists are coming for the “wonderful hunting opportunities”, they’ll be heavily armed too.

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  34. velvet goldmine said on December 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Thanks, folks — keep the thoughts coming! Especially if you have strong appreciation for New England schools with good writing programs. His father and I tried to tell him the same thing about not concentrating just on journalism, especially if he’s interested in reviews of books, music, etc that would seem to call for a knowledge of literature and the arts. But what do we know? We’re only professional writers.

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  35. velvet goldmine said on December 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Another special element about the Citadel, if you read the agreement page, is that each 13- year-old is required to have his or her own firearm to train with and to keep at home. I always think that’s a nice thing to have constant access to when the hormones start raging.

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  36. Sue said on December 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

    The Citadel is going to have condos. A group of people whose general attitude is “you can’t tell me what to do” have condos as part of their development.

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  37. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

    What I thought was funny was this line: “The Citadel will have between 3,000 and 5,000 households within the walls, with a single gate permitting access”

    What could possibly go wrong with that? S’posin’ there’s some sort of emergency; say, a probable thing like a natural disaster and/or a fire that gets away from them, or a highly-unlikely thing such as….ohhh, who knows? – a mass-shooting event at their re-education center….and people need to get OUT and/or emergency responders need to get IN? How’s that one gate gonna work out?

    And, they’re banking on visitors and tourism? Really? Assuming the place ever comes into existence, who the heck would want to visit it? It strikes me as about the same as loading the family visit a zoo; a zoo where the animals run loose! Would anyone (let alone anyone with darker skin or an accent) other than a like-minded nit-wit want to spend the night in such a place?

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  38. Little Bird said on December 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Let ’em have their community, that way we know where they are and can better avoid them.
    Watching the place inevitably implode could prove entertaining in tha schadenfreude kind of way.

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  39. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

    If the Citadel people had serious money, here’s what they’d be doing:

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  40. Sue said on December 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    brian stouder, how will anything get built in the first place? What codes will they use? Nothing pisses off a liberty-lovin’ homeowner more than being told by some bureaucratic building inspector that he’ll have to follow local codes modeled on state, national and international codes which are in turn based on insurance reviews.
    So, firetraps built within a walled community with one access point. Nope, nothing can possibly go wrong.

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  41. Sue said on December 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Little Bird, that’s a reality show I would watch.

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  42. Sue said on December 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Sherri, they can place them right next to oil rigs for an easy access source of fuel! No problem with that that I can see.

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  43. DellaDash said on December 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Susan – you remind me of a sleek young man, back in the day, to whom one of my best friends in California was grievously addicted.

    I’m pretty sure he was an unpredictable presence in my friend’s life by the late 70’s…showing up in Los Angeles to perch on the doorstep of one he knew could never turn him away…always poised for flight…soon enough disappearing to undisclosed destinations.

    It had to have been in the early 80’s when he began to display the saffron plummage of the Rajneeshees as if it were haute couture, and took the name ‘Anand’ for himself. He was a petite, perfectly proportioned doll of a man; with long, lustrous, reddish blonde hair and beard that he wore in leather-corded queues, front and back. He always seemed to be sitting in meditation posture when I came upon him, (not having managed to avoid an encounter), exuding the air of a cat luxuriating in a patch of sunlight, unmoving except for a subtle ongoing preening…stroking of beard and mustache. If he chose to levitate to a standing position, his movements were always precise and graceful.

    Peeking out beneath the surface of passive self-containment was a stone-cold bully.

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  44. BigHank53 said on December 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm


    Many years ago, my then-girlfriend went to a state college in New Hampshire, and got an English degree. But by the time she graduated, she’d been editor of the student newspaper for two years. You think that helped with landing a job?

    If your offspring winds up going to anyplace with a journalism degree, they’ll have to stand in line to copy-edit the classifieds. If they want to write, they have to write. Anything and everything. Lab reports. Movie reviews. Snarky blog comments. It’s all practice.

    Given media convergence and shrinking staffs, they’d be well-advised to take a photography course and learn some basic video editing, too.

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  45. Jeff Borden said on December 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm


    My best friend’s daughter was an award-winning high school journalist at a high school in southeastern Ohio with a nationally recognized journalism program. She won pretty much every award there was to win for a high school journo. Insatiably curious and driven, she was certain journalism was her destiny.

    Her father asked me for advice. I believe the advice I gave more than 10 years ago bears repeating. Journalism is a terrible business right now, but those with particular skills will find work such as journalists who truly understand economics and those who speak a second or third language, particularly Spanish, Chinese, etc.

    My friend’s daughter took a double major in journalism and Chinese at University of Maryland. She has worked primarily OUTSIDE of the news business since her graduation. She’s pursuing advanced degrees in Chinese right now, but looks to join a trade organization, government entity or perhaps a university working closely with Chinese. Even with her terrific skills as a reporter, writer and Chinese scholar, it still looks like a rough road for her into the news business.

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  46. Joe K said on December 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Hanging out in Waterloo Iowa today, just finished up a nice run thru their state park here, 7 paved miles along a river. I swear Iowa as a state has the best biking, running trails in the country, no matter where I go in this state, I can find a place to run. Finished up with a late breakfast at Morgs dinner, had one pancake I swear was a foot in diameter, with 3 pieces of inch thick bacon.
    Mmmm bacon,
    Pilot Joe

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  47. Connie said on December 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Oh Pilot Joe, at last we agree. Mmmm bacon.

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  48. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    My daughter wants to be a writer (not a journalist, a fantasy/science fiction writer.) She asked me back in 9th grade what she should study in college to pursue that. I told her, study something other than creative writing; learn something to write about – one of the sciences, psychology, something that gave her a basis for world building*.

    We should know in a couple of weeks whether she has been accepted early decision at the small liberal arts college of her choice where she is considering studying chemistry or environmental studies with a chemistry concentration.

    *actually, I first told her to major in physics, because everybody should major in physics, which made her laugh, since she knows I majored in physics. She is, however, still considering physics.

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  49. Connie said on December 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Thanksgiving conversation with my 40 year old niece and her friend: Both majored in graphic design, both spent years working for newspapers in advertising design. Neither was able to find a new job after staying home for a few years because all the software had changed. My niece is now a very successful home based designer selling through Etsy. The friend is still unemployed.

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  50. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I wanted to add: Is your son a reader? The number of people who make their living as critics is impossibly small, but some do. Those we know about and admire are deeply engaged with their subject/medium. Michael Dirda, who won a Pulitzer as a WaPo book reviewer set out to master the great works of Western literature and philosophy, beginning with Clifton Fadiman’s Lifetime Reading Plan. (If I recall correctly, he earned a doctorate in comparative literature along the way, but don;t quote me on that,) There’s an updated version of that now, and Dirda has also written several books about reading and books. Exploring Dirda’s opus would, in fact, be a good way to get a sense of what a high-end modern book reviewer knows and does. Just look him up on Amazon to see his books about how his career came to be and to get an overview of his books about books and reading.

    Similarly, if your son is interested in movies, there are compilations of reviews by Roger Ebert and many other film critics. Getting a sense of what other reviewers think about movies and how they express their thoughts–and figuring out how to capture your own reactions to their views–is a good way to get started.

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  51. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    The architecture firms I have worked for, three large corporate international ones, all had writers on staff, especially the last one I worked for, they had quite a few. These people wrote project descriptions for marketing and PR. They were highly revered by the architects who needed them desperately. They were in demand. I have no idea what their pay scale was, architecture in general is not a high paying profession compared to other professions that require the amount of education needed.

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  52. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Also, read Hank Stuevers blog about his teaching journalism in Montana (or is it Wyoming?). Sorry, I can’t seem to manage a link right now.

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  53. LAMary said on December 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Just read that Dave Brubeck died. I remember seeing him and his sons playing when I was in college. My IPod is now playing Blue Rondo Ala Turk.

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  54. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Take Five, Dave Brubeck has died.

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  55. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    LA Mary, we cross posted.

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  56. Dorothy said on December 5, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I saw the mention about Dave Brubeck when I was on my lunch hour (at home) 90 minutes ago. I’ve been trying to get Pandora on my office computer since I got back from lunch but the dang thing won’t load. I rebooted, cleared my cache, all that good stuff. Just installed a flash player update last week. All I want to do is listen to some Dave and groove a little. I just overheard a girl down the hallway from me saying her mom is close friends with one of Dave’s daughters-in-law.

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  57. Basset said on December 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve told this story here before, but allow me a brief repeat… One of our student radio station, WIUS at IU Bloomington, operated through individual transmitters in each dorm which we would tune up and repair in the summer.

    Our test music was an endless-loop tape of “Take Five.” we took a call once from some kid who I assume was there for a summer program or something… “Do you guys know you’ve been playing the same song for TWO DAYS?”

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  58. Hattie said on December 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I worked as a teacher in a prison for many years (not an inmate, I hasten to add) and from time to time I would ask my students if they had ever had head injuries. Usually, about 3/4 of the class would raise their hands.
    I think there is a real correlation here.

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  59. paddyo' said on December 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Deborah, Hank’s in Montana — at the U. of Montana in Missoula . . . here’s the link to his blog:

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  60. Snarkworth said on December 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Velvet, I would recommend a course in statistics. Fooling people with numbers is the last refuge of the scoundrel, and a grounding in statistics makes it much easier for reporters to sniff out bullpoop.

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  61. Dexter said on December 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I have to now consider Detroitblogger John to be the best feature columnist in the …country? world?

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  62. paddyo' said on December 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    BTW, love that Citadel prospectus, especially the part about how it “is not to be a closed society,” excepting how they plan to live “without neighbors who are Liberals and Establishment political ideologues . . . .”

    But then, the patriot idiots have been an endless source of amusement for some time now. A coupla weeks ago, one of them took seriously a spoof posting at the Daily Kos online community/blog about how work was under way to carve a granite likeness of BarryO alongside the four guys already on Mount Rushmore.
    Mr. Clueless even started an online petition drive, which actually included a link to the satirical Daily Kos posting that he took for truth:

    Several days (daze?) later, somebody hipped him to his folly, and the petition drive “closed” with eight signatures . . .

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  63. Dexter said on December 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I JUST NOW received a bulletin that Dave Brubeck died at age 91.
    I used to work with an old guy who was a school teacher and band director at a local high school, and was “let go” and came to the factory to work. His name was Dick C. …he was a real intellectual compared to the lot of “regular Joes” who worked on the factory floor. I used to talk about all sorts of stuff with Dick…he was a very interesting old fellow, and he had this hatred of “management”, which was his ticket to “fit in” with us regular workers.
    Dick was a fanatic about Dave Brubeck. Until Dick’s back began hurting him really badly he would take long car trips to see Brubeck’s performances every now and then in Cleveland or Chicago, and once he drove to a festival in New Orleans, with the main purpose of seeing the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Dick was old, but the first one to have a Sony Walkman, the one that played cassette tapes. His inspection bench always had his daily tapes laid out…over half were always Dave Brubeck.
    Dick’s long dead, and I just know he was right behind Saint Peter in welcoming Dave Brubeck to heaven.

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  64. Dexter said on December 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    The Duke…by Dave Brubek

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  65. Prospero said on December 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Happy birthday to Little Richard Wayne Penniman.

    I saw Dave Brubeck with his sons in a concert at UGA chapel. A baby cried during a quiet piano patch and the master seemlessly melded Brahms into his tune. Saw him one time in the piano bar at the Copley in Boston. The headliner was the superb trumpeter Ruby Braff, who had Alan Dawson playing drums. Brubeck was in the crowd and was invited to sit in. Amazing show. They blew up Blue Rondo a la Turk, with the horn taking the Paul Desmond sax parts. Incredible. 9/8 time. 2+2+2+3.

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  66. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    The flip-side of down-sizing and out-sourcing?

    I think “Alexander Lukashenko” can be roughly translated into “Willard Romney”….

    BORISOV, Belarus (AP) — Vladimir Dodonov wants to flee Belarus for neighboring Russia before it becomes illegal to leave his job at a wood-processing plant.
    Belarus’ authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has decided to stem an exodus of qualified workers to Russia, starting by banning those who work in wood-processing industries from quitting. Critics have compared the measure to serfdom and warned that it would only deepen the former Soviet republic’s economic troubles and fuel protests against Lukashenko. Dodonov, 37, who earns the equivalent of $140 a month at the Borisovdrev plant, says he could make several times as much in Russia and would have left earlier if he hadn’t had to care for his ailing mother. “How can you survive on such a miserable salary?” he said this week. “Naturally, I’m thinking about leaving for Russia before they turn me into a slave.”

    It could be too late.

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  67. velvet goldmine said on December 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Heather — thanks! I don’t think he’d go to journalism school per se, since at the moment he’s interested more in criticism. But he is not really sure which majors/programs would be apt to best teach lively critical writing, as opposed to traditional journalism or scholarly criticism.

    Jolene — Thanks for the tips! At least one of those books may go on the Christmas list. Yes, he is a reader, but in that quirky, skipping-around way boys his age seem to have. He loves to read intelligent reviews of music and video games, and he has a highly specific taste in fiction (myth-based stuff at the moment.)

    Jolene, Basset, Big Hank, Jeff B, Sherri, Deborah, Snark (heh) — and I’m sure I skipped someone — sound advice, all! Especially regarding writing across the curriculum in school. I kind of wish he liked the looks of the school we just toured with his sister. That college requires both a challenging writing component of all students in the first two years, and a “plan of concentration” thesis-like project in order to graduate.

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  68. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Velvet: One other idea. Tell your son that he might find some critics whose work he likes and correspond with them. People are generally flattered by interest in their work. After familiarizing himself with the work of people he admires a letter asking, “How did you get your job? How would you advise me to prepare to get one like it?” might produce useful information or contacts. Ron Charles at the Post might be a good candidate. Among his gifts is a lively sense of humor.

    The reality, though, is that there likely is no Step 1, Step 2, etc. approach to the kind of career your son envisions. It’ll be a matter of hustling, acquiring experience,, and following up opportunities and contacts.

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  69. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    A new reading list: best bios of U.S. presidents, assembled by Chris Cillizza and his WaPo underlings.

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  70. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Jolene – great list! I’ve read several on there, and noticed that they return fairly often to the American Presidents series of books for the more obscure ones.

    For example, I’ve read the one on Benjamin Harrison (grandson of Tippecanoe), in advance of visiting his house in Indianapolis; a tight, well written little book, about the president who won after Grover Clevland’s first term, and then lost to Cleveland (and who took up with his step daughter, if memory serves).

    And Meacham’s book about Andy Jackson is so good, I decided I’d add his TJ book to my Christmas list, even though I don’t like TJ.

    If I was gonna add one non-Lincoln (or at least non-exclusively Lincoln) book to the list, I’d add Sean Wilentz’s marvelous book about the development of American Democracy from Jefferson to Lincoln (if nothing else, that book exposes you to all the old terms – loco-focos and know-nothings and all the rest)

    I liked Chris Matthew’s Kennedy book…and I think I’ve almost conciously held off on the massive Caro books about LBJ.

    Best Lincoln book to slog through: Herndon’s Informants.

    Best Lincoln book for a quick enjoyable read: Gerry Prokopowicz’s book “Did Lincoln Own Slaves” – amongst many others!

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  71. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Jolene at #68, an excellent point. I got my start in graphic design by doing exactly that, contacting people in that world and asking them how they got there. I had been teaching, mainly art and I didn’t want to do that anymore, I started doing research into professions that used art skills and just started calling people cold from the phone book or other connections I had made. I found that without exception every person I called was happy to talk, I took some of the people to lunch and got tours of their workplaces as a result. One of the people I contacted was the head of production graphics for a large corporate architecture firm, we had lunch, she gave me a tour. I decided I would die to get a job at a place like that but it wasn’t a job interview so I kept my mouth shut. A few months later they had an entry level position open up and the woman remembered me and asked if I was interested in an interview. I never expected to get the job but figured the interview would be a good experience. Thirty plus years later, I got the job obviously and worked myself up from that entry level position to being the director of the graphics group etc etc etc. Networking is a huge asset. Do it.

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  72. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    The Post has a great Brubeck obit, which particularly notes his travel on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Marc Fisher, one of my favorite Posties, linked to this clip of Brubeck charming a Moscow audience and, at the same time, giving a boost to a young Soviet musician. Really a great vid.

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  73. Kirk said on December 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Caro’s LBJ books indeed are massive, but they all are excellent. Caro is an extraordinary historian.

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  74. Jolene said on December 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Brian, here is a passage from Jefferson that might help you overcome your dislike of him. It’s a reflection on what slavery does to the slave and the slaveowner and, as TNC says in reflecting on it, is simply a beautiful piece of prose generated by someone who had thought deeply about this terrible institution. It captures the contradiction that is Jefferson: the great theorist of liberty who, knowing full well the injustice of slavery, nonetheless kept slaves his whole life.

    Note, too, that there are new entries in the Lincoln roundtable on The Atlantic web site.

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  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Hattie, just make that “have experienced trauma” and you’d get 100%. There’s some sort of correlation, I’d agree.

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  76. Danny said on December 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Hey, I’ve had a couple concussions and see, there is nothing wrong with me.

    Look, Ma, no brains!

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  77. Little Bird said on December 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Pilot Joe, bacon is possibly the best food on the planet! My proof? We wrap great food in bacon to make it taste even better!
    Oh, and what happens when you batter dip and deep fry bacon and put it on a stick? Foodvana!!!

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  78. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Ta-Nehisi Coates quotes this, from TJ:

    This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!

    The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.–But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.

    And then Ta-Nehisi’s response is this:

    This is just beautiful, beautiful writing reflecting a clarity of thought and understanding that I have rarely encountered in Jefferson’s contemporaries, or beyond, writing about the problem of slavery. (Frederick Douglass is my go to. But he had the “advantage” of being a slave.) When people say Jefferson was merely a “man of his times” they sell him short. I don’t mean this as some sort of rhetorical jiu-jitsu. I find myself quoting these words when trying to explain slavery’s problems. What Jefferson, the man, did doesn’t make these words any less meaningful.

    And I’m sorry, but this is PRECISELY why I cannot STAND Thomas Jefferson. He can burn in hell for all eternity, as far as I’m concerned. He was the absolute EMBODIMENT of a brilliant fraud; a living lie. Does he BELEIEVE the pretty words he writes?


    Did he treat the human being that he was having sex with as a person who had genuine value; a person who was created equal to him (or any other white guy who owned land in Gawd’s Country- ie – Virginia)?


    Thomas Jefferson may well have been the right guy at the right time, for the United States. Much as – and I say this seriously – Joe Paterno was the right guy at the right time for the success of the football program at Penn State.

    Maybe not one damned thing would be different in American history, if TJ had been man enough to NOT exploit human slavery for the advancement of his very own fortune and sacred honor….or maybe it WOULD have made a difference. Maybe the Civil War could have been a little shorter (at least), or maybe Virginia would have followed his better example, and sided with human freedom as opposed to the wishes of “the slave power”, and therefore 80,000 or 100,000 fewer Americans would have paid the butcher bill with their lives (let alone the potential reduction of the vast numbers of people who lost hands or feet or arms or legs or faces – and survived the war).

    Abe Lincoln wasn’t high-born, wasn’t formally educated, wasn’t in an aristocracy, and didn’t lead a life of privileged leisure and entitlement. When Abe produced “beautiful, beautiful writing” – he by God LIVED it!

    Ol’ Abe lived and learned and changed…and once he took a step forward, he didn’t backslide. The human atrocity that was American slavery was something he saw and felt and tasted and smelled, and in the end, he didn’t die peacefully in his bed with silk sheets, but instead took a lead ball in the brain, from another gun-toting southern son of a bitch.

    I’ve very little time for Thomas Jefferson, but I suppose he’s like the admiral up in the wheel house of the great ship of state; while Abe is like the non-commissioned officer that actually makes the damned ship operate. And when the steam pipes let go, and there’s hell-to-pay below decks, Abe’s the guy who will have his flesh cooked off his bones, as he saves his ship – while TJ frets about the funny sounds and vibrations emanating from somewhere beneath his feet.

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  79. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Well said, Brian, very well said.

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  80. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Brian, have you ever read HW Brands’ bio of Andrew Jackson? I read that before the Meacham book came out, and thought it was very good. I wasn’t up for another book about Jackson again so soon, though, so I have read the Meacham book. I also read and liked Brands’ book about FDR, Traitor to His Class. I think that’s a better book than Kearns Goodwin’s about FDR.

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  81. Danny said on December 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Brian, would it help to lessen your burden if you were to send me all of the twenty-dollar bills in your possession?

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  82. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    But, I LIKE Andy Jackson!

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  83. brian stouder said on December 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Sherri – I’ve only read Meacham’s Jackson (whichj I loved), and the thin American Presidents book on him; plus he’s an early star in Wilentz’s excellent book from Jefferson to Lincoln. The most recent Roosevelt I’ve read about was an angry book by the guy who wrote Flags of our Fathers, whacking Teddy for setting the Pacific War between Japan and the US into motion.

    McCullough’s Panama Canal book was surprisingly good also, as much because of Teddy as anything.

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  84. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I was just a bit surprised to see none of Brands’ work on the list, given that he’s written at least 5 Presidential biographies that I can think of (Jackson, FDR, Wilson, TR, and Grant.) Brands is a historian, but very readable.

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  85. basset said on December 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Little Bird, have you tried chocolate-covered bacon yet?

    Venison bacon was particularly tasty the one time I’ve tried it, have a recipe ready in case I get another deer.

    And, going back to a thread from a few days ago about college coach buyouts… the University of Tennessee is pretty much the poster child for that, awhile back they had to take out a loan to pay off a basketball coach they fired because they hadn’t yet finished paying his predecessor. That, and more:

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  86. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Basset, that article doesn’t mention that UT is being sued by a couple of women who were fired when the school combined the men’s and women’s athletic department and decided to keep most of the members of the men’s department rather than the women’s when getting rid of the overlap.

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  87. JWfromNJ said on December 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Well the actions of my thankfully former neighbor suggest multiple head injuries, although mostly it seemed like OCD. His former girl friend who could do much better than him wasn’t allowed to park in the driveway – she drive a 4 year old hyundai Santa Fe.
    When we went to neighbor wars, a game I never lose, I considered freezing motor oil in ice cube trays, even researched the best type to freeze. As Del pointed out I mention this with a disclaimer – I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON. But I don’t point guns at kids or piss in my driveway with dozens of neighbors outside, or beat up cops.

    I already liked the Citadel on FB and started asking questions, like if we’re going to follow Jefferson’s beliefs can I have slaves. and thanks to JTMMO my goal is to visit each of those outhouses.

    And I’m a major foodie but way past the bacon thing. Now put me back in Hoosierville and some hog jowl bacon works for me.

    At the moment my wife and I are barely on speaking terms because her total lack of tech skills and her new Kindle Fire are killing me. I printed out the Amazon Kindle Tech support number in 120 pt print and said here you go. don’t tell anyone but I already figured out how to do everything on it and how to hack the ads off from the lock page.

    Still haven’t nuked the wife’s old laptop- gonna back up most of it to a 3-TB drive and then kill it dead. For hackers I suggest Nuke and Boot. And I can fix 99% of pc issues with free and legal software. Happy to help anyone here.

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  88. jcburns said on December 5, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Heh, Nuke is (in my world) compositing software, used in movies to take image one and place it seamlessly over image two and track it and enhance it and, well, so on. I prefer Adobe After Effects.

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  89. Little Bird said on December 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I have had chocolate covered bacon. It is wonderful!! There is a place in Chicago, Voges, that makes a divine chocolate bar with bacon. They also make a pig shaped version.
    This year I wrapped out turkey in bacon, and stuffed some inside as well. The gravy was AMAZING!!

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  90. Kim said on December 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Velvet – to chime in here, the best advice (besides Jolene’s @68 and elsewhere, Heather, Basset, Big Hank – everybody in the business) is to know what you don’t know. If your kid is intent on becoming a critic, then the goal should be to know as much about what he’s criticizing as possible and you do that by practice and tenacity. Like Dirda.

    I hired a reporter whose goal was to become a foreign correspondent. Her languages? English. Her particular expertise? None. Her parents? Told her she was the best and could do anything she wanted, apparently without ever doing the work. It was a really dumb hire on my part because I knew better but thought I could rehabilitate her. I couldn’t. (Or she wouldn’t, I said hopefully…nah, this one I own.)

    You don’t seem anything at all like her parents – but a reality check is a good thing for kids going into college because it sure ain’t cheap and you want the independence subsidy to end at some point close to that four-year mark. At least I do!

    About writing to those he admires – remember this could go south ala Bob (the real) Greene!

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  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Brian, I think you do Coates an injustice by not going on to post his closing:

    “At some point we are going to have to develop something beyond an infantile desire to know whether Daddy was a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” In fact, Daddy was an avowed white supremacist, whose words help inspire the black freedom movement. Daddy was an American slave-holder to the end, who brilliantly elucidated the moral and practical problem of American slavery. Daddy railed against miscegenation, while practicing it.”

    My own thought (other than I’ll need you someday later to explain how you like Jackson while being perturbed by Jefferson!) has been that I think the whole mystery-in-plain-sight problem is Sally Hemings her own self. You go to Monticello, and walk through the bedroom, and look at the mysterious winding stair down behind the closet into the tunnel that connects below ground (literally, literally-literally!) to Mulberry Row and the slave quarters.

    Sally was half-sister to his wife. She was by all accounts lovely, and one infers, though no one comes out and says, so we still wonder, if she looked some, much, or strikingly like his intensely beloved wife, a woman who he, to sidestep a phrase used by a rougher historian than I, he “screwed” to death. (Literally.) Her health at risk, they continued to have sex, and she continued to bear children as each pregnancy clearly eroded her health further until she died. Not long before that, Jefferson writes draft legislation for the Congress of the Confederation (under the Articles) which *bans* slavery in all the US over the next few years, but it is overturned in committee and never makes it to a full Congress vote.

    In the peculiar ethos of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the northern European West, masturbation was unclean and awful, while the marital duties trumped hygiene, personal distaste, and sickness unto death. But once Martha died, and his deep depression played out, thanks to John Adams’ concern, he gets sent to Paris. There he avidly pursues Maria Cosway, making a fool of himself even in his own eyes. Maria leaves with her husband (long story, you can look it up), and then his daughter and a teenage slave from the household arrives. She looks the very image of his late much lamented wife.

    It excuses nothing to say that the next few months, he creates an insoluble dilemma for himself. He enters into a relationship utterly unremarkable in his homeland, but entirely reprehensible by his own logic and social ethics. Does Sally have a choice, or choices? Surely not. She might be said to have had options, but only those you wonder at over a kidnap victim who doesn’t flee their captor when they might, or an abuse victim who doesn’t make a call when they could.

    But what I think is striking, when you stand in Monticello in Jefferson’s personal quarters, open and part of the household as they are, is the question of what this relationship was, and what Jefferson might have done about it. He comes back already intimate with the teenage “clone” of his wife and slave of his household; their relationship, undoubtedly, continues with Sally coming to him (there’s no way to read the fragmentary records and look at the spaces and not realize that Jefferson could not have gone to her, even in sport), with the master of the household the source of privilege, benefit, and ultimately freedom for her children, if not for her.

    And now we have a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights, and the journey to the presidency, and still at home is Sally. The truth of the relationship is unknowable, and the powerlessness of the slaves inexcusable, but the reality of the bond between the two unmistakable. And with even the slightest regard, even affection, not to say anything of a modern (and possibly irrelevant for that era) sense of romance, you now have Jefferson trying to make sense of the situation he’s placed himself in. If he frees Sally and turns her out, he loses her. If Sally insists on freedom, as a right earned by her informal conjugal support of him, she would in no way be able to stay and freely consort with her . . . language fails here.

    If he has any true concern for her, and she for him, it actually makes the dilemma *worse*. He cannot, it is not imaginable, in no way could he be her husband. She cannot be his wife, even if in the Virginia of that day for her to bear his children is barely a notice, let alone scandal. She is a hazard, loved or used, once Callendar and the political press catch wind of her role in his life, and again, the more Jefferson actually respects, values, even . . . can it be said? . . . loves her, the more insoluble the dilemma. If he just wants an ease of animal urges each morning, he can move her to Poplar Grove or even sell her, and none would judge; he could free his slaves (as he did one of his putative children de facto and de jure), but then their continued place in the plantation, and the role of a woman in his bedchamber suddenly takes on an entirely different tenor, wildly enough. More simply, he could just audition replacements, also without fear of judgment in the community or even, really, in national politics, shunting Ms. Hemings aside however he would.

    But he kept her near, and kept finding pretexts and pretenses to privilege the children she bore. The War of 1812 takes his usual planter impoverishment and magnifies it into desperation, and whatever Washingtonian plan he had is ruined, and so is he given time. With the full aid and support of his . . . staff, his slaves, he ekes his way back to fiscal near-stability, in part by selling his beloved . . . books, not slaves, into the District of Columbia.

    I don’t mind if anyone calls Jefferson a shit. He probably would, after flinching expressively at the crudity, concede the point. But I’m with to Coates in saying he’s not simply a shit. He’s a man in pain, more embedded (pun intended) in the slave system than Washington ever was, though Washington’s acts near and at his death deserve honor and respect. But I think Sally Hemings is both the problem, and the solution. His . . . love? . . . for her is what makes it impossible for him to imagine how he can resolve the tension between his ideals and his actions, and the ambiguous, abusive nature of the origin of the affections in that relationship are what makes them BOTH tragic figures in history. Sally could have arranged to leave, given Jefferson’s other actions of the period (1789-1802); Jefferson could have arranged freedom at the same time and for another ten years after. The fact that neither made a move of any sort through this time leaves me suspecting that, in more recent words, they said of each other “I can’t quit you.”

    As James Joyce showed in “Dubliners,” paralysis is a powerful force, and quietly dramatic even as it leaves traces only visible from within.

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I think I missed noting, specifically, that Sally Hemings was a) three-quarters white, and entirely a slave given the law of the day, and b) half-sister of Martha. Her resemblance to Martha is still debated, especially since we don’t have images save one silhouette of Martha, none of Sally, and nobody comes right out and says “they resembled each other,” but historians have noted that there weren’t hardly any people who knew both well who left any written comments other than Thos. Jefferson himself, and he is frustratingly mute on the subject all around. Which you would expect. His only near-contemporary to do so, William Byrd, did so, but only in a coded diary, and there he’s more likely to describe how “good” they were sexually than to discuss their faces at all.

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  93. Sherri said on December 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Brian, like Jeff, I’d like to hear why you like Jackson but don’t like Jefferson.

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  94. Deborah said on December 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    The Jefferson/Sally Hemmings affair is certainly complex isn’t it? It is another example of how you can not Iive in a simplistic black and white world. There are many shades of grey in-between (I by no means am supporting that stupid shades of grey book, I’m just remarking how nuanced real life is and also the term “black and white” is not meant racially. Geeze).

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  95. nitewatcher said on December 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    “73 men sailed up from the San Francisco Bay. Rolled off their ship & heres what they had to say…. 🙂 thank you for the *flash* back. About the citadel thing I actually live in the county Benewah (Idaho) where they want to come to. I would like them to “roll off their ship and learn how to play (with others of course)” That is all my work here is finished

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  96. MarkH said on December 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Sherri @85 – That sounds like a clear violation of Title IX. No wonder UT is getting sued by those women.

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  97. Danny said on December 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Brian, right after I typed that I realized my error, but alas it was too late and I had to get down the road for a night hike with a group of friends. Oh well, long day and I wasn’t thinking straight.

    We did a nice 7.5 miler tonight though. Good to get some exercise. Maybe it will help my brain. Or not.

    Man, and what is with Jeff and his loooooong post? He needs an editor! 🙂

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  98. DellaDash said on December 6, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Brian – I’ve always had a problem with sweet talkers who don’t walk the walk. And when it comes to the many possible excuses for the hypocrisy of slave-holder Jefferson…looks like it just boils down to him being a damned coward.

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