MISS LITELLA AND THE INFAMOUS CARTOON

The recent uproar over the Dave Granlund cartoon and the paper’s decision to run it reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live skit featuring Miss Emily Litella (played by Gilda Radner) as a commentator on TV news. She rants on: “What is all this fuss I hear about the Supreme Court decision on a “deaf” penalty? It’s terrible! Deaf people have enough problems as it is!” etc. until the news anchor, often Chevy Chase, would put her straight about her mistake “It’s death, not deaf, Miss Litella, death penalty…” Chagrined, she would turn to the camera: “Never Mind.”

How dare they run this anti-police cartoon, why it’s an outrage; the cartoonist and the paper should be ashamed of themselves, cancel my subscription, Etc.” Someone should be pointing out to the outraged letter writers that the cartoon is not itself anti-police, not about what the police are or how they should be seen, but how they are in fact seen by a lot of blacks (as opposed by white, middle class readers who were, I assume, most of those complaining).

Perhaps a spokesperson for the outraged could issue an appropriate “Oh. Never mind” and get off Granlund’s and the paper’s case.


Our essential regional terminology–is it shifting?

Last year I saw a map showing the “Lower Cape” stopping with Eastham, the “Outer Cape” as a separate region consisting of Wellfleet, Truro, and P’town. In a recent issue of “Cape Life” magazine, a list of restaurants makes the same distinction. Hey, wait a minute, I thought, that’s gotta be wrong. Lower and Outer […]


THE HITLER ANALOGY

As Trump has risen to power (insofar as media attention is power) over recent months, one hears a lot the Hitler analogy. The comparison is made seriously and fearfully in these very pages in letters to editors and op-ed columns: Trump is a dangerous demagogue, playing to racism and other fears of disaffected white workers, […]


Wellfleet: historians needed

The Wellfleet Historical Society, a venerable artifact itself, has new, enlarged space on Main Street and a new burst of energy and vision. The new slogans are “taking history to the streets” and “not just objects”–the old stuff that has been collecting dust for decades–”but stories.” “Stories” sounds good, but perhaps easier said than done. […]


Ali: Transcendent athlete transcendent of his sport

Not sure just why I am so moved by the not untimely death of Ali. It might have something to do with how he used his fame in that dangerous and exploitative sport to transcend the sport– even while being exploited, to refuse to be exploited. This from a “New Yorker” blog by David Remnick: […]


HIROSHIMA: THE APOLOGY ISSUE

It’s one of those acts for which history will honor the Obama’s presidency that, for a moment at least, he made Hiroshima the focus of the world’s attention. It was an appropriately solemn speech.. But, while dramatizing the horror of that bomb descending on a whole city, the president did not,, as been widely emphasized, […]


Walking with an added dimension

I took a walk the other day. I take a walk a lot of days, but this was different. I was walking with a couple of thousand of others in a fundraiser for Alzheimers research. It wasn’t an especially nice day for walking–the wind was blowing too hard for comfort. But it was a good […]


THE BINGE-WATCHING PHENOM

In a recent “New Yorker,” Clive James owned up to binge-watching “Game of Thrones,” a most un-”New Yorker”ish thing to do, one would think. But binge-watching is where it’s at, our new favorite thing. Suddenly a respectable thing. Everybody you meet has a new fav they are touting. Those who might have turned up their […]


WHAT THE WORD “PHONE” MEANS THESE DAYS

The word “phone” is more popular than ever, but what does it mean, now that the device the word used to refer to is all but obsolete? What does a kid of, say, under 15 years old, understand by the sound “phone” (fone? foan?) ? “Mouse” is probably more often used these days in its […]


LIE IN A HIGH PLACE

What do we make of HBO’s “Confirmation”? Seen by millions, this movie strongly suggests that Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas perjured himself in 1991 in denying the accusations of Anita Hill of sexual harassment. The story is not just of the personal disgrace for Thomas but of the national scandal that he was ever confirmed. […]