Mega-cheers for honesty, &c.

Georgetown professor Louis Michael Seidman


This struck a little close to home. I’m from Ann Arbor, Mich., and know Geddes Road very well.

A speaker at a union rally — a minister, a man of the cloth — said, “Just know one thing, Rick Snyder: You sign that bill, you won’t get no rest. We’ll meet you on Geddes Road. We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game. We’ll visit you at your church. . . . By any means necessary.”

Snyder is the governor of Michigan. Apparently, he lives on Geddes Road.

Nobody, but nobody, in America cares about leftist violence, intimidation, and thuggery — the Left’s contempt for democratic politics. And by “nobody,” I mean nobody in Hollywood, academia, the mainstream media . . . All the fields that count. The fields that, by their own caring, make others care.

Do you know what I mean by this?

If tea partiers threatened a liberal governor — “We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game” — this would be the biggest story in America. It would be on the front page of every newspaper and blare from television all day.

Can anyone deny this? Really? The editor of the New York Times: Would even he deny it? (It’s a she now, actually.)

If you’re casting about for a hero, try Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins quarterback. He’s a graduate of Baylor — whose president is Ken Starr.

Let me quote from an article in mid-December:

“For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin,” Griffin said at the end of Wednesday’s post-practice news conference in reference to a question about Martin Luther King, Jr. “You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do.

“I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.”

Whoa. How refreshing, and un-American (in modern terms). Needless to say, Griffin has caught grief for his stance. Anyone taking such a stand will catch grief. I hope he stays strong. The god of this country, I’ve observed many times, is race. And if you don’t bow down to race — the believers in this god can be very, very nasty.

All of the above-linked article is worth reading. Griffin is both wise and subtle (subtle in the good sense, I hasten to say).

More Griffin? Okay, try this. Someone asked him, “Everybody fears something. What was your biggest fear coming to Washington, D.C., to be an NFL quarterback?” Griffin said, “You try not to fear too many things. I fear God.”

Again, whoa. Is this allowed in America? Can you fear God and not, say, The Today Show? Or Jon Stewart? Or that young actress who made the sex ad for Obama?

I say again, stay strong, RG3 — this country needs you.

Let’s have a little music. For a column in CityArts, go here. I touch on a singer, a violinist, and a pianist: Joyce DiDonato, Frank Peter Zimmermann, and Yefim Bronfman.

Some more music? I was reading this article, in advance of the Outback Bowl, pitting Michigan against South Carolina. (We don’t have to talk about the outcome.) The article said, “The last time Michigan played South Carolina, Ronald Reagan was in office, the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey was being played while the Wolverines took the field before the Gamecocks — and U-M proceeded to stomp the home team, 34-3, behind Jim Harbaugh at quarterback.”

I smiled at that “theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.” This film has a lot of music in it, but I imagine the writer was alluding to the Strauss tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra.

How would Strauss feel about having his piece referred to as “the theme from 2001”? I think he would appreciate the royalty checks, regardless.

Let’s have a little language. A reader writes,


My sister Heidi helped one of her elderly friends with a tag that was sticking out of her dress. The friend told her, “Oh, I wanted you to know it was a boughten dress.” We’re from Utah and I believe the friend was raised in Wyoming. It’s one of our favorite words now.

Oh, yes. I grew up with the phrase “homemade or boughten?” I miss it — will likely never hear it again.

By the way, I had a friend — the son of a sharecropper in the Deep South — who referred to surgically inflated breasts as “store-bought.” (Which gives us the phrase “natural or store-bought?”)

Wish you could have heard him . . .

Speaking of the South, I was in rural South Carolina the other day. Took some long walks. Everyone was very friendly — even the dogs, and I have always been wary of rural dogs. Because of experience.

One man in a pickup stopped and asked whether I wanted a ride. That’s neighborliness.

At a different point, I found myself on a narrow dirt lane — a lane that bisected a big cattle farm. In the field to my left were about 50 big black cows. In the field to the right were about 50 more of the same. No one else was around — no other human being, I mean.

The cows on either side lined up and looked at me, as though I were the most important thing in the world, or the only thing in the world. Then they stampeded toward me — loud, unhappy, intensely interested.

Never have I been more grateful for barbed wire. I was thinking, “Is there enough of it? Three or four humble strands?”

People often crave attention. Rarely have I been so sorry to be the object of attention. Or maybe I’m just a city slicker who needs to get out more. Honestly, for me, black cows mean root-beer floats.

And, yes, I’m sure they were cows — pretty sure. Anyway, wherever you live, whatever your experience has been, thanks for joining me. And I’ll see you soon.

To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.