Magazine October 18, 2010, Issue

Letters

Still an Enigma

I was just rereading National Review’s Dec. 29, 2008, cover story, “Vision, Honor, Action,” by Mark Steyn. I see that on that date, he wrote, “George Bush is who he is, and he never pretended to be anything but. Do you know how rare that is? If you don’t, you surely will after six months of Barack Obama’s enigmatic cool.”

I have long thought Steyn one of the best writers in America. Now I now know him to be a seer as well.

Tom Signorelli

Via e-mail

Remembering Joseph Rainey

I read my new copy of your October 4 issue this morning, and the very first sentence in “The Week” caught my eye. There is an error in it that needs correcting.

It says jokingly, in reference to John Boehner, that “soon the Republicans may be able to claim the first nonwhite Speaker of the House.” I am afraid that they already have a stake to that claim. There was a black Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1870 to 1879 by the name of Joseph Rainey; he was the first black American to serve in the House, and he was also the first to preside over it. He fought hard for the rights of black Americans, as well as those of American Indians and Asian immigrants.

Charlotte H. Laborde

Livingston, La.

The Editors Reply: Rainey was Speaker pro tempore — but we’re still happy to claim him.

On a First-Name Basis

I was greatly pleased to read my thoughts in Jay Nordlinger’s words, in his recent commentary on the use of first names (“Barack and I,” August 30). It reminded me of a phone call I received in which the caller asked to speak to me using my first name. Since I have an unusual name, prone to mispronunciation, and the caller had pronounced my name correctly, my housekeeper summoned me to the phone, saying it was a friend calling. When I answered, the caller said, “Good morning, Maida. Have I got a deal for you today.” With controlled irritation I responded, after a pause, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

He then introduced himself, and I said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t recall meeting you.” After he recovered from that small setback, he confessed that we hadn’t met. “Well, generally,” I said, “friends and family use my first name.” Whereupon he quickly asked what I would like him to call me. Without further ado, I responded, “Frankly, I’d rather you didn’t.” He hung up.

Keep up the good work.

Maida Smith

Memphis, Tenn.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Benedict in Britain

Papal visits now follow a well-established course. Before the pope arrives, the host country’s media are full of reports asserting with prophetic sadness that, though the pontiff is personally popular ...
Politics & Policy

Sex, Workers

President Obama recently urged the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier for women to sue their employers for gender discrimination. The act is needed, ...
Politics & Policy

Eastern Approaches

Thirty-five years ago this past March, the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang was convulsed by artillery shelling, bloody street violence, and chaotic evacuations, as Communist troops approached and throngs ...

Features

Politics & Policy

The Believer

Univision’s rules for its Florida senatorial debate on September 17 were clear: The candidates were forbidden to use Spanish. Instead, they were to answer questions in English and have their ...
Politics & Policy

Professor Ahab

The occupational hazards of opinion journalism include certain intellectual and moral bad habits: Logical fallacies offer tempting shortcuts through difficult arguments. Blind spots for procedural abuses suddenly afflict us when ...
Politics & Policy

Rogue States

In this season of resurgence, conservatives have goals more ambitious than ending bailouts or cutting federal spending: They seek a constitutional restoration. They believe that today’s bloated federal government is ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Summa Economica

In this occasionally fascinating, occasionally maddening new book, John D. Mueller, whose work often illuminates the pages of this magazine, has set himself a formidable task: to reassert, convincingly, the ...
The Straggler

A Sea of Glass

What a place it is, this world we humans have made! It has such variety, such abundance of skills and knowledge, so many aspects one never thinks of from one ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Still an Enigma I was just rereading National Review’s Dec. 29, 2008, cover story, “Vision, Honor, Action,” by Mark Steyn. I see that on that date, he wrote, “George Bush is ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Even his economic advisers can’t hold on to their jobs. ‐ Obama supporters are in a classic midterm funk. The ideologues are baffled to find that enacting their agenda has ...
The Long View

Dear Former Congressperson

Dear Former Congressperson: Welcome Back! We’re all thrilled to have you back among us, and we hope your transition back “home” has been as trouble-free as possible. By now, you’ve had a chance ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE MILESTONE CARVER (With thanks to John Dominic Crossan) I sent it down the whole Galatian road: “The Imperator Caesar, Son of God . . .” Junias took it from me load by load, On ...
Athwart

Plan 9 from Turtle Bay

The Hubble telescope spots it first; the astronauts on the International Space Station watch in stunned silence as it glides past the moon and enters our atmosphere. It is an ...

Most Popular

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
Film & TV

America’s Favorite Movie

For more than a decade, readers volunteering their ratings on the movie site IMDb have declared The Shawshank Redemption (1994) their favorite film of all time. (Number two is The Godfather). Unlike the unholy tablets that are the box office charts, which are strongly linked to marketing budgets and show a ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
World

All Signs Point to China

Just one big story today: collecting and sorting through what we know about the coronavirus's origins, and what makes sense and what doesn’t in the theory that it originated from someone eating bats or pangolins from the Huanan Seafood Market. What We Know and What We Don’t Know about the Source of ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Media

The Media Owe Senator Tom Cotton an Apology

One of the biggest issues people have with the mainstream press these days is that some of its members are so insulated that they end up buying into and promoting false narratives without actually checking these narratives' veracity. That seems to be exactly what happened in mid February, when major outlets ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Welcome Back, Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a miracle of modern technology. Cheap, light, convenient, and ubiquitous, they provide an elegant solution to a problem. If you recycle them, as most people do, and put your rubbish in them, that creates a net reduction in carbon emissions compared with buying the heavier, thicker ... Read More

The Didactic Plague

There are two Christian concepts on my mind on this Palm Sunday. One is theodicy, the other is the sin of presumption. “Theodicy” means “the vindication of God,” referring to a seeming conundrum that has vexed Christian thinkers since the beginning: How can evil coexist with an all-good, all-loving, ... Read More

The Didactic Plague

There are two Christian concepts on my mind on this Palm Sunday. One is theodicy, the other is the sin of presumption. “Theodicy” means “the vindication of God,” referring to a seeming conundrum that has vexed Christian thinkers since the beginning: How can evil coexist with an all-good, all-loving, ... Read More