There are two ways to lose our innocence. The first is the slow and gradual growth to maturity when old ideas begin to be replaced with new ideas. The second is when a single event forever changes the way we see the world.
Today is the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It was an ordinary day. The sky was blue and bright, a perfect early fall day. Offices, schools, and stores opened as normal. Then the first place hit the Twin Towers and everything changed.
I was in college back then, part of the younger generation. It’s amazing how fast two decades can go. Though it seems like it will take forever for the time to pass, it goes in the blink of an eye. Those of us who were young then are now adults with adult responsibilities. Some of the the kids who were too young to know what was going on or not yet born are now on the verge of adulthood themselves.
On Thursday, The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners what the term “never forget” meant to them. What I remember is that for a brief time, the divisions that normally kept us apart disappeared. We were all Americans and we were all grieving. It was a communal loss that knew no boundaries or labels.
Last month, I visited the 9/11 Museum with a couple of friends. It was my second visit. Walking into the building is akin to a ten pound weight being thrust on your shoulders. There is an energy that is emotional, heavy, and sometimes difficult to bear. The energy of the day and the souls of the innocent people whose lives were taken that day are all around you, a solemn reminder of what was lost on that beautiful September day.
It was if nothing else, a potent reminder of how important it is to not only live while you can, but tell the ones you love how you feel before it is too late.
May the memories of the nearly 3000 people who were taken us from forever be a blessing. Z”L.
The late Elie Wiesel once said the following about the millions murdered in The Holocaust.
“If we forget, the dead will be killed a second time,” Wiesel says, “and then they are today’s victims.”
In New York City alone, approximately 25,000 people have been killed by Covid-19. Today’s episode of The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC paid tribute to some of those who are no longer with us due to the virus. Similar to the names read every September 11th, 400+ listeners read from a list of over 1000 souls who only exist in the memories of those who knew and loved them.
Behind every name was a human being. They had lives, families, and futures that were taken from them. Saying their names aloud cannot bring them back. What it allows us to do is mourn and remember them for who they were, not for the statistic they have become.
In the language of my faith, may the memories of everyone killed by Covid-19 be a blessing. Though they are gone physically, they will live in our hearts forever.
The game of politics has always been contentious. It takes a cool head to let everyone share their opinion without getting into a verbal or physical argument.
The Brian Lehrer Show has aired on WNYC since 1989. Hosted by Brian Lehrer, the program airs every weekday morning from 10:00 to 12:00. Hosting politicians, journalists, and other newsmakers, the conversations revolve around politics and news from the around the block and around the world.
Brian one of the mainstays of NYC media personalities and a local legend. Attempting to do the impossible, he allows all voices from the political spectrum to be heard, regardless of how the listener feels about the topic. His show is my weekday morning fix and one of the few journalistic voices that is truly trying to be objective.
Major change for good comes when we stand up against hatred and prejudice.
This weekend, we remember the Stonewall riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City and celebrate the remarkable achievements and opportunities that the LGBTQ community has had since then.
Coming out of the closet is often a painful years long process of learning to love yourself and finding the courage to tell the ones you love who you truly are. If you are lucky, your relationship with your loved ones will not change. But not everyone is so lucky.
This week, The Brian Lehrer Show discussed various aspects of the modern LGBTQ movement and how it was created by the Stonewall riots. Yesterday, one of the callers was a woman named Lisa. Lisa called in to tell the story of her son’s coming out and the reaction to the revelation of who he revealed himself to be. The call starts at 21:02.
I would hope that when one comes out, they are seen by their loved ones and their community as no different than before coming out. But the reality is that many members of the LGBTQ community are often ostracized and forced out of their families and communities because they do not fit into the traditional hetero-normative/binary labels.
Change, especially on the cultural and legislative levels, does not not happen in an instant. It takes years of work, fighting for acceptance and facing the demons of the past. But it does happen if you believe and continue to push for it. The members of the LGBTQ community have proved that and will continue to use that model to inspire all of us to push for a just and equal society.
As the government shutdown continues on, the frustration from all walks of life in this country is palpable.
The latest anxiety is that if TSA absences continue, this will create multiple issues at our nation’s airports.
The fact is that the government has to re-open at some point. We cannot continue to allow this orange hued man baby to continue to take an adult tantrum and holds the paychecks of government workers hostage.
While keeping our borders secure is a non-negotiable issue, we should not be wasting $5 Billion dollars to build the wall and then waste even more money for security and maintenance.
On this morning’s Brian Lehrer Show, US Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) proposed a plan to re-open the government while continuing with negotiations in regards to the wall and border security. I personally think that it is best of both worlds, but I am not the final decision maker in this process.
The fact is that the American voter has a long memory, especially when it comes to elections and more specifically, Presidential elections. We vote with our wallets as much as we vote with our cultural/social/religious beliefs. If he wants to become a two President and not a one term President, he had better find a way to compromise and re-open the government. Otherwise he might be a one term President.
The basic definition of a reviewer, regardless of whether they are reviewing a book, a film, etc, is to give the audience or the reader an overview of the narrative and tell them if it is worth their time to watch or read it.
But the question is, when does a reviewer cross the line?
Recently, I’ve started listening to the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC in the morning just to get a handle of what is going on in the world. One of the people interviewed yesterday was Vulture writer Kat Rosenfield about her recent article entitled “The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter“.
The book in question is The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. I’ve not read the book, but hearing the response on twitter to the book and the negative reviews brings up a few questions.
One of the things that pointed out during Ms. Rosenfield’s segment was that the writer was basically pandering to her potential readers. I get it, I’m also a writer. If your writing feels false and your only writing to make a buck, the reader will know it. One of the most common quotes associated with writing is “write what you know”. On one level that makes sense. But on another level, if every writer only wrote what they know, the science fiction and fantasy genres would never exist.
The reviewers job is to review the art without hurting the artist(s). The problem is that the line between a review and a personal attack is subjective. The other issue is that social media so pervasive in our daily lives that one review where the reviewer goes too far can potentially damage of the career of the artist.
I welcome your comments on this topic. Listen to the link (the interview with Ms. Rosenfield is the last 20 minutes of the show) and read the article. Where is the line and how far can a reviewer push it before it morphs into a personal attack and ruins careers?