Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Thoughts on the Academy Awards

Dear Hannah,

Anyone tolerant enough to have seen the first 20 minutes of Birdman knows that the Academy Awards are a matter of opinion -- and the opinion is oftentimes a bad one.  This is because, whatever the people at the Academy Awards would have us believe, there's no other way to judge a film than by the way it makes you personally feel.  There's no science of film criticism, and (whatever Jeremy Bentham said) there will never be an accurate mathematical formula for measuring happiness.  The question on America's mind should never be whether the Academy gave an award to the right movie or people.  It should be whether they gave the award to the right feeling.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A timely rediscovery of Aaron Burr

Dear Hannah,

Nearly everyone knows that Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton, but almost nobody knows that Burr was wanted for murder while he was the vice president.  Few people are aware that Aaron Burr was even the vice president at all; and fewer would expect, given the historically serene nature of contemporary politics, that an American vice president has ever been wanted for murder while in office.  Nixon nearly went to prison for eavesdropping.  Bill Clinton was impeached over a series of consensual blow-jobs.  Because of the Hamilton affair, Burr was wanted by two states on charges of homicide.  He essentially spent part of his vice-presidency in hiding.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Joe Rogan vs the Book of Genesis

Dear Hannah,

People love to talk about Mother Nature, but they rarely capitalize on our being Her children.  They never consider that maybe like everything else in the universe we're doing what She intended -- even in doing the things She never would have done without us; even in destroying what we perceive to be natural.  They call it the state of nature when we haven't done anything to change nature itself.  They say that things are natural before we touch them, and unnatural after we do.  The birds make their nests out of twigs, and the twigs are considered natural when they're made into nests -- and only because the birds never think of doing anything else.  A government, unlike an anthill, is considered alien; almost as if it was made out of spirits and miracles -- or made out of mutants and toxins.  A condo is considered a blemish and a hornet's nest a necessity.  We recognize everything as natural except everything we do.  We recognize everything as necessary except what we need.  We secretly believe in the divinity of man because we consider him the only foreigner in the universe.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Well-behaved women

Dear Hannah,

My favorite feminist slogan is well-behaved women seldom make history -- because they've forgotten that almost nobody makes history.  Among women, the number of people who make history is even fewer; and the number's even smaller when considering their jackasses.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Concerning "Dear White America" in the New York Times

Dear Hannah,

The great irony of a hunger strike is that it does nothing to prove the morality of the hunger striker.  It does everything to prove the morality of the man he's striking against.  Millions of horrible people have been willing to die for horrible causes, and we have only been the worse for it.  Far fewer have been willing to save the life of a suicidal enemy.  And if you do happen to go on a hunger strike and win, the only thing you've done is proved your enemy cares more about you than his cause.  You can only win a hunger strike against a person who cares about people.  You can only defeat your enemy if your enemy is actually a saint.  Gandhi may have saved the Indians from the English.  We can only wonder how successful he would have been against Al Qaeda.