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Archive | April, 2013

In Praise of Depression

April 25, 2013

84 Comments

I have never understood the American obsession with happiness. It is not happiness that etches us with character but sadness. John Keats (1795-1821), the English poet, understood this. In 1819, suffering from depression, he wrote a poem in praise of it, which he called an Ode on Melancholy. No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist […]

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Eccentrics, Those Very Peculiar People

April 19, 2013

80 Comments

Extreme ironing is a peculiarly British activity involving ironing clothes in remote and strange locations. That this activity originated in Britain should be no surprise, as the British have a reputation for producing world class eccentrics such as Oscar Wilde, who was known for taking his pet lobster for a walk on a leash, and Sir […]

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These are the times that try men’s souls.

April 13, 2013

21 Comments

I recently spent some time in a flyover state and had some surprising discussions with people who, despite their extreme views, appeared in every other respect to represent the solid heartland of America. By that I mean they were not rednecks, but rather, enterprising, middle class, church going citizens with strong family values. They included […]

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Poetry and Social Change

April 7, 2013

44 Comments

On August 16, 1819, 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protestors met in what is now St. Peters Square in Manchester, England. The square was filled with banners on which were written the words, ‘Reform’, ‘Universal Suffrage’, ‘Equal Representation’ and even ‘Love’. Magistrates panicked and ordered the cavalry to charge the field, which they did with sabres […]

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