SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
“Over the past two months, Obama has in slow stages backed away from his 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, first criticizing some of his statements but clinging to their friendship, then strongly condemning those words and finally severing his ties to Wright’s former church,” David Broder wrote today in the Washington Post. “The net result has been to smudge one of the main clues voters had been given to Obama’s fundamental values and beliefs, and to create a new aura of mystery about this man.”
Gee, Broder almost sounds like a former Black Panther. One might almost forget that Obama backed away from Wright after Broder and the rest of the media mob went berserk over his association with the man.
“In his achingly slow steps toward repudiating the repugnant words of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama has run the risk of serious political damage by leaving vague what it was that attracted him to this outspoken critic of American society,” Broder wrote just over a month ago.
And here’s Broder on “Meet the Press back in March: “I don’t know Reverend Wright except for these clips, and that’s not a basis for judging his whole approach or personality, but his tone seems so far removed from the tone that Obama has tried to strike, not just in this campaign but throughout his political career, that it raises a question in my mind: What was it about Reverend Wright that attracted Obama when he had, as a newcomer to Chicago, choice of any of the number of churches or pastors to go to?”
And all of this raises questions about who?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”