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Those who followed yesterday’s inaugural opening on TV saw a counterfeit version. One of the most anticipated events was the invocation delivered the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire. HBO negotiated for and got an exclusive for the event, and then decided that America didn’t really need to hear from Bishop Robinson—his words didn’t make the broadcast (although HBO says that the “the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show”). As Dan Savage wrote, “When you’re throwing folks a bone it’s a good idea to make sure they can, you know, see the bone.” Here’s the invocation:
A representative of the Presidential Inaugural Committee is disputing HBO’s claims. “We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan.” HBO is also now reported to be planning to reedit the tape of the concert to include the invocation.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
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 naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“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.”