Every several years or so, perhaps every decade or so, a work of art captures my emotions and imagination, and sticks in my memory, even though it may be several years between viewings – assuming I ever see the original of the work at all. One such is Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party; another is Rembrandt’s Slaughtered Ox; another, Picasso’s Guernica; still another, Edouard Manet’s The Old Musician. I have never seen the originals of the Rembrandt and the Picasso. I know them only from reproductions. But they haunt me. I recently discovered another such image while visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC: Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage (hereafter Memorial ).
Memorial is a bronze sculpture, cast from a marble original, depicting two women lovers,
I like New York Times columnist Charles Blow. In fact, I like Charles Blow a helluva lot. Ever since the Trump virus infected the American body politic, he has been one of the more astute observers of the etiology and progress of the disease, comparable only to such luminaries as Nicholas Kristof and Paul Krugman, as witness Blow’s recent op-ed column on the religious right’s harlot-like embrace of Donald Trump. So it is both discouraging and yet quite understandable that Blow would be surprised when the veneer of spirituality was so easily stripped off the religious right to reveal the lust for realpolitik lurking beneath. The difference between Charles Blow and myself is that I am much less hesitant to believe in the reality of evil people, and my clear-sightedness in this regard co
It occurs to me that, many times over the four-plus years I have been writing this “Skeptic’s Collection” column, I have taken the political and religious right to task for the venerable practice of “cherry-picking”, i.e., carefully culling all the evidence for any thesis so as to pick out those events and data that support one’s position, while no less carefully ignoring or de-emphasizing those events and data that support contrary arguments. Nowhere is this practice more prevalent than in theological discourse, in particular, theodical discourse. But progressives decidedly on the left of the spectrum, both theologically and politically, have an equivalent tendency to pick equally substantial cherry harvests. Herewith some examples that should make chardonnay-swilling, Bernie- / Warr