By Jefferson Flanders

To again borrow a turn of phrase from the late, great Jimmy Cannon, nobody asked me, but…

AN AMAZING CEREMONY IN SOUTH LONDON HONORED MOHEGAN SACHEM Mahomet Weyonomon, who died of smallpox in 1736 while waiting to see King George II with a complaint about British settlers encroaching on Indian land.

Queen Elizabeth II joined a group of American Mohegans, led by Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, as they gave Weyonomon the Indian burial ceremony he had missed centuries before (a ceremony which included smoking a pipe filled with sweet grass and sage), according to the Associated Press account of the day.
The Queen unveiled a granite rock “carved with grooves symbolizing mountain trails” near the site of Weyonomon’s unmarked grave on the grounds of Southwark Cathedral. The Anglican dean of Southwark, Colin Slee, added: “We cannot right past wrongs, but we can remember them and transform them to inspire better conduct throughout humanity now and in years to come.”

IF CALIFORNIA, FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN move up the dates of their 2008 presidential primaries as close as possible to New Hampshire’s vote, as the Boston Globe reports, the winners will be the frontrunners—those candidates with name recognition and the money to finance expensive campaigns.

Earlier primaries in California and Florida would definitely benefit maverick Republican John McCain—who would be delighted to have the importance of the early South Carolina primary discounted (the state where McCain’s last presidential bid ran into trouble).

WHILE “SEINFELD” COMIC MICHAEL RICHARDS FRANTICALLY APOLOGIZIES for his racial rant at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles—and rightly so—what shouldn’t be lost from the shabby episode is how there’s nothing funny about the N-word, even when it’s used by black comedians and rappers.

In the wake of the the Richards’ incident, author Stanley Crouch has questioned “the ongoing vulgarization of popular culture” and what Crouch calls its’ “minstrel content.” Crouch adds in his New York Daily News op-ed column:

“So what remains before us is the issue of coming to terms with a popular culture in which the N-word, bitches and hos have become no more than condiments in a particularly unappetizing meal. We need not ban their use, but we do need to face the fact that we have been hustled far more often than not.”

THE OPENING OF THE MOVIE “BOBBY,” about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 stirred memories of my childhood—being awakened late at night by my mother after my father, who was covering RFK’s presidential campaign, had called from Los Angeles with the horrific news of the killing. Emilio Estevez’s film has been called “ambitious, uneven and deeply affecting“; I’m hoping it captures the sense of hope and purpose that Kennedy brought to his last campaign.

WHEN CONSIDERING NEWS OF THE LATEST SCIENTIFIC TRIUMPH, I think of the words of the 21st century Jesuit theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a scientist in his own right: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Reprinted from Neither Red nor Blue

Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders

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