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April 21, 2019

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to the Westerners

Well, it's just after midnight here in New York City, and the ABC Network is showing "The Ten Commandments," and Chuck Heston (as Moses) just parted the Red Sea, all of which can mean only one thing: A Happy Passover to all my Jewish friends and a Happy Easter to all my Western Christian friends. (Yes, I was going to say "A Happy Western Easter", but my dear friend, Roger Bissell, said that the phrase sounded a bit like an oxymoron.)

Either way, for those who celebrate, enjoy the holidays, and for those who don't, embrace the joys of Spring (though my tree pollen allergies put a damper on its joys!). Next week, it will be "Christos Anesti" to all my Eastern Orthodox friends, something with which I'm much more familiar, having been baptized Greek Orthodox not too long after I was born!

Postscript (added on 22 April 2019, from Facebook):

I wrote on Sanford Ikeda's timeline, after he commented that he couldn't believe how few Biblical films were on television this weekend; I figured I'd share my reply to him here---because the link I posted is still (to me) hilarious:

I agree! Something was very wrong with TV this weekend. I saw more listings for slasher films and films of demonic possession than any Biblical epics.
However, as noted, "The Ten Commandments" was on the ABC network on Saturday night, and while "Demetrius and the Gladiators" played on FX Movie Channel, "The Robe" was nowhere to be found---either in its widescreen or flat-screen versions (the latter, far better acted version of that classic, hasn't been seen in about 30 years on any station!).
However, the great "Ben-Hur" was making its rounds last week on the big screen for its 60th anniversary, so it too was nowhere to be found (TCM regularly plays "Ben-Hur": it was shown around Christmas, during their "Sword and Sandals" January feature, and again during their "31 Days of Oscar" in February).
But TCM did play "The Silver Chalice" (with Paul Newman) and "Barabbas" (with Anthony Quinn) in the early afternoon, and, at night, after "Easter Parade", they played the Nicholas Ray-directed "King of Kings" (1961)---with the blond-haired, blue-eyed Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus, the film that sent Oprah Winfrey to confession because after she saw it, she felt she had sinned for having 'lusted after Jesus'. The was followed by the silent DeMille version with H.B. Warner as Jesus (known as "The King of Kings").
But an obscure cable channel did play the 1965 epic, "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (with Max von Sydow as Jesus, who would become Father Merrin in 1973's "The Exorcist"), of which I caught only the last scenes---starting with the absolutely classic lines uttered by John Wayne as the Centurion. The film is filled with cameos from many Hollywood stars, but the Duke sounds like he just got off his horse in some old Western: "Truly this man was the son of Gaad."
And that's your sparse Biblical movie round-up for this past holiday weekend!

April 11, 2019

Post-WW II Concentration Camp Liberation: Pink Triangles Excepted

I shared an article on Facebook today (via my friend Ryan Neugebauer) that pointed to a sad and disgraceful chapter in post-World War II history: the continued persecution of gays who were singled out by the Nazis and tagged with the Pink Triangle, even as the Allies liberated the concentration camps.

Check out the Snopes.com essay here, with additional information on Wikipedia.

April 10, 2019

March Winds, April Showers, May Flowers and a Book in June

No, no, I haven't died just because I've not posted on Notablog since March 29th. I've been working very hard with my co-editors, Roger E. Bissell and Edward W. Younkins, to finish the job of proofreading and preparing The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, due out on June 15, 2019 from Lexington Books. I'll have lots more information to share about the book, our plans for an extended moderated discussion of its contents in the fall, and all the special marketing we have planned to spread the word with regard to this trailblazing volume that includes the contributions of nineteen wonderful scholars.

They are already advertising it on the Lexington Books site and on amazon.com, but don't let the sticker price shock you. We have ways of bringing the volume to the masses; stay tuned.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to extend my appreciation to both Stephen Cox and Mario Rizzo for their kind blurbs in support of the project. Stephen writes:

The Dialectics of Liberty is a remarkably wide-ranging study of libertarian ideas, conducted by writers of great authority but of different views and approaches. Mature yet lively, it is full of surprises. If you want to know the state of libertarian thought right now, you will need to read this book.
--- Stephen Cox, University of California, San Diego

And Mario writes:

This stimulating collection maps out exciting new directions in the philosophy of liberty. The essays are authored by some of the best minds in scholarly libertarian thought today. Whether you are a libertarian or not, you will find many important---and challenging---ideas developed here. An important and lively book.
--- Mario Rizzo, New York University


I'm struck by the fact that both gentlemen use the word "lively"---and if anything that's one word that definitely describes the book's contents. In fact, it's "Big Tent" approach, encompassing so many different perspectives, will lead some readers to smile with glee while reading one essay, only to be challenged not to throw the book against the nearest wall while reading the very next essay. Get ready, folks. We're in for a lively summer and an even livelier fall, when we intend to begin a more formal discussion of the book's contents.

On top of all this, I'm also in the midst of proofing the copyedited essays for the forthcoming July 2019 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies; it too will be a lively issue---and it will be announced with yet a new incarnation of our ever-growing website in the near future.

If this isn't enough for you, then take a look at Anoop Verma's blog entry today, "On Ayn Rand's Clean Shaven Acolytes," wherein Anoop quotes a passage from my book, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, explaining some of the deep divides within the Russian culture of Rand's youth that pitted the "beards" against the "non-beards." (I remarked on Facebook that I once sported a mustache, but I didn't shave it off because of any Randian maxim: I started to see, uh, blond (gray?) streaks in my facial hair, and decided to carry a little less weight on my face. Always young at heart, even if my body is hanging onto its youth by a hair, out came the razor ... )

So that's the update from your Notablog reporter; I'll be back as soon as I get all these important chores done! On deadline!