Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Scammell writes that Solzshenitsyn, as a writer who emigrated to the US, may have brought down the Soviet Union himself
Michael Scammell is author of “Solzhenitsyn: A Biography” (W.W. Norton, 1984).
Today, Wednesday, December 12, 2018 he has an op-ed in the New York Times, p. A27, “The writer who beat an empire.” Solzhenitsyn started out with a novella “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” about a Stalinist labor camp, where he (the person) was sent to a labor camp for writing to a friend criticizing the soviet system. As in early colonial America, letters were read by authorities.
The little book was published in the west in 1962 by a small literary magazine Novy Mir. Further autobiographical novels would include “The First Circle” and “Cancer Ward”, and then “The Gulag Archipelago” in 1973. The Soviets expelled him, and his arrival in the US out to prove to conservatives and especially Trumpians the desirability of some immigration. His writings helped bring down the Soviet Union in 1991. But Solzhenitsyn did want a nationalist country with religious and conservative family values, rather than Boris Yeltsin’s freewheeling republic, but he got what he wanted with Putin in 2000.
The op-ed also discusses the clandestine publication of Boris Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago” which had become a massive motion picture by 1966.
When I became a patient at NIH for the second half of 1962, my roommate had a copy of “The Brothers Karamazov” by Dostoyevsky. We would scape past the Cuban Missile Crisis will I was still a patient.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The Hartford Courant is making available all the court papers in state police custody concerning Adam Lanza, perpetrator of the Sandy Hook killings on Dec. 14. 2012.
The main link for the publication is here, as a Courant Exclusive. The reporters are Josh Kovner and Dave Altimari.
The article provides a link to an editorial explaining why the newspaper decided to release the papers.
There is no “manifesto” as such, but many scrapbooks and loose writings, like “Big Book of Granny”.
Lanza’s mental state seems to be extremely disturbed, starting with autism, which usually does not take this kind of path. He hated any kind of personal contact with anyone. There are references to what he perceived as sexual abuse from physicians, doing normal examinations.
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Author: Bill Leonard
Title: “Homebrewed Christianity: Church History: Flaming Heretics and Heavy Drinkers”
Publication: Nashville: Fortress Press, 2017, 238 pages, paper, 8 chapters, endnotes.
This orange book is one of a series called “Homebrewed Christianity”, edited by Tripp Fuller.
The basic premise is that Christianity is practice has been a bottom-up religion, defined by how it is practiced by real people, who are compared to chess pieces (Bishop, Elder, Deacon, Acolyte). Yet the tone of the book presumes people want to act together and belong, not be so much on their own.
Indeed, the first chapter is called “herding ecclesiastical cats. As the reality of actually witnessing a resurrection and ascension, which would have seemed like ultimate truth to those who happened to live at a time and place where they could see it, receded, and became a matter for “men of faith”, it became a member of socialization and organization to figure out who really should be in charge and who should deliver the messages and how people would follow.
Perhaps that has meaning today as individual speech itself becomes questionable and we wonder who has the “privilege of being listened to” in a secular sense.
The church has always had to deal with the paradoxes of hypocrisy. It doesn’t know who walks with the Lord. Only people do. The latter part of the book gets into specific episodes, like the Jim Crow laws and Scopes Trial (movie “Inherit the Wind” and the “old time religion” scene).
Copies of this book were sold at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC last spring.