Friday, August 03, 2012

Nathaniel's last lecture: The Dirt on our Deathbeds

As my old friend Nathaniel Blumberg, felled by a stroke, lay dying in a Kalispell, Montana, hospital last February, several friends came to his bedside. They represented just a few of myriad friends whom the retired journalism professor had made over the years.

They were about to hear his one-sentence last lecture.

The 89-year-old Blumberg was a Rhodes Scholar, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, and a razor-sharp social critic and wit. He had been a crusading, innovative dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism in the Fifties and Sixties. He taught hundreds of students at the school for 35 years. He was an ardent advocate for social justice. Friends, many of whom were former students, knew him to be kind, enthusiastic, candid and brutally honest and out-spoken.

Those in the Kalispell hospital room were former students from decades ago. They would hear one last time from their professor, friend and mentor. His words are recounted in the Journalism School’s alumni magazine, “Communique.” The short item introduces several tributes.

He was “himself to the end,” the item begins. “Nathaniel asks his friends to remove a pile of dirt he sees on his bed. We look, then tell him there is no dirt. He keeps asking. Someone gently suggests that he might be hallucinating. After a short pause, he replies in a barely audible yet defiant voice, ‘You’re all hallucinating.”

Nathaniel, in addition to being himself to the end, was right to the end.

We ARE all hallucinating. We ARE leaving piles of dirt on our deathbeds. Let us see them...let us remove them before we die.

For more on Nathaniel Blumberg go HERE.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Suspicious unsupported comments on liberal sites

I'm beginning to wonder whether the Republican presidential money machine is paying folks to post non-sense, ad hominem responses to articles on liberal web sites.

Case in point are comments (replete with egregious spelling errors) attached to a current article by George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling on the Common Dreams site.

Do these comments really come from regular readers of Common Dreams? I don't think so. So what brings them to Common Dreams? The Koch brothers?

If the comments made any sense at all, or addressed the issues raised in the article, they would have value. Instead they are vacuous rants devoid of any substance.

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