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Fact checking ‘The Crown’: Queen Elizabeth’s close relationship with preacher Billy Graham – The Washington Post

“One of the running themes throughout the Netflix show “The Crown” is the devout Christian faith of Queen Elizabeth, who is shown kneeling for prayer by her bedside as her husband jokingly teases her to offer one for him. The queen, after all, serves not just as head of state but head of the Church of England, the mother church of Anglicanism worldwide.

“Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the Earth,” her elderly grandmother, Queen Mary, tells Elizabeth early in the show.

The second season of the series portrays the queen as someone who, feeling betrayed by a family member, wrestled deeply with questions of faith and forgiveness. The show also depicts her budding relationship with famous American evangelist Billy Graham, who drew millions of people to his “crusades” across the globe and was a friend to many U.S. presidents.”

Source: Fact checking ‘The Crown’: Queen Elizabeth’s close relationship with preacher Billy Graham – The Washington Post

‘The Crown’ Could Have Damaged Charles. Becoming King Has Helped. – The New York Times

Mark Landler is the London bureau chief of The New York Times.

“LONDON — Six months ago, the new season of “The Crown” was shaping up as another public-relations headache for Prince Charles. The timeline of the popular historical drama had reached the 1990s, which meant that it was going to dissect the collapse of his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, an unwelcome exhumation of the most painful, mortifying chapter of his adult life.

Some advising the prince were pondering how to counter the narrative, according to people with knowledge of the workings of Buckingham Palace, worried that it could tarnish the reputation of a man who, in recent years, had come to be known less for his peccadilloes than for his embrace of worthy causes such as climate change.”

In Which Order Should You Read Horatio Hornblower Novels by C.S. Forester?

“If you read the Horatio Hornblower series in the order of creation, you will follow the story as the writer penned it, starting with world creation (background context) and character introductions. Here is the order of creation, which may be the easiest way to read them:

  1. “The Happy Return” (“Beat to Quarters”)
  2. “A Ship of the Line” (“Ship of the Line”)
  3. “Flying Colours”
  4. “The Commodore” (“Commodore Hornblower”)
  5. “Lord Hornblower”
  6. “Mr. Midshipman Hornblower”
  7. “Lieutenant Hornblower”
  8. “Hornblower and the Atropos”
  9. “Hornblower in the West Indies” (“Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies”)
  10. “Hornblower and the Hotspur”
  11. “Hornblower and the Crisis”* (“Hornblower During the Crisis”)

Hornblower Series: Chronological Order

If you read the series in chronological order, you won’t start with Hornblower as a captain but as a midshipman and lieutenant, literally learning the ropes on the navy ship. He fights in the Napoleonic Wars occurring with Spain, rising in the ranks, but peace with France prevents him from taking command of his own vessel, until the peace breaks. He then earns his captaincy, meets Napoleon, and finds sunken treasure. Following more battles with France, he’s taken captive.

After his release, he sails on a mission to Russian territory and the Baltic. Further adventures have him quelling a mutiny and, finally, defeating Napoleon. But that is not the end of his story. The life of a proven leader is not quiet during peacetime. Next, he helps fight against Bonapartists intent on breaking Napoleon out of St. Helena. On his way home to England, he saves his wife and crew from a hurricane. Throughout his career, he earns a knighthood and the rank of rear admiral. The historical way of reading the books may be harder, but is often recommended:

  1. “Mr. Midshipman Hornblower”
  2. “Lieutenant Hornblower”
  3. “Hornblower and the Hotspur”
  4. “Hornblower and the Crisis”* (“Hornblower During the Crisis”)
  5. “Hornblower and the Atropos”
  6. “The Happy Return” (“Beat to Quarters”)
  7. “A Ship of the Line” (“Ship of the Line”)
  8. “Flying Colours”
  9. “The Commodore” (“Commodore Hornblower”)
  10. “Lord Hornblower”
  11. “Hornblower in the West Indies” (“Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies”)”

Source: In Which Order Should You Read Horatio Hornblower Novels?

How Long Should It Take to Grieve? Psychiatry Has Come Up With an Answer. – The New York Times

“After more than a decade of argument, psychiatry’s most powerful body in the United States added a new disorder this week to its diagnostic manual: prolonged grief.

The decision marks an end to a long debate within the field of mental health, steering researchers and clinicians to view intense grief as a target for medical treatment, at a moment when many Americans are overwhelmed by loss.

The new diagnosis, prolonged grief disorder, was designed to apply to a narrow slice of the population who are incapacitated, pining and ruminating a year after a loss, and unable to return to previous activities.

Its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders means that clinicians can now bill insurance companies for treating people for the condition.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Fortunately, not everything is about money. I applaud this report by Ellen Barry and the doctors behind this research. I have a friend who lost someone close, and after three years, they are still reclusive. In ancient China, three years was the official, minimum grieving period for a family member. Maybe they knew something. Probably some people will benefit greatly from professional help. I lost my eldest son to heroin laced with fentanyl, just before his 21st birthday, and while the grieving never stops, the pain lessened significantly after about ten years. However, I never stopped functioning, since my self remedy was to throw myself into my writing. I now blog here and at InconvenientNews.net, and after Austin’s death, I finished my first novel, “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction on Eighteenth Century Vietnam,” which I had first drafted in the 1980’s. One great memory I have just before Austin passed, he and I drove to Berea Kentucky, and read my unpublished manuscript out loud to each other in the car. He liked the book, and made excellent comments.

Margaret Renkl | It’s Possible to Learn the Right Thing From the Wrong Person – The New York Times

“In 1980, my senior year of high school, I sat in an auditorium watching “A Man for All Seasons.” The film, based on Robert Bolt’s play of the same title, won the 1967 Academy Award for best picture, as well as five other Oscars. It was also one of the formative artistic experiences of my life.

“When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his hands, like water,” Sir Thomas More tells his daughter in the film. “And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.” In a dark room in Alabama, 4,000 miles and half a millennium distant from Tudor England, those words burned into me. In a few months, I would be leaving home for the first time. Already I wondered who I would be after I did.

In my dorm room that fall, I kept a postcard replica of a portrait of More by Hans Holbein the Younger. I love that painting still. Of all the glorious art that New York City spreads out like an endless banquet of beauty and provocation, it’s always the one I visit first. Holbein’s portrait tugs at something in me so deeply attached it feels integral. A singular, irreplaceable organ. A self.

Nearly 500 years after he painted his haunting portrait of More, Holbein is having a moment. A retrospective at the Morgan Library & Museum has inspired rapturous reviews. “A flabbergasting talent,” wrote Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker. “A mastery of optics and color theory and classical history,” Jason Farago noted in a review for The Times. “Daring on an intimate scale,” Jenny Uglow wrote in The New York Review of Books.”

Thomas L. Friedman | Putin to Ukraine: ‘Marry Me or I’ll Kill You’ – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Why is Vladimir Putin threatening to take another bite out of Ukraine, after devouring Crimea in 2014? That is not an easy question to answer because Putin is a one-man psychodrama, with a giant inferiority complex toward America that leaves him always stalking the world with a chip on his shoulder so big it’s amazing he can fit through any door.

Let’s see: Putin is a modern-day Peter the Great out to restore the glory of Mother Russia. He’s a retired K.G.B. agent who simply refuses to come in from the cold and still sees the C.I.A. under every rock and behind every opponent. He’s America’s ex-boyfriend-from-hell, who refuses to let us ignore him and date other countries, like China — because he always measures his status in the world in relation to us. And he’s a politician trying to make sure he wins (or rigs) Russia’s 2024 election — and becomes president for life — because when you’ve siphoned off as many rubles as Putin has, you can never be sure that your successor won’t lock you up and take them all. For him, it’s rule or die.

Somewhere in the balance of all of those identities and neuroses is the answer to what Putin intends to do with Ukraine.

If I were a cynic, I’d just tell him to go ahead and take Kyiv because it would become his Kabul, his Afghanistan — but the human costs would be intolerable. Short of that, I’d be very clear: If he wants to come down from the tree in which he’s lodged himself, he’s going to have to jump or build his own ladder. He has completely contrived this crisis, so there should be no give on our part. China is watching — and Taiwan is sweating — everything we do in reaction to Vlad right now.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment”
Draft 2, fixing typos.
Why am I a hawk on this? I was against the war in Vietnam as a 16 year old, and that position changed my life deeply. NATO should send troops and aircraft to the Ukraine, but the Europeans lost so many in two world wars, that they don’t have the heart to sacrifice their youth. Can’t blame them. I am reminded of the Tolkien books and movies, The Fellowship of the Ring, and in book two, the people of the horse retreat to a fortress, where the forces of Saruman are sure to destroy them. Then the elves come to their aid, even though elves are immortal, until slain in battle. Their sacrifice was part of the almost miraculous saving of middle earth. It feels similar, but I’m not sure it is as easy as the fantasy I refer to. But the fantasy was also about WW II. If we stop Putin, or take him out, will we save middle earth? I’m afraid we should try, but assassination would be so much more sophisticated, say the great strategists like Sun Tsu. The other shoulder has a smart spirit saying, let Putin take Ukraine, it will help bleed him to death. But I am a creature of the 21st century. It will make terrible TV. And there is a small chance it will prop up the monster, rather than topple him. If its true that the GNP of Russia is between that of Florida and New York, NATO should have no trouble turning the rube into ruble.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net

Leonard Nimoy’s Jewish Roots Inspired the Vulcan Salute – www.startrek.com

“I grew up in an interesting inner-city neighborhood in Boston. The area was known as the West End and was written about in a book called the Urban Villagers. It was a desirable area since it was within walking distance of downtown Boston and the Boston Commons, as well as being situated along the banks of the Charles River.

The population was mostly immigrants. Maybe 70% Italian and 25% Jewish. My family attended services in an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue, or “Shul.” We were especially attentive to the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Since I was somewhat musical, I was hired as a young boy to sing in choirs for the holidays and I was therefore exposed to all of the rituals firsthand. I still have a vivid memory of the first time I saw the use of the split-fingered hands being extended to the congregation in blessing.

There were a group of five or six men facing the congregation and chanting in passionate shouts of a Hebrew benediction. It would translate to “May the Lord bless you and keep you,”…etc.

My Dad said, “Don’t look.”

I learned later that it is believed that during this prayer, the “Shekhina,” the feminine aspect of God comes into the temple to bless the congregation. The light from this Deity could be very damaging. So we are told to protect ourselves by closing our eyes.

I peeked.

And when I saw the split-fingered gesture of these men… I was entranced. I learned to do it simply because it seemed so magical.”

Source: Leonard Nimoy’s Jewish Roots Inspired the Vulcan Salute

‘Moana’: Disney’s delightful tropical adventure sets sail | Soren Andersen – The Seattle Times

Movie review of “Moana”: Disney’s tale of female empowerment is told in rousing fashion, with humor and passion and grace. Rating: 4 stars out of 4.

“Moana” is a joy.

A feast for the eyes. From Disney, it represents a pinnacle of CG animation. Its colors are incredibly vivid. The screen is bathed in bright cerulean hues of the limitless ocean sparkling in the sun and the lush greenery of tropical-island paradises.

A delight for the ears. Songs by “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer Opetaia Foa‘i and Grammy-winner Mark Mancina are at a “Lion King” level of excellence. The picture’s “We Know the Way” is an anthemic ode to exploration and self-discovery that has the hallmarks of an instant classic.”

Source: ‘Moana’: Disney’s delightful tropical adventure sets sail | The Seattle Times

Ross Douthat | The French and Indian War and U.S. History’s Complexities – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Two hundred and sixty-six years ago this month, a column of British regulars commanded by Gen. Edward Braddock was cut to pieces by French soldiers and their Native American allies in the woods just outside today’s Pittsburgh. The defeat turned into a rout when Braddock was shot off his horse, leaving the retreat to be managed by a young colonial officer named George Washington, whose own previous foray into the region had lit the tinder for the war.

This was the beginning of the French and Indian War (also known, much less poetically, as the Seven Years’ War), which as a boy I thought was the most interesting war in all of history.

I had encountered it originally through a public television version of “The Last of the Mohicans,” but I soon found that the real conflict exceeded even James Fenimore Cooper’s romantic imagination: The complexity of forest warfare and the diversity of the combatants on both sides, colonial, European and native; the majesty of the geographic setting, especially the lakes, mountains and defiles of upstate New York; the ridiculous melodrama of the culminating battle at Quebec, with a wee-hours cliff-scaling that led to a decisive showdown in which both commanders were mortally wounded, James Wolfe in victory and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm in defeat.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Ross, thank you for an amazing essay. The top critics all make good criticisms, but they ignore the best parts of your piece. I posted your piece to my blog, just to capture your excellent list of histories on the seven years war, which I have never studied. I liked your suggestion of alternate outcomes, and novels about other forms of the present based on different outcomes of the past. I would especially like to see a novel based on the premise, that the Indians defeated the Europeans, and had to grow the continent with Indians in charge. Without the United States, the Germans and the Japanese would probably have prevailed in WW II, and that would be a great sequel novel.

I hope you find the time to read my historical ficiton on 18th century Vietnam, which was inspired in part by a biography in French of the extraordinary Bishop Pierre Pigneau de Behaine, who Nuguyen Anh, after becoming the new emperor of Vietnam, described as the greatest foreign friend in the history, of Vietnam and specifically, of Prince Anh’s success in seizing power in a long civil war, 1770-1802.

Opinion | Salman Rushdie: Ask Yourself Which Books You Truly Love – The New York Times

Mr. Rushdie is a novelist and an essayist.

“Before there were books, there were stories. At first the stories weren’t written down. Sometimes they were even sung. Children were born, and before they could speak, their parents sang them songs, a song about an egg that fell off a wall, perhaps, or about a boy and a girl who went up a hill and fell down it. As the children grew older, they asked for stories almost as often as they asked for food.

The children fell in love with these stories and wanted to hear them over and over again. Then they grew older and found those stories in books. And other stories that they had never heard before, about a girl who fell down a rabbit hole, or a silly old bear and an easily scared piglet and a gloomy donkey, or a phantom tollbooth, or a place where wild things were. The act of falling in love with stories awakened something in the children that would nourish them all their lives: their imagination.

The children made up play stories every day, they stormed castles and conquered nations and sailed the oceans blue, and at night their dreams were full of dragons. But they went on growing up and slowly the stories fell away from them, the stories were packed away in boxes in the attic, and it became harder for the former children to tell and receive stories, harder for them, sadly, to fall in love.

I believe that the books and stories we fall in love with make us who we are, or, not to claim too much, the beloved tale becomes a part of the way in which we understand things and make judgments and choices in our daily lives. A book may cease to speak to us as we grow older, and our feeling for it will fade. Or we may suddenly, as our lives shape and hopefully increase our understanding, be able to appreciate a book we dismissed earlier; we may suddenly be able to hear its music, to be enraptured by its song.

When, as a college student, I first read Günter Grass’s great novel “The Tin Drum,” I was unable to finish it. It languished on a shelf for fully 10 years before I gave it a second chance, whereupon it became one of my favorite novels of all time: one of the books I would say that I love. It is an interesting question to ask oneself: Which are the books that you truly love? Try it. The answer will tell you a lot about who you presently are.

 
 
Credit…Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

I grew up in Bombay, India, a city that is no longer, today, at all like the city it once was and has even changed its name to the much less euphonious Mumbai, in a time so unlike the present that it feels impossibly remote, even fantastic. In that far-off Bombay, the stories and books that reached me from the West seemed like true tales of wonder.

Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” with its splinters of magic mirror that entered people’s bloodstreams and turned their hearts to ice, was even more terrifying to a boy from the tropics, where the only ice was in the refrigerator. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” felt especially enjoyable to a boy growing up in the immediate aftermath of the British Empire.

Perhaps tales of elsewhere always feel like fairy tales. But for me, the real wonder tales were closer to home, and I have always thought it my great good fortune as a writer to have grown up steeped in them.    . . .”

” . . . The fantastic is neither innocent nor escapist. The wonderland is not a place of refuge, not even necessarily an attractive or likable place. It can be — in fact, it usually is — a place of slaughter, exploitation, cruelty and fear. Captain Hook wants to kill Peter Pan. The witch in the Black Forest wants to cook Hansel and Gretel. The wolf actually eats Red Riding Hood’s grandmother. Albus Dumbledore is murdered, and the Lord of the Rings plans the enslavement of the whole of Middle-earth.

We know, when we hear these tales, that even though they are “unreal,” because carpets do not fly and witches in gingerbread houses do not exist, they are also “real,” because they are about real things: love, hatred, fear, power, bravery, cowardice, death. They simply arrive at the real by a different route. They are so, even though we know that they are not so. The truth is not arrived at by purely mimetic means. An image can be captured by a camera or by a paintbrush. A painting of a starry night is no less truthful than a photograph of one; arguably, if the painter is Van Gogh, it’s far more truthful, even though far less “realistic.”

The literature of the fantastic — the wonder tale, the fable, the folk tale, the magic-realist novel — has always embodied profound truths about human beings, their finest attributes and their deepest prejudices too. The wonder tale tells us truths about ourselves that are often unpalatable; it exposes bigotry, explores the libido, brings our deepest fears to light. Such stories are by no means intended simply for the amusement of children, and many of them were not originally intended for children at all. Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin were not Disney characters when they started out on their journeys.

It is, however, a rich age in literature for children and young-hearted adults. From Maurice Sendak’s place “Where the Wild Things Are” to Philip Pullman’s post-religious otherworlds, from Narnia, which we reach through a wardrobe, to the strange worlds arrived at through a phantom tollbooth, from Hogwarts to Middle-earth, wonderland is alive and well. And in many of these adventures, it is children who grow into heroes, often to rescue the adult world; the children we were, the children who are still within us, the children who understand wonderland, who know the truth about stories, save the adults, who have forgotten those truths.” -30-

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