Any morality play has its set-piece characters. The villain, the outraged public, the crusading representatives of order.
Democracy in the UK is very tactile. Parliament is the voice and instrument of the people. Anyone, no matter how powerful, can be summoned to answer questions before the people. These performances can destroy careers and reputations but are an adjunct to the more dull and complex process of police investigations, judicial review and eventual judgement. They permit the public to see their anger expressed.
Rupert Murdoch’s role before his questioning was clear: he is the villain of this set-piece. He was there to be a subject of the collective outrage of British society and to hold himself to account.
Yet you don’t get to be an 80-year-old media tycoon without understanding that a story is made in the telling. Continue reading →
I’m a Sputnik baby. Who knows – perhaps my birth in June of 1958 was the result of some Sputnik-induced frolic, since its launch would have been precisely nine months before.
As a kid, I was a total space geek. I wrote many letters to NASA – scrawled on grade-school writing tablet paper – filled with questions, space ship ideas and pictures. To their credit, NASA always responded – with thick, glossy brochures about Mercury, Gemini, and later, Apollo, which I still have today. I belonged to the club that sent a space-related scale model kit every month, and had the gold coin collection that commemorated every flight, as well as a model of the Saturn 5 that stood nearly four feet high. My dad and I built (and lost) LOTS of Estes model rockets, and the G.I. Joe astronaut and capsule was my favorite toy. Continue reading →
One of the goals of education is to leave seeds planted in students’ heads. Some seeds sprout right away and grow into trees that always bear fruit. Others sprout several years later, when conditions are right. Some never grow. And some grew so long ago, back in our first days of school or even before, that we never think about the harvest because we take it for granted.
Every now and again, I find myself pausing to think about one of those earliest seeds. Such was the case today, and I pondered the meaning of words etched deeply into my brain. What was the real message in that little nursery rhyme? I asked. And what did it tell me about my life today?