I wonder what Twain is thinking as he stands there atop the granite steppes of the pedestal. Surely he’d chuckle if he could see himself that way, raised up like that, though it’d please his ego, too.
The statue stands next to a well-manicured lawn at the heart of Elmira College in Elmira, NY—the town where Twain’s wife was from and where they are both buried. Atop the pedestal, the statue strikes a thoughtful pose. Standing below it, the statue looks dignified and noble: Twain gazing up into the sky, a packet of papers in his left hand, some great thought occurring to him. His bushy eyebrows give his expression an air of concentration.
But up close, the expression changes subtly. The far-off look is clearer in his eyes. His brow seems less serious, more musing. There’s wonder happening in there. Continue reading
James Risen’s April 14 article for the New York Times on Iran’s Supreme Leader’s nuclear-weapons intentions — or lack thereof — has attracted much attention. Ayatollah Ali Khameinei, he writes, “often uses religious language when he talks about the nuclear issue, which can jar Western analysts trying to gauge the meaning of such strong statements.” It’s well known that he once issued a fatwa against the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. As recently as February, Risen writes, Ayatollah Khameini said: “Iran is not seeking to have the atomic bomb, possession of which is pointless, dangerous and is a great sin from an intellectual and a religious point of view.” Continue reading