Healthy Skepticism Required

Though quote is often mistakenly attributed to Julius Caesar, the wisdom therein is indisputable.

“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.

And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind is closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

A “Complicated” Walk

Twenty Feet From Stardom is an amazing documentary that tells the stories of several “unheralded” back-up singers, who, in many cases, provided the firepower to turn a catchy-song into triple-platinum hit.  (Think “Gimme Shelter.”)

Like so many true stories, the layers of meaning and insight run deep. The ladies featured in this film, each incredibly talented, took a shot at being a lead singer. The film explores the question: What is it that separates the “star” from the supporting player?

As Bruce Springsteen says in the film, “The walk to the front of the stage is… complicated.”

 

Ten More Reasons to Hate Washington

Few would argue that Washington, as the seat of federal government, has reached an epic level of disfunction – and disconnection. Is it any wonder so many people hate what the city has come to represent?

On July 16, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich’s book “This Town,” will provide more evidence of a city living in its own universe.

The Washington Post has helpfully compiled a top ten list of the author’s observations of how politicians and lobbyists, congressional staffers and journalists, party hacks and party-throwers can make it in D.C.  One sample:

The Haley Barbour rule: “He told one friend that his main goal was to get paid by as many people as possible for doing as little work as possible.”

Sigh.