HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

March 3, 2008
From the Editor

John Turner


Here in Vermont the snow keeps coming. This year has already moved into the top ten snowfall periods in Vermont history, and who knows how much more we'll get. I think the all-time record is about 145 inches, and at the moment we're at 108. So it's not likely we're going over the top. Still, there's plenty of snow to shovel, and I find myself out slashing at it on most days.

There was a time a few years ago when I had come to hate shoveling snow. But lately, I've had a turn-around. Actually, there's something heroic about it -- battling the elements in uncomfortable conditions. Whenever I come in after a bout I feel triumphant, and I begin to pity people in Florida who never have the opportunity to test themselves in this way.

I went out to get breakfast this morning and noticed as I walked past city hall that a production of The Vagina Monologues will be visiting our city soon. I don't think I'll go see it. What's wrong with me? Maybe it's just old-fashioned prudery which doesn't like to sit in a public place and listen to women talking about certain parts of their bodies. But, I have no quarrel with the people who do go, and I hope they enjoy themselves, or learn from the play, or accomplish whatever they're hoping for.

Last night on TV, for the first time in twenty-five years, I watched The Wicker Man from 1973 starring Edward Woodward. I thought I would remember it better than I did and this viewing left me wondering whether I was seeing a different version from when I first saw it in the audiovisual room at St. Mary's College. In any case, it still held my attention and left me thinking it's one of the more provocative movies I've seen. It's not possible, of course, for the sort of society depicted to exist on a Scottish island, no matter how remote it is. But, realism isn't the point in a film like this. The major difference for me in the two viewings was that I felt less sympathy for the protagonist this time around. I still didn't like to see him meet his fate, but there was just an inkling this time that, perhaps, he deserved it a bit more than I had thought.

Tomorrow we have the four primaries that many think will decide the Democratic nomination. If it does, I hope there will be no recriminations among the Democrats afterwards and that all leaders of the party will unite to support the nominee fervently. John McCain ought to be easy to defeat. He has nothing to offer the American people. But it's foolish to take anything for granted in a case like this, and so the Democrats ought to wage the campaign as vigorously as possible.

I promised I would tell you when I got my Kindle. No word yet from Amazon. While waiting, I've been reading as much as I can about the device, and the more I find out the more I'm convinced it will be -- for me at least -- a good experience. One feature that excites me quite a bit is the opportunity to get the first chapter of any book for free. Since the first chapter is more than enough to convey the worth of most books, I can see myself knowing at least a smattering about far more books than I have in the past. Whether that will enhance my understanding of anything is another question, but, at least, it will probably be fun.

Even though I like snow shoveling -- sort of -- I'm not averse to melting. So if any of you have a means of speaking to nature, put in a request for me.


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