~ Magic of Christmas
To read with sensitivity during Wigilia for nuance, meaning, and atmosphere is a tricky business. Tim Parks has a few thoughts on how to do it better. How to read between the lines
-The REAL Santa Claus Washington’s Dragon
A traditional Wigilia begins with the youngest child in the household being sent outside to spot the first star. Then it begins – with opłatki. We skipped the kid (the star came out anyway, on its own) and moved directly to the opłatki. According to Sarah Zielinski on NPR, writing about opłatki here:
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“‘The first step in liquidating a people,’ said Hübl, ‘is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster.’
“If Franz Kafka was the prophet of a world without memory, Gustáv Husák is its creator. After T.G. Masaryk, who is known as the liberator-president (all his monuments without exception have been demolished) … Husák, the seventh president of my country, is known as the president of forgetting. Husak the president of forgetting who never forgot the story of Cold River
Author Ursula Le Guin received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the National Book Awards and inspired the crowd by holding up freedom as an author's best prize. "We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality."
She said many things needed to change, and that change often begins in art, specifically the art of words. Writing books according to marketing formulas for corporate profit is a rotten idea, she said. We need artists. Her speech was short, so you can easily watch the whole thing here.
In an interview, Le Guin said, “If you’re going to create a world out of whole cloth, that is to say, out of words, then you better get the words right.” You can read about her and her many books in The Guardian.
In an era that is so cynical about its politicians and leaders, it’s nice to know that Václav Havel even existed (we’ve written about him here and here)
Havel (Howell) The man who was the soul of the nation