Summertime, and the livin'
is easy; fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'; so hush little
baby, don't you cry
One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing; And you'll
spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But 'til that morning, there ain't nothin' can harm you; with Daddy
and Mammy standin' by.
— George Gershwin, 1934
Rewrite, George, REwrite!
Fish are jumpin’ in
sometimes polluted waters or crammed into fish farms, no room to
jump, or being depleted by overfishin’ or caught in nets that trap
dolphins which reminds me of an awful new joke about polar bears:
while dealing with alleged vanishing ice, the bears are enjoying the
dolphins that are swimming farther north in warmer water. Yay,
The cotton is high and,
like the confederate flag, reminds some people of slavery, so should
be plowed under/taken down in southern state capitals. (Yes, I
learned in high school history that the confederacy was about
states’ rights, not slavery, but never mind facts, and take off that
offensive cotton shirt, unless it’s part of a fair-trade agreement
“Your daddy’s rich and
your ma is good lookin’”? Ah, part of the income inequality problem,
as well as the unfair attractiveness inequality problem.
I think we can keep the
part about rising up singing, and the spreading your wings, taking
to the sky (this is a metaphor, not polluting the sky in your rich
daddy’s private jet), but assuming that the baby has two parents,
one named Daddy, one named Mammy, is going to offend somebody for
Good luck with the
“nothing can harm you” part. According to Democrat presidential
candidate for president, Martin O’Malley, support for the Second
Amendment is racist. You’ll never hear me deny that: denial sounds
altogether too defensive, as if accusers have a right to make such
assumptions about white folks who disagree with them on issues or
Children can’t be safe in
places like O’Malley’s Baltimore, where as mayor he instituted
strict gun control and where cops have been vilified. Summertime has
come to mean simmering potential violence in many cities.
Never mind. Let’s sing the
lullaby to our babies, sing it to ourselves as we rise on a summer
morning, pretend life is simple, while reminding ourselves that it
wasn’t so great in 1934 either, especially for the handicapped hero
of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” — and
with polio threatening our children, Hitler rising in Germany.
Let’s find a hammock next
weekend and read Pope Francis encyclical, “Laudato Si
— be praised”.
I’ve liked Pope Francis
since he said the Church should be kind to gays and, that our pets
will go to heaven with us. While many conservatives are indignantly
attacking his new encyclical, which takes sides on climate change
and promotes socialism, I find much of it summer-light reading that
we can enjoy like a summer film in the an air-conditioned theatre of
which the encyclical disapproves.
So the Catholic Church is
convinced that global warming is caused by humanity? The solution is
immediately obvious; more birth control, less humanity.
Wait! I left the Church at
age 20 when I was told one couldn’t be Catholic and use “artificial”
birth control. I’m not sure now that was true, but I believed it at
the time. Was also turned off by the small-town parish
anti-Semitism. The Church has apologized for that, but it hasn’t
changed its opposition to birth control.
I don’t include abortion
in this easy-answer to limit humanity; though I’m pro-choice about
everything, I understand how pro-life people arrive at their
opposition. Besides, the abortion issue gets more interesting when
noting the sudden enthrallment of liberals with Pope Francis because
of his support for their environmental position; aren’t they reading
the part of his encyclical reiterating his opposition to their
liberal sacrament, abortion-on-demand. Isn’t anyone consistent but
Once you get past the
contradictions, including the pope’s criticism of the capitalism and
technology that can, if used properly, solve so many of the world’s
problems, the encyclical makes some good points, the best being that
we should all be paying intention to the Big Problems of the world
instead of living just to be consumers of a lot of stuff. Aren’t
many of us saying this, in our own way, relative to our own
Maybe it’s just growing
older, but some of us are downsizing our possessions in order to
find a simpler lifestyle, time to spend on more than maintenance of
large homes and perfect lawns.
Like the Pope, I dislike
air conditioning, prefer a simple fan, though not so simple that I
want to sit on the front porch waving a piece of folded paper in
front of my face as people did in 1934.
I’m told my computer and
my fish need the air conditioner. Of course I can get rid of the
computer, and my column about Big Problems here. By the way, as I
predicted last week, the Obama Administration-Republican leadership
is getting their Fast-Track Trade Bill through Congress with the
support of the multi-national corporations, which both Laudato Si
and the 1891 papal encyclical Rerum Novarum deplore, but the pope is
too busy urging carpools to address this.
I can drop ice packs,
albeit from my electricity-powered refrigerator-freezer, into my
aquarium during heat waves. I liked the section about Christians
misunderstanding the part of the Bible in which God gives man
dominion over the earth and its creatures. Pope Francis says this
wasn’t permission to waste or misuse them, and I agree it’s time we
all had that conversation.
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem