Op/Eds

If your summer reading list needs a bit more intrigue and suspense to it, look no further than a book by John Le Carré, the English espionage novelist who passed away last December. But if you aren’t a big thriller person, I still recommend Le Carré: The author — whose real name was David Cornwell — was also one of the finest novelists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Not spy novelists, mind you. Just novelists, period. If there is a class of 20th-century British writers Le Carré belongs to, in fact, it would not be in the pulpy dregs of Ian Fleming or the comfort food of Agatha Christie...
30th in a series William James (1842–1910) is surely the most celebrated of American philosophers, and, in the light of his achievement, he is justly celebrated. He is the quintessential American thinker. Although his mind may not have been as acute and as penetrating as that of his friend Charles Sanders Peirce, it was more open and receptive, broader, and more humane. It was a channel through which flowed a vast network of intellectual currents that deposited their riches, which he took up with interest, reflected on, and expressed in writing. He did not intend to become a philosopher, but...
I am delighted that the Independent is publishing articles about the school turmoil that went on in the 1960s when I was a child (and oblivious!). It’s so good to have a long perspective. A good reminder that there is no perfect or permanent solution. Mary Pratt New Haven
Your police log on July 8 noted that police “responded to reports of a distressed beaver on Main Street. … Police guided the animal back into the Otter Creek.” Some years ago — perhaps 2007 — the Independent had a similar report, although in that case, the police reportedly “escorted” the beaver back to Otter Creek. Could it possibly have been the same beaver? Seems unlikely. Are beavers naturally curious, or do they simply have wanderlust? Three cheers for the state of nature in Middlebury. Paul Wonnacott Potomac, Md./Middlebury  
It’s almost time for Field Days! Are you an amateur maker, baker, artist, photographer, or gardener? Did you spend the last 18 months honing your knitting or your cookie making, and did you finally have time to plant the flowers or vegetables you’ve always loved? The Home and Garden Departments in the Frances Monroe Building at the Addison County Fair and Field Days would love for you to share your passions with the larger community. We have friendly competitions in the following departments: Handicrafts, Foods, Art and Photography, Flower Show, and Garden Products. We invite all amateur...
Regarding the Ways of Seeing article by Laurie Cox in the July 8 Addison Independent, “Migrant Workers are essential,” this should have been titled, more honestly, “Migrant Workers are essential to the luxury we enjoy of purchasing what we want, when we want, at artificially low prices enabled by our choice to allow foreign nationals to breach our borders and live in our country illegally, so that we can force them to accept wages and working conditions we do not accept ourselves.” The core issue is that we are not willing to pay the real cost of food production. Ms. Cox betrays this...
The Washington Post published an interesting column this Tuesday by Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health in which the columnist noted the rate of COVID-19 infection in South Dakota and Vermont were “remarkably similar” and rated among the lowest three (along with Massachusetts) in the country. It’s a surprising finding. South Dakota, after all, did not encourage its residents to get vaccinated, the state’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem pooh-poohed the science on mask wearing, the dangers of COVID, and how to protect South Dakotans. While acknowledging it was no...

A BABY RABBIT in the writer's garden.
In my painting studio, next to the window, hangs an image from an old art calendar that my mother passed on to me: Albrecht Durer’s 1502 drawing of a young hare. I use this drawing when I teach. Kids love it for its realism (and cuteness). Adults marvel at both Durer’s technique and his ability to observe and then, with precise brushstrokes and drawing marks, capture what he is seeing. As teacher, I talk about the marriage of art and science during the Renaissance, and about the practice of quietly observing nature and drawing directly from life, taking time. It’s a strange thing — and folks...
Language possesses magic. Right now, much of its power is tuned toward harm. So much of the English language has been curled, hammered and molded around colonialism. Our stories are heavy with capitalist urgency and linear processing, our metaphors are thick with violence. The heteronormative bent of our tongues means we connect healthfully not because of, but despite, the words we speak to each other. I don’t buy it — I’m convinced there’s more grace to be had in our speaking. I’m a lover of this transforming being we too often do not recognize for its bold power and dynamic panache. I just...
The high interest in Middlebury’s Kick Start campaign, run by the Better Middlebury Partnership, is encouraging news to a town that has seen its downtown eviscerated by the better part of four years of road and bridge construction. A half dozen entrepreneurs were awarded grants of $15,000-$20,000 to jumpstart their business ideas into reality. By the stated rules, those businesses must open shop within six months. That’s pre-Christmas and one might assume a Herculean effort will be made to get things up and running months before that to capture fall foliage and holiday sales. Dozens of other...

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Addison County Independent