Commentary

Take a moment to ponder priorities

September 27, 2013 

In a world replete with crises, natural disasters, political shenanigans, etc., I sometimes marvel at the things people worry about.

I’m thinking of the good soul who wrote the God Squad column about Adam and Eve’s navels.

She couldn’t understand why so many artists of old painted navels on the First Couple since they were supposedly created by God.

I’ve viewed my share of art at museums here and yon, and that question never crossed my mind.

Marc Gellman, the God Squad author, said the artists were in the clear in giving Adam a belly button but since Eve sprang from Adam’s rib, she isn’t entitled to one.

Go as Godiva

At the approach of Halloween a couple of young women asked me for suggestions on what to wear to a costume party they were attending.

I spontaneously replied teasingly, “Go as Lady Godiva. It will require very little preparation, and I guarantee you’ll attract a lot of attention.”

“Who is Lady Godiva?” one asked.

I was surprised that neither was acquainted with this legendary heroine of history and literature. My wife and I once visited Coventry, England, where an imposing statue of the great lady astride her horse stands in the town square.

The 11th-century legend describes how the noblewoman rode through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long tresses, in protest of the high taxes imposed by her husband on the people. Her ride caused him to remove many of the taxes.

I have no business being critical of the two for not knowing Lady Godiva. Were it not for my granddaughters I wouldn’t know Lady Gaga from Adam’s house cat. It’s called generation gap.

Lobster kindness

Among your responses to the column on animal cruelty is this message from Nancy Peterson of West End.

“Your mention of cruelty to lobsters reminded me of a Julia Child program in which she treated lobsters with respect. She added a half bottle of vodka to the boiling water. She also put the lobsters in head-first so they died joyfully!”

Heady headlines

They don’t get bylines. They don’t win Pulitzer Prizes. Yet many newspaper stories would blush unseen and never be read were it not for a newspaper’s headline writers.

These are the guys and girls who not only have to make the headline fit a certain word-count but also, in effect, sell the story to the newspaper’s readers.

A sparkling headline can lure a reader into what might even be a dull but important news article.

I think our newspaper’s headline writers are among the best.

As one example, I refer you to the headline over a sports page article describing UNC’s season opening loss to the University of South Carolina.

The defeat was blamed on the Tar Heels’ asleep-at-the-switch defense that proved to be a porous as a tea strainer. The headline read: The Defense Rests.

First class. Right?

Oprah and splurging

I’ve been an admirer of Oprah Winfrey since her film debut in “The Color Purple,” although I’ve never viewed one of her TV programs.

Even with her billions, she has consistently exhibited class and grace and shared her wealth generously.

During the recent incident in which a clerk in an exclusive Swiss shop refused to remove a $3,800 purse from the shelf for her to examine, she didn’t pull rank or resort to the “You know who I am?” routine.

Winfrey said later she wouldn’t have purchased the purse at such a price anyway. I hope not. Indulging in a $3,800 handbag is vulgar, even if someone can afford one.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t splurge occasionally, within reason. I think of poet Willa Cather’s lines:

Spend all you have for loveliness

Buy it, and never count the cost;

Buy one white singing hour of peace

Count many a year of strife well lost.

Peace is elusive. Our country has spent billions in bucks and hundreds of priceless lives in futile quest for “one white shining hour of peace” in the Mideast.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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