David Bouchier

Commentator

David began as a print journalist in London and taught at a British university for almost twenty years. After coming to the United States in 1986 he continued to teach and to publish a regular humor column in The New York Times regional edition.  He joined WSHU as a weekly commentator in 1992, becoming host of Sunday Matinee in 1996. His latest book of essays, Peripheral Vision, was published in 2011. His other books include A Few Well Chosen Words, The Song of Suburbia, The Cats and the Water Bottles, The Accidental Immigrant and Writer at Work. He lives in Stony Brook, New York, with his wife who is a professor at Stony Brook University, and two un-musical cats.

When I was a very junior journalist the news cycle was literally a cycle – my form of transportation from one local story to another. The news was delivered as fast as it took me to finish my reporting rounds, pedal back to the office, and type it. This took time, but we had the time, and there never was much news anyway.

Courtesy of Pexels

Italy is a theatrical nation, the home of grand opera and operatic politics, as well as a population who perform life as if every night was an opening night. It was therefore not surprising to read about a village near Siena called Monticchiello in which the inhabitants, every year, stage a theatrical performance in which they act out the dramas and anxieties of their own lives. The script is put together by the community during the winter and then staged in summer with villagers playing themselves.

Courtesy of Pixabay

Nobody loves a complainer. Complaining is a whiny, weak, ineffective habit, not likely to produce any result except irritation. The modern world demands something more. A grievance must be inflated until it reaches the level of outrage, at which point it becomes worthy of media attention. Residents’ complaints over (say) broken elevators in a public housing project are not worth any attention. Anger, outrage, and perhaps violence over discrimination that leaves poor people to struggle up flights of stairs in the summer heat quickly attracts the cameras and the commentators, already pumped up with fury on their behalf – an emotion that is about as real as the passion of an actor playing King Lear.

Michael Dwyer / AP

Tuesday will be the first official day of spring when the earth will be divided precisely into two, half in daylight and half in darkness, as the sun crosses the equator coming our way. It’s the Spring Equinox. Those of us who are sensitive to weather have an inner barometer of moods that change with sun or clouds, cold or rain or snow, so even the idea of spring makes us happy. 

Courtesy of Pixabay

In my youth I was a great fan of science fiction – and if you promise not to tell anybody I will confess that I even wrote some. But science fiction has gone downhill since those ancient days. There’s not much science in it now, not even imaginary science, and precious little about the future either. Fantasy has taken over. A typical story pits brave but puny human beings against mighty forces of evil. I know life sometimes feels like that on a Monday morning, but it's a thin literary diet.

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