Friday Evening Owls: A long time of youngsters’s letters to Operation Santa reveal the violence of US poverty

After 1940, the program allowed nonprofits, private companies and lay people to “adopt” letters from children living in poverty and fulfill their Christmas wishes. The film Miracle on 34th Street refers to the undertaking, and Johnny Carson made a habit of reading on some of the letters The Tonight show. The program has grown to the point that 13,000 children have been linked to donors, which may double in 2020. This year the letters have been digitized and if you are interested in receiving a letter you can Visit Operation Santa’s website and browse the hopes and desires of thousands of children across the country.

But what these letters show far better than any PSA or statistical model is how violent American poverty really is. They also provide a counterbalance to the way child poverty is portrayed in popular media, where poor children often act as protagonists to demonstrate their generosity, from Tiny Tim in A Christmas story about the insane poverty porn of the holiday pop hit “Christmas Shoes”. […]

Three more articles worth reading

Neocons want us to get ready for another round of war, by Andrew J. Bacevich. An important debate awaits Biden’s new administration, which will address the question of whether military activism, steeped in ideological narcissism, can lay the foundation for sound politics – or whether it is time to put the fundamental U.S. Comprehensive realignment of politics and abandoning self-destructive militarism. Preferring pragmatism, wisdom and military restraint, combined with a lot of diplomatic, economic and cultural commitment.

Trump’s last breath of authoritarianism tries to make US federal buildings classically “beautiful”. by Anne Quito. Trump’s 203rd Executive Order, entitled “Promotion of the beautiful federal civic architecture, “Tries to establish” traditional architecture “exemplified in ancient Greece and Rome as America’s official architectural brand. Supported by the National Civic Arts Society, a Washington-based group Executive order, which promotes classical art and architecture, is a rebuke of the modern.

What the antebellum abolitionists can teach us about AOC and Medicare for All, by Corey Brooks. Should members of the Left House try to impose Medicare for All action by threatening to withhold their votes for Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker? The idea has sparked controversy but is nothing new. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, this was an important tactic for anti-slavery radicals trying to keep the issue of slavery on the national agenda.



“Our favorite entertainment this winter was tobogganing. In places the shore of the lake rises abruptly from the water. We drove down these steep slopes along the coast. We’d get on our toboggan, a boy would give us a push, and off we went! We threw ourselves through drifts, jumped into hollows and threw ourselves on the lake. We shot across its shiny surface to the opposite bank. What fun! What exciting madness! For a wild, joyous moment, we snapped the chain that ties us to the earth and tied our hands with the winds we felt divine! “
~~Helen Keller, The story of my life, 1903



At Daily Kos that day in 2008:

The provocative Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter died on December 24th. Although his work in the theater was widely acclaimed across 32 plays, his political views drew cruel attacks, including one by British and neo-conservative Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the 2005 Swedish Award “to give someone who made literature for the Politics has given up, and whose politics are primitive and hysterically anti-American and pro-dictatorial, is part of the almost complete deterioration of the Nobel Bat. “

Matt Schudel at the Washington Post writes::

Influenced by the existential playwright Samuel Beckett and the modernist poet TS Eliot, Mr. Pinter’s works dealt with issues such as sexual frustration, jealousy, loneliness, and an overarching, albeit indistinct, sense of fear. The social or mental balance of his characters – and therefore society as a whole – has often been undermined by acrid, sardonic humor.

“Words are weapons that characters make each other uncomfortable with or destroy,” said Peter Hall, who frequently directed Mr. Pinter’s plays. …

… “I could never sit down and say, ‘Now I’m going to write a piece,'” he said in 1976. “I just have no choice but to wait for the thing inside me to be released.”

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