There are so many ways now to jump into the deep digital flow and experience the multifarious moods of the crowd. Twitter stands prime among them, but there is also Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others. I frequent the comments sections of various newspapers and blogs, but not too often or for too long. Such surfing can prove numbing after only a short time, not to mention a real time-waster. Now and again, however, I dip in, especially when I want to gauge the range of reactions to a particular article. Sometimes, a snippet floats by that is startling enough to command attention.
In a New York Times OpEd piece on health care reform by David Brooks, the following pungent story from the Crusades was offered up, beginning with a snippet of Brooks’s assessment of current Republican thinking:
For a fuller version of the excerpt, look here. I’m not competent to say whether it's reliable, though others have noted that Usama’s stories “are sometimes obvious jokes, exaggerating their otherness to entertain his Muslim audience." Historian Carole Hillenbrand comments that it would be "dangerously misleading to take the evidence of his book at its face value."
Still, it’s definitely fun to imagine Senator Mitch McConnell calling for a strong knight and a sharp ax …
James West Davidson
Occasional thoughts on history, teaching, paddling and the outdoors