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Friday, November 4, 2016

The Writer's Life 11/4 - From the Post

Recently, a friend posted an amusing song video about millennials on Facebook. Although I don't like to lump people into a category. I found it very funny. In today's NY Post, Hondo, the droll football handicapper, commented on the issue, referring to a recent article about how the aforementioned group enjoys posting comments on social media about plastic surgery and such. He said they want to look good for friends who visit them in their mother's basement.

Also in the Post: A Manhattan jury awarded the family of a two-pack-a-day smoker $12.5 million in a suit against an asbestos manufacturer... And there is bad news on the STD front in NYC: Chlamydia is up 6.2%, Gonorrhea 6.5% and Syphilis a whopping 29.2%. Let's blame millennials.

Here's the gist of an op-ed piece by Phelim McAleer, edited by yours truly:  I went to North Dakota to meet these water protectors and hear their prayers. What could go wrong? At first it was fun. I’m from Northern Ireland, so I was welcomed by the Native American leaders, many of whom had been to Belfast. Day Two wasn't so peaceful. I decided it was time for tough questions. Most of the protesters were from out of state. So how did they square the circle of using vehicles driven by oil to protest an oil pipeline? Their tents were also made of plastic — an oil-based product. Was that not hypocritical? Some complained capitalism made them do it, others just walked away. By the fourth interview the mood was threatening. A young man claiming to be security grabbed my microphone. I wouldn't let go. He dragged me across the field. Worse followed as my crew and I fled to our car. When we tried to drive off, we were surrounded by vehicles and people. Two trucks blocked our way forward, and another pulled up right behind us. We couldn't move. These weren't grandmothers burning sage. They were angry young masked men banging on the windows, threatening to slash our tires, demanding we exit the vehicle. Some warned that if we didn't get out and hand over our footage then “we can’t control what’s gonna happen next.” As we tried to call the police, they warned that the cops wouldn't come onto the campsite — they hadn't yet after two months of protests. I’m an Irish nationalist who grew up under British rule in Ireland, but according to those attacking us I was “part of the problem with my settler mentality.” Then they started shaking the car. It was scary. We were in the middle of North Dakota with very poor cellphone service and calling 911 was proving difficult. Eventually, the police arrived. Speaking afterwards at a press conference, the lieutenant explained there were just a dozen officers against up to 40 attackers.  After six requests on a loudspeaker and warnings of charges of kidnapping, the protesters moved their vehicles, opened the gates and allowed us to leave. Don’t listen to reports that this is some kind of touchy-feely sage-sniffing lovefest. These were thugs who refused to answer tough questions. No one asks why the protesters are claiming the pipeline is desecrating a sacred site when it’s actually just following an existing pipeline. Journalists have never asked for evidence that these sacred sites even exist. A few days after our incident, a protester pulled a gun on police trying to arrest her. She fired three shots and has been charged with attempted murder.

It was a brisk, beautiful day and the floating book shop had good luck. My thanks to Ira, who bought 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Ian Haydn Smith and Steven Jay Schneider, Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee - by Their Son Dodd Darin, and a history of Jewish doctors; and to Barry, who overpaid for The Essential Lenny Bruce; and to the young man who purchased Aspects of Love by David Garnett. The highlight of the session occurred as I began packing up -- a visit from one of my favorites, Mira, a 30 year-old Ukrainian immigrant studying Literature at St. Joseph's College. She's also working two part time jobs. She's writing a lot of papers and hopes one day to read one before a symposium. At my recommendation, she bought Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and William Mskepeace Thackery's Vanity Fair. I also got a hug and kiss. Good luck, my dear.
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