Friday, October 28, 2011

"I wanted to show America a different kind of man."

Chaz Bono on his “Dancing with the Stars” stint:
I came on this show because I wanted to show America a different kind of man. If there was somebody like me on TV when I was growing up, my whole life would have been different. And so I dedicated everything I did to all the people out there like me and especially to kids and teens who are struggling. You can have a wonderful, great life and be successful and happy.
 I have to say that I've never paid much attention to Chaz (despite hearing about him now and then over the years.)  But that really expresses how I feel.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swallows and Amazons and Narnia

I love children's books.  Have I mentioned that before?  The best ones can be read over and over, by people of any age.

 As a child I liked the Narnia books.  I didn't recognize the Christian allegory, and when I figured it out I thought it showed a gross lack of imagination on Lewis' part. Couldn't he come up with his own ideas?  Nonetheless, I still read them occasionally, even though in the process I have to shut off parts of my brain and pretend that a white Oxbridge man's view of the world is the only one that matters.  But I digress.  I wanted to write about Swallows and Amazons.

In 1930 Arthur Ransome published Swallows and Amazons, the first book in the series.  In a later foreword, he wrote:
I have often been asked how I came to write Swallows and Amazons.  The answer is that it had its beginning long, long ago, when, as children, my brother, my sisters and I spent most of our holidays on a farm at the south end of Coniston [a large lake in the north of England] . . .
To a modern reader, one of the surprising things about the book is that the children spend most of their time without any adult supervision.  They go sailing up and down the lake - in a sailboat! By themselves! No adults on board!  They camp out on an island in the lake for several weeks - the grownups come by to check on them every so often, but really they're on their own.  They generally wander around.  And they have lots of fun.