The 21st century has ushered in an era of unlimited and instant communication. Everyone's opinion can reach around the world. The internet does not discriminate -- it passes on the same content to thousands of different audiences but often with a variety of interpretations.
In this seven-part contribution to the #TalkToMe conversations happening, I reflect on life lessons which go all the way back to my early childhood in New York City during the Great Depression.
Now, I am not too much of a sci-fi geek. I don't speak Klingon, never watched Battlestar Galactica in any of its iterations, and by the third Alien movie I started rooting for the slobbery beast with too sets of teeth: anything to get Sigourney Weaver to stop scowling. Star Wars is different.
Thomas E. Anderson shares his memories of the war for Veterans Day.
Animated interview with WWII vet Thomas E. Anderson. (With Subtitles)
Mother's Day is here and it's my first one without Mom. My mother, Evelyn Levine, died on April 19, and it was a huge personal loss as well as the end of an era. She was the last of the Greatest Generation in her family. More importantly, she was an amazing mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as my biggest fan.
I hope it's okay to go a bit older than people in their 40s and 50s. I'm a family sociologist at Cornell, and we surveyed over 1200 people over 60 on this very topic (described in the book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans). Here are four "life lessons" they wanted to pass down to younger people - hope you find them helpful!
The attacks were devastating. America and Americans paid a much too heavy price. In all, 21 ships, including eight battleships, were sunk or damaged. In addition 188 aircraft were destroyed and 159 damaged. However, a much worse tragedy was the loss of life on that Sunday morning in Hawaii.
Our society is at least four times as rich as it was when my dad came home from the war. Far too much of that national wealth is going to the wrong people -- bankers and speculators who not only don't earn their wealth but who caused a great recession for everyone else. My dad didn't go to college; he was the first member of his family to own a house thanks to the GI bill (no housing scandals of that era -- these were direct government loans), and he was part of a rising, hard-working middle class. My kids and grandkids didn't suffer the Great Depression, nor did they have to slog across Normandy or serve time in a German POW camp. But they face a stunted future. My father's generation did not make their sacrifices only so that their great-grandchildren would be the stunted generation.
We can certainly learn some of the characteristics, defining moments and values of each generation, but that's no substitute for taking the time to getting to know the characteristics, defining moments and values of the actual individual people themselves.
Shaped like my father by the American mythos that the past is something best left behind, I fled home as fast and as quickly as I could. But as Dickens so well knew, family ghosts have a way of haunting the present.
If our celebrities who profit the most from America are unwilling to defend it the way Stewart and Williams did, perhaps that's not just a sign of societal rot. Perhaps it's a sign that our wars are simply not vital to us. And if that's the case, shouldn't we end them?