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Ken Muldrew
The French Chef and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood proved television could be something more than “chewing gum for the eyes.”

And who can forget when they appeared together on the
"Battle of the PBS Stars"!


Lance, as usual, is brilliant and generous. And wow, what a course he put together for his undergraduates. James Wolcott and the Self-Styled Siren as guest speakers? Holy crap. I hope at least one or two of your students appreciated the banquet you prepared for them. Would that I could have been there in the body of a 20-year-old.

And yet he (i.e. you, Lance) fails to properly note the respect that the film gives to Julie, the blogger, a respect that I consider altogether proper. ( I post below a link to my meditation about the film. )

Consider: Two years after 9/11, Julie Powell made her living dealing with the grief, anger, and complex real-world problems of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks. She was also relatively poor. By contrast, two years after Auschwitz, Julia Child, in Paris, was bored and looking for a new hobby more interesting than bridge. She was relatively rich. (Emphasis: Two years after Auschwitz, living in Paris, can't find anything interesting to do?????)

I recently reread my review of the film and was delighted (and somewhat surprised) to find that I still like it. It goes into the above issues in somewhat greater depth. You can find it here.

Bill Altreuter

Who are our present public intellectuals? An interesting question, complicated by the pervasive spirit of anti-intellectualism that pervades so much of our contemporary discourse. There are public pseudo-intellectuals, of course-- George Will's picture is in the dictionary, and David Brooks is listed under, "See, also", but the real deal, the cats who read and travel and think about what they've seen and heard-- that's a rare breed these days. As is the case with many endangered species I'd attribute this to loss of habitat.

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