Saturday Series

Unforgettable letters from Colombia

Books | Recounting hope and persistence despite impoverishment
by Emma Reyes
Posted 10/13/18, 02:25 pm

A remarkable voice and illuminating writing make The Book of Emma Reyes, a gritty 175-page collection of letters, an unforgettable look at growing up impoverished in Colombia. Painter Emma Reyes, who settled eventually in Paris, begins her memoir at age 5 in a one-room, windowless Bogota hovel. Her first chore each day was carrying the household’s brimming bedpan to a garbage heap. Reyes and her sister moved from cycles of neglect to rounds of abuse, including some in a Catholic convent, as recounted in the excerpt below, courtesy of Penguin Books.

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George Grantham Bain Collection/Library of Congress

Promoting socialism in the press

Media | The growth of the journalistic left from 1885 to 1921
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 10/06/18, 12:57 am

Sojourners and other Christian left groups like to think of themselves as cutting edge, but “Christian socialism” in America goes back the late 19th century. Professor Richard Ely, who founded the American Economic Association in 1885, strove to apply principles enunciated by Horace Greeley to all of American society and tried to meld the Bible and forced redistribution. He demanded that all unite behind the “coercive philanthropy … of governments, either local, state, or national.”

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Getty Images/Photos by (Ferguson) Sean Gallup, (Friedman) Saul Loeb/AFP, (Zakaria) Kena Betancur/AFP

Brand-name intellectuals

Books | How those at the top establish and maintain their profitable presence
by Daniel W. Drezner
Posted 9/29/18, 11:46 am

Daniel W. Drezner’s The Ideas Industry offers an amusing analysis of how ideas spread and pundits become brands. He portrays intellectuals competing for the attention of wealthy benefactors, in the process adjusting their ideas and demeaning themselves as proximity to power offers seductive opportunities. These merchants of flighty ideas give us witty remarks and TED Talks that fit the formula for standing ovations, but thoughtful analysis becomes less important than hitting green rooms to feed big media beasts.

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