Today, in Arts and Letters Daily, I read a startling article about “female feticide” in China and the skewed population ratios that favour males to an unprecedented and frightening degree. Skip the statistics and graphs and read the three concluding sections!
Then I found another fascinating “truth is stranger than fiction” article about identifying the remains of Josef Mengele. The world really needed to know whether the monstrous doctor of Hitler’s “scientific studies” was indeed finally dead. Was this alleged corpse really his, or was he still living in hiding so that he could be caught and forced to stand trial? There is a great deal about this online, but the article cited in A&L sums it up brilliantly!
Now here is real, historic, important vindication of the role of the forensic anthropologist! Does that mean that I can go back to watching Bones on television and reading the Bones book series without feeling guilty about wasting my time? Do you read Kathy Reichs? My family accuses me of slumming with low-brow trash, as in “good grief, how can you stand reading another of those awful books?” A sensational, through-at-one-sitting, can’t-put-it down-until-I-know-what happens novel is as necessary to my well-being as is the rare indulgence in a really bad popular movie or really bad food. It gives me a larger appreciation for everything else. Besides, I am intrigued by the lore as much as the gore, and I love Tempe’s character.
I still haven’t written about The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I am still under its spell, not sure whether I can, or indeed should, try to explain why I found it so moving. Some books you have to experience for yourself, unmediated by other opinion. Bruno Bettleheim in The Uses of Enchantment argued that children must be allowed to explore the Freudian subtext of fairy tales in their own way, at their own pace, and that to mediate or interfere with the process was to do them a great disservice. Perhaps the story of the fox and the hedgehog is one of those as well.
More to follow… I am well past the allotted half hour!