BRAINS AND INTELLIGENCE

1. It’s Thursday, October 8, 2015

2. If someone in Ben Carson’s profession performed a prefrontal lobotomy, at least the patient would not have the cognizance to say what Carson said about the Oregon shooting victims.

What the brain surgeon said was that if he were in the room, he would have rushed the shooter, and that would have prevented more lives from being lost. His implication, despite his subsequent statements that he was only saying what he would do, was that the victims just laid down and died.

It’s monumentally dopey on two levels.

One is that no one who was at that horrible scene has the right to call out the victims. Those people had no idea what was going to happen to them that day, and few of us – thank goodness – have any experience dealing with that situation.

Secondly, Carson’s insensitivity to the survivors of the massacre and to the families of those who perished is obscene. To attempt to diminish them in any way, even if only by describing how goddamn superior you think you would be, is unforgivable.

Carson should be held to account for his comments. Do not forget them! Even when he disappears from the national scene, which would not come a moment too soon. Remember that there are people such as Ben Carson walking the Earth who, despite their degrees and their expertise, haven’t got the compassion or common sense of a pillbug.

3.   There are those who denigrate awards, and there’s some credence to that. I’m still trying to figure out how some of the movies that have won the Oscar for Best Picture – i.e., “The English Patient” – got three people to show up at the theater.

 But what’s good about something like the Nobel Prize for Literature is that it makes you curious who these people are who win these awards. And that’s definitely the case with Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian named to the honor earlier today.

Alexievich, according to the news reports, is one of the few people ever to win the prize for writing that would primarily be considered journalism. She’s written about the struggles of female Soviet soldiers from World War II and survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

The attention Alexievich is getting today tends to make me curious about her work. Unfortunately, it’s not available in English for e-book readers such as Apple Books or Amazon Kindle. So get on it, Alexievich’s publisher. She’s a winner – let’s make her work more readily available.

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