When I was going through school, the devil was presented to us as a myth, a literary device, a symbolic manner of signaling the presence of evil in the world. I will admit to internalizing this view and largely losing my sense of the devil as a real spiritual person.
Janet Easter is experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions as she arranges a bouquet in her backyard, and she is unfazed.
“I’m having contractions, which is hilarious,” she says, stripping the leaves off a hydrangea in one swift stroke.
The numbers don’t look good for the U.S. Postal Service. Last year it reported its sixth straight annual operating loss, in the amount of $2.7 billion. During fiscal year 2017, the USPS delivered 149 billion pieces of mail, down from 154 billion the previous year — and a major drop from its peak of 213 billion in 2006.
Just 70 years ago this month a slender novel bearing the innocuous title The Loved One made its appearance in the United States. My copy, a first edition, records four reprintings between June and August. Today the book is still in print and apparently still selling briskly.
The Fortnight for Freedom, which we’ve been celebrating each year at the end of June and beginning of July, has recently been reconfigured. Beginning this year, Religious Freedom Week is to be held annually June 22–29. The observance is a bit shorter, but no less important. This year’s theme is “Serving Others in God’s Love.”
I will confess that as a person of Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I found the events in Ireland last week particularly dispiriting. Not only did the nation vote, by a two-to-one margin, for the legal prerogative to kill their children in the womb, but they also welcomed and celebrated the vote with a frankly sickening note of gleeful triumph. Will I ever forget the unnerving looks and sounds of the frenzied crowd gathered to cheer their victory in the courtyard of Dublin Castle? As the right to abortion now sweeps thoroughly across the Western world, I am put in mind of Gloria Steinem’s mocking remark from many years ago to the effect that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. I say this because abortion has indeed become a sacrament for radical feminism, the one, absolutely sacred, non-negotiable value for so-called progressive women.
The big news from the Social Security Administration is the ousting of a champion: Liam has dethroned Noah as the nation’s most popular boy name. This was the headline of its newly released baby-name report, an annual synthesis of Social Security card applications from the past year that offers a fascinating cultural statement and doubles as a tip sheet for expectant parents.