Culture Briefs

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“The past is hard to escape, especially when it comes to [Sandy] Koufax. By not taking the mound for the Dodgers against the Twins on Oct. 6, 1965, on the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, he became a cultural touchstone.

“‘By refusing to pitch that day, Koufax became inextricably linked with the American Jewish experience,’ author Jane Leavy wrote in Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy. ‘He was the New Patriarch: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Sandy. A moral exemplar, and single too! (Such a catch!)’

Koufax, who wasn’t particularly observant, had no clue that his decision would carry so much weight — then or now. ‘I believe he was thinking, “I’m going to pitch the next day. What’s the big deal? We have [star pitcher] Don Drysdale starting,’ Leavy said in a Q and A with Sports Illustrated in 2002. ‘And, in a way, that makes it even sweeter. Yom Kippur is a day of sacrifice … And here’s Koufax, who’s doing this reflexively not out of his own great belief, but really more in deference to others. So it was a much greater sacrifice on his part. For a more religious man it might have been a no-brainer. For Koufax, it was the right thing to do.’

“And in doing the right thing, Koufax inspired a generation of Jewish players that came after him.”

Alan Siegel, writing on “God vs. the World Series: Sandy Koufax’s Yom Kippur Sacrifice” on Sept. 17 at the Atlantic

It’s all music

“The more it focuses on the music and less on the characters, the higher the ratings climb. Why, I ask as I tear my hair out, is the show so beloved?

“Perhaps the answer is as simple as why people loved ‘American Idol’ so much for so many years. The songs on ‘Glee’ are not original; theyre culled from a huge catalogue of singer-songwriters, rock bands, and alternative types, but what they have in common is that theyre all part of the pop-culture lexicon already. These are songs that people know the lyrics to, after all. By redoing them within the context of ‘Glee,’ Fox and its sister studio, 20th Century Fox Television, have created a cottage industry of mass-produced knockoffs, easy to consume and cheap to buy. (It might also be why ‘Idol’ is so successful, but the original songs for the finalists fall flat every time.) …

“Week-to-week consistency has been a problem with ‘Glee’ since it began — storylines develop and are just as quickly wrapped up before the closing credits, often with five or six songs thrown in to distract from the improbability of the situations.”

Jace Lacob, writing on “Why I Loathe ‘Glee,’” on Sept. 29 at the Sexy Beast

Guilt trip

“One of the things we are no longer allowed to say is that our culture is superior to certain other cultures. This is seen as a discriminatory statement — a statement of hatred even. We are indoctrinated on a daily basis, in the schools and through the media, with the message that all cultures are equal and that, if one culture is worse than all the rest, it is our own.

“We are inundated with feelings of guilt and shame about our own identity and what we stand for. We are exhorted to respect everyone and everything, except ourselves. That is the message of the Left and the politically-correct ruling establishment. They want us to feel so ashamed about our own identity that we refuse to fight for it.

“The detrimental obsession of our cultural and political elites with Western guilt reinforces the view which Islam has of us. The Koran says that non-Muslims are kuffar … which literally means ‘rejecters’ or ‘ingrates.’”

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