May 20, 2013
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
August 23, 2007
/ 9 Elul, 5767
Michael Vick, a true Virginian
I don't follow professional football, so I don't know much more about Michael Vick than what I have read in the stories about his plea of guilty to federal charges of dogfighting. It's astonishing and saddening that a man would risk his $130 million football contract to engage in such behavior, which seems barbaric to almost all of us. Where did he even get the idea of doing this?
I got an answer, or rather clues to an answer, while rereading David Hackett Fischer's superb Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. In his chapter on how the original settlers of Virginia brought with them folkways from their home territory in Wessex (southwestern England), Fischer notes another striking characteristic of Virginians their obsession with gambling. Virginians were observed to be constantly making wagers with one another on almost any imaginable outcome. The more uncertain the result, the more likely they were to gamble. They made bets not only on horses, cards, cockfighting, and backgammon but also on crops, prices, women, and the weather. "They are all professional gamesters," a French traveler observed of Virginia's gentry."... Colonel Byrd is never happy but when he has the box and dice in his hand."
And not just the gentry, as Fischer explains in a subchapter entitled "Virginia Sport Ways: The Great Chain of Slaughter."
Virginia's favorite amusements were blood sports. There was an entire hierarchy of these gory entertainments. Virtually every male in Virginia could be ranked according to the size of the animals that he was allowed to kill for his pleasure. At the top was the noblest of blood sports the hunting of the stag. This was the sport of kings and noblemen in the 17th century. It was staged in Virginia with the same elaborate pomp and ritual that had occurred in Europe.
Lesser gentry chased the fox quarry that the high nobility despised as low and vulgar until the sport came to be elaborately rationalized by the Meynell family in the 18th century. English fox hunting was not easily introduced to the New World. Then, as now, Vulpes americanus made a more elusive quarry than its Old World cousin. At great trouble and expense, the gentry of Virginia imported the red fox from England for their sport in the 18th century.
Before that date, fox hunting was an impromptu affair on both sides of the water. It was commonly done with the gun in the 17th century and sometimes culminated in scenes of high savagery. "When they hunted last in Laxton wood," one English gentleman wrote, "Mr. K. shot a fox before the hounds after they had run him sharply for some time, which they tore to pieces and it has given them very good blood."
"Very good blood" was also the object of another entertainment that was followed by the yeomanry and parish clergy on both sides of the water. This was the sport of coursing an afternoon's diversion in which hares, rabbits, and small vermin were hunted on foot with the aid of specially trained dogs. Such was the enthusiasm for this pedestrian slaughter that it was not uncommon to have several courses in a single day.
Husbandmen and laborers amused themselves in a more humble manner, by murdering birds of various sizes in social rituals of high complexity. One favorite blood sport of farmers in Virginia was called gander pulling [details omitted].
Apprentices enjoyed still another sort of blood sport called cockshailing, which they played at Shrovetide. A cock or chicken was tethered to a stake, and crowds of youths tried to torture and kill it by throwing dangerous objects.
At other points in his account of Virginia and the other Chesapeake colony, Maryland, Fischer recounts with some fondness colonial folkways passed down to the time of his childhood in Maryland. In the above passage, he makes no effort to conceal his distaste (which I share) for the brutality of these "favorite amusements." He does not mention dogfighting, but it seems plausible that it also was a colonial amusement, and presumably a sport of the lower orders, ranked perhaps above the cockshailing of apprentices but below the fox hunting of gentry. If that's right, Michael Vick, who grew up in Newport News, Va., was following in the footsteps of distant ancestors.
Which doesn't excuse his conduct, of course, but helps explain it. Fox hunting, though declared illegal by the Parliament in England, is still practiced in Virginia by people who might reasonably be labeled as gentry. It is a gory business, I suppose, but the fox is, after all, a predator itself, and dogs will kill other animals for food or sport. In any case, we seem to consider fox hunting acceptable but have an almost universal feeling that dogfighting is not. Michael Vick, it seems, may have been born in the wrong century.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
The New Americans
Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.
Michael Barone Archives
© 2006, US News & World Report
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K