January 2017


Have you noticed how often this can happen? Something that just came up, either for the first time or after a long break, suddenly comes up again. There must be a term for this effect, but I don’t know what it is. Can anyone enlighten me? And is it really what it seems or is it just that these things happen all the time but only occasionally are we surprised by them?

We watched the film: Brief Encounter. It’s dated and in black and white, but we enjoyed it. Afterwards, we discussed the things that have changed since those days – money (units and amounts), steam trains, attitudes and the way the characters spoke. Did they really speak like that in those days? The answer, gleaned from other old recordings we’ve heard (as well as our memories), was a resounding Yes! We even remembered the term for such speech: received pronunciation.

briefencounter

The very next day, I saw that term again in this post by Jean Davison. The post, by the way, was written four years ago, but Jean has been thinking about its content recently, and I agree with its message.

Then I listened to The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4. The latest episode contains jokes about long delays on the UK’s Southern Rail. The panel speculated about how films might be different if Southern Rail were involved. Round the World in Eighty Days could be a race between someone going all the way round the world and someone traveling from Brighton to London. The Railway Children would be The Railway Middle-Aged People. And Brief Encounter? Well, they’d give up trying to get back to their families and stay together. If I hadn’t watched the film, I wouldn’t have understood that joke.

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I’m about to do something for the first time. Probably the last time, too. And because of that, this blog will be quiet for a while. Bye for now!

Social media, especially Facebook, I’ve found, has enormous potential to distort reality. It probably contributes to our surprise at the way recent votes have gone. Our friends on Facebook tend to be those who have similar views to our own. If we discover views we disagree with, we tend to unfriend their propagators rather than engaging them in discussion or just ignoring offending posts.

The result becomes very one-sided. My friends were almost totally anti-Brexit and anti-Trump. Yet both Brexit and Trump came to pass, surprising many, including me.

Now, in my little country, an issue has come up in which the views of my friends do reflect reality, although I don’t understand why. Israelis are split over this and so are my friends. I won’t unfriend those I disagree with. I want to try and understand. And sometimes they post views I do agree with.

Contrary to the complicated issues connected with this country, this one seems very straightforward to me. A soldier was found guilty of killing a terrorist after the terrorist was restrained and no longer a threat. For all ethical reasons, religious ones included, it should be clear that he committed a crime and must be punished. This article explains why.

What do some of my Facebook friends (and friends of friends) say against the verdict? Mostly that they, as mothers, have told their sons that their safety comes first and they shouldn’t hesitate to shoot if they find themselves in danger. They – the mothers – would rather visit their sons in jail than in the graveyard. Absolutely – I understand that, but that wasn’t the case here.

It would be awful if this led to violence, which has been threatened.

Yemin Moshe - view along Malki Street

A lane in Yemin Moshe

So to another, much pleasanter, article. It shows the Jerusalem I know and love. I’ve never seen the one most people imagine.