Coming home from any trip, short or long, requires a person to reacquaint herself with location, premises, and obligations therein. Ask anyone who travels semi-regularly.
When I returned today from Central Washington, fatigue schlepped my belongings upstairs, unlocked the door and returned to the car for another load. Sister did the same. Once ensconced inside, again occupying our apartment, the next order of business was computer, email, and whatever had darkened our cyber thresholds during our absence.
Embedded within the hundred plus emails of my main inbox were two from editors. I didn’t need to read them. I knew they contained rejections. They’d arrived too quickly from new venues I’d submitted to the previous week.
Rejection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was right. They sat there, staring at me, daring me to protest. I couldn’t. Rejections are a fact of life for every writer. The first time I saw Jane Yolen post about receiving a rejection for a story, I almost cheered; not because she’d received bad news, but because she’d received bad news was willing to flaunt that rejection on Facebook for all the world to see.
I gathered strength from that act of personal/professional bravery on Jane’s part. She was the first well-known working writer whom I’d seen admit to receiving that palest of pink slips from an editor. Hope sprang to my heart. Perhaps I wasn’t a terrible writer after all.
Now, all this time later, I’ve begun racking in my own pile of pale pink slips. I’ve an area of wall beside my desk which will soon be decorated with them as a constant reminder that if I stop receiving them, it’s because I’m not sending out any work for judgment. The reminder to keep writing will be lurking, available for loud recriminations should I forget.
After I’d dealt with mail, uploaded work to go out for guest blog this coming week and another small bit of brainstorming I’d done yesterday, As soon as I got up from a short nap, I returned to my secondary email inbox and found another rejection. The personal note was nice. Still, it will go on my Wall of Encouragement.
All of this rejection could have turned maudlin, but I was saved by Randy Hill. Randy is a super-duper poet with an engaging personality and talent. I found his comment on Claudsy’s Blog about dropping in to collect my Award. I was confused. Award?
I did as instructed and slipped over to his second abode, “Coudfactor5.” He’d posted a lovely piece about poetry and encouragement and how Jlynn Sheridan had honored him with a Liebster Award for creating and operating a ki
By Elvin Lim
G.O.P., reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. W.A. Rogers. Source: Library of Congress.
The Republican party has traditionally been the more conservative party not only in terms of values but also in terms of organization reform. Leaders tend to be slower than their Democratic counterparts in reforming the nomination process, and voters tend to be more deferential to the last cycle’s runner-up to the winner.
What changed in the last few years was an concerted effort to democratize the Republican Party, fueled in part by the success of the Democratic nomination contest between Obama and Clinton in generating an enthusiasm gap in 2008. This included expanding proportional representation in nomination contests, and an unprecedented number of debates to the calendar. The result thus far has been chaos, restrained only in part by the overriding imperative to find a candidate who can unseat Obama. Republicans are relearning their earlier intuition that more voices don’t always lead to a coalescing chorus.
The White House understands this. One wonders if the Obama administration’s blunder about a birth-control insurance mandate on religious institutions was so poorly executed that it may actually have been perfectly timed. On the heels of the Catholic candidate Rick Santorum’s trifecta win, the administration decided to announce a controversial mandate requiring that women in religious institutions be entitled to contraception coverage in their health insurance, only to reverse this decision almost immediately. Either this was spectacularly amateur politics, or a high-risk attempt to put social issues back on the Republican primary agenda on the eve of the CPAC conference to aid Romney’s Catholic rivals. Romney ended up winning the CPAC straw poll and thereby entrenching his conservative credentials, but Santorum ended up a close second.
With barely any media attention devoted to the recent victories for gay marriage in California and Washington, the Obama campaign recognizes that the only reliable issue left for social conservatives to fight on is abortion (immigration being a sensitive topic for both parties), and this is possibly why they took the risk of taking it on. Social conservatives, for their part, were very wise to quickly connect the contraception mandate to the anti-Obamacare animus shared by other conservatives, so that God may remain relevant in an election year that will be mostly dedicated to the economy and debates about big government. This ideological fusion is Santorum’s ticket to unseating Romney — at least this is what the White House hopes — because as long as values matter, the conservative alternative to Romney will.
With no closure in sight, the Republican candidates must trudge on to Michigan and Arizona. It will not be until Super Tuesday, when the big delegates counts are at stake, before Romney’s coronation can be confirmed.
Elvin Lim is Associate Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-Intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decl
Lauren, Publicity Assistant
Kathryn Kalinak is Professor of English and Film Studies at Rhode Island College. Her extensive writing on film music includes numerous articles and several books, the most recent of which is Film Music: A Very Short Introduction. Below, she has made predictions for the Oscar Music (Original Score) category, and picked her favorites.
We want to know your thoughts as well! Who do you think will win the Oscar for Original Score? Original Song? Send your predictions to email@example.com by tomorrow, March 6, with the subject line “Oscars” and we’ll send a free copy of Film Music: A Very Short Introduction to the first 5 people who guessed correctly.
We also welcome you to tune in to WNYC at 2pm ET today to hear Kathryn discuss Oscar-nominated music on Soundcheck.
This Sunday’s Oscars will recognize an exceptionally fine slate of film scores, and it’s nice to see such a deserving group of composers. The nominees represent a range of films and scores including the lush and symphonic (Avatar), whimsical (Fantastic Mr. Fox), edgy and tension-producing (The Hurt Locker), eclectic and genre-bending (Sherlock Holmes), and beautifully melodic (Up). While there are always surprises, I’ve considered each composer and score, coming to the following conclusions and predictions.
James Horner has been around a long time, having been nominated ten times in the last 32 years, and receiving Best Score and Best Song Oscars for Titanic. He’s a pro at what he does best: big, symphonic scores that hearken back to the classical Hollywood studio years. Horner’s music gives Avatar exactly what it needs—warmth and emotional resonance—and connects the audience to a series of images and characters that might be difficult to relate to otherwise. If Horner wins Sunday night, look for the evening to go Avatar’s way.
On Fantastic Mr. Fox
by Elvin Lim
Photo by Gage Skidmore. Source: Wikipedia
Newt Gingrich has won the biggest primary prize up for grabs so far. Romney’s win in New Hampshire has been discounted because he’s from neighboring Massachusetts, while poor Rick Santorum’s newly declared victory in Iowa was quickly eclipsed by the news about Rick Perry dropping put of the race, ABC’s interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife
, and the scuffle over Romney’s tax returns. This is a huge victory for Gingrich because every winner in South Carolina since 1980 has gone on to win the nomination. So Gingrich is now the
conservative alternative to Romney.
Volatility, though, has been the hallmark of the nomination race this year, and there is no reason to think this will change. The higher quantity of debates has helped Gingrich build a momentum in the last week — as has his superPAC — and both are new developments from the last cycle. For the first time in modern history, the Republicans have picked a different winner for each of the first three states. For the first time ever, the Republicans are going to nominate either a Mormon (Romney) or a Catholic (Gingrich). This denominational diversity reveals a conservative electorate much more concerned about the economy than about social values, which was the major issue just eight years ago. Finally, the loyal supporters of Ron Paul are a wild card, because no one knows to whom they will turn when Paul finally bows out — and he intends to to hang around. All told, there are 1150 delegates to get to earn the nomination, so this race pushes on at least until the Spring.
Gingrich did not win in South Carolina because of “electability” as the SC exit polls misleadingly say; he won because of the rage that South Carolinians believe is necessary to take on Obama. Gingrich received the first standing ovation in the debates so far when he observed that more people had been put on food stamps under Obama than under any other president – a line he has been repeating in the last week. Obama will not and cannot receive credit for whatever he has done because his very presence in the White House is perceived by some conservatives as a criminalization of the the state in the service of socialism. This newly rediscovered “southern strategy” worked in South Carolina and it may well work beyond.
Gingrich is in a good position but not a front-leading one, however. He will not enjoy the native-son-of-the-South advantage in Florida as he did in South Carolina, so the next contest is going to be important for him to prove his viability. He would need a huge infusion of cash to be able to afford the television ads he or his superPAC will need to run in Florida. Gingrich won’t be able to sustain his momentum with just the free media, though the two debates last week will help. For now, Romney still enjoys a lead because Florida’s electorate is older and less evangelical than in South Carolina. Early voting has already started in Florida, and will continue until the 28th, so Romney’s initial lead there would help him.
It is also worth noting that Romney is the only candidate who has done well in all three states. He is still, therefore, the frontrunner. But he cannot afford any more mis-steps. The tax returns questions from the media was just poorly handled, and Romney has stuttered repeatedly on a question for which he should have been more than prepared (as Gin