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Roderick Spencer
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Entries by Roderick Spencer

March Madness, Primary Season and the Limits of Sports as Metaphor

(3) Comments | Posted March 25, 2012 | 6:16 PM

It's March. Days are lengthening, flowers are blooming, and one of our least corrupted sporting events, the NCAA Basketball Tournament(s) is happening at the same time as one of our most corrupted political events -- Primary Season.

I'm a sports fan and I care about politics, so let's mash...

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The Missing Scene From Albert Nobbs

(1) Comments | Posted January 15, 2012 | 6:10 PM

In our house at this time of year we receive many DVDs of recently, and soon to be released, movies. Most are movies we've already heard of: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...

Alright not all of them begin with...

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The Alternative Osama

(47) Comments | Posted May 3, 2011 | 5:02 PM

He's dead. Mission accomplished. Capture or Kill. Done and done.

The consequences of failure were dire, and the mission was very dangerous. Our soldiers and their civilian support had to get him, and they did. Congratulations, gratitude and respect to them.

But I don't agree with our president, that...

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A Rushed Response

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2011 | 7:55 PM


It is hard to maintain ones balance after a terrible event. People say and do things that they might wish to take back, so it's important to not add to the damage by responding impulsively. Men and women of good will should stay calm, and perhaps even...

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New Orleans; as Important as Ever

(11) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 3:01 PM

The city of New Orleans is hopeless and indomitable. There's no earthly reason to be optimistic about such a place, unless you find yourself in club Snug Harbor after midnight on a Friday in when Marsalis patriarch, Ellis, is playing with at least three generations of drums, trumpet, sax and...

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A Meeting at Mel's

(23) Comments | Posted July 21, 2010 | 8:45 PM

Mel Gibson's publicist arrives at the estate.

Mel? Mel? Where are you? Ah, the chapel. Wow. Interesting. Not a lot of chapels have a bar. Sooo. Tough couple weeks. I am stressed. Stressed, Mel, stressed. I did not say Jewish, I said stressed. The two words sound nothing alike....

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Notes on a Lesson in Democracy

(35) Comments | Posted February 18, 2010 | 4:19 PM

Last Thursday, as I sat listening to remarks by Justice Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court, it occurred to me that when this man uses the word 'democracy' he really knows what he's talking about.

Albie Sachs is a major figure of the South African freedom struggle....

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Notes on Double Handbagging at the Golden Globes

(7) Comments | Posted January 20, 2010 | 10:31 PM

My daughter, Mavis Spencer is 18, six feet tall and size zero. She's got the long-limbs, big eyes and head-of-hair kind of beauty that causes people to stare and ask, "Are you..somebody?" When she and her mother - who is 'somebody' (Alfre Woodard, two-time nominee, winner 1998, Miss Ever's Boys)...

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Fake News Is the Real News

(37) Comments | Posted September 30, 2009 | 11:54 PM

With a distressed eyeroll at Seanglenn Beckhannity, and a weary headshake at Keithrachel Olbermaddowman, not to mention clenched fists of despair at TalkRadio VonHateScream, let me remind the rest of us -- aka. most people -- that just because the makers of so called News think Balanced and Thoughtful is...

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Guys, You Will Never Top Him, So Quit Trying!

(2) Comments | Posted June 25, 2009 | 2:40 PM

President Bill Clinton's great legacy, the "I'm Not Getting Enough Attention Peccadillo", or INGEAP is bringing down important pol's on an almost weekly basis these days. INGEAP favors no party or sexual preference, has no boundaries, and cannot be killed, as long as there are needy, ambitious mirror-gazers in public...

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Yes We Are Them and They Are Us

(20) Comments | Posted May 19, 2009 | 3:19 PM

I had a philosophy professor in college who described human savagery, and grace, and everything in between, by using the metaphor of a dial. He suggested that a couple of circumstantial clicks in one direction or another can render any human capable of luminous compassion, or obscene cruelty. What matters,...

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Frozen, Hungover & Happy in DC

(10) Comments | Posted January 24, 2009 | 10:39 AM

Along with many of the hundreds of thousands of people who came to the District of Columbia for the most recent presidential inauguration, I got gloriously hammered on Tuesday night. Even Wednesday's hangover felt good; like a pleasant weariness without the sour stomach or creeping shame. My theory is that...

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Notes on Where Some of the Money Went

(2) Comments | Posted December 2, 2008 | 5:35 PM

I was at my son's freshmen football game a few weeks ago. They were playing a road game against a high school in the North San Fernando Valley. It was homecoming weekend, with floats, home-cooked food and a big crowd of local supporters. Our boys were outnumbered, outweighed, and out...

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Notes from a Dad of Children Like Barack

(74) Comments | Posted November 5, 2008 | 6:29 PM

My son Duncan, who is fourteen, is struggling a bit at his expensive school. I suspect he's smarter than all of us, but at this particular 'great' school you're not allowed to play football if you can't sustain a high average. The thought of him having to give up football,...

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Everybody Just Calm Down

(99) Comments | Posted September 17, 2008 | 6:27 PM

I just watched Barack Obama's latest campaign ad. It's him, talking straight to the camera, mainly about the economy, for two minutes. Compelling and reasonable, he says nothing we haven't heard him say before, while looking and sounding, 'presidential'. In a normal year the ad may have been criticized or...

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The Democrats in Denver: Surprises and Shadows

(29) Comments | Posted September 4, 2008 | 9:35 PM

Last week's Democratic National Convention in Denver was a triumph of choreography, security and management. The risky final day, outdoors at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium (worst corporate rename in history) provided beautiful presentation and stirring performances, but little suspense. Nor was drama provided by any of the major...

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One WASP's take on The N Word

(49) Comments | Posted August 4, 2008 | 3:10 PM

The N Word and Me:

I'm a 50 year-old White Anglo Saxon Protestant, but that's where the similarity ends, because by marriage I've been a member of a large black family for more than half my life. And I'm not talking about black people who have a place in Sag...

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Notes From Mandela's 90th Birthday in London

(11) Comments | Posted July 11, 2008 | 10:33 AM

In London last week my wife, Alfre Woodard, and I got to spend a half hour alone with Nelson Mandela. Now, a cynic might say this audience was because of Mandela's well-known fondness for beautiful, celebrated women and I was allowed to be there only by a technicality. After all,...

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