More to the purpose of this essay, organized youth sports should challenge students to be dissatisfied with amusement or entertainment in their pursuit of excellence. Our culture is soaked in entertainment, the preponderance being of a low quality. While it can be entertaining, sports also offers an education.
But the dark events of that afternoon have remained with me and have prompted a question that I have often wrestled with, fruitfully, I think, but never to a clear decision: Lacking a proper foundation in kickball, what sort of culture, if any at all, could flourish in a Newton, Massachusetts?
In our day, we cannot ourselves see the heavens; we can only see pixelated images of heaven produced by computer screens. In this respect, we already live in virtual reality.
Today the man described as “Issaquah’s Thoreau” is largely forgotten. His books have been out of print for years and the anniversary of what would have been his 100th birthday in 2020 passed without a single mention in any local newspapers. An unfitting end for a man who poured so much soul into his writing about a small place he loved. In truth, in an era when more and more books and media are exclusively focused on the national and international, Petite’s focus on the local scale of life is not only refreshing but downright astounding.
Establishments like The Bookstore, when at their best, are not exclusively or perhaps even primarily in the business of providing people with printed texts. They are places in which proprietors like Tannenbaum foster community in the context of a shared love of the written word. When the need to physically isolate undermines the ability of such places to foster this community, they are at risk of becoming less essential to their patrons.
I interrupted his weed-pulling to gently rebuke him for perceived carelessness regarding his health, but like the mother of Christ, I was the one needing correction—for Pastor was simply “about his Father’s business.” As if to act out our philosophy, he was a “good shepherd,” and I an “honoring” daughter. Perhaps we both would live long on the land and finish our heroes journey, our pilgrim’s progress, at the “lighted inn.”
For many Americans, especially those on the coasts, in cities, and with advanced educations, life has improved in recent decades. Meanwhile, in many rural and interior parts of the country, economic growth has stagnated or declined, along with the population. While America has improved for a certain type of American, many towns and places inhabited by multigenerational Americans, whose existence is linked to one community across centuries in some cases, have declined.
The majority of Americans want peace and prosperity and cooperation. The biggest question is—and this is a question that The Batman does not answer, except by implication—where are the heroes willing to build this honest, just, and prosperous society?