Live the Questions

Words of Torah, funny anecdotes about my students, rants about education policy, and observations on politics, progressive Judaism, activism, and culture will all make appearances on this blog. Each post will end with a question for the reader; please respond if you feel moved.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pope Benedict, God is asking the same question to you, too

So Pope Benedict visited Auschwitz and was inspired to pray:

“Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?” Benedict, one of the Church’s leading theologians, said humans could not “peer into God’s mysterious plan” to understand such evil, but only “cry out humbly yet insistently to God—rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature!” (as reported by MSNBC)

Well, Benny, I think you're suffering from the syndrome we like to call the "I sent two boats and a helicopter syndrome." You know that old joke? A man is warned that severe floods are coming and that he should evacuate his home. He refuses to evacuate, saying, "I've always trusted in God and I know that God will save me." Sure enough, torrential rains and floods follow and the man finds himself confined to the second floor of his home. Several Coast Guard boats arrive to rescue him, but the man decides to remain in his home, saying, "God will save me." The waters rise, he's stuck atop his roof, and a helicopter tries to save him, but he refuses the help again. He dies. When he gets to heaven, he angrily asks God, "Why didn't you save me?" and God responds, "Well, I sent two boats and a helicopter!"

When a man who was part of the Hitler Youth Movement as a teenager asks God, "Where were you? Why were you silent?" there's nothing to say but, "Pope Benedict, where were YOU? Why were you silent?" I am sure the Pope would describe himself as an instrument of God in the world, and yet his prayer at Auschwitz is evidence that he doesn't really consider himself to be one. He seems to prefer waiting around for a miracle to confronting the fact that God acts through us and needs us to bring morality into the world.

As one of my amazing New Haven mentors always says, "God has no hands but ours."

Pope Benedict is a powerful man. He has political influence, money, and resources aplenty. He has the ability to do more to aid the oppressed and the suffering than most of us. However, if his idea of helping people is to pray, then that's really frightening. How many lives could he save if his theology involved a more active role for human beings in creating a just world?

But maybe the Catholic Church is too busy with other things . . .
. . . like managing spin about the DaVinci Codes.

After seeing the movie last night (I read the book a year or two ago) I was dissappointed to see that Sony Pictures had obviously added in some lines to placate establishment Church types. (At the end of the movie, Langdon asks Sophie: "What would a real descendent of Jesus do: destroy faith, or renew it?" I expected her to pull back her sleeve to reveal a WWJD bracelet.)

Be that as it may, I decided that establishment religion (not just the Church) should be scared by this book and movie, because while The Da Vinci Codes is fictional on one level, it's completely true on another. The Priory of Sion, secret ancient conspiracies to protect Jesus' descendants, etc.-- that's an entertaining fiction. The idea that establishment religion has systematically tried to eradicate representations of God as female / goddess imagery (and when they couldn't be eradicated, co-opted those symbol sets into a masculine-dominated paradigm) is true. While spawning another legion of Holy Grail seekers is useless, perhaps it's a positive step to provide alternative pathways for women who struggle to identify with God or create a relationship with God due to the masculine imagery promulgated by mainstream religion. So instead of being reactionary and denying that the book has any truth to it, could churches and synagogues use this as an opportunity to explore female God symbolism and language? This may be a chance to discuss gender and God, a chance to confront the fact that although I warrant most religious people would agree that God has no gender, our dominant paradigm for God is a masculine one? No, of course not. But it's nice to dream.

Fun fact: The British judge who wrote the copyright-infringement decision about The Da Vinci Codes actually included a coded puzzle in his opinion. Cool, no?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

. . . the darndest things (#2)

Today while we were going over a sample English Regents' Exam, I called on a student who had raised his hand to volunteer an answer: "Josh, go ahead." Unfortunately, there are two Joshes in that class, and both of them began to speak simultaneously. They looked up at me, and I shrugged and said, "Whichever of you wants to answer."
Josh #1 turned to Josh #2 with a determined look on his face and held out a clenched fist.
Anticipating some kind of inappropriate threat, I tensed, but before I could say anything, both Joshes pumped their fists in the air three times and made bizarre signs with their fingers.
Josh #1 had picked scissors, Josh #2 rock.
Without a word, Josh #2 breezily answered the question.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

What are we afraid of?

The facts: Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a 27 year old Afghani, has caused a huge stir recently at Yale. Hashemi was once a member of the Taliban, and in fact was its international spokesperson due to his intelligence and facility with languages. He came to Yale in 2001 to defend the Taliban's record on women's rights in a debate against Dean Koh of the Law School. This year, he returned to Yale-- as a student-- under the sponsorship of an alumnus. He is currently enrolled in a non-degree-granting program, but has recently applied to be in a degree-granting program. Many people (both on and off campus) are violently opposed to Hashemi being allowed to study at Yale. A whole protest group has been sending envelopes full of plastic fingernails to the Yale Development Office (see Nail Yale, below) supposedly reminiscent of the Taliban's gruesome punishment for women who wear nail polish.

Some relevant info:
1. Hashemi is not living in the dorms, not receiving financial aid, and not taking a spot from any would-be undergraduate student (due to the fact that he is enrolled in the "Special Students" program).
2. Hashemi has made public statements to reporters that, while not repudiating his past, are critical of the Taliban regime and are positive about the USA and the West in general. Making these kinds of statements would be political (and perhaps literal) suicide if Hashemi was planning to return to some kind of Taliban-government-in-exile. There is no evidence that he is currently involved with any kind of terrorist group; indeed, one would imagine that his tenure studying at a US university would disqualify him for activities of that kind. As Hashemi himself said in the February 2006 NYT article by Chip Brown(link below):

''You have to be reasonable to live in America,'' he said. ''Everything here is based on reason. Even the essays you write for class. Back home you have to talk about religion and culture, and you can win any argument if you bring up the Islamic argument. You can't reason against religion. But you cannot change Afghanistan overnight. You can't bring the Enlightenment overnight.''

Scary, right? Oh, wait-- not so scary.

My take:
A university is precisely the place for a person like Hashemi to be encountering the USA and for people in the USA to be encountering Hashemi. What experience could better help students understand the dynamics behind repressive juntas than speaking with an actual former Taliban member? How could it not be an enriching experience to have a conversation with Hashemi about his values, his assumptions, his understanding of the situation in Afghanistan, his thoughts about religious fundamentalism? I would like to think that part of any university education should be encountering people with alien perspectives and defending one's own ideas in light of those radically different views.

Consider the question from the perspective of how Hashemi will report on his experience when he returns to his homeland. What is preferable: 1. That he describe how he was rejected and that Americans found his very presence threatening Or 2. That he return having been welcomed into a community of thinkers and scholars who were willing to engage with his ideas, values, and concerns and perhaps challenge some of his assumptions? We need more Hashemis coming to the USA and learning that we aren't all unthinking monsters, that we aren't all knee-jerk anti-Muslim bigots, that we aren't all materialistic, corrupt, and degenerate. His fundamental assumptions may or may not change during his time here at Yale, but rejecting him would clearly send the message that we are afraid of him and feel that we have nothing to offer a lapsed fundamentalist. To the contrary, I think that only by welcoming those lapsed fundamentalist leaders will we actually be able to reach a state of peaceful coexistence with the countries in the Middle East we are currently alienating with the war in Iraq.

At Yale, I met plenty of fellow students whose morals and values I violently disagreed with. Did I question their characters? Absolutely. Did I question their right to be students in an open academic environment? Not unless they were legacies (but that's another issue altogether). Yale turns out plenty of CEOs for profit-hungry multinational corporations that exploit millions of people all over the globe. That's different than being a member of the Taliban, you say? I agree with you that planned terrorist violence is located on a different part of the "bad things" scale, but I think it is on the same scale as the forces that allow a corporation to pay its workers starvation wages, force them to work in a plant where they will likely die young due to industrial poisons, and "dissappear" them when they attempt to unionize.

Yale reports that "character" is one criterion for admission. However, I honestly think that if a student will not endanger or threaten the well-being on other students on campus, Yale has no business pretending that it can judge an applicant's character. Let the students engage each other in open discussion and exploration and figure out for themselves what constitutes a person of "character."

For more information, see. . .

Two articles from the New York Times about Hashemi, including the February 2006 profile of Hashemi that started it all:

The recent article in the Yale Alumni Magazine:

The opposition's blog, Nail Yale:

Friday, May 12, 2006

The President doth protest too much, methinks.

Regarding President Bush's statement: "We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans."

The Bush Administration seems to be willfully ignoring the fact that the fundamental problem with the phone call database is not whether or not the information is being used, but that the NSA should not have access to the information in the first place. This is yet another example of the Bush Administration framing its debates in terms that put its opposition on the defensive.

This Administration has a history of engaging in faulty logic, like the following: The main aim of our initiatives is to combat terrorism. Therefore, if you oppose our initiatives, you are a terrorist. As a teacher, my favorite example of this was in 2004 when Education Secretary Rod Paige called members of the National Educator's Association terrorists for opposing No Child Left Behind. Knowing this, how can we trust the administration to identify the "known bad guys"?

Listening in on my calls, General Hayden? Well, if you listen in my classroom today you'll hear a lesson on civil liberties. Today, it's a current events lesson; tomorrow, I may have to reclassify it as history.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

. . . the darndest things

Those of you that know me have heard me tell funny stories about my student from Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the US state). This student-- I'll give him the alias Ushisha, which means "fearless"-- is brilliant but often rather childish and socially inappropriate. Although Ushisha's only been in the USA 2 years, his written English is better than that of many of my native-born students. He is energetic, distractible, and loves to annoy others, so I often have to ask him to stop bothering his peers. Recently, I had to prevent him from repeatedly poking another student with his pencil. While the student on the receiving end was attempting valiantly to ignore Ushisha, I could tell his patience was reaching the breaking point.

I chastised Ushisha. To distract him from poking the hapless student, I asked him, "Ushisha, how do you say 'stop doing that!' in Georgian?"Ushisha replied with a sentence in Georgian, which I wrote down phonetically after having him repeat it several times to ensure that I approximated the accent, etc.

The next day, Ushisha was at it again, "boinging" the curls of the girl sitting next to him, while she whined, "stuuuuuuuuuuuuoooooooooop!" I quickly found the piece of paper where I had written down the phrase from the day before and called it out to Ushisha.

He immediately stopped and glanced up at me with an extremely wounded look. "Miss! You cursed at me."

Needless to say, he had taught me how to say something akin to, "Stop doing that, you asshole bastard!" and then had actually momentarily forgotten what he'd taught me.

Caveat praeceptor (beware, teacher)

Afterwards I asked him to teach me how to say, "Please stop," but I've been too scared to use it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Use a condom, fight the patriarchy

This week in the New York Times Magazine, an article by Russell Shorto called "Contra-Contraception" details the growing anti-contraception movement in this country. While I was frightened by the article's implications for women's reproductive health, the teen birth rate, and our rights of reproductive choice, I was even more stunned by the clear subtext of this and other Religious Right movements. Under the rubric of "family values" (what a terrible thing that we have let the Religious Right define "family values" as basically only involving sexual morality instead of being about creating justice in our communities) they're reinstating the patriarchy. Check out this choice quotation from the article:

... she [Leslee Unruh, leader of the abstinence-only movement] sponsors "Purity Balls," which fathers attend with their teenage daughters. "We think the relationship between fathers and their daughters is the key," she told me. At the purity ball, a father gives a "purity ring" to his daughter — a symbol of the promise she makes to maintain her virginity for her future husband. Then, during her marriage ceremony, the daughter gives the ring to her new husband. Abstinence Clearinghouse's Web site advertises the purity ball as an event "which celebrates your 'little girl' and her gift of sexual purity."
Sound familiar? Dad controls his daughter's worth, measured by her virginity, until she gets married, and then transfers it to her husband. Women count as human beings only because their viriginity creates value in the "market" and because they are associated with a man. Women's autonomy and ability to make choices about their own sexual expression dissappear. Scary, right? There are apparently no "Purity Balls" for young men where their mothers give them rings.

No matter what the Religious Right may tell us, "Family Values" are NOT about sexual morality-- they are about returning to a time when men controlled women, when women's identities were reduced to their market value as childbearers and sexual objects and were subsumed into either their husband's identity or their father's.

I also noticed this subtext in another NYT Magazine article by Shorto from June 19, 2005, "What's Their Real Problem with Gay Marraige? It's the Gay Part." It was clear from that article that one of the major reasons gay marraige is threatening to the Religious Right is that it threatens their vision of what marraige is all about-- traditional gender roles being enacted in a relationship with an unequal power dynamic. If there are two men or two women in a relationship, who dominates who? Who controls the domestic sphere and who the public sphere? Who "wears the pants"? It messes up their whole idea of what marraige means.

Check out this excerpt from that article:

. . . the structure, with its architectural signals of tradition and power, was built in 1996 for its tenant: the Family Research Council, the conservative public policy center. . . . Beneath a large wall-mounted plaque emblazoned with the group's slogan -- Defending Family, Faith and Freedom -- and flanking a rather ferocious-looking American eagle statue are two large, museum-quality glass cases. The one on the left contains a complete groom's outfit -- tux, tie, fluffy shirt -- and the one on the right holds a bridal gown and all the trimmings, right down to the dried bouquet. Color snapshots of happy wedding parties festoon both display cases, and the back wall of the bridal unit features verses from the book of Genesis, King James version:
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . . And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Protecting civil rights for Gays and Lesbians is extremely important, as is protecting women's reproductive freedoms. However, the part of this trend that is really wigging me out is the insidious return to traditional gender roles and the oppression of women in the most systematic, deep-seated, and personal contexts. Lest we forget that we've won our rights recently. . .

Does this scare anyone else?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spring Returns to Bethesda Terrace

Today marked the first time this spring that I made my Saturday-afternoon pilgrimage to Bethesda Terrace. If you haven’t experienced the scene, you should set aside time and go. It was magical today. I walked down through Central Park from the Upper West Side to check out the roller-dancing crew, the drum circle, Thoth, and assorted live musical performers. I especially enjoyed watching the roller-dancing today because there were a number of accomplished skaters twirling and strutting and generally getting their groove on to the driving 70’s funk music they play. Plus, there was a huge tree nearby that was shedding little golden seed pods, so when a big gust of wind came along, the falling seed pods showered the area, looking a bit like snow or confetti. You know it’s a great party when Mother Nature joins in the festivities. I’ve decided to join the skaters next week, so if it’s good weather, come on down and you might just get the chance to catch General Anna shakin’ her groove thang.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Read A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss!
I am a devotee of historical mystery novels, and this is definitely the best one I've read in a long while. Besides being well-paced, exciting, and striking that delicate balance between keeping the reader totally in the dark (Conan Doyle) and making the solution so clear it's frustrating (Jonathan Kellerman, l'havdil*), the book exposes the reader to some fascinating ideas. I usually find finance dull as dishwater, but this novel describes the very early years of the English stock market-- just before the South Sea bubble of 1720-- and draws implicit parallels between financial issues these days and back then.

Liss not only tried to make his novel true to period events, cultural norms, lifestyles, etc. but also attempted to give the reader a window into the attitudes and worldviews of English people in the 1700s. Thus, he deals with the rise of paper currency and the dramatic shift in understanding value that it caused; his detective experiments with ratiocination as a crime-solving method (beating out Auguste Dupin by a century); and his characters confront the ruthless methods of large corporations in their early stages.

And the protagonist is a pugilist and Portugese Jew. What could be better?

* I couldn't find a good link to explain "l'havdil" so I'm doing it here. It comes from the root that means to separate/ to draw a distinction. We say "l'havdil" when we are mentioning two things together-- usually something holy and something not holy-- that aren't in the same league, as if to say, "don't think these are analagous." Hence my use of l'havdil when I mention Conan Doyle and Kellerman in the same sentence.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rallies Rule and Rally Rules

I spent 10 hours Sunday on a bus-- and incidentally spent a few hours in Washington DC at the Save Darfur rally. It was, all in all, a positive experience, and I felt strongly about being there. While teaching an interdisciplinary elective on Genocide this past fall, I spent a great deal of time reflecting about the fact that we always end up regretting our silence and inaction.

The rally was also a terrific example of the power of focus in organizing; many Jewish institutions worked together to make this a "must-do" event and to make it as easy as possible for many people to participate. People turned out because the Darfur rally organizers stayed on message and maintained a constant pressure. Someone once asked me how I decide which causes to support and one of the many parts of my answer was, "whatever everyone else is focusing on." In these types of battles, especially, numbers are crucial for success. My time creates social change more effectively if I jump on the bandwagon (obviously, provided I support the cause) rather than striking out on my own. Note that here I am not talking about major projects I might devote large amounts of time to, but rather smaller committments like which rallies to attend, which protest letters to write, etc.

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."
-- Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"

I have two rules for rallies that I'd like to introduce here, based on two unfortunate parts of the Darfur rally.

Rule One:
A rally speaker should check in with other consituencies before invoking them.

One of the rabbis who spoke at the rally went on and on about the "historic Black-Jewish partnership for social justice," and spoke as if there were an unbroken connection between Rabbi Heschel marching in 1965 and today. Now, I am extremely proud of the contributions Jews made to the civil rights movement as freedom riders, as voter-registration activists during the Summer of Freedom, as leaders who lent their voices to the struggle. However, we haven't really stuck our necks out for the African-American community very much since then. So invoking the "historic Black-Jewish partnership for social justice" feels downright disrespectful.

One of the most surprising moments of my entire college career was during a forum we held at Hillel with the head of the NAACP chapter in New Haven and the pastor of one of the largest African-American churches in the city. One of our rabbis started out by saying that he felt that the Jewish and African-American communities had a lot in common, because both knew what it felt like to experience oppression and prejudice. Well, the NAACP chairman and the pastor nearly fell off their chairs. Their experience was that the Jews in New Haven were the rich absentee landlords and the privileged of the city-- and where had we been for the past 30 years, anyway, if we cared so much about social justice? They did NOT perceive Jews as brothers and sisters in oppression in their community, and they were right. So before we go assuming anything about how other communities see us, let's reflect and perhaps check in with them, OK? (Read the awesome book How Jews Became White Folks and What that Says about Race in America by Karen Brodkin for an exploration of some of these issues.)

Rule Two:
Don't spew hatred and prejudice when that's what you're supposedly trying to combat.

My friend SB and I were wandering through the crowd at the rally when we spied a homemade protest sign that disturbed us both. One side said something like: "You can't murder us just because we don't believe in Muhammad" (with a large cross and Jewish star) and the other side said "Arabs stop murdering people of Darfur." Now, you have to understand; I had already seen three or four Muslim groups at the rally and the head of the Arab-American League had just spoken. So self-identified Muslim and Arab groups were a vocal presence against the genocide. And if I were Arab or Muslim, that sign would have made me feel alienated, unwanted, and threatened (not to mention disgusted and angry.) One of the attitudes that makes genocide possible is the habit of stereotyping and generalizing the motives, "conspiracies" and characteristics of whole groups. I found it extremely offensive that someone at an anti-genocide rally would create a sign that indicted all Arabs and all Muslims.

A note for the reality-based community members among us: The Muslims perpetrating the genocide in Darfur are killing mostly Muslims, so they aren't killing the Fur people because they aren't Muslim; it's an ethnic conflict and a conflict over access to scarce resources-- the genocide is a tool being used to exert power over a volatile country.

SB and I were so disturbed by the sign that we decided to speak to the couple carrying it. Although I just wanted to yell at them, SB prevailed in her desire to engage them in a productive dialogue, because she is an amazing, tolerant person and really wanted to try to change their minds.

We approached and let them know that their sign bothered us. They replied that they believed it was important for us to "point the finger" at the people who were responsible for the genocide. When we suggested that they could have written "Khartoum Government" or "Janjaweed" on their signs to be both accurate and less harmful, they became very defensive. "They're killing us!" they said. It became somewhat clear to me that these were people who felt afraid of Muslims and Arabs in general and that this conflict was a chance for them to express their fears.

Reasoning out of fear rarely leads us to smart conclusions.

SB and I were gratified to see that many of the people in the crowd who witnessed the dust-up were nodding in agreement with us, and a few also chimed in to say that they had been offended by the sign as well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You're It!

OK, so my friend at Abacaxi Mamao tagged me for a meme, and since I can't resist feeling popular-- a holdover from my severely unpopular days as a child, I suppose-- I am responding to it. Also, I like alphabetical acrostics. However, I've decided to add an additional wrinkle, which is that I'm going to try to be as brief as possible, mostly in the interests of time, but also to see just how decisive I can be.

Accent: Please, if you ever meet anyone from Texas (see below, "Hometown") and he or she does not have a discernible Southern accent, do not spend the first five minutes of your conversation grilling the person about why he or she doesn't have one. Please.
Booze: Stella Artois, Tecate; signature cocktail: Alabama Slammer
Chores I Hate: Putting away nice warm clothes just out of the dryer. I just want to make a big pile out of them and snuggle into the pile.
Dogs/Cats: If you don't have kids or another dependent, get a pet. It makes you a better person to have something lovable that needs you around. I like both dogs and cats.
Essential Electronics: In my dream world, none. In reality, my laptop.
Favorite City: Too tough to choose. Favorite city recently visited: Cuzco, Peru.
Gold/Silver: Silver
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Insomnia: Never; I am almost always sleep-deprived
Job Title: curriculum designer, learning facililtator, paper-shuffler, manners consultant, counselor, parental substitute, babysitter, janitor, disciplinarian, guide, and more...
Kids: inspire me and infuriate me, often at the same time
Living Arrangements: One of those rooms added on to an apartment to make the rent livable in Manhattan. Over the course of five years, I've had a fantastic assortment of roommates who I am lucky to have lived with and learned from. Almost always cluttered but never dirty.
Most Admired Trait: Many people assume that I am a very patient person and praise my patience. But they are wrong; I just do an OK job of stifling my impatient comments and urges.
Number of books owned: Oh, geeze, you're not going to make me count them, are you? I love books and I have a bunch. And they are breeding or something 'cause more keep appearing.
Overnight Hospital Stays: Thank God, only once, and that was not because I was sick but because I was staying at the hospital with a friend who was sick.
Phobia: Before I went cave-crawling at Tel Maresha in Israel and later at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, I was claustrophobic, but I basically beat it out of myself.
Quotes: All-time favorites: 1. "Cada uno es hijo de sus obras." -- Don Quijote 2. It is said that in 1881 when Robert Louis Stevenson was at Pitlochry, he saw a dog being abused by its owner. When Stevenson tried to intervene and stop the beating, the owner told him, "It's not your dog!" Stevenson replied, "It's God's dog and I'm here to protect it."
Religion: Jewish. Non-denominational. However, I should acknowlege that my worldview and conception of God owe a great deal to many other religions and philosophical traditions. Basically, I am an opportunistic mutt when it comes to finding ideas that inspire me and help me understand the world.
Siblings: One awesome younger brother who just returned from a round-the-world post-college tour.
Time I usually wake up: Between 5:30 and 6:00am. ARGH!!!!
Unusual Talent: Ummmmm... falling asleep in various strange positions with the lights on?
Vegetable I refuse to eat: I have always been embarrassed that I dislike asparagus, because people tend to cook it as a special treat and then I don't eat it.
Worst Habit: Can I answer this one tomorrow? (Procrastination.)
X-Rays: Once when I sprained my wrist at sports camp as a kid. I got the "best sportsmanship" award at the end of the summer because I basically had to sit out the rest of camp.
Yummy Foods I make: Black bean soup, stuffed portobello mushrooms, brownies, zucchini pie, veggie curry.
Zodiac Sign: Virgo. Love the astrology column in The Onion.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Re: Immigration

Let's go road block trippin' in the middle of the night, up in Gainesville town.
There'll be blue lights flashin' down the long dirt road. When they ask me to step out,
They say, "We've been looking for illegal immigrants. Can we check your car?"
I say, "You know it's funny-- I think we were on the same boat back in 1694."
oo la la, shame on you

-- Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls, "Shame on You"