Last September, I wrote about “cultural appropriation” in “Let the Book Burning Begin.” Some attendees at a literary festival in Australia excoriated the novelist Lionel Shriver for advocating that “white” writers should be free to create characters of other ethnicities. They can also excoriate me! My novel Slick! (one of Kirkus Reviews’ 25 Best Indy…

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Political correctness recently broke out in Brisbane, Australia. Officials at a writers festival were so upset with novelist and keynote Lionel Shriver (The Mandibles), “they censored her on the festival website and publicly disavowed her remarks,” according to the New York Times. What horrific things did she say? “Ms. Shriver criticized as runaway political correctness…

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Self-reflection represents a blessing and a curse. The thinking, aware mind uncovers new possibilities. Yet seemingly intractable problems—a violent world, personal failings—stagger that mind. Four therapies guide me towards positive territory. FRIENDS. My friend Jim and I do lunch every two or three weeks. We meet in Mill Valley. Revealing what’s on our minds, we…

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I don’t support saying negative things about people. The Rabbis consider lashon hara—evil speech—one of humanity’s great sins. But let’s get real. Negativity can be part of a grand strategy to achieve something necessary. Something great. That’s why American political life revolves around attack ads. So I’m adding my own wisdom to the political scene:…

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A few weeks ago, Rachel Dolezal stepped down as president of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP. Ms. Dolezal claimed to be—and still identifies as—Black. However, she is the child of Caucasian parents. I’ll let African Americans decide whether or not they’re offended. But I do share something in common with Ms. Dolezal: I…

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