Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

You Won’t Believe This, But… (Revisiting My Luddite Self)

Friday, February 14th, 2014

I wrote the following limerick in response to a personal request from Ralph Nader. And yes, I know that sounds crazy. So please allow me to explain:

Over twenty years ago, the New York Times Sunday Business section published my serious personal essay about technology in the workplace. My column, entitled “When Executives Should Just Say No,” dealt with the downside of technological advances. I concluded it with these questions:

Does that the 7:00 p.m. message really merit an immediate response? Is keeping staff hooked to computers all night a sensible use of personnel? And perhaps most important: Am I using these machines? Or are they using me?

My piece attracted a fair amount of attention, including radio interviews, a Boston Globe interview, and a reprint request from Pushcart Press’s Bill Henderson for his anthology “Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club.”

So, what does this have to do with Ralph Nader? It seems that Nader, a fan of that anthology when it was first published, has recently re-read it. And he’s sent personal letters to its contributors, asking us to re-read our respective pieces and send him updated thoughts on the topic, for an article he’s working on.

Instead of a prose response, I decided to express my updated views via limerick. So here’s what I sent to Ralph Nader:

In a decades-old piece, I once warned
With a Luddite’s distrust, unadorned,
Of technology’s lure;
Folks were duped, I was sure.
Now I’m one of those people I scorned.

Mary, Mary? Au Contrairie (Limerick)

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Abe Lincoln historians and art historians alike have been stunned by this newly discovered art hoax:

For 32 years, a portrait of a serene Mary Todd Lincoln hung in the governor’s mansion in Springfield, Ill., signed by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, a celebrated painter who lived at the White House for six months in 1864.

The story behind the picture was compelling: Mrs. Lincoln had Mr. Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him.

Now it turns out that both the portrait and the touching tale accompanying it are false.

There’s a lot more to this story, so I recommend that you read the entire New York Times article. But before you leave me, here’s a limerick:

Mary, Mary? Au Contrairie (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Art historians suffered a shock:
Mrs. Lincoln’s famed portrait’s a crock.
A rip-off took place–
The pic hasn’t a trace
Of Abe’s Mary — it’s scam-ridden schlock.

Limerick Ode To Long Gray Hair

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Dominique Browning poses an excellent question in her New York Times essay Why Can’t Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair? Well, I believe they can and should, if they’re so inclined:

Limerick Ode To Long Gray Hair
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I’m writing in praise of long hair.
If you think I’m too old, I don’t care.
And if short is the “norm”
At my age, won’t conform
To such ageist opinions. So there!

UPDATE: Happy Hairstyle Appreciation Day! (April 30th)