Original Proposal: American Exceptionalism: Fact or Fiction?

After 8.5 years, John Karls is taking a sabbatical through year end from serving as the facilitator of our group, as described in greater detail in the second and third sections below.

In the meantime, we are having occasional discussions of political topics without elaborate preparations and following ad hoc arrangements.

The original proposal of discussing Dinesh D’Souza’s movie “America” and the TV interviews of Prof. William Ayers, who was the Co-Founder in the 1960’s of the Anti-Vietnam-War Weather Underground, is posted in this section.
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Original Proposal: American Exceptionalism: Fact or Fiction?

Post by johnkarls »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Wed Aug 6 Meeting on American Exceptionalism - Fact or Fiction???
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Date: Wed, July 9, 2014
Time: 1:20 am - 4:58 am MDT
To: ReadingLiberallyEmailList@johnkarls.com
Bcc: The Approximately 150 Recipients Of Our Weekly E-mail
Attachment: RL-a709-Aug6thMtg-BackgroundInfo

Dear Friends,

The pleasure of your company and the intellectual stimulation of your views are respectfully requested for Wed Evening, Aug 6th, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.


Our focus will be “American Exceptionalism – Fact or Fiction???”

We will discuss Dinesh D’Souza’s movie “America” which is currently showing in first-run movie theaters and which, in turn, focuses on five of the “indictments” of America in Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” which is required reading in most American colleges & universities and in many high schools.

Zinn’s five “indictments” addressed by D’Souza = (1) Americans stole their land from Native Americans against whom Americans committed genocide, (2) in the Mexican-American War, America stole half of Mexico (i.e., what became the American Southwest from Texas to California), (3) America was built on the stolen labor of African-American slaves, (4) America has engaged in worldwide imperialism including the theft of oil, and (5) American capitalism comprises theft of the 99% by the 1%.

Also highly recommended is the debate between Prof. Bill Ayers, the Co-Founder in the 1960’s of the Anti-Vietnam-War Weather Underground, and Dinesh D’Souza on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” which was telecast on 7/4/2014.

[Three separate and fascinating interviews of Bill Ayers were also telecast on “The Kelly File” on June 30, July 1 and July 2.}


There are two possible alternatives from which we will choose based on the preference of those who RSVP.

(1) The home of Yours Truly at 11911 Nicklaus Road which is 20 miles south of downtown but has a gorgeous 180-degree panoramic view of Hidden Valley and the Hidden Valley Country Club in front of the first range of Wasatch Mountains from atop a ridge that is approximately 200 feet above HV and the HVCC.

(2) The home of Ted and Tucker Gurney at 178 A Street, which is located in The Avenues a mile north of the Salt Lake Public Library.


RSVP’s are requested so that (1) the host(s) will know for how many participants to set up, and (2) June Taylor, who has offered to provide Pinot Grigio, will know how much to bring.

Please indicate whether your attendance is contingent on the venue you prefer.


Many of you will recall that until the end of the year, Yours Truly is on a sabbatical from serving as the facilitator for Reading Liberally in order to finish writing “Inner-City Holocaust and America’s Apartheid ‘Justice’ System” (In Honor of Jonathan Kozol and In Memory of John Howard Griffin).

[The project is described at length in the third and fourth sections of http://www.ReadingLiberally-SaltLake.org.]

However, a 6/10/2014 e-mail from June Taylor (aka Utah Owl) lamented the suspension of Reading Liberally and Yours Truly responded to her (and then to our regular attendees) that anyone is welcome to join him in activities in which he is regularly engaged anyway such as watching movies. Followed by a discussion while breaking bread (Dutch treat) which wouldn’t be a great burden on my time budget since one has to eat anyway.

The e-mail correspondence with June and our regulars is attached for the curious.

Although the 6/29/2014 e-mail to all of our regulars invited each of them to propose meetings based on movies, Yours Truly was unable to resist making the foregoing “American Exceptionalism” proposal to our regulars only 4 days later.

The Gurneys responded by offering to host the discussion. And June Taylor responded by offering to bring Pinot Grigio.

So there we have it. Voilà.

We hope to see each of you on Aug 6th!!!

Your friend,

John K.

PS -- To un-subscribe, please press "reply" and type "deletion requested."

Posts: 2069
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:43 pm

The Attachment To The Foregoing E-mail

Post by johnkarls »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Reading Liberally Sans Reading During Sabbatical
From: john@johnkarls.com
Date: Sun, June 29, 2014 2:26 am MDT
To: ReadingLiberallyEmailList@johnkarls.com


Ellen Birrell
Fern Lovett Baird
Cal Burgart
Denise Chancellor
Thomas Chancellor
Ted Gurney
Tucker Gurney
Nancy Kemp
Charly Kuecks
Bill Lee
June Taylor


Top F’s (Vicky Norton-Strong & Leslie Urry)
Marilyn Miller
Laurie Noda

Dear Friends (The “To” List = RL attendees since Jan),

In the following recent e-mail exchange, June Taylor suggested the group get together the following evening -- apparently just to chat.

[The e-mails explain why the suggested rendezvous didn’t materialize.]

However, it occurred a few moments ago that even though I am on sabbatical from performing as RL facilitator through year end, there are two things which I do anyway vis-à-vis which anyone else who would like to come along would be welcome =

(1) First Unitarian’s Summer Forums; and
(2) Worthwhile movies (as suggested in my reply to June).

And since one has to eat anyway, what better way to do so than accompanied by a discussion afterwards of the forum or movie.

Attached is a list of the 2014 First Unitarian Summer Forums during Rev. Tom Goldsmith’s annual 10-week sabbatical. I usually stop for brunch on the way home.

Although short notice, after today’s Summer Forum I am planning to stop at the Broadway Theatre (aka Salt Lake Film Society) to see “The German Doctor” which is described as “The true story of an Argentine family who lived with Josef Mengele without knowing his true identity, and of a girl who fell in love with one of the biggest criminals of all time.”

[A Nazi SS doctor & human experimenter at Auschwitz, Mengele was even more notorious than the Butcher of Birkenau who was the subject of “The Debt” (2010) starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington.]

Unfortunately, “The German Doctor” has only a limited engagement at the Broadway Theatre -- starting last Friday and ending this coming Tuesday for only a 5-day run.

Which is why I am doubling up today since my home (11911 Nicklaus Road on the ridge overlooking the Hidden Valley Country Club) is a 20-mile hike each way from downtown.

Nevertheless, anyone who can make it is welcome (Dutch treat, as usual).

Two Suggestions

First, anyone interested in a particular movie is welcome to e-mail me their proposal and I will fan it out to the group with your e-mail address for facilitating making arrangements directly.

Second, for anyone contacting me, please use “john@johnkarls.com” so that I don’t discover your e-mail long afterwards like June’s 6/10/2014.

Please permit me to wish each of you a nice summer filled with nothing but happiness!!!

Your friend,

John K.

PS for Bill Lee = As a leading member of “Atheists of Utah” (though you always remonstrate that you are a mere agnostic), please rest assured that Unitarians are officially atheist. Which is why the Salt Lake cornerstone saying “First Unitarian Church” would be scandalous back east where the term “church” is banned because it connotes theism and any cornerstone there would say “Whatever Unitarian ASSOCIATION”!!! [For the curious, Yours Truly is a theist and attends a real church during the remainder of each year.]

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Meeting Tomorrow Night
From: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com
Date: Sun, June 22, 2014 6:43 pm MDT
To: June S Taylor

Dear June,

Thank you very much for your e-mail.

I'm very sorry not to have been monitoring the Reading Liberally mailbox but once every week or so.

Since nobody had expressed interest in having a June meeting, the June 11 reservation at the Library had been cancelled quite some time ago. And I had simply lost track of the June 11 date at that time.

So I only happened across your e-mail a moment ago. Mea culpa.

Perhaps a good idea might be to pick a movie and either invite some of our RL regulars to join us for a viewing followed by a discussion.

Or, perhaps, even the Top F's.

Though I'm not aware, off hand, of any good movies coming up in the near future (which doesn't necessarily mean there aren't any).

Please let me know what you think.

Your friend,

John K.

PS -- I had to think for a moment what you meant by my "favorite" restaurant. Cannellas to which we adjourned each month after the Salt Lake Library closed, always struck me more as a bar whose principal virtue was convenience (though the ambiance, particularly the company, was pleasant). If we decide to see something at the Broadway Theatre, The Something-Or-Other Onion is not only convenient but also quite good.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Meeting Tomorrow Night
From: June S Taylor
Date: Tue, June 10, 2014 9:50 pm MDT
To: ReadingLiberally-SaltLake@johnkarls.com

Dear John,

I have been lamentably silent for the past months on Reading Liberally. I can only apologize and beg pardon, citing my daughter’s graduation from SLCC, over which we rejoiced, and her aunt came from California to give her a formal Tea (which necessitated much cleaning & rearranging of our house!); and then I had RSV, which pretty well felled me for a month.

I would like to get together tomorrow, since we have the room - if anyone else wants to do so. YOU have the Keys to the Mailing List, so do you think you could inquire, on my behalf, if anyone else wants to meet? And BTW…I wish we could lure you to your favorite Restaurant, since we didn’t even have time to give you a send-off on your sabbatical…

Your friend,


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