Ben Sen's Blog

Politics, Culture and Religion Without Projections

Ben Sen

Ben Sen
New York, N.Y.,
December 31
I'd rather be judged on the basis of my posts than anything written in my bio. It's put down and gathered as a record of my experience and a response to what I see as the important issues in the world today. I don't pretend it's anything other than subjective. The purpose is to analyze, interpret, express opinions, challenge the status quo, open a few doors, and entertain. I heartily welcome ratings, comments and dialogue. That's what makes this media unique and valuable. It also keeps me honest and encouraged since I'm not getting paid. Take a risk and say something; it feels better. A "conversation" is essential for the growth of the individual and the collective. I have faith it extends beyond the confines of what is said here. "For it is necessary for awake people to be awake, or a breaking line may discourge us back to sleep, the signals we give--yes, no or maybe--should be clear: the darkness around us is deep." From A RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER by William Stafford


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Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 2:02PM

The James Baldwin Revival

     I'll never forget reading James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time at my parents' kitchen table in the suburbs of Detroit while the old city burned.  Tanks patrolled the streets where we once lived and the A&P where I worked as a teenager was destroyed.

   &… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 12, 2012 12:09PM

My Love Affair with Michel de Montaigne

     It's one of those names the literate recognize but may not go out of their way to learn about.  That was true of me until I read Sarah Blakewell's excellent biography of Michel de Montaigne, "How to Live," which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, hit the bestselle… Read full post »

JANUARY 4, 2012 2:23PM

The Problem With Liberals

Our zeal does wonders when it is seconding our leaning towards hatred, cruelty, ambition, avarice, detraction, rebellion.  Against the grain, toward goodness, benignity, moderation, unless as by a miracle some rare nature bears it, it will neither walk nor fly.

Montaigne    &… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 25, 2011 4:43PM

How I Wrote a Novel in Only Four Years

   Builders make buildings, executives make companies, musicians make music, and I was taught writers produce manuscripts, not Adobe files.  To me books are dreams that take shape on paper.

   This one started four years ago.  I was willing to let the idea go,… Read full post »

     Note:  This is not meant to be "objective."  I'm not going to name Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.  They've gotten enough press, and I'll leave it to the official historians.  These are the people in MY top ten and you can call me any manner of nRead full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2011 5:28PM

Excerpt from My Novel: MAGGIE'S WAY


     My father ran into a problem  His plan for his retirement years didn't work out.  He'd married a woman much younger, but she contracted breast cancer and died leaving him stranded.  We didn't go to the funeral… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 2:07PM

Throwing Open Your Mind

The lady with the blog from Indiana who home-schooled her kids is unsure of the old faith but won't take the risk of changing; I certainly don't think she should.

The conversation with Renie about when she decided not to be a nun any more.  The m… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 11:30AM

Book Review: "Devotion" by Dani Shapiro

     Devotion is a paean to those who no  longer embrace the doctrines of their ancestors, but find themselves incapable of discarding them and replacing them with something "new".  Sound familiar?  The knowledge of what the old beliefs sustained and made possible i/… Read full post »

AUGUST 5, 2011 4:11PM

Forget About the Apocalypse

It ain't gonna happen.

The latest NYTIMES/CBS poll says 82% of Americans blame Congress for the near shutdown of the government, and 72% blame Republicans. Obama successfully communicated the problem, and the majority of Americans got it. That majority does not I suspect include ideologues on the le… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 27, 2011 9:11PM

Hope For Israel: The Swimmin' Women

     It's the best story to come out of Israel in months--years--decades.

     A group of Israeli women called "We Will Not Obey" have begun to smuggle Palestinian women from the West Bank to the sea off the coast of Tel Aviv so they can swim.  For ma… Read full post »

JULY 25, 2011 2:55PM

My Greatest Synchronicities

     According to Carl Gustav Jung, a synchronicity is an event where the two worlds meet--the seen and the unseen.  It's a nexus, a "gateway," a visit to the matrix, totally inexplicable for any rational reason.  Many simply call them uncanny coincidence, deja vu, or ju… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 23, 2011 12:46PM

The Best Father's Day Ever

My daughter is my heart.

She always has been, since the day she was born. Watching her grow and "expand" as a person has been the greatest joy in my life. I'm sure many if not all parents who love their children feel the same way, but that isn't any reason… Read full post »

     Starting from my last year in high school, the idea of leaving the house without a paperback in my coat or pants pocket was untenable. I read a novel every two or three weeks--sometimes more, sometimes less--a habit only interrupted by college when I was forced to read what "… Read full post »

     It's the unthinkable.  What nobody wants to imagine or accept.  A coalition of Arab states and Iran attacking Israel.  Until the downfall of Mubarak nobody would have predicted it.  Now the question is whether it is inevitable.

     Can… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 5, 2011 2:40PM

Why I Don't Eat Eggplant

     In the summer of 1967, yes, I'm that old, I came to New York City to find work as a journalist.  I didn't have a college degree and nobody heard of the school I attended.

      I did the usual, went to the offices of the New York Times, TimeRead full post »

APRIL 28, 2011 2:20PM


     I have to admit it.  I lose it every once and awhile.  Okay, maybe a little more than that, but not all the time.  Okay, maybe...

     I used to write for money, not much, but enough to make a living for three years as a freelance, until I h… Read full post »

APRIL 25, 2011 12:34PM

The Legacy of Stan Dale

     Chances are you never heard of Stan Dale.  Like most of us Stan died known and loved by a close circle of friends, "disciples" to use the term broadly, and the hundreds if not thousands of people whose lives he changed forever.  I was one of them.


&nbs… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 11, 2011 12:09PM

Confessions of a Frankophile

     Maybe it was growing up Catholic in Detroit and belonging to the old guard who knew "Detroit" is the French word for "strait," referring to the river and the French were on top of the historical pecking order.

     Maybe it's the bread.

   &… Read full post »

                    I build small houses from lumberyard scraps like I write poems, using plywood, cardboard, the odd two by four for the frame.

          &… Read full post »

     God, I love blogging.  I don't have to kiss anybodies ass.  You can either agree, disagree, think I'm stark raving mad, or make a mental note: this might be something I'm looking for.

     It's only March and I've already seen two great movies in… Read full post »

     I've heard reports that over 15 per cent of public employees in Wisconsin voted Republican in the last election.

     It sounds hard to believe, but not shocking.  I had a Wisconsin protester visit my blog who berated me for having the temerity t… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 1, 2011 10:37AM

Labor Unions Waiting for Godot

     The most salient feature of what I think about labor unions, and "union workers" comes from personal experience--not a theory of "socialism" or "capitalism" or any of the rest of the intellectual mumbo-jumbo that is so often the basis for opinion in the matter.  (Th… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 23, 2011 2:31PM

The Rule of Three

     What I don't like about the Rule of Three is after two deaths how do you know the third won't be your own?

    So far for 2011 it's been my former business partner Diane, and my mentor and friend Joe Ellin from college.  Diane's death came a… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 4, 2011 5:30PM

Becoming George Plimpton

     I woke up last night dreaming about George Plimpton, the writer, "professional amateur," editor, actor, bird watcher, and raconteur who left for the next dimension in 2003.  I used to especially enjoy watching him on the talk shows, so relaxed and engaged but withou… Read full post »

     C.P. Cavafy died in the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt at the age of 70ty in 1933.  You don't have to know anything about poetry or even be interested in it to be fascinated by his story.  He died in almost total obscurity.  Known to very few even in hisRead full post »