As Lou Gehrig Day nears, here’s what he meant to the fight vs. ALS, and what baseball means to those with it
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease that killed baseball player Lou Gehrig (and is therefore alternatively called Lou Gehrig disease), is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and is 100% fatal.” Next Wednesday Major League Baseball will celebrate the first of what will become an annual event, Lou Gehrig Day.
ALS advocates hope that this event will increase awareness of the disease, for which there have been very few treatment breakthroughs since Gehrig’s 1939 diagnosis:
As Phil Green, a former University of Washington football player who has lived with ALS since 2018, said in an interview this week, “If Lou Gehrig were diagnosed today, he would have pretty much the identical prognosis that he did 80 years ago. Just think about that. We put men on the moon and rovers on Mars, yet this disease still seems to baffle some of the smartest scientists in the world.”
“If you remember the 60s, the saying goes, you weren’t there. And for many of us who lived those turbulent, exciting and wildly different times it’s true,” writes Mike Bond, who graduated from college in 1965. “I was one of the founders of the Resistance [to the Vietnam war], and risked ten years in jail for it, was on the run for several years ducking the dutiful FBI guys who would clump up the stairs to whatever apartment I was crashing in, while its rightful tenant would answer the door and say I wasn’t there.”
Here Bond lists 11 books that had a great influence on his thinking in the ’60s.
When I was in my early 20s, I was in an abusive relationship with another woman. Soon after it ended, I did what I always did when I was heartbroken: I looked for art that spoke to my experience. I was surprised to find shockingly few memoirs of domestic violence or verbal, psychological and emotional abuse in queer relationships. So I wrote into that silence: a memoir, “In the Dream House,” which describes that relationship and my struggle to leave it.
Carmen Maria Machado reacts to the recent attempt by a parent in Leander, Texas, to remove her book and several others from a list of recommended reading in the local high school.
“To celebrate the Book Review’s 125th anniversary, we’re dipping into the archives to revisit our most thrilling, memorable and thought-provoking coverage.”
Current writers for The New York Times look back on some of the “robust literary coverage” of the newspaper’s Book Review, including articles by authors such as Vladimir Nabokov, Tennessee Williams, Patricia Highsmith, Eudora Welty, and Langston Hughes.
Writer Leslie Jamison interviews Suzanne Koven, author of Letter to a Young Female Physician: Notes from a Medical Life, a collection of essays. Jamison begins the interview with this question:
I love the ways these essays hold so many aspects of your identity: doctor, daughter, mother, wife, patient, and colleague. We see you as a little girl going to the office of your doctor-father, wanting “to witness at close range the freedom of men,” and we see you as a panicked mother, riding in an ambulance with your young son after seizures. How did you approach writing about times when various parts of your identity converged or collided?
And Koven replies that writing the book helped her discover that the “various parts of me turned out to be more aligned than I understood.”
Hadley Freeman describes recently interviewing William Shatner over Zoom: “He certainly sounds like Shatner. But Shatner turned 90 in March, and the man in front of me doesn’t look more than 60, as he bounces about in his seat, twisting to show me the view around him, with the agility of a man two decades younger.”
He’ll always be Captain James T. Kirk to me.
“Prolific, resilient and endlessly creative … as Dylan celebrates his 80th birthday, Edward Docx assesses his artistic contribution to the human story”
And look who’s 10 years younger than Shatner and also still going strong.
© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown