Is it a bad look that a 17th century ancestor of Jeff Daniels was one of the Salem Witch Trial accusers? When you first hear this, yeah, but if you think about it for eight or nine seconds, not really.

If an ancestor or two did something awful or failed to stand up against evil during their brief hour upon the stage, I can only say “well, I wish they had been braver.” But unfortunately, most people go through life with their head down and avoiding eye contact with the beasts. Most people are mice — they just want to survive and get along, and unfortunately that means looking the other way when wrong-doing occurs, human nature being what it is.

“I’m afraid we can only do what it has been given to us to do, right to the end.” — Edward Anhalt by way of Jean Anouilh, Becket (’64).

Posted on 8.7.19: “Speaking as an X-factor white guy from a middle-class New Jersey and Connecticut upbringing, I don’t feel repelled or disgusted by my Anglo-Saxon heritage and family history.

“I deeply regret the cruelty visited upon immigrants and various cultures of color by whites, but the fact that racist attitudes were common throughout most of the 20th Century and certainly the 19th Century doesn’t mean that white people (more particularly my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, reaching back to the mid 1800s) were inherently evil.

“By current standards they seem insufficiently evolved, of course, but they were born into a certain culture and were dealt certain cards, and most carried the weight as best they could. They weren’t born with horns on their heads.

“Nor do I feel that elemental decency is absent in the majority of white people today. I feel profoundly repelled by the attitudes of your backwater Trump supporters, of course, but they are not me. I come from a family of relatively good, well-educated, imperfect people who believed in hard work, discipline, serving in the military and mowing the lawn on Saturday afternoons, and who exuded decency and compassion for the most part. I am not the devil’s spawn, and neither are my two sons or my granddaughter. I’ve witnessed and dealt with ignorant behavior all my life, but I’ve never bought into the idea of Anglo-Saxon culture being inherently evil. Please.”