zundel

Friday 343

The Wisdom of Whores

Filed under: Medicine, Politics, Society — Tags: , — zundel @ am

During December you can download a free ebook version of Elizabeth Pisani‘s The Wisdom of Whores.

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Friday 183

Bonnie Tinker

Filed under: Politics, Portland, Society — Tags: , — zundel @ am

I feel a sudden and painful loss, leaving a gaping hole in my fabric of Portland. I don’t know how to describe the absence. She wasn’t a friend. If I flatter myself, I could have once called her colleague and ally: rarer than a friend. I enjoyed working with her.

She made a fierce ally. I remember sitting with her privately at Friends’ in July ’04 and frankly discussing the stark chance of defeating Measure 36. I remember her the year before in that same room trying to add her integrity and realism to the amorphous coalition opposing the invasion of Iraq.

The following quote from her exemplifies the mind and character we have lost:

It is a stark reminder for me that life is easier for sexual minorities of all backgrounds and definitions because other minority groups have struggled for centuries against discrimination. It is often simpler to consider homophobia by itself, to want to work only on “gay issues.” It is simpler, but it is dishonest. Sometimes those of us who are white become so consumed with the injustice we experience that we forget the many ways that white privilege lightens our load.

She wasn’t always easy, but she was often right. I remember her seriousness: the thought and effort, the dedication she applied when something mattered to her. I remember her well informed sharp intelligence and the integrity of her character.

Bonnie Tinker” by Altaira H 2009-07-04

Remembering Bonnie Tinker” by Eileen Flanagan from her blog “Imperfect Serenity” 2009-07-03

Bonnie Tinker – Love Makes A FamilySpirit In Action audio interview by Mark Judkins Helpsmeet 2006-08-06

Queer politics: Local and sustainable?” by Bonnie Tinker in The Portland Alliance July 2006

Language to open hearts and minds” by Bonnie Tinker in The Portland Alliance April 2006

We can’t force people to believe that discrimination is wrong, that the planet needs our protection, that marriage rights are human rights, that war is not the answer. But we can use words in a way that creates the possibility of change by unilaterally disarming our own speech.

20/20: Young Men with Gay Moms” by Alice Irene Pifer from “20/20” ABC News 2004-09-30

Tinker v Des Moines

A video that shows Bonnie’s charm and substance:

Sunday 157

Scialabba

Filed under: Mind, Society, Writing — Tags: — zundel @ pm

What is George Scialabba Good For?” by Mark Oppenheimer in AGNI online 2009

(…seeing the skeptical social democrat Scialabba get in the ring with the pop-psychologizing Malcolm Gladwell would be tasty)

For the left, Lasch’s critique of capitalism was profoundly discomfiting, because it posited “progress” as anything but. “For Lasch, then,” Scialabba writes, “modernization was not the solution but a new form of the problem—the problem, that is, of domination.”

Making the Case for Intellectuals” by Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air 2009-04-28

Scialabba says: “Though nearly everything Trilling wrote had an ultimate political relevance, almost nothing he wrote had an immediate political reference.”

Saturday 156

Excoriator, killing 99 per cent of all known hypocrisies

Filed under: Mind, Poetry, Society — Tags: — zundel @ pm

I always start the weekend FT at the back to read Harry Eyres.

Is there a corner for poetry?” by Harry Eyres in The Financial Times 2009-06-06

“I hate poetry,” said this young man and, to make matters clearer: “I don’t believe in free expression.” For all the rebarbativeness of his remarks, I felt afterwards he was being more helpful and honest than all the bland promoters of poetry, or purveyors of a product called poetry that is not the real thing.

“Poetry, above all, is an approach to the truth of feeling,” says Rukeyser with admirable simplicity.

Poetry is up against it in all sorts of ways. Unlike video games, reality television, amateur dance troupes, it is not a cultural phenomenon that is generally welcomed into people’s lives.

I should read Harry more often. He refreshes me. And he reminds me what I value. I’d like to be him.

www.ft.com/eyres

Monday 151

Orwell’s truths

Filed under: Politics, Society, Writing — Tags: — zundel @ am

Eternal vigilance” by Keith Gessen in the New Statesman 2009-05-28

… he thought a mature totalitarian system would so deform its citizenry that they would not be able to overthrow it.

Orwell may have gotten it right. Some citizens have overthrown totalitarian governments. But dictatorship does correlate with minds incapable of overthrowing it. Which came first?

University is where you sometimes get loaded up with fancy terms whose meaning you’re not quite sure of.

Orwell encapsulates Wilson’s argument with a remarkable concision: “Dickens had grown up near enough to poverty to be terrified of it, and in spite of his generosity of mind, he is not free from the special prejudices of the shabby-genteel.” This is stark, and fair, and that “terrified” is unforgettable.

Thursday 133

A long good life

Filed under: Mind, Science, Society — Tags: , — zundel @ am

and a very good long read. The best article I have read in some time:

What Makes Us Happy?” by Joshua Wolf Shenk in The Atlantic Monthly June 2009

the story of a father who on Christmas Eve puts into one son’s stocking a fine gold watch, and into another son’s, a pile of horse manure. The next morning, the first boy comes to his father and says glumly, “Dad, I just don’t know what I’ll do with this watch. It’s so fragile. It could break.” The other boy runs to him and says, “Daddy! Daddy! Santa left me a pony, if only I can just find it!”

I want to want a pony. Sadly, I have done otherwise.

“On the bright side,” he has written, “reaction formation allows us to care for someone else when we wish to be cared for ourselves.” But in intimate relationships, he continued, the defense “rarely leads to happiness for either party.”

Yup.

Friday 127

Mortgaging the nation

Filed under: Economy, Politics, Society — Tags: , , — zundel @ am

Obsessive Housing Disorder” by Steven Malanga in City Journal Spring 2009

The program could not work because it tried to solve a problem of wealth creation through debt creation.

Saturday 114

Libraries speak

Filed under: Building, Society — zundel @ pm

In Praise of the Town Library” by Michael Gorra in The Smart Set 2007-10-13

I too have walked into various towns’ libraries. They tell you things about the place.

I remember the library in Schwerin, Germany, in an otherwise purposed building. I went to find an atlas, to confirm what I suspected: that I had crossed into the former East Germany. They had no atlas from before 1989.

Thursday 105

True Britannia

Filed under: Society, Writing — Tags: — zundel @ pm

As the pink bits faded off into the sunset:

Darkness visible” by Philip Hensher in The Guardian 2009-04-11

And the rest of us?

Thursday 359

Truce

Filed under: Society — Tags: — zundel @ am

In our history of insanity, a moment of humanity:

Demystifying the Christmas Truce

A strange sight, truly!

Christmas Day on the Somme

I highly recommend The Heritage of the Great Wargreatwar.nl.

Friday 353

Politics, YouTube, and Foucault

Filed under: Politics, Society — zundel @ pm

Michel Foucault and our macaca future” by Julian Sanchez in Ars Technica 2008-12-19

Sanchez raises an interesting question: How will YouTube and such discipline politicians?

a growing bottom-up panopticon will have important—and not exclusively salutary—effects on our political life

Foucault’s idea that the act of observation—and indeed, the mere awareness that one might be observed at any given time—exerted a powerful psychological effect on the observed.

how we might characterize the implicit “aims and objectives” of a distributed Little Brother panopticon

from the comments:

Wasn’t there a similar worry that with the advent of 24/7 news networks like CNN that politicians would simply sanitize their every thought? As if politicians were somehow human and genuine to begin with. That quickly passed, and I think the same will happen here.

Since there is no oversight or accountability in user generated content the door is left open to distort and skew the facts for political gain.

For all the talk of how the internet is going to revolutionize politics for the better, it sometimes seems like it has only reinforced our short attention spans and cultivated our love for brief sound bytes.

Tuesday 350

Turning students off

Filed under: Education, Writing — Tags: — zundel @ am

A frank statement of a grave problem—and a good read.

Leaving Literature Behind” by Bruce Fleming in The Chronicle Review 2008-12-19

We’ve made ourselves into a priestly caste: To understand literature, we tell students, you have to come to us. Yet professionalization is a pyrrhic victory: We’ve won the battle but lost the war. We’ve turned revelation into drudgery, shut ourselves in airless rooms, and covered over the windows.

[from A&LD]

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