My name is Winston Hearn, and I am interested in life. Life in all its glory, horror, and mundanity. I read a lot in the interest of living an examined life, and this blog is where I post links I want to reference later and thoughts stemming from recent readings.
I'm @justwinston on Twitter.
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“Like the rest of the National catalog, Trouble Will Find Me is subtly insinuating; at first it seems almost free of hooks, then six listens later it’s difficult to get it unstuck. It burrows and then resides, first easy to forget then basically impossible.”
I like songs about drifters/
books about the same/
they both seem to make me feel/
a little less insane.
This essay is wonderful and excuse me as I pull-quote half of it just to keep the quotes handy.
Until you see it, you never realize how separate the sphere of the rich is from that of everyone else.
(…)Meritocracy is America’s foundational myth. If you work hard, society tells us, you’ll earn your place in the middle class. But any strawberry picker knows hard work alone is a fast road to nowhere. Similarly, we place our faith in education. Study, and the upper-middle class will be yours. Except the average student graduates $35,000 in debt.
(..)I’ve never been poor. I have always had the safety net of loving, middle-class parents. But what he said brought me back to me at 20, feverish and propped up against a subway pillar days after an abortion, on my way to a naked-girl job that I thought would get me raped.
What the artist was pretending he didn’t know is that money is the passport to success. You claw a few bucks and use those to get more cash, while never growing ill or vulnerable, never caring for a child or sick parent, never letting your place slip on that greasy pole.
(…)Those with money usually think they deserve it. But most people who make the world run—who care for kids, who grow food, who would rebuild after natural disasters and societal collapse—will never be rich, no matter how hard or well they work, because society is constructed with only so much room on top.
(…)Meanwhile, we treat the poor with casual cruelty. Single moms on welfare have their homes searched by police to make sure they’re not hiding a man in the closet. But it’s too much to ask bankers to justify the bonuses they sucked off the public teat. The poor get stop-and-frisk, drug tests, and constant distrust.
Newt Gingrich, whose idea of hard work is refraining from cheating on his wife, suggested that poor kids learn work ethic by working as unpaid school janitors. Rich children’s work ethic is presumably absorbed in utero.
(…)Honest employment was a treadmill. It’s extreme privilege to believe your life is too valuable to waste.
(…)Not talking about money is a tool of class war. A culture that forbids employees from comparing salaries helps companies pay women and minorities less. Ignoring the mercenary grit behind success leads to quasi-religious abundance gurus claiming you can visualize your way to wealth.
(…)But it’s a lie. Winning does not scale. We may be free beings, but we are constrained by an economic system rigged against us. What ladders we have are being yanked away. Some of us will succeed. The possibility of success is used to call the majority of people failures.
Don’t pretend that everyone can win.
I remember when Summer meant reading challenges at the library and I would go check out the maximum number of books the library allowed you to check out and then I would create a reading nook with the huge stack of books I’d obtained and then I would read for hours and hours, book after book after book, not even moving for meals because mom would bring me snacks and lunch, and it would take me less than 2 days to go through three dozen “chapter” books or whatever they were called. Those were the days; the days when I would submerge into stories and then resurface days later filled with narratives and plots and characters, then my siblings and I would go outside and build forts in the woods and the retired neighbors mowing their lawns were cops looking for us because we were orphans, or perhaps spies, or perhaps they weren’t cops but instead some vague enemy and we were trapped behind their lines, but no matter who we were and who they were, there was never enough time to build the forts and explore the woods and live out the stories.
Summer isn’t like that anymore, and it’s still the hardest part of adulthood that seasons don’t bring changes in routines and life they just bring different weather around the same routines.
I don’t want to be young again, I love my life. But I would love a reading nook and hours to dive into essays and novels and poetry, so that I could come up for air and see life with all the new colors that art provides.
Tonight, Freya and I decided that whenever someone tells Win something that he doesn’t understand, we’ll teach him to ask for clarification with the question “Is that a euphemism?”
Parenting is the best.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This is a world in arms. This world in arms is not spending money alone; it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… . This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
I think for, you know, the moms and dads out there, the people who give money to Christian advocacy groups, to the RNC, what they want is something really, you know, important. They want to try and make America better. And they’ve been led to believe that somehow all of that can be achieved through politics. All of if can be achieved particularly through conservative politics. And you fast from something not because it’s evil, but because you want to step away and focus on something more spiritual.
And I really would love to see a period of time for a couple of years where evangelical voter stopped giving to all these political groups and started giving to the poor, you know, started giving their time to after-school programs, started, you know, doing two things that Jesus said, like loving your neighbor and — and again, redirecting that money towards the poor. And I think that it would provide some much-needed perspective on the political environment."
It’s almost embarrassing how many times I’ve listened to this song. Almost. We saw Josh Ritter in concert last July and every time Freya or I listen to him (easily multiple times a week) we remark that we wish we could go watch him in concert again.
Rose at the altar withered and wilted
Romero sank into a dream
He didn’t make Heaven, he didn’t make Harrisburg
He died in a hole in between
Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God’s a drunkard for pain
Me I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train
You can get this full live album free, along with a sampler of his other stuff and another live album at Noisetrade.. Enjoy.