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.
How Much Military Is Enough? →
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...
I think for, you know, the moms and dads out there, the people who give money to...– The late David Kuo talking to Terry Gross in 2006 about his call for a fast from politics for evangelicals. Kuo, the Deputy Director of President George W. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, became disillusioned with the politics of the Bush White House. He died on Friday at age...
Harlow’s empathy for the perpetrators signifies a classic move in the rhetoric of rape: victim blaming. Blame it on the victim’s clothes. Blame it on the victim’s sexual history. Blame it on the victim’s initial arousal. Shouldn’t we also consider what those accusations say about men: That if women’s clothing prompts men to rape, our culture holds very low standards for masculine self-control?...
George Saunders →
I don’t really think the humanist verities are quite enough. Because that would be crazy if they were. It would be so weird if we knew just as much as we needed to know to answer all the questions of the universe. Wouldn’t that be freaky? Whereas the probability is high that there is a vast reality that we have no way to perceive, that’s actually bearing down on us now and influencing...
Three Versions of the Same Plan
It started with a list. “Top 10 Places We Want to See In America” I suggested, as I was driving my girlfriend back to college. She was a Junior – although she dropped out after that year as I had done the year before – and she had been up in Nashville for some holiday weekend. We started throwing out names of cities and National Parks one or the both of us had never visited. “Top 10” quickly...
The problem — or at least the change — is that we humans cannot understand...– To Know, but Not Understand
Is the Heat Wave of 2012 What Climate Change Looks... →
Up until fairly recently, it was possible—which, of course, is not the same as advisable—to see climate change as a phenomenon that was happening somewhere else. In the Arctic, Americans were told (again and again and again), the effects were particularly dramatic. The sea ice was melting. This was bad for native Alaskans, and even worse for polar bears, who rely on the ice for survival. But in...
you shall above all things be glad and young For if you’re young, whatever life you wear It will become you;and if you are glad whatever’s living will yourself become. Girlboys may nothing more than boygirls need: i can entirely her only love whose any mystery makes every man’s flesh put space on;and his mind take off time that you should ever think,may god forbid and...
For some students—millions of them—the institutions in which they enroll are...– Your Massively Open Offline College is Broken
Junot Diaz, interviewed in The Atlantic →
I think that once you get over the age of 20, you begin to understand that there’s a lot of places where you can fall in and they are just locations of stases. Locations of paralysis. Places where there’s no growth. And whether it’s a job, whether it’s a way that you decide to pursue your life, whether it’s a philosophy, whether it’s a politic, we all know in our hearts when we’re choosing...
The New Yorker: A Fake Facebook Wedding →
The Internet is perhaps the closest thing we’ll ever have to the ring of Gyges—the invisibility charm that allows its wearer to be alone while having access to the outside world—which Plato posited as the truest test of how a person will act when freed from accountability or restraint. We… So, Andrea here was a friend of mine in high school. It’s rather awesome to see her byline...
I want to go to there. Also, what an excellent video. Great sense of narrative and shooting and editing. Very impressive.
Karyn McCluskey: the woman who took on Glasgow's... →
“It’s about learning how to identify, articulate and process your own emotions,” Porter says. “And about understanding how other people feel, and being able to respect that.” The words echo McCluskey’s: “At the end of the day, it’s empathy. Empathy is what keeps us together. It’s all really about people getting on with other people. And if you bring a kid up in a war zone, you’re going to get a...
Whenever we experience anything, that experience is shaped by factors and...– How Does The Brain Perceive Art?
Regarding The Crusade against Homosexual Marriage
“If I were one of a homosexual couple — the same as I am one of a heterosexual couple — I would place my faith and hope in the mercy of Christ, not in the judgment of Christians,” Berry said. “When I consider the hostility of political churches to homosexuality and homosexual marriage, I do so remembering the history of Christian war, torture, terror, slavery and annihilation against...
Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice in America →
For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country...
Once in a while I would think of that moment and realize again that if there is anything we must try to understand here it is, the unanswerable question that can never bring us anything but humility, patience and quiet: why are we doing this? There’s only one thing that is worth trying to understand, and it is this. Center yourself on this. Bring yourself back to sanity with this. Know that you...
At any given moment, our most complicated machine will be taken as a model of...– How the Internet Gets Inside Us Love this insight. Hopefully I’ll learn more as I read You Know Nothing of My Work”.
Last Call →
Big Beer is attempting to vertically integrate beer distribution by overcoming a three-tiered system that has been in place since the repeal of Prohibition. This article goes deep on the consequences of such integration (based on what has been seen in the UK) and how the changes are happening. Really good read, whether or not you like beer. To be sure, the typical American beer drinker might...
But cycling here, at its best, is better than mere annoyance. It can give us, for want of a better word, beauty. We sail down a street—alert and porous—and see the city anew. It speeds up, or smoothes out. We are in a movie seen by wheel, and we are stars in this movie (me and the city), and the city becomes something small and beautiful that we could almost tuck in our pocket. Rode...
Today I am heartbroken. There are reportedly 20 children aged 5-10 and 10 or so adults dead because a man walked into a school with a very powerful weapon and shot them. An hour ago I watched the President make a statement live while holding my 10 week old son and I was pretty much a wreck. I don’t have a strong position on what our response should be. I can’t say politically,...
The Disadvantages of an Elite Education →
But if you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to take risks, which begins to explain the final and most damning disadvantage of an elite education: that it is profoundly anti-intellectual. This will seem counterintuitive. Aren’t kids at elite schools the smartest ones around, at least in the narrow academic sense? Don’t they work harder than anyone else—indeed, harder than any previous...
I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave →
When temps working at a Walmart warehouse sued for not getting paid for all their hours, and for then getting sent home without pay for complaining, Walmart—not technically their employer—wasn’t named as a defendant . (Though Amazon has been named  in a similar suit.) Temporary staffers aren’t legally entitled to decent health care because they are just short-term “contractors” no matter...
It is not the case that just because knowledge is constantly being overturned we...– The half-life of facts
“Terrain”, a short documentary about my friend Ed Nash’s new paintings series of the same name that I made.
Do you know what saved me from becoming a cold-blooded murderer? My language...– In the Shadow of Wounded Knee The Oglala Lakota people in South Dakota have seen great atrocities committed against them, but they labor hard to preserve their customs and their culture. This is a hard-to-read but ultimately hopeful look at the challenges they continue to face.
An Interview with Maurice Sendak →
On ebooks: I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book. A book is a book is a book. I know that’s terribly old-fashioned. I’m old, and when I’m gone they’ll probably try to make my books on all these things, but I’m going to fight it like hell. [Pauses] I can’t believe I’ve turned into a typical old man. I...
You can’t get into this on the assumption that you’re going to win, even in your...– Wendell Berry on thinking conservationally.
As I grow older and attempt to deepen my faith, the obstacle that I am constantly confronted with is that nothing must be assumed. There is nothing so obvious that I ought to accept it as unquestioningly true. This idea is, I believe, hard for most people to accept. We humans like to minimize the gray areas in life, so it is far easier to treat most subjects as black and white than to live...
I looked at my right hand, the hand with which I painted. There was power in...– My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok
And may we touch on the irony of an inherent value of the right – electing a...– THIS. Thoughts from a Christian Independent.
There’s an enormous resource for any male writer—and they’re called women. This...– ‘The Baseline Is, You Suck’: Junot Diaz on Men Who Write About Women
Change I Can Believe In
To live is to change. This is of course an unavoidable fact - our cells are growing and changing daily no matter what else we are doing. I am thus always undergoing some sort of change, but occasionally the changes are more ethereal, as I consider beliefs and positions I hold. I’m doing this now, in a significant way. I’ve done this before. I grew up on a culdesac in Alabama, in a...
On Saturday Freya and I went to a library book sale here in Nashville (that happens every second Saturday!). One of the books I picked up on a whim was a small hardback by Mr. Keillor (of A Prairie Home Companion fame) entitled Homegrown Democrat. Out of curiosity I started reading it immediately, and in the middle of a section about what Democrats have done for America, I found this passage that...
In a matter of belief, I have always found that defenses have the same...– “Gilead,” by Marilynne Robinson. I’m going to have to revisit this book with a pencil in hand because there was so much worth underlining. The story was so exquisite though, that the first read left me no energy to think about what to remember, instead I merely wanted to continue...