“Women are not inherently more interested in or more able to love than men. From girlhood on, we learn to be more enchanted with love. Since the business of loving came to be identified as woman’s work, females have risen to the occasion and claimed love as our topic…The most popular movies and television shows with women as lead characters are all about the female search for love.”—
-bell hooks, “Communion: The female search for love.”
“All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers…. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born.”—François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon, French archbishop and author (1651 - 1715) in Dialogue des Morts, “Socrate et Alcibiade” (via mohandasgandhi)
I’ve decided to get less personal with my Twitter account. It’s not a huge sacrifice; I have 885-ish followers and most of them don’t want or need to know my business. But it’s one more way that I’m retooling a part of my public persona to be more entertaining or otherwise “value-added,” adding an editorial filter between myself and the world.
Not to say I never post anything personal on a social network. I have LoseIt to talk about my diet and exercise, and Goodreads to talk about whatever I’m reading. But Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr are beginning to feel more like media platforms, and I feel the need to keep people interested.
I can’t figure out whether this means I’m growing up or regressing. I am a big believer in spontaneity and authenticity, and social media gives me an opportunity to live into both values. I don’t want to be boring or, worse, whiny—but what if I am, to a certain extent, a boring and whiny person? Should I live into those traits a little bit, so people can see a more flawed, well-rounded representation of my personality instead of the Photoshopped version I’ve been giving them?
“You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that… Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”—Toni Morrison (via theheftyhideaway)
“We aren’t postracial, no matter how much everyone says we’ve gotten past our race issues or denies the racist language of so many in the GOP — including Trump. Perhaps there should be some rephrasing: The folks who have gotten past race are largely the same folks who didn’t have to deal with it in the first place. Privilege has its, well, privileges.”— Elon James WhiteLet’s Call Trump’s Language What It Is (@TheRoot.com)
Planning a walk along the border, you quickly encounter certain problems.
One problem is political. The only feasible way to walk the actual borderline is to follow the dirt roads used by the Border Patrol, but a lot of those roads appear only on proprietary maps that the Border Patrol refuses to give out to members of the public. You can turn to online satellite imagery, but these days even that can’t keep pace with how quickly new border roads are being plowed.
Another problem is geographical. The borderlands, whatever route you sketch through them, are a rough mix of deserts and mountains.
Sometimes problems meld the geographic and the political, because sometimes politics dictate geography. Example: I’m in an area known as Smuggler’s Gulch, just east of the Friendship Circle. My maps show a deep ravine, one that drug and human traffickers used for decades to ferry their goods across the border. But a few years ago the Department of Homeland Security, armed with congressional permission to waive a number of environmental laws and regulations, sent in earthmovers to decapitate some nearby hills, filled the ravine with the resulting 1.7 million cubic yards of dirt, then topped it with a Border Patrol road and floodlights. Smuggler’s Gulch, an ancient wrinkle in the earth, has been Botoxed. My maps are wrong.
It’s the science of interpretation. Before Heidegger, the word generally referred to the way people read the Bible; post-Heidegger (and more specifically post-Gadamer), the word has taken on a broader meaning regarding the interpretation of words, ideas, and concepts.
In a contemporary philosophical sense, hermeneutics is the study of the spaces between us.
I am beginning to think that the biggest valuational divide in our culture, which corresponds to politics and religion but also transcends them, is the question of how good or bad a person can get. How we answer this question depends primarily on how much we allow the social sciences to determine our view of people.
A radical-anthropology approach teaches that the best of us are vessels of God’s will, that it is morally wrong not to trust them, and that they are to be obeyed, while the worst of us are vessels of evil, that it is morally wrong to get too close to them, and that they must be punished for their wicked natures.
But a restrained-anthropology approach teaches that the best of us are flawed, that all of us (good and bad) are products of our biology and environment, and that evil is not a force, but a malfunction—faulty hardware or bad programming.
A radical-anthropology approach says that we should not waste time on rehabilitating bad people or limiting the power of good people. A restrained-anthropology approach says that we should acknowledge the humanity of bad people and not entirely trust good people.
This has consequences, in policy and religion, that I don’t think we’ve fully explored. But I think this distinction, which is basically about science and human nature, is a much bigger deal than “conservatism” versus “liberalism.”
Stevens said he retired because, while he still loved the job of judging, he had no desire to linger beyond his physical prime. He had witnessed the final years on the bench of Douglas, Thurgood Marshall and others who should have retired earlier for health reasons. A few years ago, he secretly asked Associate Justice David Souter to tell him when it was time for him to go. But Souter left first, in 2009.
“When he retired, I knew I didn’t have any safety valve anymore.”
”—In a rare interview, former justice John Paul Stevens discusses his decision to leave the Supreme Court. Read more at The Atlantic (via theatlantic)
For most of the past two centuries, at least in so-called civilized societies, the ideal of punishment has been replaced by the hope of rehabilitation. The American penitentiary system was invented to replace punishment with “cure.” Prisons were built around the noble ideas of rehabilitation. In society, at least in liberal society, we’re supposed to be above punishment, as if punishment were somehow beneath us. The fact that prisons proved both inhumane and miserably ineffective did little to deter the utopian enthusiasm of those reformers who wished to abolish punishment.
Incarceration, for adults as well as children, does little but make people more criminal. Alas, so successful were the “progressive” reformers of the past two centuries that today we don’t have a system designed for punishment. Certainly released prisoners need help with life—jobs, housing, health care—but what they don’t need is a failed concept of “rehabilitation.” Prisons today have all but abandoned rehabilitative ideals—which isn’t such a bad thing if one sees the notion as nothing more than paternalistic hogwash. All that is left is punishment, and we certainly could punish in a way that is much cheaper, honest, and even more humane. We could flog.
“If we accept social structures, such as monogamous marriage, as simply natural, we lose the opportunity to engage in the processes of self-reflection and self-construction. That is, we lose the possibility of enhancing our freedom.”—Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values: Debunking the Myth of the Nuclear Family (via fortunateson)
“Since my brain really only works in the morning, I try to keep that time free for writing and thinking and don’t read any media at all until lunchtime, when I treat myself to The New York Times—the paper edition. At this point, I realize, I am almost a full 24 hours behind the news cycle. Is this is a problem? I have no idea. My brother, who is a teacher, always says that we place too much emphasis on the speed of knowledge acquistion, and not the quality of knowledge acquistion: I guess that means that the fact that I am still on Monday, when everyone else is on Tuesday, is okay.”—Malcolm Gladwell doesn’t really give a shit about the news cycle. Read the rest of his Media Diet at The Atlantic Wire. (via theatlantic)