A Muddle in the Middle: Dominion and Rule

Emerson begins his essay “Experience” (1844)–and here it’s good to remind the modern, the “now” of ourselves, that our thoughts have already walked the earth– Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; […]

Mer-Manumission

Recently we listened to a podcast, Radiolab’s “Home Is Where Your Dolphin Is,” about dolphins and the iterations of scientific investigations about their intelligence based in trying to connect “linguistically.” Pretty interesting (for an infotainment show like this). In the first segment about a woman who lived with a dolphin (called Peter), setting up house […]

Pouring Out of Various Devices

After reading pages 40, 43 and 44 of the 9/25/14 New York Review of Books. 1. p 40: a review essay by Robin Lane Fox on several gardening books and an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden called “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them.” Gardening is for the “birds.” It […]

Clare’s Advice: Sink the Pequod!

Okay, so this might be a tad petty, but well, so what? On August 17th, Clare Spark of the blog YDS: The Clare Spark Blog, posted her incisive thoughts on “race relations” with the Ferguson, Missouri police murder of an unarmed Black man and the ensuing riots and militarized response by a swift and brutal […]

Swerve Me Ye Cannot!

From Lecture #6 from John Searle’s 1984 Reith Lectures, “Minds, Brains and Science.” If libertarianism, that is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom then it looks as if we […]

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Invaluable Understrappers

[UPDATED due to Clare Spark saying more about teachers unions in a post at 4:22 pm today.] One thing is for certain: Eva Moskowitz’s charter schools in Harlem have established that black and brown children can “succeed” beyond our wildest dreams if there is strong cooperation between school staff and parents, and a challenging curriculum. […]

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To Fart and Think of Dante

It’s hard not to love this paragraph from an essay on the poet Walter Lowenfels by Jim Burns. Lowenfels was clearly at home in this kind of atmosphere. With a friend, Michael Fraenkel, he started the Anonymous Movement, advocating total anonymity in the arts. The idea collapsed when he thought the authors of the musical, […]

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Tied to Your Shared Fate

[In which we conclude that Stubb's version of the monkey-rope is evil.] What is Equality? The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. What is Equity? The quality of being fair or impartial; fairness. Is there equity in the (shared, negotiated?) social understanding of equality? I read this in a recent New […]

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How Derogation Works

Which do you think is worse thing to hear come out of your child’s mouth? “Bitch” or “Fuck”? There are a lot of really hateful and bigoted things to say out there and most of them are related to sexuality and race. Our insults display our prejudicial predilections. Guess which one of these terms the […]

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The Impossible Principle

Melville wrote books that could be said to be about: Christian hypocrisy in the Marquesas, authoritarian coercion, military rule, torture, […]

The Spirit of America: The 13th Amendment

I must admit to an utter ignorance of the depths of duplicity written into the United States legal codes. I […]

Part II–Why This American Life On Animal Sacrifice is Great and Good

Perhaps, because you love visiting this vanity project, you recall I praised to the skies this episode of This American […]

The Whole Pieces of Modernist Poetry

Stevens places a jar in Tennessee and Williams breaks a bottle and places it “between walls.” I placed a jar […]

Personality Perplex

So much these days about the brain “acting” in priority to “thought” (self-reflection?) that I wanted to again assert the […]

Maurice Manning Reads “Binsey Poplars”

Below is a link to a reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Binsey Poplars” by poet Maurice Manning. This reading is […]