I Passed 8th Grade Math But Not Brilliantly
|You Passed 8th Grade Math|
Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!
|You Passed 8th Grade Math|
Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!
Did you hear about the newspaper in Birmingham, AL that kept all these photos from the civil rights era in a box because they were embarrassing to white people? An intern found the box, and they tracked down some of the people in the photos who were still alive.
Roger Ailes finds another article about those pesky bloggers and how irritating it is that they keep having opinions that nobody cares about.
The connected world is inescapable, like the global economy itself. But if we can begin to understand how it undermines political stability -- how it can separate elites from masses, and how it can enhance rage rather than reason -- then perhaps we will have a better chance of restabilizing a very disorderly world.
I had good dreams last night because I stayed up late and watched this documentary about George Clinton. You had better watch it too. You will be so glad. For me it was eye-opening because Parliament and the Funkadelics had some popularity in Jamaica when I was a teenager. On Saturdays the thing to do was go to The Plazas, the shopping plazas along Constant Spring Road, and always end up at Tropical Records where they had listening booths. My recollections of Parliament and that whole era of funk music are associated with that time particularly, these album covers that to my eye looked dangerous. When I was 15 really subversive things frightened me -- I thought Peter Tosh was scary back then. Not violent, but really, I can say that I have experienced what it is like to feel that a piece of art is dangerously subversive, and to feel the fear of that. I did fear it, and it was enough to fear: I never enquired into it. By the time I got the idea that I could enquire into that fear, I wasn't afraid any more. With the Funkadelic stuff there was a feeling that to clown in this reckless way was skirting unrespectability.The music was terrific, of course, but everything that went along with it was just a wee bit alarming for a nice uptown Kingston girl.
So what am I not doing these days?
Well, it is an impressive piece of Rolodexing, that
must certainly be said. It seems to me he totally
misses the point about bloggers and news. He doesn't
mention for instance that it was a Washington-based
blogger, John Aravosis, who found out that
Guckert/Gannon was a prostitute. That was original
reporting, not done by the mainstream media and using
all Internet technology and expertise.
Glenn Greenwald breaking the DeWine amendment to the
Patriot Act that would have freed up the FISA
wiretapping law, which the Bush administration
rejected before they went and wiretapped people
without any law...
He doesn't mention, for example, either, that Atrios
and firedoglake can put out a call and raise tens of
thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates in a couple of days.
Hamscher and The Left Coaster have done
incredible work on the Plame affair and the Niger
forgeries -- in-depth reporting, reference material
like timelines, providing actual PDFs of documents,
and very carefully reasoned explanations of the
meaning of the smallest details. This kind of work,
spread out over time, used to be done by reporters.
The Washington Post, during Watergate, did this. And
people ate it up. There was a guy at the New York
Review of Books, his name escapes me now, who should
have had a Pulitzer for his reporting on Iran-Contra,
on the legal issues. His articles were clear, they were
readable, they were hugely informative. When you
finished each installment you felt like you were three
weeks ahead of the daily or TV news cycle -- if they
were ever going to catch up at all, which they never
If it hadn't been for blogging technology, there would
have been nowhere -- NOWHERE -- for this kind of
reporting and explanation of the issues. You look at
Hamscher's blog, and within minutes of a post on
Scooter Libby there are hundreds of comments, and
people also bringing new and salient bits of news,
which she promptly puts into context.
He doesn't talk about any of this. It's all about
celebrity and money.
As for the obsolescence of blogs -- newspapers are
written for posterity, are they? Time magazine is
written for posterity? Vanity Fair? All written in
marble, yup. And it is, we must assume,
technologically impossible to retrieve things from
blog archives. No doubt when Trevor gets among his
friends and talks about philosophy and ideas with
them, every word is automatically recorded on
indestructible platinum tablets for a posterity that
can't wait to be born to read it. Because he is
writing for the immortal Financial Times.
The giveaway is opening the piece about the Gawker
people getting ready to be on the cover of Vanity
Fair. TButt has got his hiking boots and his ropes and
his pitons and he's creeping up the mountain of
radioactive poo -- he thinks everybody is like him and
wants to be buried up to his neck in it up near the
To call up Markos Moulitsas and ask him how much money
he makes, as if that is the most notable thing about
DailyKos, just shows what a grip he has on what one of
the biggest bloggers is in it for.
For a person with so much philosophy in his mouth he
really doesn't have a clue about democracy
either. I mean, a really elementary thing like people
need to communicate in a society, they need to
exchange views, they need to kick their shit around.
Anything that broadens the reach of conversation, that
gives more freedom in terms of what you can say, is
GOOD. Locke would understand this. Jefferson and
Franklin certainly would. Burke would.
And that, in the end, is the dismal fate of blogging: it renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence. No Modern Library edition of the great polemicists of the blogosphere to yellow on the shelf; nothing but a virtual tomb for a billion posts - a choric song of the word-weary bloggers, forlorn mariners forever posting on the slumberless seas of news.
I went a bit nuts this evening in the comments to Roy Edroso's blog. He has just finished reading Swann's Way, most profitably I think. I like what he said about it
So I kept going, and found after a while that Proust’s prismatic rendering of events had a purpose. Nabokov explains it all very well, but even without the technical advice a reader can, if he decides to, get comfortable with Proust’s method and lose at least some of his impatience, so that he can walk through each stretched-out moment, and examine each impacted metaphor, and begin to see things Proust’s way.
So I had a meeting in Washington today, that lasted about two hours, at a building on Pennsylvania Avenue and we'll just leave it at that. If you want to know the details you can get them offline -- for a price. Anyway when I walked out of the building everything had changed outside. There was no traffic. The street had been completely cleared of vehicles, there were police cars at all the intersections and people standing still on the sidewalk, waiting. The oddest sort of frozen quality. It didn't take me long to figure out that some exalted personage would be passing through. So I thought well, what the heck I'll wait and watch the show. On the cross streets the lines of waiting vehicles got longer and longer. A helicopter circled overhead. From time to time a DC Police motorcycle cop would roar up the road with all its lights flashing. This went on for about 20 minutes. Wayyyy off in the distance I could see the dome of the Capitol, lit up and glowing in the lovely balmy light. That was another reason to linger -- it was so pretty and so balmy out.
Today I found a new route for a dog walk, through what turned out to be one of Germantown's perhaps less desirable neighborhoods. The way I found the route was that I went to the web site for Montgomery County Parks, where they have this nifty tool that brings up interactive maps showing all the parks within a specified radius. So I found this park, and then I had lunch and took a look through the local weekly, which had a crime story warning people about strong-arm robberies in the exact neighborhood I intended to walk into. So I ran upstairs to our resident policeman, pleasant enough young feller, and asked him about the reports. He assured me that with the two dogs -- especially Daddy's German shepherd who is demented -- I would have no problems. So off we went. And even though it just looks like suburbia you could tell it was not a thriving area. Weird vibe. I don't think it was just word of the robberies either. But nothing untoward happened except that bopping along the sidewalk with the dogs I spotted, on the ground, under a tree, an enormous black vibrator. One of those lifelike ones with the bulgy veins. Just forgotten there, I dunno, maybe somebody's dog carried it out there, like a plastic bottle or a potato chip bag.
Tom posted this in the comments to my last post.
I'm entirely in sympathy with yr drift. Here's the thing: We know all sorts of cartoons that cannot be presented in US media, for various reasons - none of them really having to do with actual tolerance. Selective tolerance might not be honest or noble, but that doesn't enable even the most open society to wean itself from a self protecting sense of obligation to practice it, nearly all the time. It's where tolerance shades into manners, courtesy, respect, and where these things shade into repression, inhibition, prohibition, that matters get damn murky, I fear. And yes, Steyn is a waste of pixelage.
The commonwealth seems to me to be a society of men constituted only for the procuring, preserving, and advancing their own civil interests.
Civil interests I call life, liberty, health, and indolency of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like.
It is the duty of the civil magistrate, by the impartial execution of equal laws, to secure unto all the people in general and to every one of his subjects in particular the just possession of these things belonging to this life. If anyone presume to violate the laws of public justice and equity, established for the preservation of those things, his presumption is to be checked by the fear of punishment, consisting of the deprivation or diminution of those civil interests, or goods, which otherwise he might and ought to enjoy. But seeing no man does willingly suffer himself to be punished by the deprivation of any part of his goods, and much less of his liberty or life, therefore, is the magistrate armed with the force and strength of all his subjects, in order to the punishment of those that violate any other man's rights.
Now that the whole jurisdiction of the magistrate reaches only to these civil concernments, and that all civil power, right and dominion, is bounded and confined to the only care of promoting these things; and that it neither can nor ought in any manner to be extended to the salvation of souls, these following considerations seem unto me abundantly to demonstrate.
First, because the care of souls is not committed to the civil magistrate, any more than to other men. It is not committed unto him, I say, by God; because it appears not that God has ever given any such authority to one man over another as to compel anyone to his religion. Nor can any such power be vested in the magistrate by the consent of the people, because no man can so far abandon the care of his own salvation as blindly to leave to the choice of any other, whether prince or subject, to prescribe to him what faith or worship he shall embrace. For no man can, if he would, conform his faith to the dictates of another. All the life and power of true religion consist in the inward and full persuasion of the mind; and faith is not faith without believing. Whatever profession we make, to whatever outward worship we conform, if we are not fully satisfied in our own mind that the one is true and the other well pleasing unto God, such profession and such practice, far from being any furtherance, are indeed great obstacles to our salvation. For in this manner, instead of expiating other sins by the exercise of religion, I say, in offering thus unto God Almighty such a worship as we esteem to be displeasing unto Him, we add unto the number of our other sins those also of hypocrisy and contempt of His Divine Majesty.
In the second place, the care of souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate, because his power consists only in outward force; but true and saving religion consists in the inward persuasion of the mind, without which nothing can be acceptable to God. And such is the nature of the understanding, that it cannot be compelled to the belief of anything by outward force. Confiscation of estate, imprisonment, torments, nothing of that nature can have any such efficacy as to make men change the inward judgement that they have framed of things.
It may indeed be alleged that the magistrate may make use of arguments, and, thereby; draw the heterodox into the way of truth, and procure their salvation. I grant it; but this is common to him with other men. In teaching, instructing, and redressing the erroneous by reason, he may certainly do what becomes any good man to do. Magistracy does not oblige him to put off either humanity or Christianity; but it is one thing to persuade, another to command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. This civil power alone has a right to do; to the other, goodwill is authority enough. Every man has commission to admonish, exhort, convince another of error, and, by reasoning, to draw him into truth; but to give laws, receive obedience, and compel with the sword, belongs to none but the magistrate. And, upon this ground, I affirm that the magistrate's power extends not to the establishing of any articles of faith, or forms of worship, by the force of his laws. For laws are of no force at all without penalties, and penalties in this case are absolutely impertinent, because they are not proper to convince the mind. Neither the profession of any articles of faith, nor the conformity to any outward form of worship (as has been already said), can be available to the salvation of souls, unless the truth of the one and the acceptableness of the other unto God be thoroughly believed by those that so profess and practise. But penalties are no way capable to produce such belief. It is only light and evidence that can work a change in men's opinions; which light can in no manner proceed from corporal sufferings, or any other outward penalties.
He cast (of which we rather boast)
The Gospel's pearl upon our coast; 30
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound His name.
O let our voice His praise exalt
Till it arrive at Heaven's vault,
Which then perhaps rebounding may 35
Echo beyond the Mexique bay!"
Thus sang they in the English boat
A holy and a cheerful note:
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time. 40
Otto Dix was beyond bad taste.
Well, on Peter's advice (thank you Peter) I took the novel step of reading an opinion different from my own, in contravention to my well-publicized lifetime policy of avoiding such opinions as far as possible.
So I read the Steyn piece and I have now read the Manji piece as well, which I found impressive. oddly, even though I am neither a lesbian nor a Muslim, much less both. What we can do when we stretch our imaginations a little bit, eh, Peter? Again, I thank you for bringing me out into the human community. I never would have guessed there were so many kinds of people in the world!
This situation is a perfect example of a problem that besets the type of socieity that Karl Popper called an "Open Society." One characteristic of an open society is tolerance for diverse points of view, religions, cultural practices, customs, etc. How do tolerant societies deal with intolerance? Do they ban intolerance, or do they make room for it at risk to their own safety? Well, people -- and their governments -- will have different views as to how much intolerance they can tolerate. The US does not prohibit the publication of hateful views: Pat Robertson can call for the assassination of a head of state, Bill O'Reilly can recommend the bombing of San Francisco, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh can threaten actual living liberals -- Coulter recently expressed a wish that a sitting Supreme Court Justice be poisoned -- and we mostly feel that it is enough for public opinion to respond with the contempt that these expressions deserve. There are some thoughtful people who feel that all such speech should be more strongly sanctioned as it creates an atmosphere in which intolerance becomes more and more acceptable, and that the tendency is to degrade discourse with violence, sooner or later, as the result.
These calls for bloodshed, by the way, are much more offensive to me than "blasphemous" representations of religious figures (such as the Teremce McNally play that Steyn puts up as a straw man) because you know, if Jesus and the Prophet are *omnipotent* then I think they can handle it, and I may be perverse, but to imagine that lives should be threatened because of a drawing or a play or a novel's representation of a religious figure sounds a lot to me like idolatry -- which I understand to be the belief that the image is the same as the thing.
Coulter, when she suggested poisoning Stevens, immediately added that it was a joke. Well, what kind of person thinks that is funny? It packs a double insult, and you can't tell me that Coulter, and those cartoonists, don't know that perfectly well. That is, it is the expression of a sincere belief, but as soon as it delivers its little load of offence, the victim is told, "What's the matter, you can't take a joke?" This is such a low way of scoring points that the person who is the victim of it can only conclude that he is being taken for an asshole. Which makes it a triple insult.
And there are large tracts of the world -- including, I might add, parts of the US -- where an insult delivered in that way results in the shedding of blood. People get killed in bar fights for less.
There is no such thing as selective tolerance, and yeah, there are risks to living in an open and tolerant society. But one of the reasons why people organize themselves into societies is because they can solve some problems -- sanitation and public health, transportation, making lots and lots of money, art museums and libraries -- by putting their heads together and figuring out a solution. Along the way, the very effort binds us together.
So I see no other way for societies that truly value openness and freedom for all to be anything but steady and serious in their commitment to tolerance. And if I am enjoying the material benefits of living in a particular society and those benefits are a direct result of a commitment to that principle, I should not find it onerous to be required to share that commitment.
But our globe is becoming one society, a very contentious one, and there are people who don't share my view of the importance of tolerance. It is absolutely necessary to bring them around (what choice do we have?), but I don't see how I could begin a conversation on the indispensable value of tolerance by poking them in the eye and handing such an opportunity for hell-raising to the very worst of them. That is simply not prudent, nor is it good faith.
If you took my response to you about Mark Steyn as dismissive and condescending, I apologize.
And if I misread your original statement, "MARK STEYN? Why read him of all people?" as dismissive and condescending to his article and viewpoint, I apologize for that, too.
I’ve been subscribing to the St. Kitts Nevis mailing list since I was living in St. Kitts. At irregular intervals I ask myself what is the point, it takes up a lot of space in my mailbox, not to mention the time deleting the messages, I don’t like most of the people on the list and my contributions to any discussion are met, most of the time, with silence or worse.
Those with blemishes should not throw stones.
LEGAL ACTION ARE IN PROGRESS AGAINST THE DEMOCRAT FOR ‘LIBEL”. Professor Malaprop here, never gets through even a subject header without abusing both the caps lock key and the English language. Now, there is
Proof that Education is Important
Guys, we should respect our age!
God’s creation in pairs!could be glurge, I don’t want to know.
Explicate His Wonders!
Got up this morning and read nothing about Bradshaw. THANK YOU JESUS.
I went to a Superbowl party last night at a house in DC somewhere, I cannot tell you where. It was pleasant people. I was there for a little more than three hours, got there after the game had started. Hung out sort of around the fringes as I only knew one person there, but I did have some interesting conversations particularly at the end where I got into a lively discussion with a group of -- of all things -- academics. Subjects: reverse influences of colonialism like Indian design transforming English fashion, economic development and relationship with cultural development; how does cultural development happen?; how do attitudes change?: Christianity as a sort of "mental technology" for changing minds; what an intransigent beast the human imagination can be. That came up because the economics perfesser was telling me how much he liked the Greek thinkers. I said, yeah, they should be like the reward for converting to Christianity --as in, "wait, forget about that here's the really good stuff, it's our private stash". But then he pointed out that Aristotle never considered slaves his equal as human beings. I said that that was not something I would quarrel with Aristotle about at this stage, I am so apprehensive of discussions of slavery reaching for cheap emotional effects. But this guy, instead of pursuing that, mercifully said something much more interesting. He marveled at how blind Aristotle was to the whole question, like it had never occurred to him. At which point I said that showed you how something can be a huge part of your mental furniture, something that is present in your life every day, and you don't see it.
Eric, my friend in Sebastopol, reads what I write here. He sent me this comment on my Frey/Oprah post.
The Smoking Gun looked into the jail record and other things that could be fact-checked. And the debateafterwards has all centered on the relationship with Oprah and the decisions of Talese and the categories of memoir etc. Not a lot is being written about what is true in the book.
I have a teenage son who felt it was the greatest thing he'd ever read. So I read it and was dutifully gripped by the present-tense fervor of the thing..and at the same time noticed dozens of suspicious signposts that a barely-emerged adolescent male would skim over. I ended up saying that I thought it would have been better if he had just called it a novel. (Of course that wasn't quite true. A novel staggering with such improbabilities would have fallen over too)
But what seems left out of the articles I 've read are thethings one assumes he is telling the truth about in the book.
He lets drop that he made it straight through four years at a Good college. Despite the tales of drug & alcohol oblivion from the age of 12...? His parents were very, very wealthy. They sent him off to Paris after school. Why didn't this alone set off bells? This was a kid of immense privilege... not a gutter-dwelling ravaged teenager. Then there is the point where he admits his only love affair in college fell apart because he was impotent.
Why didn't anyone say: hmmm. A rich boy from a good school gets hooked on something & his parents pay for the finest treatment program in the country. He has a great need to fantasize potency. He writes a memoir in which he is the hero in impossible situations of physical pain and threat. He comes through valiantly time after time. He is dubbed a knight by a Mafioso chieftain who adopts him as a son. He wins the admiration of the toughest inmates. He is disdainful of the God-centered treatment program and will "do it on his own", something 'no one has ever done'. He singlehandedly rescues his wraith of a girlfriend from blowing some guy in a crack den that must be the most lurid & dangerous place on earth.
I looked at the first chapter of the second book... it starts with him in jail. He's immediately jumped by the baddest biggest black guy who then spares him, & tells him the cops paid him to attack Frey. That's how bad he is, the cops pay to have him beat up in jail! Then this guy Tenderloin Jones sees him with a book and has him read to him, War & Peace I think it is...for months! oh lord. That's when I knew how far he had gone in making it all up. I knew the dental work without painkiller was a lie. I knew the Mafia chief was a lie. But that jail scene. Whew.
When I was in jail, in 1968...(and I don't want to say that my experience disproves or proves anything...but it leaps up at me in contrast with the lie in Frey's story)....I was trying to find books in the prison library, and not having much luck. An older black man approached me one day, said "I see you like to read....have you ever read Faulkner?" I said 'only Absolom'....he said, 'not the Snopes trilogy?' I said no..that I'd felt a little uneasy about his writing about Mississippi, had read some radical critiques . The guy said I was misinformed. "Faulkner is the greatest. You have to read him. HAVE to. Forget all that crap from the Movement people about Faulkner. He knows the South man, knows it, and the writing is just beautiful." He gave me the book and it set me along a kind of life in jail of reading voraciously and trading and loaning books all over. Hesse came my way from a young hippie, an old junkie pushed "Dune" on me...it was one of the ways my time became tolerable. But ...when I imagine a Tenderloin Jones asking me to read to him in full view of the rest of the jail, every day? Hnnnh.
A last word. My son's enjoyment...there is a great need to have extreme experience at his age, in a little shire protected from the carnage of the Times. He loved Fight Club too. And that first person, present tense writing can really suck you in, it's a fast read as they say. So, aside from the appeal to people who love to read of degradation & recovery, there is also this market of wannabe guys, just aching to prove their own fledgling potency. Nothing new really. But, I think I should recommend Faulkner.
He has a blog called Judging Crimes. He works, as some of you know, as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Mexico. He has the most interesting theory (possibly the only interesting theory) about homicide rates in the US. And you can check out his supporting evidence too.
But I did enjoy this point-by-point commentary by blogger Kung Fu Monkey on the egregious Jason Apuzzo.