It’s worrying sometimes when movies deal with material as fiction that has a lot of reality to it, particularly if that reality is not commonly known. There is some fiction that tells truths about the world and gets away with it by pretending to be purely fantastical; perhaps other fiction obfuscates truths by making them seem implausible by setting them in fiction, among other wildly fantastical elements. When there’s a story, a set of truthful claims, that would deeply unsettle the closely-held beliefs of many viewers, and it is surfaced first as fiction, it’s really hard to engage it again later as fact. “Really, come on?!” the self-regulating, fiction-from-reality-discerning mind - or the self-defending-water-muddying authority figure - will reply incredulously, “this is real life, not the plot of some action thriller.”
When the Next Terrorist Attack Comes, Will We Be Capable of Keeping Our Heads? -
As we start a new war, it’s worth considering the question now.
Many questions raised by this article. The premise is basically this: The US has an extremely low tolerance for damage by foreign forces, and a fear of foreign attack that is unhinged from the probability and observed occurrence of said attack. This lives kinda absurdly alongside the fact that we have an enormous tolerance for damage from indigenous sources (poorly managed guns, medical error, overconsumption of sugar as a business model), and undersized fear of this damage compared to the probability and observed occurrence of damage.
Further, because of our ability and willingness to project force around the globe, there is a direct relationship between our unwillingness to tolerate any damage from foreign sources, and the casual guarantee that other societies will suffer massive damage (i.e. it’s seen as legitimate that a thousand arab civilians might die to prevent one American civilian death).
All this leaves me wondering how people weigh threats. Is there a legitimate reason for a state to weigh outside threats on a completely different scale than inside ones? Is there a legitimate distinction to be made by individuals between attack and say corruption or malfeasance as damage inducers? Are national borders a legitimate weighting criteria? Is the intent of the damaging agents? Is this all just a cognitive hiccup of a brain evolved to parse threat through an in-group/out-group filter? Is the mark of a sophisticated, even compassionate, society the capacity to strategically not respond, to accept and absorb some damage?
To Body Mod Away From Brownness and Back -
People want the rugged authenticity of being different without actually being punished for it — and I understand why they do it. I recognize the insecurity. Just a decade ago, my peers were flinging words like “terrorist” and “faggot” to me in the halls of our high school. Now I’m “trendy” and “fierce.” Either assessment rings lonely and desperate. How they are tremendously afraid of being insignificant. How the fantasy of race that they have projected on my body makes me have some mystic power they are jealous of. They are afraid of boring. They are afraid of being nothing. They are in a constant state of falling — grasping for all of the bindis, beards, dashikis, gauges that they hold on to to feel relevant. And what hurts the most is that when they do it, it magically becomes beautiful. It becomes a beard worth $8,500 and not a beard worth five bullets. When the white body wears our scars, they finally become beautiful.
Every brown boy has a story about the hair. Pluck it out of him. He’s used to it.
I still love the people I’ve loved, even if I cross the street to avoid them. — Uma Thurman (via stellablu)
(Source: jarrodis, via tortillaknife)
Snapchat, Huxley and Orwell -
Huxley deals a lot with man’s “infinite appetite for distraction”, and extending from it, an economy of attention ruled by the inane, that nurtures an unreflective culture and allows power/authority to operate unquestioned. I’m afraid that Snapchat, in its ephemerality and structural content limitations (e.g. character limit, not possible to link off to other content), demands, or at least suggests as primary, vacuousness on a whole other level than media like Facebook or Twitter. It suggests that we should share things not worth keeping…
I would like to see a qualified Negro as President of the United States. But I suspect that even if this were today possible, the necessities of the office would shape his actions far more than his racial identity. — Ralph Ellison (via homonoire)
The Spirit and the Soul | Jack Gilbert
Had I the crude and scrannel rhymes to suit
the melancholy hole upon which all
the other circling crags converge and rest,
the juice of my conception would be pressed
more fully; but because I feel their lack,
I bring myself to speak, yet speak in fear;
for it is not a task to take in jest,
to show the base of all the universe-
nor for a tongue that cries out, “mama,” “papa.” — Dante Alighieri, Inferno
God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please, — you can never have both. Between these, as a pendulum, man oscillates.
He in whom the love of repose predominates will accept the first creed, the first philosophy, the first political party he meets, — most likely his father’s. He gets rest, commodity, and reputation; but he shuts the door of truth.
He in whom the love of truth predominates will keep himself aloof from all moorings, and afloat. He will abstain from dogmatism, and recognize all the opposite negations, between which, as walls, his being is swung.
He submits to the inconvenience of suspense and imperfect opinion, but he is a candidate for truth, as the other is not, and respects the highest law of his being.
Sometimes, often while drunk, I leave myself notes, only to find them months or years later. Here’s one I stumbled across from June 2013. I was somewhere in Colombia.
Every song seems an ode to my inadequacy. I need salsa like I need air. I’ll never breathe free until my feet know what my hips have known from the first instant I stood erect. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I just know? Salsa is all that matters; the rest is just waiting to die.
And if all that is meaningless, I want to be cured
Of a craving for something I cannot find
And of the shame of never finding it. — T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party (via bbook)
(Source: larmoyante, via thepiquant)
Note to self: Don’t let the ache of all the books you haven’t read, may never read, cripple you - keeping you from reading any books at all.