Building the Insanity In: Ex Machina

This is not a movie review. This is me thinking about empathy. Last night, lonely little ol’ me sat in a hotel room in Laramie, Wyomig (inauspiciously named for Jacques LaRamie, a French or French-Canadian trapper who disappeared in the Laramie Mountains in the late 1810s and was never heard from again–nice choice, Laramie). I […]

Dislodged Giant: Can We Use Stevens to Interpret Dickinson?

You tell me. “I thought that nature was enough” by Emily Dickinson I thought that nature was enough Till Human nature came But that the other did absorb As Parallax a Flame— Of Human nature just aware There added the Divine Brief struggle for capacity The power to contain Is always as the contents But […]

By Force of Law

Nothing new under the sun. Why do you suppose a “Sanders” presidency would change what is described below in Chapter 12 of William Morris’s News From Nowhere? The concept of property trumps everything. ******* “I suppose you know pretty well what the process of government was in the bad old times?” “I am supposed to […]

Now You Know What A Horse Is: Views On Education in the 19th Century

Schools are scenes of extreme manipulation and coercion. Our national and state interest in them is less than benign, or as the soft-hearted among us might say, less than caring. Let us, residents of our towns where our children go to school, take them over and force the issue. The State has no interest in […]

A Rule of Storytelling and Unhappiness

As my friend began reading William Morris’s News From Nowhere, or, An Epic of Rest, I thought I might take that journey too–and the existence of an audio recording guaranteed it. (Plus, what a great damn subtitle to entice a guy like me!) I’ve only just started, just now finishing Chapter 5 on this morning’s […]

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By Metaphor Alone

Motivation matters. If the scientific method (which we make into the massive all-encompassing abstraction of SCIENCE to compete with the millennia-eating abstraction GOD)…if the scientific method is a metaphor premising failure (we do not know and what we discover leads to a failure of knowing…the infinite is unknowable, the Nothing that came before is unknowable) […]

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Pea Soup and Poetry

A poem, for me, is often very clearly a response to what I am reading and the way it fits into my material existence. The poem in other words is both a reflection on literature and the way that literature seems to become a meaningful part of my life, my thinking. Sometimes, it seems as […]

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A Commons Or A Prison

I prepared the following for the Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice. From Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.” Before I built a wall I’d ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants […]

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The Working Day Redux

There are no honest capitalists. While there are no exact figures on the extent of wage theft, authorities say it is rampant in such industries as construction, garment manufacturing, restaurants and home health care. The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor reported in 2012 that of more than 1,800 restaurant investigations […]

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The Tragedy of Influential (White Supremacist) Liars: Distorting the Commons (Against Fair Housing and Civil Rights)

How can we measure the influence of bad ideas? If there is anything to learn from the “system” of social […]

Learn to Read, Güero

Last night we saw a movie with friends and then went out to share a meal and chat. Normal sounding […]

Happiness Is Notoriously Difficult To Describe

Preface to the Paperback Edition of George Kateb’s Utopia and Its Enemies (1972, 1963). “Of course, no honest person claims […]

UPDATED: Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs, Oh My!

I watched American Sniper (prepping for an interview with Clint Eastwood biographer Patrick McGilligan tomorrow on Interchange) and there is […]

Sierpinski Schmierpinski – On What the Writer Intends

The below is from the radio program “Bookworm” (4/11/96) with Michael Silverblatt. It is an interview with David Foster Wallace […]

Ellen Willis Is Essential

About a year ago there was a very dismissive review written by Lisa Levy published in the Los Angeles Review of Books […]