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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 […]

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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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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 about Infinite Jest and this snippet focuses on the structure of the novel (and the novelist’s intentions). MS: Yes it does, but I wanted to suggest, at least for me, that the organization of the […]

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The Tyranny of Technological Replication

I’m never sure how I can defend a critique against technology–it seems as though we have gained so much. And whenever I rant against drones or iPads (or the very device upon which I’m pecking) someone will pipe up, “I s’pose you’d prefer we didn’t have penicillin either!” Maybe. I’m really not sure. By which […]

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It Plays You: Mingus on Electric Instruments

Selections from a Charles Mingus interview from February 1972, in Mingus Speaks, by John F. Goodman. I think it’s time that good musicians get rid of electric instruments, because a good musician can’t play an electronic instrument; it plays you. For instance, if you want to bend a note, you’ve got to push a button […]

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**UPDATED**In Contradiction Against Itself: The CIA and The Government

UPDATED: 5/21 [I've added one example of Slahi's book as an illustration of the Report on Torture--there are many others I may add later.] Last night on Interchange (The State of Terror: Guantanamo Diary) the conversation centered on the literary nature of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary.  Guest Scott Korb has written about the Diary as […]

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If You Really Want to Know the Truth: Salinger’s Influence on Mohamedou Ould Slahi

I am reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary. Well, actually, listening to it. You can find out a lot about it at The Guardian website dedicated to it. Something I heard and noticed I have listened to about half of the book and I had heard Slahi say this: Meanwhile, I kept getting books in […]

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Druid Hill, 1969

I’ve known Dean Smith for over twenty years. Dean gave me his book of poetry American Boy upon its being published…I loved “Druid Hill, 1969″ immediately and took to Amazon.com to say so. What I said then, dear heavens, nearly 15 years ago–the age of my oldest child–is pretty much what I’d still say. But, […]

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In the Heart or In the Head

Andrew Bird’s “Darkmatter,” a riff on a song from The Merchant of Venice. Tell me where is fancy bred, Or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished? Reply, reply. It is engender’d in the eyes, With gazing fed; and fancy dies In the cradle where it lies. Let us all ring […]

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All Over Lost

I am nearly 47. I am very old and extremely ignorant of what has meaning to so many people these days. This piece in The New York Times by Leon Wieseltier (h/t Colin Allen), Among the Disrupted, pretty much expresses much of what I feel regarding the way the speed of “cultural transmission” allows for […]

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Explanation and Example: Capitalist Nationalism

**Reformist consciousness was famously described by Gramsci as “dual” or “contradictory”; on the one hand accepting the permanence of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

By Metaphor Alone

Motivation matters. If the scientific method (which we make into the massive all-encompassing abstraction of SCIENCE to compete with the […]

By Force of Law

Nothing new under the sun. Why do you suppose a “Sanders” presidency would change what is described below in Chapter […]

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 […]