My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interests (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.
…My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress
"The Border, however, easily trumps the Strip as surrealist landscape. Spanish offers the useful distinction between La Línea, the physical and jurisprudential border with its 300 million individual crossing each year, and La Frontera, the distinctive, 2000-mile long zone of daily cultural and economic interchange it defines, with an estimated 10 million inhabitants. All borders, of course, are historically specific institutions, and La Línea, even in its present Berlin Wall-like configuration, has never been intended to stop labor from migrating al otro lado. On the contrary, it functions like a dam, creating a reservoir of labor-power on the Mexican side of the border that can be tapped on demand via the secret aqueduct managed by polleros, iguanas, and coyotes (as smugglers of workers and goods are locally known) for the farms of south Texas, the hotels of Las Vegas, and the sweat shops of Los Angeles. At the same time, the Border patrol maintains a dramatic show of force along the border to reassure voters that the threat of alien invasion (a phantom largely created by border militarization itself) is being contained. ‘The paradox of U.S.-Mexico integration is that a barricaded border and a borderless economy are being constructed simultaneously.’”
Siamese Twins, Magical Urbanism (Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City), Mike Davis
"Hispanic/Latino" is not merely and artificial, racialized box like "Asian-American," invented by the majority society to uncomfortably contain individuals of the most emphatically disparate national origins who may subsequently develop some loosely shared identity as a reaction-formation to this labeling. Nor is it simply a marketing ploy — like right-wing Coors brewery’s opportunist promotion of the 1980’s as the "Decade of the Hispanic" — that exploits superficial national similarities in language, cuisine, and fashion. To be Latino in the United States is rather to participate in a unique process of cultural syncretism that may become a transformative templace for the whole society. Latinidad, Flores emphasizes, has nothing to do with “post-modern aesthetic indeterminacy… It is practice rather than representation of Latino identity. And it is on this terrain that Latinos wage their cultural politics as a social-movement.” As in Octavio Paz’s famous definition of mexicanidad, to be Latino is “not an essence but a history.”
Buscando America, Magical Urbanism (Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City), Mike Davis
It is the courage to make a clean breast of it in face of every question that makes the philosopher. He must be like Sophocles’s Oedipus, who, seeking [enlightenment] concerning his terrible fate, pursues his indefatigable [inquiry], even when he divines that appalling horror awaits him in the answer. But most of us carry in our heart the Jocasta who begs Oedipus for God’s sake not to inquire further…
From a letter of Schopenhauer to Goethe, November 1815
I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.
Letter from Edgar Allan Poe to Mrs. M. Clemm, July 7, 1849
'You know what man really desires?' inquired the doctor, grinning into the immobile face of the Baron. 'One of two things: to find someone who is so stupid that he can lie to her, or to love someone so much that she can lie to him.'
Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
The miseries that people suffer through their particular abnormalities of temperament are visible on the surface: the deeper design is that of the human misery and bondage which is universal. In normal lives this misery is mostly concealed; often, what is most wretched of all, concealed from the sufferer more effectively than from the observer. The sick man does not know what is wrong with him; he partly wants to know, and mostly wants to conceal the knowledge from himself. In the Puritan morality that I remember, it was tacitly assumed that if one was thrifty, enterprising, intelligent, practical and prudent in not violating social conventions, one ought to have a happy and “successful” life. Failure was due to some weakness or perversity peculiar to the individual; but the decent man need have no nightmares. It is now rather more common to assume that all individual misery is the fault of “society,” and is remediable by alterations from without. Fundamentally, the two philosophies, however different they may appear in operation, are the same. It seems to me that all of us, so far as we attach ourselves to created objects and surrender our wills to temporal ends, are eaten by the same worm.
T. S. Eliot, from his introduction to Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood
My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been. The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of the thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.
Howard Zinn, Preface from The Twentieth Century
The bureau’s strategy has changed significantly from the days when officials feared another coordinated, internationally financed attack from an Al Qaeda sleeper cell. Today, counterterrorism experts believe groups like Al Qaeda, battered by the war in Afghanistan and the efforts of the global intelligence community, have shifted to a franchise model, using the internet to encourage sympathizers to carry out attacks in their name. The main domestic threat, as the FBI sees it, is a lone wolf.
The bureau’s answer has been a strategy known variously as “preemption,” “prevention,” and “disruption”—identifying and neutralizing potential lone wolves before they move toward action. To that end, FBI agents and informants target not just active jihadists, but tens of thousands of law-abiding people, seeking to identify those disgruntled few who might participate in a plot given the means and the opportunity. And then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.
I think Mr Paul’s influence on the ideological cast of American conservatism has been underestimated and underreported, but to take even his influence, if not his candidacy, more seriously would require the talking haircuts and the newspaper typing corps to wrestle with a charged set of geopolitical and economic topics they would rather continue helping Americans not understand.
I know something worse than hate: abstract love.
I cannot understand anti-abortion arguments that centre on the sanctity of life. As a species, we’ve fairly comprehensively demonstrated that we don’t believe in the sanctity of life. The shrugging acceptance of war, famine, epidemic, pain and life-long, grinding poverty shows us that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’ve made only the most feeble of efforts to really treat human life as sacred.
I don’t understand, then, why, in the midst of all this, pregnant women - women trying to make rational decisions about their futures and, usually, that of their families, too - should be subject to more pressure about preserving life than, say, Vladimir Putin, the World Bank, or the Catholic Church.
How To Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran (via petitefeministe)
George Carlin said it better, but, I’ll take this too.
The night is my nudity
the stars are my teeth
I throw myself among the dead
dressed in white sunlight
Death dwells in my heart
like a little widow
she sobs she is a coward
I could vomit
the widow laughs to the skies
and rips the birds to pieces