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Archive for the ‘memory’ Category

I’m really not enjoying the strange journey of race in the presidential election thing. I doubt many people are, save for the occasional Karl Rove, for whom it is a fabulous tactic – if you’re creative. I must admit to being surprised, though, to see the issue of reparations come up. It’s a nuanced and compelling issue, if one has the time to examine all of the folds. It’s about memory, state history, back wages, social justice, economics, the nature of representation, and so on. But that’s too much to ask. Turns out, sometimes a non-reparation actually is one.

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Reprinted from The Public Humanist. It is always a nice thing to see Socrates made contemporary. Or at least have something to say about about contemporary things, so I’m just so pleased to see Robert Meagher write this piece about fear and hope. The range – and so the possibilities – of human emotion is one of those perennial philosophical issues. And too much evidence points to the constant presence of fear, too little presence of hope. I find a small thread of both hope and fear in the same place these days: race and all those companion emotions.

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I’ll add to the huge number of editorials and blogs on Obama’s “big speech on race.” I read the transcript and watched a bit of it, but not without some regret that it had come to this moment. Why did Obama have to give this sort of speech? Who provoked it and why? But it was provoked. No going back from that. And he gave what, to my mind, was a solid and actually quite brave account of his relation to all sorts of pain. (more…)

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I’ve debated whether or not to blog on Columbus Day. Not “on” this particular day – though a case can be made for a day of silence today – but “about” this day, this figure, this holiday. I’d decided not. I didn’t want to be too trite or repetitive, just rehearsing now familiar stuff about Columbus as murderer and vanguard of what became a bloody, cruel rot in the heart of European “civilization.” (more…)

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Yesterday was the second anniversary of the disaster we call Katrina. I was surprised that there was no reading of names, no pause for a moment to remember each soul lost, as there is when we remember so many other tragedies. (more…)

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It had to happen. The problem of outsourcing is very real for the United States, and puts us all in such a precarious political and social space. Politically, outsourcing is bad for us because it chooses cheaper labor at the expense of our national interest in reasonable (full?) employment for our fellow citizens. Socially, outsourcing is good for the consumer self, providing cheap goods and services for a lot of us. I’ll skip the familiar reflection on how this is capitalism’s endgame, etc., and just underscore the fact that all of it is just so precarious. We’re off-balance when balance might really help. Outsourcing. Sigh.

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It has been a few days since Peru suffered this terrible earthquake. The suffering, of course, is ongoing and will be for some time. Usually, I reserve this space for fairly theoretical stuff, or at least comments with some distance from affected parties. But Peru is special to me. I’ve spent time there, I have friends there, I do research and write on the country, and so it is more than just a news story. An earthquake is really just sad. There is little more to say. No one causes this sort of thing and a place like Peru – one of the poorest countries in the Americas – means the most vulnerable will be affected. Still, I wanted to say a little personal thing or two about the Ica department, where nearly all of the devastation took place (and is ongoing).

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