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Papal Remembering

It is no surprise when important people or institutions forget. After all, part of maintaining yourself as important – by which I mean powerful – is sustaining the image or impression that you are always new. That, in some fundamental way, you came about just yesterday or so. The language of freedom, goodness, and justice in the United States is exemplary. And part of what it means to be from this country, to love the new. This can be beautiful. Come from somewhere, re-invent yourself here. Millions have done so. This can be ugly, as when one forgets how violence that “coming from somewhere” can become. Or just our own genocidal history, slavery, and so on. With religion, things are a bit more complicated. Consider the Pope’s recent remarks…

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Family Souljah

I’m officially a regular blogger again, starting today.

I really have a small comment to make, but maybe one that has big implications. No matter, I guess, as only a couple of hundred will read this, though I feel compelled to say this because I care about things like reason. To start: I remember the original Sister Souljah moment. It confirmed what I thought then and have always thought: Bill Clinton was icky, cruel, and actually quite comfortable being anti-black. That’s why this primary season had me barely (if that) restraining “told ya” every time the news had Bill’s newest quip about Obama.

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And now forty years

We remember people on their birthdays. As a nation, that is. We forget to remember them with holidays, days of remembrance, or even just a few minutes of silence on the anniversary of death. Even when that death is so monumental. I’ve thought all day about what to say about 4 April, today.

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Fear, Hope

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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El Son No Ha Muerto

This is really a small post of memorial. On Easter, so a day about resurrection (a wonderful story, whether or not one believes). Which makes me wish we’d have some resurrection of a giant of the musical arts – Israel Lopez passed away in Miami. He was amazing and a part of so much great sound. Cachao is a reminder of why our (in the U.S.) near total ignorance of Cuba and Cuban culture is a loss.

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Keeping Company

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. Continue Reading »

Two things struck me in recent campaign commentary and “controversy.” They say a lot about how, even at a moment when we are witnessing an unthinkable, the pain of the past seems to fog our vision. Yes, I’m talking about how it is entirely possible that we will have a black president. I wonder if we’ve even begun to register how the once unthinkable is almost mundanely becoming, well, thinkable (don’t we expect a bigger soundtrack?). The moment it becomes so momentous, however, that moment is being sunk by how painful the history that makes it “a moment” actually is… Continue Reading »