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Showing posts from October 1, 2017

reflections on killing

The rhetoric around killing is always full of euphemisms. Soldiers, in the euphemistic parlance, “protect us”. Drone bombings “target terrorists”. If you crash two jets into the World Center, you’ve committed a massive act of “terrorism”, and if you carelessly evacuate Fallujah and go street by street wiping out armed insurgents, you have “pacified” it. All involve dancing around putting holes in human beings, burning them alive, crushing their vertebrae, smashing their internal organs, chopping off their limbs, and otherwise butchering them with less surgical precision than is brought, normally, to the butchering of a calf for veal. So the struggle to define what Stephan Paddock did goes on without questioning the dressing we put around butchery. Nobody wants to say that any nation that bombs another nation in a display of “Shock and Awe” is definitely and explicitly engaging in terrorism. Or that terrorism is the logical, pathological effect of any attempt to sheer off parts of

We can make mass killings a win-win

Yes, as people from other cultures often say, Americans lack a reverence for life. The mass killing incidents prove it. 8 there in Fort Worth, 49 there in Orlando, 59 and counting in Vegas - on and on and on and on. But what nobody can deny is that Americans have a sense of fun! This is why we need to make these mass killing incidents more like the holidays they are. What I'm proposing is that the NRA, in conjunction with the GOP and maybe Hallmark, come up with the appropriate card for Mass Killing day. Which definitely comes more than once a year! With the line, obviously, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to ...." It will be your city or township soon, don't worry! Also popular would be, say, "it is too soon to politicize a human tragedy!" GOP politicos would be a big market for a card like that. But the cards only handle a part of the mass killing event. How about a mascot? What makes Christmas Christmas? Santa Claus. And what makes it better than

notes on the wheelbarrow

  In my family, since time immemorial – which I date back to my fourth year, when I became vaguely conscious of the world – there was always a wheelbarrow. This was because, back then, my dad was a carpenter, or rather housebuilder – he not only did the framing but poured the foundation and did the wiring and put on the roof, etc. – and a wheelbarrow was an essential tool of the trade. Even when he stopped being a carpenter, he kept a wheelbarrow handy for household tasks, or for planting, etc. This meant that a wheelbarrow was always propped up somewhere around the house – in the garage, in a storage hut or greenhouse, under the porch. There were different wheelbarrows, but the one I remember best was painted a deep blue. It had a pleasing number of dints in the metal part of it. I have nice memories of Dad mixing concrete in this wheelbarrow. The bags would be compact, and yellow, with a string along the top that you could tug to open it. But mostly what you did was plop the b