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Showing posts from November 29, 2020

Second Wind: a poem by Karen Chamisso

  First wind came out of the womb Guzzling atmosphere like champagne Bawling the certainty of self. Second wind came out of recess - a whistle, the line of girls -the pecking order had my heart in its hands. At midcourse I saw behind me My blundering enemy Jane, flushed With her evil weight and ways. ‘Where the foxe is earthed blow for the terriers After the maner.” Birth of second wind Out of the death of the fox The wolf, and the deer. I was by the tenth grade mistress Of the breathing art, took my enemies three two one. I was Coach's girl, until I discovered pot and cigs. My second wind, my second wind Another ghost howls in my wrack and wreck.

controversial opinions: if Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty, they are heroes

  John Quiggins at Crooked Timber published a post last week about controversial opinions.  He describes tweeting two of his controversial opinions, to see what response he would get. The two opinions are: there should have been more nuclear power plants built over the last 50 years, and less coal used; and two, world war 1 was a useless waste of life.  Although I disagree with one, as Quiggins presents it, and agree with two, both of these opinions do not seem that far off the track.  I have an opinion that is further off the track, I think. I think that if Julius and Ethel Rosenberg really did steal the "secret" of the atom bomb for the Soviets, then the world should name a holiday for them. That was one of the most humanitarian acts of the twentieth century. I'd backup my argument by saying: the U.S. showed an incredible moral blindness, or perhaps immorality, with its turn from the thirties - when the official American position decried bombing civilians as a war crime

Cultural relativism, mon amour

  I think of myself as a cultural relativist, but I am constantly irritated at my fellow culture relativists and the debate they wage with their antipodes, the various kinds of moral absolutists. I have a list of complaints, but I will hold back the full thesis, and content myself with merely two of them. 1.         The wrong enemy. There has been a long and, to my mind, futile hunt and peck debate between the relativists and the absolutists concerning the universality of this or that custom or norm. Relativists like to point to things like the fact that the pharaohs of Egypt married their sisters, and absolutists like to point to the universality of the incest taboo. This debate was waged to an extent in the ancient world, but in modernity, it was the discovery of America, and the difference of the Americans, that kickstarted it in the seventeenth century. Seventeenth century writers loved to list the odd beliefs and customs they found among the Americans, and from these lists sprang