Somewhere along the line, I learned that racism was over. Nobody told me that. But I learned that the way we get over race was by pretending it didn't exist. Even so, it still was wisdom to lock your doors when a black man crossed the street in front of your car.
Hillbilly Elegy will vaccinate you against the idea that whiteness per se is a winning lottery ticket, and it will help you see the people of all races who are struggling in the hollowed-out towns of the Rust Belt.
Bernie Sanders is clear-and-away the Christian choice for president. He began his political career organizing for civil rights and was arrested during a sit-in. That's prophetic. And when you listen to his speeches over the years, his words are likewise prophetic. Not in the sense of "predicting the future," but in the sense of speaking timeless truth to power--the Biblical meaning of the word. And why wouldn't he sound like a Hebrew prophet? He is a Jew, raised on the Hebrew Scriptures.
I am often puzzled by our culture's need to supersize a story out of the realm where ordinary people can relate to it. Why must we make all things epic? When was the last time you faced an absolute evil that required you to don full chain mail? And so, I was again caught flat-footed by the Peter Jackson Hobbit franchise. Why inject a cosmic battle of good against evil into Tolkiens' humble tale of a hobbit far from home caught in forces beyond his reckoning?
Emma Watson gave an excellent speech to the UN where she claimed that men suffer from gender stereotypes, too. She called men to join women struggling for feminism, and asked men to draw from experiences of being stereotyped because of their gender in order to join in the struggle for women’s rights. So I ask: how can a white man draw from his experience of gender stereotypes? Is a white man’s experience of gender stereotypes really comparable to a woman’s experience of patriarchy?
While reading "How Playing Good Christian Housewife Almost Killed Me," I thought about Bakunin, a Russian anarchist and atheist, who once said, "If God did exist, it would be necessary to abolish him." There are truly dark gods of bondage and patriarchy that must be slain.
As Vyckie Garrison explains,
In medieval Europe, when books were copied by hand onto scraped hide; monks would painstakingly illustrate the first letter of important pages and fill the margins with figures and designs. Text was expensive and the illumination of texts was often a spiritual discipline that venerated the writings.
Back in 2004, on our honeymoon in Central America, visiting the remote sites of US-inspired massacres, I caught giardia, an intestinal parasite, and I held onto it for five years despite multiple courses of antibiotics. I spent many Saturdays napping, barely holding it together from the week. I felt like my insides were falling apart.
We think we know what we believe. We think that we believe in life after death or the resurrection, or in the virginity of Mary. But mostly, belief is what we say we believe when we're being grilled by a fundamentalist or reciting the Nicene Creed. Belief is social performance. We believe we believe something when we tell others we believe it.
I have always believed in magic. Perhaps I believe in magic because I would be bored by a world limned by quadratic equations. But more than that, I don't think we'll ever be able to map the complexities that arise from the simplest of rules. There will always be room for the mystery that has propelled humanity since the inception of language.
In college, I wrote a program to describe the behavior of ants. When they found food, they laid down "pheromones" as they carried it back to the hive. Other ants would follow the pheromone trail to the food, laying down more pheromones. Based on these rules, I expected my ants to behave like flesh-drugged zombies. But what boggled my mind was when the ants appeared excited by the pheromone trail. Behavior emerged from this incredibly simple system that I couldn't explain, even though I'd coded it. I was ignorant to the complexities arising from even the simplest of rules. How much more ignorant are we in understanding the infinite complexity emerging from the human mind? Or complexities emerging from human language?