nojo

In Surgery, No One Can Hear You Scream

Don’t mind us, just getting a sigmoid colectomy this week.

Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018

Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76 [NYT]

Party Out of Bounds

Seeing as we have a master’s in philosophy and all that, it’s not like we haven’t given sustained thought to mortality and consciousness.

The two are conjoined, at least as we know it: Life is consciousness, our awareness of ourselves, our world, the continuum of our experience. We may live in an eternal Now, but Now for us includes stories of Then, and dreams of Later. Which is where language comes in, since language is the articulation of our consciousness, our stories, our past participles and future perfects. Without language, our lives are just one damn thing after another. With language, our lives have shape.

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On Legitimacy

In the Declaration, right after the familiar bit about unalienable rights, there’s a passage with more than a little relevance to our travails some 240 years later:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

This provides a simple, enduring definition of what qualifies as a legitimate government: Lacking the consent of its citizens, no government can claim to rule. Anything less leads to despotism.

The United States is, by the definition of its founders, an illegitimate, despotic government. This was blindingly true at its founding: one race was enslaved, one sex denied the franchise. The high ideals of our founding were not fulfilled by their implementation.

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The T-Word

For a brief moment Monday, we thought something happened.

The President of the United States, on live television, demonstrated fealty to a foreign dictator, a man whose country has been methodically undermining our electoral system, and all hell broke loose. Suddenly that word, the Word That Must Not Be Spoken, the word that best describes what is happening and has been happening, escaped into mainstream discussion.

It didn’t last. Within twenty-four hours, the T-Word had been shoved back into the closet. By Friday, discussion had returned to conventional corruption. But it was too late. The T-Word came out. It’ll come out again.

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The Coldest War

There’s really nothing new to say. Our country has been attacked, it continues to be attacked, and a frighteningly substantial number of people are fine with that, including a frighteningly substantial number of elites in government and media.

This is the case. If it were not the case, everything would look and sound a lot different.

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The Hypocrisy Game

When Bill Clinton won his first presidential election, in 1992, it was an Electoral College landslide — 370 votes to Poppy Bush’s 168. He also won the three-way popular vote by almost 6 million.

But, alas, Bubba lacked a “mandate” — his 44 million votes only amounted to 43 percent. Short of 50, the reasoning went, no sale.

Whose reasoning? Conservatives, of course.

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