It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, ‘Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,’ or ‘Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.’ They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross, 1909 (via historical-nonfiction)

It is the one great weakness of journalism as a picture of our modern existence, that it must be a picture made up entirely of exceptions. We announce on flaring posters that a man has fallen off a scaffolding. We do not announce on flaring posters that a man has not fallen off a scaffolding. Yet this latter fact is fundamentally more exciting, as indicating that that moving tower of terror and mystery, a man, is still abroad upon the earth. That the man has not fallen off a scaffolding is really more sensational; and it is also some thousand times more common. But journalism cannot reasonably be expected thus to insist upon the permanent miracles. Busy editors cannot be expected to put on their posters, ‘Mr. Wilkinson Still Safe,’ or ‘Mr. Jones, of Worthing, Not Dead Yet.’ They cannot announce the happiness of mankind at all. They cannot describe all the forks that are not stolen, or all the marriages that are not judiciously dissolved. Hence the complex picture they give of life is of necessity fallacious; they can only represent what is unusual. However democratic they may be, they are only concerned with the minority.

G.K. Chesterton, The Ball and the Cross, 1909 (via historical-nonfiction)

Filed in New York District Court, the suit … claims that Pinkus ‘engaged in a scheme to dupe Harper Lee, then 80-years-old with declining hearing and eye sight, into assigning her valuable TKAM [To Kill a Mockingbird] copyright to [Pinkus’s company] for no consideration,’ and then created shell companies and bank accounts to which the book’s royalties were funneled.

On the ongoing legal battle over the rights to To Kill a Mockingbird (via millionsmillions)

Motherfucker of the moment goes to Samuel L. Pinkus.


Filed in New York District Court, the suit … claims that Pinkus ‘engaged in a scheme to dupe Harper Lee, then 80-years-old with declining hearing and eye sight, into assigning her valuable TKAM [To Kill a Mockingbird] copyright to [Pinkus’s company] for no consideration,’ and then created shell companies and bank accounts to which the book’s royalties were funneled.

On the ongoing legal battle over the rights to To Kill a Mockingbird (via millionsmillions)

Motherfucker of the moment goes to Samuel L. Pinkus.


I don’t like the fact that I feel like I’ve been brought up to think a certain way … and what that is is straight-normative behavior. It’s fucking instilled into my brain… Every fucking toilet paper commercial has a man and a woman living in a house together! Every fucking love story is a dude who wants to be with a girl, and the only way they’re gonna end up happy is if they walk off in the sunset together. I’m fucking sick of that shit.

James Franco (x)

I don’t like the fact that I feel like I’ve been brought up to think a certain way … and what that is is straight-normative behavior. It’s fucking instilled into my brain… Every fucking toilet paper commercial has a man and a woman living in a house together! Every fucking love story is a dude who wants to be with a girl, and the only way they’re gonna end up happy is if they walk off in the sunset together. I’m fucking sick of that shit.

James Franco (x)

Yes, the Bechdel Test. It’s named for Alison Bechdel, who is a comic book creator. The test is, are there two named women in the film? Do they talk to each other? And is it about something other than a man? I actually think the Bechdel Test is a little advanced for us sometimes. I have one called the Sexy Lamp Test, which is, if you can remove a female character from your plot and replace her with a sexy lamp and your story still works, you’re a hack.

Comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble)

Sexy Lamp Test.


Yes, the Bechdel Test. It’s named for Alison Bechdel, who is a comic book creator. The test is, are there two named women in the film? Do they talk to each other? And is it about something other than a man? I actually think the Bechdel Test is a little advanced for us sometimes. I have one called the Sexy Lamp Test, which is, if you can remove a female character from your plot and replace her with a sexy lamp and your story still works, you’re a hack.

Comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble)

Sexy Lamp Test.


You go around sniffing out all the symptomatic actions in your vicinity, thus reducing everyone to the level of sons and daughters who blushingly admit the existence of their faults. Meanwhile you remain on top as the father, sitting pretty. For sheer obsequiousness nobody dares to pluck the prophet by the beard and inquire for once what you would say to a patient with a tendency to analyze the analyst instead of himself. You would certainly ask him: ‘Who’s got the neurosis?’… I am namely not in the least neurotic — touch wood! I have namely lege artis et tout humblement let myself be analyzed, which has been very good for me. You know, of course, how far a patient gets with self-analysis: not out of his neurosis — just like you.

scathing letter to Freud from pioneering Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, born on this day in 1875. (via explore-blog)

Zing!


You go around sniffing out all the symptomatic actions in your vicinity, thus reducing everyone to the level of sons and daughters who blushingly admit the existence of their faults. Meanwhile you remain on top as the father, sitting pretty. For sheer obsequiousness nobody dares to pluck the prophet by the beard and inquire for once what you would say to a patient with a tendency to analyze the analyst instead of himself. You would certainly ask him: ‘Who’s got the neurosis?’… I am namely not in the least neurotic — touch wood! I have namely lege artis et tout humblement let myself be analyzed, which has been very good for me. You know, of course, how far a patient gets with self-analysis: not out of his neurosis — just like you.

scathing letter to Freud from pioneering Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, born on this day in 1875. (via explore-blog)

Zing!


Reporter 1 – So, you’ve received the same official email that I have received. I’ve already read out the details of that email. Could you now read out the details of that email in a similar way using slightly different words?

Reporter 2 – Of course and I’ll also pepper it with some generalisations from a fact pack I was given by an underpaid researcher and finish it off with a description of the crowd that everybody at home can see behind me.

Reporter 1 – Thank you so much.

real news fresh from The Fourth Estate.

Reporter 1 – So, you’ve received the same official email that I have received. I’ve already read out the details of that email. Could you now read out the details of that email in a similar way using slightly different words?

Reporter 2 – Of course and I’ll also pepper it with some generalisations from a fact pack I was given by an underpaid researcher and finish it off with a description of the crowd that everybody at home can see behind me.

Reporter 1 – Thank you so much.

real news fresh from The Fourth Estate.

If you consider the great journalists in history, you don’t see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don’t quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.

Hunter S. Thompson (via azspot)

This is exactly what I was talking about earlier.

I was not as eloquent though.


If you consider the great journalists in history, you don’t see too many objective journalists on that list. H. L. Mencken was not objective. Mike Royko, who just died. I. F. Stone was not objective. Mark Twain was not objective. I don’t quite understand this worship of objectivity in journalism. Now, just flat-out lying is different from being subjective.

Hunter S. Thompson (via azspot)

This is exactly what I was talking about earlier.

I was not as eloquent though.


CNN WILL AND KATE PLUS ONE – not only a wonderful pun on Jon and Kate plus 8 but they keep going on and on and on about how NORMAL she is and how NORMAL Kate was incredibly normal with her NORMAL amount of wealth and her NORMAL amount of thin lipped model good looks.

I’m so cynical.

CNN WILL AND KATE PLUS ONE – not only a wonderful pun on Jon and Kate plus 8 but they keep going on and on and on about how NORMAL she is and how NORMAL Kate was incredibly normal with her NORMAL amount of wealth and her NORMAL amount of thin lipped model good looks.

I’m so cynical.

There’s a mosquito net maker in Africa. He manufactures around 500 nets a week. He employs ten people, who (as with many African countries) each have to support upwards of fifteen relatives. However hard they work, they can’t make enough nets to combat malaria-carrying mosquito.

Enter vociferous Hollywood movie star who rallies the masses, and goads Western governments to collect and send 100,000 mosquito nets to the afflicted region, at a cost of a million dollars. The nets arrive, the nets are distributed, and the ‘good deed’ is done.

With the market flooded with foreign nets, however, our mosquito net maker is promptly put out of business. His ten workers can no longer support their 150 dependents (who are now forced to depend on handouts), and one mustn’t forget that in a maximum of five years the majority of the imported nets will be torn, damaged and of no further use.

Dambisa Moyo, an excerpt from Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2009) via seetheworldanew (via pritheworld)

A reminder to take a long term view to problems. And always one that promotes development, not dependency.

(via pol102)

(Toms anyone??)

More of Dambisa Moyo talking about celebrities and Aid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-9b_GulbYE


There’s a mosquito net maker in Africa. He manufactures around 500 nets a week. He employs ten people, who (as with many African countries) each have to support upwards of fifteen relatives. However hard they work, they can’t make enough nets to combat malaria-carrying mosquito.

Enter vociferous Hollywood movie star who rallies the masses, and goads Western governments to collect and send 100,000 mosquito nets to the afflicted region, at a cost of a million dollars. The nets arrive, the nets are distributed, and the ‘good deed’ is done.

With the market flooded with foreign nets, however, our mosquito net maker is promptly put out of business. His ten workers can no longer support their 150 dependents (who are now forced to depend on handouts), and one mustn’t forget that in a maximum of five years the majority of the imported nets will be torn, damaged and of no further use.

Dambisa Moyo, an excerpt from Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2009) via seetheworldanew (via pritheworld)

A reminder to take a long term view to problems. And always one that promotes development, not dependency.

(via pol102)

(Toms anyone??)

More of Dambisa Moyo talking about celebrities and Aid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-9b_GulbYE

How I Feel Today.


“Whenever I get interviewed by The American Government I always feel that I’m one wrong answer away from getting a bag placed over my head and being bundled into a van to be taken for an extended stay in a facility with no windows to be beaten about the body with rubber tubing.”


It is a complicated thing to be young, black, and male in America. Not only are you well aware that many people are afraid of you—you can see them clutching their purses or stiffening in their subway seats when you sit across from them—you must also remain conscious of the fact that people expect you to be apologetic for their fear. It’s your job to be remorseful about the fact that your very nature makes them uncomfortable, like a pilot having to apologize to a fearful flyer for being in the sky.


It is a complicated thing to be young, black, and male in America. Not only are you well aware that many people are afraid of you—you can see them clutching their purses or stiffening in their subway seats when you sit across from them—you must also remain conscious of the fact that people expect you to be apologetic for their fear. It’s your job to be remorseful about the fact that your very nature makes them uncomfortable, like a pilot having to apologize to a fearful flyer for being in the sky.


The ease of not being aware of privilege is an aspect of privilege itself, what some call “the luxury of obliviousness" (or in philosophy, “epistemic privilege"). Awareness requires effort and commitment. Being able to command the attention of lower-status individuals without having to give it in return is a key aspect of privilege. African Americans for example, have to pay close attention to whites and white culture and get to know them well enough to avoid displeasing them, since whites control jobs, schools, government, the police, and most other resources and sources of power. White privilege gives little reason to pay attention to African Americans or how white privilege affects them.

In other words, as James Baldwin put it “To be white in America means not having to think about it.“ We could say the same thing about maleness or any other basis for privilege. So strong is the sense of entitlement behind this luxury that males, whites, and others can feel put upon in the face of even the mildest invitation to pay attention to issues of privilege. “We shouldn’t have to look at this stuff,” they seem to say. “It isn’t fair.“

Allan G. Johnson (via wretchedoftheearth)

Truths eloquently described.


The ease of not being aware of privilege is an aspect of privilege itself, what some call “the luxury of obliviousness" (or in philosophy, “epistemic privilege"). Awareness requires effort and commitment. Being able to command the attention of lower-status individuals without having to give it in return is a key aspect of privilege. African Americans for example, have to pay close attention to whites and white culture and get to know them well enough to avoid displeasing them, since whites control jobs, schools, government, the police, and most other resources and sources of power. White privilege gives little reason to pay attention to African Americans or how white privilege affects them.

In other words, as James Baldwin put it “To be white in America means not having to think about it.“ We could say the same thing about maleness or any other basis for privilege. So strong is the sense of entitlement behind this luxury that males, whites, and others can feel put upon in the face of even the mildest invitation to pay attention to issues of privilege. “We shouldn’t have to look at this stuff,” they seem to say. “It isn’t fair.“

Allan G. Johnson (via wretchedoftheearth)

Truths eloquently described.


I am 60 years old, and I have never in my life seen such widespread violence and cruelty. The U.S. government has more people in prison than any other country in the world, and it is now actively involved in creating prisons all over the world. Abu Gharib is only the tip of the iceberg. People all over the world are being imprisoned in secret prisons, with no formal charges being made against them. They are imprisoned under the most inhumane conditions, and detained for indeterminate periods of time, with no rights, no trials, and no justice whatsoever. In short, the leaders of this country are war criminals. All the U.S. government has to do is call them terrorists or extremists, enemy combatants or whatever and they can do anything they want to these people. I live in Cuba, and the Cuban people watch horrified, as the U.S. Army illegally occupies their land in Guantanamo and commits unspeakable acts of torture on their soil, in the name of “freedom.” The U.S. government not only destroys the lives of people around the world, many mothers have cried because many of our young people have had their lives destroyed as well. I believe that this earth was meant for tenderness and not terror. The imperialist countries not only implement terrorist policies in the Third World, their actions also provoke terrorist activities and internal disputes between people. I believe that when Western governments learn to respect the sovereignty of Third world governments, and to offer solidarity and support rather that imperialist policies and exploitation, most of the world’s problems will be close to being solved.

Assata Shakur

Taken from her book “Assata: In Her Own Words” (pages 32-33)


I am 60 years old, and I have never in my life seen such widespread violence and cruelty. The U.S. government has more people in prison than any other country in the world, and it is now actively involved in creating prisons all over the world. Abu Gharib is only the tip of the iceberg. People all over the world are being imprisoned in secret prisons, with no formal charges being made against them. They are imprisoned under the most inhumane conditions, and detained for indeterminate periods of time, with no rights, no trials, and no justice whatsoever. In short, the leaders of this country are war criminals. All the U.S. government has to do is call them terrorists or extremists, enemy combatants or whatever and they can do anything they want to these people. I live in Cuba, and the Cuban people watch horrified, as the U.S. Army illegally occupies their land in Guantanamo and commits unspeakable acts of torture on their soil, in the name of “freedom.” The U.S. government not only destroys the lives of people around the world, many mothers have cried because many of our young people have had their lives destroyed as well. I believe that this earth was meant for tenderness and not terror. The imperialist countries not only implement terrorist policies in the Third World, their actions also provoke terrorist activities and internal disputes between people. I believe that when Western governments learn to respect the sovereignty of Third world governments, and to offer solidarity and support rather that imperialist policies and exploitation, most of the world’s problems will be close to being solved.

Assata Shakur

Taken from her book “Assata: In Her Own Words” (pages 32-33)


The Secret police—the NSA, the CIA, et al—are by their very nature antithetical to those ideals, because openness and transparency about rules are essential to democratic public justification, and therefore to the legitimacy of state power. What must be secret cannot be fully democratic. One may well worry whether we can afford such a demanding standard of legitimate government in such a dangerous world. Perhaps we cannot. Perhaps it is foolish to be too good. But in that case we need to be clear-headed about it, and understand that secret police are a straightforwardly anti-democratic concession we make to a dangerous world. And we ought to accept that any strengthening of the powers of the secret police—especially the secret strengthening of the powers of the secret police—is a further blow to democracy and the legitimacy of our laws. The NSA’s digital dragnet is a silent coup. The filibuster is rain on election day.

The Economist (via azspot)

It does pose the question though, does The Economist think that the world is dangerous enough to give secret police free reign?

Surely the world can never be that dangerous and, if it is, perhaps time would be better spent working out why it is so dangerous and going someway to addressing those problems.

Would it be unusual to suggest that most people want a ready supply of food, water, shelter and human connection? That they want to do meaningful work that gives them self respect and the feeling of being a valuable member in the society in which they live? That they want freedom from persecution and torture and the right to engage and decide the things that affect them, their family and their community in a way that allows them to retain dignity and hope?

I guess I’ll never be a writer for The Economist because I just feel I don’t understand how the world really works.


The Secret police—the NSA, the CIA, et al—are by their very nature antithetical to those ideals, because openness and transparency about rules are essential to democratic public justification, and therefore to the legitimacy of state power. What must be secret cannot be fully democratic. One may well worry whether we can afford such a demanding standard of legitimate government in such a dangerous world. Perhaps we cannot. Perhaps it is foolish to be too good. But in that case we need to be clear-headed about it, and understand that secret police are a straightforwardly anti-democratic concession we make to a dangerous world. And we ought to accept that any strengthening of the powers of the secret police—especially the secret strengthening of the powers of the secret police—is a further blow to democracy and the legitimacy of our laws. The NSA’s digital dragnet is a silent coup. The filibuster is rain on election day.

The Economist (via azspot)

It does pose the question though, does The Economist think that the world is dangerous enough to give secret police free reign?

Surely the world can never be that dangerous and, if it is, perhaps time would be better spent working out why it is so dangerous and going someway to addressing those problems.

Would it be unusual to suggest that most people want a ready supply of food, water, shelter and human connection? That they want to do meaningful work that gives them self respect and the feeling of being a valuable member in the society in which they live? That they want freedom from persecution and torture and the right to engage and decide the things that affect them, their family and their community in a way that allows them to retain dignity and hope?

I guess I’ll never be a writer for The Economist because I just feel I don’t understand how the world really works.

Functionally Literate – Quote.


‘”If you want  to keep something a secret, publish it.” Once in print, information is often filed, forgotten, or dismissed. Publishing a secret takes away its cachet and causes it to be overlooked.’

Hiding the Elephant – How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learnt to Disappear, Jim Steinmeyer (2003)

Many views on Edward Snowden and what he has done are smeared all across the internet. As a small, but I think relevant aside, I’m reading a book about the history of magic. The above quote seems rather apt given the fact that a book called The Puzzle Palace, written in 1982, detailed the then overreach of the NSA. What little did Mr. Bamford know about how much further their grasp would extend. Give it some time and I’m sure Mr. Snowden and his revelations will be forgotten too as we move onto the more pressing concerns of The Voice and chaturbate.com. Magicians and Illusionists know a thing or  two about human nature, I think. It is how they make their daily bread.

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


In eight short years Horatio Nelson, already a rear admiral and a national hero, turned himself into a major international figure and a deathless icon.

Nelson – The Sword of Albion, John Sugden (2013)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


The action takes place in a large commercial town of the East.

Scenario of the Ballet – The Struggle of The Magicians, G. I. Gurdjieff, (2008)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


About a mile beyond the main square in the village of Józefów, in Eastern Poland, several dozen wooden stakes poke out among the weeds and bushes on a patch of forest strewn with pinecones and covered in velvety green moss.

Beautiful Souls – Saying No, Breaking Ranks, And Heeding The Voice of Conscience in Dark Times, Eyal Press (2012)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


Among my earliest memories are those of being down at the railroad depot with my grandfather, watching the trains come in.

Rival Rails – The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad, Walter R. Borneman (2010)

Functionally Literate – Opening Sentence


The Second World War was among the most destructive conflicts in human history; more than forty-six million soldiers and civilians perished, many in circumstances of prolonged and horrifying cruelty.

The Second World War A Complete History, Martin Gilbert (1989)