this is my trophy. someone gave it to me in 2004. it says “I’m #1” at the base.

this is my trophy. someone gave it to me in 2004. it says “I’m #1” at the base.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, ‘Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.’

2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).

3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.

Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently | Brain Pickings. This isn’t “catching more flies with honey” - it’s psychologically preparing your opponent to listen up when it’s your turn to speak. (via dwellerinthelibrary)

not for nothing but given how efficiently brains fish for aggreeance and ignore disconfirmation I am skeptical that should you deploy the above your opponent will hear anything at all past number 3.

(via diiq)

From an LA Times piece about the 89 year old man Germany is attempting to extradite because he was an SS member at Auschwitz:

Breyer’s version of events, revealed in court records, is that he was drafted and that the mayor of his village told him he had to go. Even though he was assigned to the Death’s Head guard battalion at Auschwitz, he said, he refused to kill anyone, so he served as a perimeter guard, far from the killing. He says he never shepherded prisoners from the trains to the gas chambers. [….] “That’s one of the oldest defenses,” said Aaron Breitbart, a senior researcher at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “The perimeter-guard defense, and the baker defense: ‘Yes, I was there, but I was a baker.’ … It seems as though everybody is a perimeter guard when they’re finally caught. Well, not everybody who is caught could have been a perimeter guard.”

Expressed as a percentage, how much less culpable is the perimeter guard than the train -> gas chamber shepherd? If this cannot be expressed as a percentage, why is that, and what does this tell us about perimeter guards? About ourselves?

Also:

"He didn’t seem like what history says a Nazi should be like," [neighbor] Ken Perkins said. "He just seemed like an ordinary person who wasn’t hiding anything."

are…are you calling him an ordinary german, ken

Bill & I spend some time considering the afterlife in the back half of this week’s podcast, and I wanted to return to something that is mentioned briefly but not really explored: Hell, and specifically the idea that hell is not biblically justified. For this I draw heavily on the work of Fred Clark, who blogs as Slacktivist and whose work I have always loved. His post on Hell goes through the three places in the bible most closely supporting the popular conception of hell, and why those passages don’t actually support it. But more than that:

These three passages aren’t the only basis for the belief in Hell as eternal fiery torment, but they provide the strongest evidence to support the idea. And as you can see, this evidence is not really that strong. These passages certainly don’t provide any sort of basis for the idea that Hell ought to be a central or essential core belief that shapes our faith, or our concept of God, or our concept of one another or of the meaning of our lives. That’s not what these stories are about.

That’s not what our story is about.

This, to me, is an even more fascinating notion. Not just that hell isn’t supported by the bible, but that if the bible’s description of a just, loving god is accurate then hell (as conceived of full of pitchforks and fire and the like) not just doesn’t exist, but it can’t. Another evangelical blogger put together a long list of arguments (ethical, theological and biblical) against hell but the core of the idea is that because human sin is finite, infinite punishment cannot be ethically justified, eternal damnation leaves no room for salvation or redemption or love (all of which are kinda the point), and lastly any person good enough to get into heaven would possess enough empathy for others (even sinners) that they would be violently ill at the thought of other people being tortured for eternity.

All of that makes a whole bunch of sense to me, and it’s a fun idea in and of its own sake, but the more I think about it the more I wonder how hell got to be such a big idea in the first place. I mean, sweet mercy, why didn’t anyone say anything?

Hollywood, that is to say, Los Angeles, is not, of course, a city, and its sinister forces are very oblique. There’s no public transportation system whatever, so the people drive around as though they were living in Des Moines, and it has all the rest of the disadvantages of a small town, only filled with displaced persons. On the other hand, life there has an engaging surrealist quality, an almost exciting grotesqueness.

The cultural scene there in general is sped up, sort of concentrated. Southern California is a mecca for all manner of freakishness, beginning on the most middle-class level — hot-dog stands in the shape of a hot dog. If you go there, you’ll immediately see a carnival, Disneyland aspect that is different from any other place in America.

Terry Southern  (via screwrocknroll)

ps that “no public transportation” thing is such a “i so don’t give a shit about people who aren’t like me, including but not limited to poor people and people of color” tell it is is just absurd, absurd i tell you

pps it has been brought to my attention that this quote is 40+ years old and so that makes me less I’M GOING TO COMMIT ULTRA MEGA MASS HOMICIDE about it but people still say things very close to that and they are still refusing to accept that the millions of people in this city who take the bus totally exist

The Board of Directors of American Apparel, Inc. today voted to replace Dov Charney as Chairman and notified him of its intent to terminate his employment as President and CEO for cause. It is expected that the termination will be effective following a 30-day cure period required under the terms of Mr. Charney’s employment agreement.

American Apparel Fires Dov Charney (via thecultureofme)

HOORAY

(via fatmanatee)

[krabappel laugh] HA! [/krabappel laugh]

(via sarahluz)

WHOA

(via sarahluz)

pitchfork:

Lindsay Zoladz details the campy and vulnerable “Tumblr teen-girl aesthetic” in her latest Ordinary Machines column: “For girls who are aware that our culture expects them to be benignly happy, shiny objects—smile for me, baby—there can be a defiance in not only embracing sadness online, but cultivating a kind of ambiguity as to where the performed feeling ends and the ‘genuine’ feeling begins. Enter Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence—a record which seemed to emerge fully formed from this aesthetic.”

“cultivating a kind of ambiguity as to where the performed feeling ends and the ‘genuine’ feeling begins”an earlier pitchfork post about LDR’s latest called it “a concept album from a concept human,” and while I’m not sure what I have to say about Ultraviolence yet I would like to note that I remain fascinated/thrilled with how central Authenticity (and lack thereof) is central to so much discussion of Our Motorlodge Queen. 
I freely admit that I probably read too much into LDR-as-actor but in my estimation that lack of authenticity is at least 60% of the point of what she’s doing, and I find this endlessly delightful.

pitchfork:

Lindsay Zoladz details the campy and vulnerable “Tumblr teen-girl aesthetic” in her latest Ordinary Machines column: “For girls who are aware that our culture expects them to be benignly happy, shiny objects—smile for me, baby—there can be a defiance in not only embracing sadness online, but cultivating a kind of ambiguity as to where the performed feeling ends and the ‘genuine’ feeling begins. Enter Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence—a record which seemed to emerge fully formed from this aesthetic.”

cultivating a kind of ambiguity as to where the performed feeling ends and the ‘genuine’ feeling begins”

an earlier pitchfork post about LDR’s latest called it “a concept album from a concept human,” and while I’m not sure what I have to say about Ultraviolence yet I would like to note that I remain fascinated/thrilled with how central Authenticity (and lack thereof) is central to so much discussion of Our Motorlodge Queen.

I freely admit that I probably read too much into LDR-as-actor but in my estimation that lack of authenticity is at least 60% of the point of what she’s doing, and I find this endlessly delightful.

cabble:

flaglog:

Zheleznogorsk, since 2012
Yep, that’s a bear splitting an atom.

BALLER

BEAR FLAGS > EVERY OTHER FLAG

cabble:

flaglog:

Zheleznogorsk, since 2012

Yep, that’s a bear splitting an atom.

BALLER

BEAR FLAGS > EVERY OTHER FLAG

How many accidents multiplied / to create your hands. How many times did your / fathers dig their hands into the earth only to / pull them back with stones and blisters? Think / of all the diseases you managed to avoid or the punches / pulled from your soft jawbone.
David Harrity, “Fathom” The Los Angeles Review, Volume 6 Fall 2009 (via sorryeveryone)

final grade is posted, revealing I escaped getting a C by the exact number of points that weren’t counted on the final. riding to my last final someone takes a sharp right in front of me and I avoid crashing into them by about two feet.

all the punches pulled, again and again and again.

here is something that bugs me, although I am not sure if I am on stable ground in that. consider this, from a recent Economist blog post about mounting restrictions on abortion providers. emphasis is mine:

Few truly believe that these restrictions are rooted in a desire to make abortion safer for women. Instead, they are plainly designed to frustrate efforts to get an abortion at all. Perhaps this makes some sense if your aim is to protect families and preserve the sanctity of life. Yet it seems odd that groups that claim to be pro-life are so often antagonistic to efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancies in the first place. Many still cling to discredited abstinence-only programmes and claims that the “the hook-up culture is the culture of death”.

how many? are they the same people passing the restrictions? how do we know? they sure seem like the same people, in my larger conception of tribes and the opinions those tribes hold, but the more I think about it the more flimsy that seems.

part of this is on me (I am too lazy to look really hard for comprehensive surveys and similar) but I think this is also about how articles about this sort of thing are written. to put it broadly: no one ever seems to ask people directly about the things they are wiling to imply in later paragraphs. basically, any and all arguments that include “aren’t these the same people who” seem to me to be more and more suspicious.

"Going for a Beer" by Robert Coover

aaronburch:

theasdf:

"He finds himself sitting in the neighborhood bar drinking a beer at about the same time that he began to think about going there for one.” »

this is one of my fave stories of the last few years.

this isn’t just a great story, it’s one of those ones that’s really important in terms of trying to understand how and why it works. in my bookmarks it’s tagged both “beer” and “new_yorker” and it is always well worth reading whenever I am pondering either.

Walt Whitman I confess / I’ve never read your poems // except at gunpoint / Walt Whitman I confess // I’ve never been at gunpoint / except in dreams // Walt Whitman I confess / I’ve never slept // Walt Whitman I love your breadth / your body of work & your texts
Michael Loughran, “Night Songs” Tin House, Vol 6 #1, Fall 2004
coloursteelsexappeal:

Los Angeles, California; 1992

love u los angeles

coloursteelsexappeal:

Los Angeles, California; 1992

love u los angeles

(via lisafurioso)

oldloves:

Fresh off the success of his first book, 23 year old Gore Vidal published his second novel, The City and the Pillar, in 1946. The book caused a scandal for it’s portrayal of an openly gay protagonist, coming of age, who suffers no untimely fate for defying social norms. Vidal dedicated the book to “J.T.”

Years later Vidal confirmed that the initials stood for Jimmy Trimble, a classmate of his at the St. Albans school in Washington D.C. While young teenaged Vidal was bookish and sardonic, Trimble was a baseball prodigy with a sunny disposition who Vidal remembers as smelling like “honey, like Alexander the Great.”

The last time Vidal recalls seeing him was at a Christmas dance when they were 17 and had a secret rendezvous in a downstairs men’s cubicle. 

Trimble joined the Marines at 19 and was killed in the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Vidal was devastated by the news and later in life claimed that Trimble was the only person he ever truly loved. 

Vidal is buried in a plot in Rock Creek Cemetery with his longtime companion Howard Austen, a few strides away from Trimble’s grave. 

(The Daily Beast)

VIDAL FOREVER

(via katexmachina)

cordjefferson:

humansofnewyork:

"I recently managed to completely let go of my past." “What part of your past was the hardest to let go?” “A missed opportunity with a woman. She believed in me more than I believed in myself, but I wasn’t ready to commit. She told me: ‘If you keep on like this, you’re going to end up old and alone.’” “How long ago was that?” “40 years.”

I feel like the main lesson of this blog is that people are so desperate to unburden themselves of their pain that they’ll share their deepest old wounds with practically anyone who asks, even some strange bro who approaches them on the sidewalk asking to take their picture. I once talked to this great doctor doing STD research in black communities in the Deep South who told me that he would begin all of his patient interviews just by asking people how they were doing or how they were feeling. He said the number of seemingly hardened people who would break down in tears simply because someone was genuinely asking them how they were feeling was astonishing. Therapy should be free.

I do not think the above is untrue, but I am uncertain how it manages to coexist with how difficult it is to ask so many friends/associates how they’re doing and get anything other than some variation of “fine.”

cordjefferson:

humansofnewyork:

"I recently managed to completely let go of my past."
“What part of your past was the hardest to let go?”
“A missed opportunity with a woman. She believed in me more than I believed in myself, but I wasn’t ready to commit. She told me: ‘If you keep on like this, you’re going to end up old and alone.’”
“How long ago was that?”
“40 years.”

I feel like the main lesson of this blog is that people are so desperate to unburden themselves of their pain that they’ll share their deepest old wounds with practically anyone who asks, even some strange bro who approaches them on the sidewalk asking to take their picture. I once talked to this great doctor doing STD research in black communities in the Deep South who told me that he would begin all of his patient interviews just by asking people how they were doing or how they were feeling. He said the number of seemingly hardened people who would break down in tears simply because someone was genuinely asking them how they were feeling was astonishing. Therapy should be free.

I do not think the above is untrue, but I am uncertain how it manages to coexist with how difficult it is to ask so many friends/associates how they’re doing and get anything other than some variation of “fine.”