Monthly Archives: September 2015

Talking about reality

“Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality.”

-Ursula K. Le Guin

via PaleGirl

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Messianic inheritance

“A messianic promise, even if it was not fulfilled, at least in the form in which it was uttered, even if it rushed headlong toward an ontological content, will have imprinted an inaugural and unique mark in history. And whether we like it or not, whatever consciousness we have of it, we cannot not be its heirs. There is no inheritance without a call to responsibility.”

—Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx (1994)


Synchronized tumbling

Via Puppy-a-Day.


No one person decides

“And although it’s easy to assume that stampedes are caused by panicked crowds running away from something in fear, Seabrook found that, in general, that’s only true in fires. In most stampedes, the crowd is churning toward something. In the United States and Europe, stampedes are rarer than they are in the developing world, and they don’t tend to happen on religious occasions. Americans and Europeans stampede for other causes: Black Friday sales, rock concerts, and sporting events. No one person decides to stampede. But if there’s a connection between what attracts a crowd and what a society holds dear, then stampedes are a deadly illustration of those values.”

—Ruth Graham, “The Hajj Stampede: Why Do Crowds Run?


Pre-empting politics at the service of the human person

“[Editor’s Note: The following section, which was in the prepared remarks, was not included in the speech.] Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.”

—from TIME’s transcript of Pope Francis’s speech to Congress on Thursday, 24 September 2015.


Vintage Doctor Who book covers

 

Doctor Who Book Covers


God’s own currency

Eisenhower did all he could to bring his brand of piety into the White House. He insisted on opening all his Cabinet meetings with prayer. While he was in office, the phrase “under God” (borrowed, perhaps, from the Spiritual Mobilization campaign) was incorporated into the Pledge of Allegiance and the words “In God We Trust” were printed on the nation’s currency. There was minimal debate about the matter: When the House Committee on Banking and Currency discussed it, there was one lone dissenter—a Jewish representative from Brooklyn, who noted, somewhat weakly, “If we are going to have religious concepts—and I am in favor of them—I don’t think the place to put them is on our currency or on our coins.”

—Kim Phillips-Fein, “Laissez-Prayer,” a review of Kevin Kruse’s One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America