Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Retelling our tale

I recently wrote about the hope I discovered in Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark. Reading Neil Postman on my lunch break just now, I found a similar sentiment about hope’s power residing in uncertainty: “certainty abolishes hope, and robs us of renewal.”

The entire next page was a beautiful call for hope in a time of rampant change:

Maybe you have to read the whole book to appreciate this passage, but … I don’t think so. And so, I share it, in the hopes you’ll find a similar, healing aha! in it (and maybe, just maybe, read some more Postman afterward).

Strategic racism, in quotes

Last week,

I read a book*

that demonstrated

how U.S. political

“colorblind” racist strategy

has been crafted to

achieve horrible ends

by concealed


I can’t share

my whole post

on the matter, yet,

so now, I leave you

with a few related quotes

(and a holdover link)

*  Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

The world is not atomized

To be clear, I DID IT, TOO

Several years ago, I briefly joined a Facebook group for administrators of inspirational pages. I was deeply discomfited by the group, members of which spent much more time talking about how to get more page and post likes than how to inspire people. The proper formula at that time was just the right quote pasted on just the right pretty picture; many admins were perturbed when sharing algorithms changed so that Facebook began sharing fewer pictures.

Troubled, I wrote that I didn’t feel inspiration resided in the number of people able to see a post. Maybe one person who really needed to see a post would see it, and than an “unsuccessful” post would’ve made a world of difference to that one person. The good it worked on them would ripple outward in lovely ways, so that a post’s reach would go far beyond what some statistic on Facebook revealed.

Each post I read there left me more unnerved. I couldn’t articulate the feeling then, but it was a sensation like: We’re putting numbers over people. This technology is turning us into marketers and targets, not humans engaging with other humans.

I left the group. I eventually left Facebook, too, and found myself better able to see human beings in all their splendor after doing so.

I was on and off Twitter. I even ended up deleting my Instagram account last November, after realizing that, too, was somehow messing up how I perceived real people. In December, I wrote in “Sunlight & friends“:

Something delightful happened after I deleted my Instagram account last month: I stopped thinking of my friends as the two-dimensional representations they share there, and started remembering them as who my heart knows them to be.

I hadn’t even realized I’d been boiling them down to their most superficial selves until I was no longer doing it.

Reading a copy of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business last week, I was floored to find old concerns addressed with such deference to history, present, and future. That’s to say, in 1985, a scholar I’d never heard of was publishing a book that’d help 2017 me begin to find words for things I felt silly for finding disturbing. Read more…

Love hard, y’all

I’m writing a post for my other blog, but it involves addressing a lot of complicated, dark history. Completing it will take a lot of time and energy I don’t have now.

I do have to say something now.

Y’all, love yourself. Love your neighbor. Don’t withhold that love–not for how someone is voting, for the color of their skin, for their unkind acts, for where they live in the world.

Just love each other. Hard.

This is a political message. It absolutely is. Because, see, our collective fear is being exploited. Right now, this very moment, the United States is preparing to take acts of war against Russia, all on pretense. 

This is not an ahistorical act. This is a profoundly historical act that has to do with power, a power that adheres to neither me nor you.

(If you’d like to understand more about where I’m coming from before I finish writing my next post, please, please begin reading The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and understand that we’re witnessing the next shock being generated right now. Look into the TPP, TiSA, and TTiP to understand who benefits when we citizens consumers lose.)

Love is a revolutionary act. Truly. So please, for the love of god, listen. Love. Reach out, especially to those whom it’s hard for you to hear.

Don’t allow your fear to be exploited for destruction.

Please love each other. Hard. Unequivocally.


a hand hearts

Categories: history, Love, politics, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Saturday Soliloquy: Stronger Together

Before Bill Clinton became president of the United States, he spoke to the “high cost of remaining silent in the face of genocide.”

His words said one thing; his later acts, quite another.

In 1993, U.S. officials were warned that Rwandan “Hutu extremists were contemplating the extermination of ethnic Tutsis.”

In early April 1994, President Clinton acknowledged in his weekly radio address the genocide just begun in Rwanda. He studiously avoided using the word “genocide” because of the obligations it would invoke, and made clear that his main concern was for the roughly 250 Americans there.

By May 1994, the world had provided Rwanda so little assistance that USA Today‘s editorial board wrote an editorial strongly condemning lack of intervention, which had already led to the needless loss of countless lives. About the U.S., it wrote, “President Clinton, who criticized George Bush for not doing more to stop ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, certainly took his time getting around to this genocide. Only last weekend did he finally deliver a radio address broadcast in Rwanda, pleading for an end to violence. That’s about three weeks–200,000 victims–too slow.”

After I read about this last weekend, I wrote, quotation marks included, “Well, [without] oil & other valuable resources, what good are they to us?” Read more…

History, books, and happy surprises

Have you ever unexpectedly run into a friend while far away from home?

You know that awesome rush you get from seeing someone you love somewhere totally new?

How the world seems both enormous and infinitesimal as you hug?

I got a rush a little like that while reading a few days ago. Read more…

Categories: Books, history Tags: , ,

So many more questions than answers

My husband majored in American Studies so that he could have “a vocabulary” for his uniquely American experiences, particularly as a Black man.

Recently, I’ve been a little jealous of his already having vocabulary I struggle to find. I’m sure you’ve noticed the struggle in my recent posts, regardless of whether you’ve been attributed it to “vocabulary.”

I’m committed to this struggle, and to this learning. I understand that I’ll say things now that might make 2026-Deborah inclined to smack her head against a wall. Repeatedly.

I’m okay with that. I’m okay with having my learning moments documented and recorded for posterity. More than anything, I want to be honest, and where I’m at right now is that I’m honestly learning a heckuva lot. Which means I’ll say things now that later-me will view with … okay, not chagrin, ’cause she’ll still be me, but some kind of patient indulgence. Read more…

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