A girl I knew was murdered, and her mother, out of grief, wore the dead child’s clothes. Soon she believed she was her own lost daughter. Later, they discovered someone had filmed the girl being killed. How can we bear witness to this? A child dies, and a woman goes mad. A man pays to see the child tortured, and while he watches, comes in his hand. And I tell a story, about a girl I knew, because grief is an echo that calls me, and it’s wrong, but it’s all I can do.
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”—
So I had to wiki to understand what this quote is from, and basically the pope can release something called an apostolic exhortation whenever he wants, and it doesn’t dictate church doctrine at all, but it’s kind of like a long blog post where he’s like, “Hey, hi, hope everyone’s doing well. Here are my thoughts on some good tudes we might want to try out as we walk through the world.”
Anyway, the new pope seems like a good pope. Nice pope, Italy. Solid pope.
I remember when I thought people in their 20’s were adults. Now all of my friends are in their 20’s and everybody is just kind of fumbling around bumping into each other, trying to figure out where the free food is
Okay but seriously if you are attending college while experiencing any sort of mental illness then you are an impressive human being. Even if you don’t always make it to classes. Even if you don’t always do your homework or pass all your tests. You are doing something that is incredibly difficult when so many of the odds are against you, and regardless of what you are studying you deserve a Ph.D. in being a total and complete badass.
There come times - perhaps this is one of them - when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die when we have to pull back from the incantations, rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly, and disenthrall ourselves, bestow ourselves to silence, or a severer listening, cleansed of oratory, formulas, choruses, laments, static crowding the wires.
You did say, need me less and I’ll want you more. I’m still shellshocked at needing anyone, used to being used to it on my own. It won’t be me out on the tiles till four- thirty, while you’re in bed, willing the door open with your need. You wanted her then, more. Because you need to, I woke alone in what’s not yet our room, strewn, though, with your guitar, shoes, notebook, socks, trousers enjambed with mine. Half the world was sleeping it off in every other bed under my roof. I wish I had a roof over my bed to pull down on my head when I feel damned by wanting you so much it looks like need.
“For years, I opened my 11th-grade U.S. history classes by asking students, “What’s the name of that guy they say discovered America?” A few students might object to the word “discover,” but they all knew the fellow I was talking about. “Christopher Columbus!” several called out in unison.
“Right. So who did he find when he came here?” I asked. Usually, a few students would say, “Indians,” but I asked them to be specific: “Which nationality? What are their names?”
In more than 30 years of teaching U.S. history and guest-teaching in others’ classes, I’ve never had a single student say, “Taínos.” How do we explain that? We all know the name of the man who came here from Europe, but none of us knows the name of the people who were here first—and there were hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of them. Why haven’t you heard of them?
This ignorance is an artifact of historical silencing—rendering invisible the lives and stories of entire peoples.
[…] In an interview with Barbara Miner, included in Rethinking Columbus, Suzan Shown Harjo of the Morning Star Institute, who is Creek and Cheyenne, said: “As Native American peoples in this red quarter of Mother Earth, we have no reason to celebrate an invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people, and is still causing destruction today.” After all, Columbus did not merely “discover,” he took over. He kidnapped Taínos, enslaved them—“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold,” Columbus wrote—and “punished” them by ordering that their hands be cut off or that they be chased down by vicious attack dogs, if they failed to deliver the quota of gold that Columbus demanded. One eyewitness accompanying Columbus wrote that it “did them great damage, for a dog is the equal of 10 men against the Indians.”
Corporate textbooks and children’s biographies of Columbus included none of this and were filled with misinformation and distortion. But the deeper problem was the subtext of the Columbus story: it’s OK for big nations to bully small nations, for white people to dominate people of color, to celebrate the colonialists with no attention paid to the perspectives of the colonized, to view history solely from the standpoint of the winners.”—
This past January, almost exactly 20 years after its publication, Tucson schools banned the book I co-edited with Bob Peterson, Rethinking Columbus. It was one of a number of books adopted by Tucson’s celebrated Mexican American Studies program—a program long targeted by conservative Arizona politicians.Textbook depictions of Columbus are often filled with misinformation and distortion or are justified with references to manifest destiny. The bottom image is a woodcut by Theodor De Bry, in the 16th century, based on the writings of Bartolome de las Casas. (Photo collage: Zinn Education Project)
The school district sought to crush the Mexican American Studies program; our book itself was not the target, it just got caught in the crushing. Nonetheless, Tucson’s—and Arizona’s—attack on Mexican American Studies and Rethinking Columbus shares a common root: the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements.
the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements. the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements. the attempt to silence stories that unsettle today’s unequal power arrangements.
Late afternoon light slices through the dormer window to your place on the floor next to a stack of comics. Across from you is a boy who at eleven is three years older. He is telling you to pull down your pants. You tell him you don’t want to. His mother is out and you are alone in the house. He has given you a Coke, let you smoke two of his mother’s non-filter Pall Malls, and years later you can still picture the red packet on the dark finish of the phonograph. You stand up and say you have to go home. You live across the street and only see him in summer when he returns from school. As you step around the comics toward the stairs, the boy gives you a shove, sends you stumbling back. Wait, he says, I want to show you something. He goes to a drawer and when he turns around You see he is holding a small gun by the barrel. You feel you are breathing glass. You ask if it is loaded and he says, Sure it is, and you say: Show me. He removes the clip, takes a bullet from his pocket. See this, he says, then puts the bullet into the clip, slides the clip into the butt of the gun with a snap. The boy sits on the bed and pretends to study the gun. He has a round fat face and black hair, Take off your pants, he says. Again you say you have to go home. He stands up and points the gun at your legs. Slowly, you unhook your cowboy belt, undo the metal buttons of your jeans. They slide down past your knees. Pull down your underwear, he tells you. You tell him you don’t want to. He points the gun at your head. You crouch on the floor, cover your head with your hands. You don’t want him to see you cry. You feel you are pulling yourself into yourself and soon you will be no bigger than a pebble. You think back to the time you saw a friend’s cocker spaniel hit by a car and you remember how its stomach was split open and you imagine your face split open and blood and gray stuff escaping. You have hardly ever though of dying, seriously dying, and as you grow more scared you have to go to the bathroom more and more badly. Before you can stop yourself, you feel yourself pissing into your underwar. The boy with the gun sees the spreading pool of urine. You baby, he shouts, you baby, you’re disgusting. You want to apologize, but the words jumble and choke in your throat. Get out, the boy shouts. You drag your pants up over your wet underwear and run down the stairs. As you slam out of his house, you know you died up there among the comic books and football pennants, died as sure as your friend’s cocker spaniel, as sure as if the boy had shot your face off, shot the very piss out of you. Standing in the street with urine soaking your pants, you watch your neighbors pursuing the orderly occupations of a summer afternoon: mowing a lawn, trimming a hedge. Where is that sense of the world you woke with this morning? Now it is smaller. Now it has gone away.