A Retraction, Re: Marriage. Too Bad, This Bit Had a Good Line in It.

So in an earlier post I wrote this: It's important that marriage--its norms and expectations, more than its explicit legal benefits--is one powerful cultural response to the fruitful/destructive volcanic force of eros, and especially heterosexual eros. It's important that out of the many cultural institutions that try to channel the lava, marriage is typically one of the gentlest. (That's often true even when a marriage culture is oppressive and misogynist--in those cases the alternatives are … [Read more...]

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Former Baltimore Cop Tweets the Corruption He Saw on the Force

The tweets are here (and as always it's a great mix of violence, systematic racism, and contempt--without the attitude and belief system that leads to crapping on suspects' beds, would you get as much beating and profiling? Dehumanization through humiliation is the core of torture, again some more) and here's an interview with the guy: ...Your tweets suggest that you were once part of what you consider to be the problem in policing, but that you had an awakening of sorts. What caused … [Read more...]

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“The Truth Without Reconciliation Committee”: I review “The Look of Silence”

for AmCon: For the extraordinary 2012 documentary “The Act of Killing“, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer encouraged participants in the Indonesian death-squad killings of 1965 to reenact their murders of suspected or fabricated Communists. The killers, who have reaped material and political success from their violence, were for the most part happy to oblige. Their reenactments became increasingly baroque and Hollywoodized; they expressed the self-image which made them feel powerful and free, and all … [Read more...]

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The Martyred Crowd: “Cathedral of the August Heat, A Novel of Haiti”

This is a short, feverish, seamy, painful book from 1987 about a revolutionary upsurge among the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere. It's written by a dissident journalist exiled by the Duvaliers. It's Communist in rhetoric, and there are moments toward the end when the rhetoric and also the optimism feel really flimsy. But most of the book is given over to tales of life at the bottom: sultry dreamscapes and violent nightmares, phantasmagoric beauty and brutal suffering, … [Read more...]

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From Pierre Clitandre, “Cathedral of the August Heat: A Novel of Haiti”

Then the ragged crowd pressed forward, in spite of the threat of the guns. They were ordered back. The tide of men came forward, silently, heavily, big hands by their knees. The gun shots rang out again. The men kept on coming. Heavily. Stepping over bodies soaked in blood. A third time the guns fired. At that moment out of the crowd, amid the dead bodies of men, pregnant women, the dust, blood, sun and gunfire, came the beautiful long-haired brown girl, dazzling in her white dress. With arms … [Read more...]

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“St Louis Co. Towns Continue to Treat Residents Like ATMs”: Radley Balko

Hey man, people rarely beat on ATMs: ...It isn’t difficult to guess which groups of people are most likely to be affected by laws against walking in the street, wearing one’s pants too low, or “spending time idly.” It’s also probably a lot easier to avoid citations for having toys lying about (I’m still a little surprised this could be illegal) if you have a nice long drive way, or trees or fences to conceal the front yard.According to the Post-Dispatch, Pagedale has increased non-traffic re … [Read more...]

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“Want to End Mass Incarceration? Stop Blindly Reelecting Your Local Prosecutor”

Something about that headline is very very Voxy, but this article is a good intro if you haven't been following this aspect of the situation: ...A prosecutor is also often the only public official standing between a defendant and prison time. More than 90 percent of criminal convictions are resolved through a plea agreement, meaning only prosecutors and defendants — not judges and juries — have almost all the say in a great majority of cases that result in incarceration or some other pun … [Read more...]

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