From Saul Bellow, “Ravelstein”

Obviously, my purpose in mentioning the Crillon's valet service was to comfort Abe for spilling the Flore's strongest coffee on his brand-new jacket. But Abe didn't want me to console him for being what he was. He would have thought better of me for laughing at his sputtering reckless slobbering, his gauche eager tremors. He liked broad comedy, old vaudeville routines, wounding remarks, brashness, and raw fun. So he didn't think well of my weak, liberal, let's-make-it-all-better motive--my … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton (or, What If Addiction Isn’t a Thing?)

Three blind men are feeling around with their hands, trying to determine what's in front of them."I feel something long and ropy, with a bristly end," one says."I feel something thick and wrinkly, muscular and prehensile," one says."I feel something curved and hard and smooth, like a shofar," one says."I've got it!" the first one exclaims. "It's an elephant!"And they spend the next five days trying to feed hay to a table with a rope, a shedding python, and a shofar on it. … [Read more...]

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Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton: Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

Let's start with an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette showing how easy it is to camouflage increased punishment and surveillance as "support services": "More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail":This week the New York Times revealed the content of an internal NYPD report showing that a much lauded juvenile crime program doesn’t work. It’s yet another example of misguided punitive policing, offering little by way of actual progress. Originally developed under the title “Juvenile Robbery Inte … [Read more...]

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“Discipline and Rupture at Christmas”: I read Foucault

for AmCon:There are authors whose work so permeates our intellectual atmosphere that by the time we get around to reading them (instead of just gesturing at them), they’re simultaneously familiar and revelatory. This Advent I’m finally reading Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, and Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence. They’re unexpectedly in harmony; and their harmony, it turns out, is a carol.more … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Better DAs, Union vs. Heroism, Divisive Forgiveness, The Treatment-Industrial Complex, And What About the Crime Problem?

"How to Run Against a Tough-on-Crime District Attorney--And Win": District attorneys and the prosecutors who work for them are the most powerful actors in the American criminal justice system. They enjoy immense latitude in deciding what crimes to charge people with and how much prison time to push for. And yet their role in the growth of the country’s prison population, which went from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 1.5 million today, often goes unacknowledged as policymakers in Washington d … [Read more...]

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(How) Do Scary Gay Statistics Matter?

Ever since that Courage conference I've been trying to figure out a way to write a post about the many, many, many problems with the way scary statistics about gay people are deployed in some Christian circles. You know the thing I'm talking about: Gay people are more likely to be depressed, to beat our partners, to use drugs and abuse alcohol (why do you call it abuse when the alcohol never complains), to die young and leave a fabulous corpse, lol I'm clearly making myself angry just typing … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

I have a ton of these lying around so you'll be getting them in small chunks. Trying to give each batch a range of themes and moods."How Some Alabama Hospitals Quietly Drug Test New Mothers--Without Their Consent": In Alabama, a positive drug test can have dire repercussions for pregnant women and new mothers. Their newborns can be taken from them. They can lose custody of their other children. They can face lengthy sentences in the most notorious women’s prison in the United States and t … [Read more...]

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