Smart people saying smart things (3.25.18)

Smart people saying smart things (3.25.18) March 25, 2018

Jemar Tisby, “The Heavy Burden of Teaching My Son About American Racism”

I want to tell my child that today life is better for black people. It is certainly different. People of color can enter any public building. We can make meaningful movies that bring in a billion dollars. We can even be president. At the same time, I have to prepare my black son for a nation still gripped by the myth of white supremacy. The best I can do, I’ve concluded, is err on the side of honesty. If my black son has to learn that society will hate him, then let him hear about it from someone who unconditionally loves him.

Kurt Vonnegut, in Breakfast of Champions

When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

Emma Gonzalez, “Six Minutes and 20 Seconds”

Samuel DeWitt Proctor, in The Substance of Things Hoped For:  A Memoir of African-American Faith (via)

One day Bill Moyers called from the White House and asked me to leave fast, go to the airport, and fly to Charlotte, North Carolina, with Billy Graham. We were helping a lot of poor mountain people near where he lived, and we wanted his support.

All through the flight down we talked church, religion, and social change. When we reached his mountaintop home, we had a delicious lunch and more conversation. It all settled down to a stalemate: Dr. Graham felt that his business was to preach the gospel and change the hearts of individuals. Changed persons would then change society.

I countered with the teachings of Jesus in Chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel, in which he admonished that at the day of judgment we would all be separated into sheep and goats. One got to be a sheep by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty and clothing to the naked, visiting those in prison, and taking in the stranger. The sheep entered into the Master’s joy. Goats did not do such things and were consigned to a burning hell.

Reverend Graham smiled and said that I was making Jesus into a “liberal.”

Tom Scocca, “On Smarm”

Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of cynicism.

The practice of cynicism is smarm.

Robyn Pennacchia, “That Is Not What ‘Lovesick’ Is”

Women are also rejected. Women also spend their teen years pining after dreamy boys who will never love them back. You don’t see us going around murdering people over it. You don’t see us setting up internet communities for the purpose of talking about how evil and shallow men are for not taking us to pound town.

Women don’t go around killing men who don’t like them, because if you’re a woman in this society, a boy not liking you is the least of your problems. It is nowhere near the shittiest thing you’re going to be expected to “just deal with” in your life — one of those things being the fact that we are expected to “just deal with” how men are sometimes going to murder a bunch of people because they felt entitled to romantic attention from women. We are expected to “deal with” that, while never bringing up the terms “male privilege” or “male entitlement” or “toxic masculinity” and why those things so often lead to mass murder, on account of how that might really hurt the feelings of the men who have been gracious enough to not go on killing sprees.

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