Will You Just Leave Obama Alone Sheesh

A friend alerted me to a post over at Ephphatha Poetry on the politics of the Tea Party — and what might be the response if the protesters were black.  It’s a nice thought experiment, for sure, but even more valuable than that, I thought, was the documentation of several recent actions and statements by Tea Partiers and their supporters that I had missed.

And if you haven’t heard yet, this just happened:

[An armed man] was arrested Sunday near the runway around the time President Barack Obama’s flight was leaving Asheville Regional Airport.

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On Being Fat in Gym

Having been overweight most of my life — literally, I think I started being overweight at 3 and have been there ever since — I just wanted to echo Mark Ambinder’s concerns in this article, but also mention a little bit more about fat stigma. He mentions it briefly, and says that it leads to a whole host of problems, among them the tendency to “duck exercise.” But I don’t know how many people actually realize how deeply true that this is, and how deeply tied into fat stigma it is — in other words, big people duck exercise, not because they don’t want to, but because there is a different unbearable weight on their lives: the unbearable weight of other people’s opinions.

Rest after the jump:

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If Then There Is Encouragement

This is another hymn I wrote for the fun of writing it.  In Philippians, Paul quotes a hymn that is widely regarded as the “‘Christ Hymn,” one that was used in liturgical circles by early Christianity.  When I came across it, I said, hey, why not make it into a hymn again.  The text is Philippians 2:1-11, and in this version there are nods to Galatians 3:28 — “In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female” — and Psalm 85:10 — “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.”  Honestly most of my hymns have nods to this last one, it’s my favorite scripture ever.

The hymn is below the jump.  The tune is Forest Green.

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(God) I Love Philip Pullman

Andrew Sullivan posted this video:

Let me be clear: I don’t agree with Pullman on his materialist atheism.  But boy do I love a man who defends free speech like this!

But on this Good Friday, I thought I would say this: Christ was a scoundrel, and the Christian who is offended by that statement hasn’t read the gospels.  The Christ I proclaim as crucified on this day threw a wrench in the organized system of cruelty that was the Roman Empire, and was hung between robbers as a result.  The Christ I worship opened his public ministry to scoundrels and vagabonds and the powerless.  I pray that I might one day be counted as such a scoundrel.

The Google Book Settlement

I’ve been reading a little bit about the Google Book Settlement, primarily because Ursula K. LeGuin is one of my favorite authors.  She has made waves recently by being the ringleader of a prominent group of authors opposed to the settlement, and who have either withdrawn or condemned the Authors’ Guild for its involvement in the settlement plan.

However, I am really struggling to figure out what I think about the settlement.  Part of me is with LeGuin — she is right to be concerned that the settlement wrests control of her work away from her and gives it to a corporation, allowing it to enrich itself without paying her fairly for its appropriation of her content.  This is a very real concern, and we already have enough “indentured servitude” outfits out there — youtube, for example — that make money on other people’s work and creative products.

But at the same time, I find it hard to square LeGuin’s opposition with many of the more philosophical works she has written on human solidarity, sharing and becoming detached from notions of possession and deserving, and building a world in which individual cultural products serve the good of everyone.  Let me be plain: if I had written The Dispossessed, I would be pissed as hell if I wasn’t making money off of a work of singular genius.  But I would also struggle equally with the fact that I feel the ideas of The Dispossessed are far too valuable to put a price on their circulation.

Because I also agree to an extent with people who want to decentralize notions of copyright — namely, that cultural production should generally be freed in the service of cultural impact.

But I would say — it does seem unfair for Google to make money in perpetuity from advertisements on other people’s works without paying the authors a portion of the ad revenue.  So in a sense, I don’t quite get the full complications of the settlement.

A good article on the issue, by the way, is at io9.