Boycott. The Embargo. It was draconian and complete.

Right after the election, Erik Hagerman decided he’d take a break from reading about the hoopla of politics…Mr. Hagerman developed his own eccentric experiment, one that was part silent protest, part coping mechanism, part extreme self-care plan. He swore that he would avoid learning about anything that happened to America after Nov. 8, 2016.

“It was draconian and complete,” he said…It was just going to be for a few days. But he is now more than a year into knowing almost nothing about American politics. He has managed to become shockingly uninformed during one of the most eventful chapters in modern American history. He is as ignorant as a contemporary citizen could ever hope to be.

James Comey. Russia. Robert Mueller. Las Vegas. The travel ban. “Alternative facts.” Pussy hats. Scaramucci. Parkland. Big nuclear buttons. Roy Moore. He knows none of it. To Mr. Hagerman, life is a spoiler…

It takes meticulous planning to find boredom. Mr. Hagerman commits as hard as a method actor, and his self-imposed regimen — white-noise tapes at the coffee shop, awkward scolding of friends, a ban on social media — has reshaped much of his life…The fact that it’s working for him — “I’m emotionally healthier than I’ve ever felt,” he said — has made him question the very value of being fed each day by the media. Why do we bother tracking faraway political developments and distant campaign speeches? What good comes of it? Why do we read all these tweets anyway?…

“I had been paying attention to the news for decades,” Mr. Hagerman said. “And I never did anything with it.” At some point last year, he decided his experiment needed a name. He considered The Embargo, but it sounded too temporary. The Boycott? It came off a little whiny. Mr. Hagerman has created a fortress around himself. “Tiny little boats of information can be dangerous,” he said…

~ Sam Dolnick, excerpts from The Man Who Knew Too Little (NY Times, March 10, 2018)

Pro or Con the Subject. Edel Rodriguez, Artist.


Source: Time’s President Trump ‘Year One’ Cover.  Edel Rodriguez, Artist and One of the Top 50 Creative People by Advertising Age.

 

Year of the Dog

“A baby in a hospital in Bangkok is dressed in a dog costume to celebrate the coming Year of the Dog.”

And here I thought every year is the Year of the Dog…


Notes:

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I think much of decency. How to pass a plate. Not to shout from one room to another. Not to open a closed door without knocking. Let a lady pass. The aim of these endless simple rules is to make life better. I pay close attention to my manners. Etiquette matters. It’s a simple and comprehensible language of mutual respect.

~ Jack Nicholson


Notes:

 

 

Truth

You can’t transform mountebanks into menschen. Character is like concrete: You can make an impression when it’s freshly poured, in its youth, one could say, but when it sets, it’s impervious to alteration.

~ Charles M. Blow, Satan in a Sunday Hat (NY Times, July 31, 2017)


Notes: Image Credit

TGIF: No Truth!

A few days ago I was at a conference in Montreal, and a Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”

I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites…but the sectarianism that has destroyed nation-states in the Middle East is now infecting us.”…

So when I got home, I called my teacher and friend Dov Seidman…and asked him what he thought was happening to us.

“What we’re experiencing is an assault on the very foundations of our society and democracy — the twin pillars of truth and trust,” Seidman responded. “What makes us Americans is that we signed up to have a relationship with ideals that are greater than us and with truths that we agreed were so self-evident they would be the foundation of our shared journey toward a more perfect union — and of respectful disagreement along the way…

But when there is no “we” anymore, because “we” no longer share basic truths, Seidman argued, “then there is no legitimate authority and no unifying basis for our continued association.”…

While our system can’t function without leaders with formal authority, what makes it really work, he added, is “when leaders occupying those formal positions — from business to politics to schools to sports — have moral authority. Leaders with moral authority understand what they can demand of others and what they must inspire in them. They also understand that formal authority can be won or seized, but moral authority has to be earned every day by how they lead. And we don’t have enough of these leaders.”

In fact, we have so few we’ve forgotten what they look like. Leaders with moral authority have several things in common, said Seidman: “They trust people with the truth — however bright or dark. They’re animated by values — especially humility — and principles of probity, so they do the right things, especially when they’re difficult or unpopular. And they enlist people in noble purposes and onto journeys worthy of their dedication.”

~ Thomas L. Friedman, excerpts from Where Did the People Go (NY Times, June 21, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post Inspiration: “We are living in a time when lies are sanctioned. We have always lived in that time, but now the lies are publicly, rhetorically sanctioned. And something tribal has happened, which means that nobody gives a shit whether ­somebody’s lying or not because he’s on my side or she’s on my side. In the end, will truth matter? Of course truth will matter. Truth isn’t relative. But there’s going to be a great sacrifice on the way to getting truth to matter to us again, to finding out why it does, and God knows what shape that sacrifice will take.” By Ali Smith, from the Art of Fiction No. 236 (The Paris Review, Summer 2017)
  • Portrait: (via mennyfox55)

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

desert-dunes-black-and-white

Where’s Caleb?

Held back at the border due to extreme vetting.


Notes:

Riding Metro North. The Morning After…

train-tracks-paris-metro

Just another ordinary autumn morning in November. But, and it’s a big But, this one follows the U.S. Presidential election.

It’s the first train to Grand Central: the 5:01 am. The 1% fills this train. The traders, the bankers, the Suits, the professional class.

I am Them.

Overnight, the Earth has shifted, and cracked.

All heads in this train car are down.  The gleaming late model Apple devices beam the story lines. “Election results driven by the poor white…the rural vote…the non-college educated…”  These written words coming from the same college educated who got it all so wrong, are now anxiously explaining what went wrong and why, and they are soon to pivot to telling us what happens next. Stunned.

The Words coming from these pens and keyboards (and now digested by their Readers) are less confident today, less certain about outcomes, and fear a change of the status quo.  Mary Oliver describes the anxiety in ‘Sister Turtle’: “You can fool a lot of yourself but you can’t fool the soul. That worrier.” [Read more…]

The Morning After…

red-hair-portrait-peace-jpg

Humble down,

I tell myself.

Love this.

~ Marjorie Stelmach, from “Divestments of Autumn,” Beloit Poetry Journal (vol. 67, no. 1, Fall 2016)

 


Notes: Poem Source: Memory’s Landscape. Photo: Mennyfox55

2016 Election Night Coverage

snoopy-rain-peanuts


Source: this isn’t happiness

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