Magnificent. Startlingly familiar and yet unlike anything I've read before. Banville succeeds tremendously in capturing images, dizzying us a bit as wMagnificent. Startlingly familiar and yet unlike anything I've read before. Banville succeeds tremendously in capturing images, dizzying us a bit as we bob helplessly on the pitiless ebb and flow of memory. Even more remarkable is the sad and gentle probing of our innermost reaches through the reminiscences of the narrator: the fears, randomnesses, griefs, and sensations of both childhood and what one thought would at some point become adulthood....more
Magical, maddening, provocative, poorly argued. It occurs to me that Antigone's attachment of great importance to the burying of her brother's body, wMagical, maddening, provocative, poorly argued. It occurs to me that Antigone's attachment of great importance to the burying of her brother's body, which is obviously culturally obtained, starkly weakens many of Butler's and others' arguments regarding Antigone's position in or outside of society as well as the question of following society's laws when they contradict (and they do not always) the more primally ingrained laws of kinship.
I am fascinated by many of the ideas here and grateful for the opening up of new planes in the geometry of my thinking, but I do wish that these essays were more rigorously logical. I am also so far removed from and so deeply disgusted by Hegel's views as they relate to Antigone and to women that I find myself wishing to skip the paragraphs in which I see his name. That's a lot of paragraphs. (This is not to imply that I hold Butler responsible!)
I am completely unconvinced by Butler's argument that Antigone's recourse to language (i.e. using it) implicates her in the dominant power structure. I am disappointed by the attempt, for example, to portray as linked a) doing something and b) being "blind" to the existence of other options. Agency, anyone? Butler attributes this monstrosity of logic to Hegel, but I don't buy it. That said, I need to spend more time with both Hegel and Antigone to truly have a right to my opinion.
The large-scale arguments here are admirable. However, the circumventing of logic and the favoring of the seductive over the deductive seem to me somehow oddly like an attempt to take over from the [patriarchal] power structure Butler wishes to reconsider without first properly dismantling it.
I struggled with the assertion that words (with examples given in many different social and legal contexts) are equivalent to deeds, but after some time I came to be able to accept this peacefully and view it as a useful tool for considering the weight of various sorts of human interactions....more
Witty and provocative. A fine balance between serious academic thought and entertainment. If everyone in the world read this, the world would probablyWitty and provocative. A fine balance between serious academic thought and entertainment. If everyone in the world read this, the world would probably become unrecognizable to us....more
It is probably a mistake to seek help in a book. Certainly it was a mistake for me to hope to find something resembling help in this particular one.
SIt is probably a mistake to seek help in a book. Certainly it was a mistake for me to hope to find something resembling help in this particular one.
Self-important, cold, drippingly bourgeois, and filled with all the worst sorts of details, this was The Wrong Book for me to try (once I was able to start reading again) during the most horrific weeks of my life.
This is most definitely not to be recommended for anyone who has just lost a partner.
A somewhat dated but nevertheless fascinating and detailed exposition of many sociocultural aspects of North Indian classical music. Notably, many chaA somewhat dated but nevertheless fascinating and detailed exposition of many sociocultural aspects of North Indian classical music. Notably, many chapters discuss phenomena that an outsider might well not even realize exist. I appreciated the (secondary) opportunity to apply these new (to me) "idea-worlds" to Western classical music life....more
A few weeks ago, I wrote here that Josipovici's "Moo Pak" was the best book I'd ever read. Well, "Moo Pak" should be honored to share a shelf with "AA few weeks ago, I wrote here that Josipovici's "Moo Pak" was the best book I'd ever read. Well, "Moo Pak" should be honored to share a shelf with "A Raisin in the Sun".
I am a bit embarrassed not to have read this or seen it in the theater before, but I have always tended to avoid reading plays and I guess I've just not yet had the chance to attend a performance. But even the very first lines -- stage directions, actually -- capture life as it is and make us love and identify with each and every character. Especially when those characters do not-so-lovable things, which, as Mama points out, is just when people need our love most.
By the way, does anyone out there know where Beneatha got her name?
I bought this book without any idea of what it was about. I liked the title.
I thought I had "race" figured out, especially after some very meaningfulI bought this book without any idea of what it was about. I liked the title.
I thought I had "race" figured out, especially after some very meaningful discussions over the past couple of years. I had certainly crystallized my own position (though I couldn't articulate it terribly well until earlier this year when I had to and was not entirely successful, which motivated me to truly get it right). But, troubling as it is to be placed in a group of people about whom fundamental things are assumed because of the way they look -- and aha! isn't that the point?! -- I made a great effort to open myself honestly to Biko's points, and even to his accusations, and I found my approach morphing.
I have a few issues with some of Biko's statements, viewpoints, and omissions, which will be enumerated here, but I don't mind at all. One of the things I've taken in so far is that contradictions don't always have to be resolved. Whether Biko is right that being at peace with inherent contradictions is an "African" trait in contrast with the "Western" need to approach everything scientifically to find an answer or create a synthesis of conflicting elements is another story, and it's something I would like to consider further regardless of the nationality/skin color/"sort" of people to whom these traits are (glibly?) attributed.
As someone with white skin, I have the very comfortable option, as a member of society's privileged and as a member of the majority (at least visually) in most of the places I've lived, to be able to say that I don't "identify" as a white person. That that's not one of my defining characteristics. That it doesn't say anything about who I am. That it's not important. With time and difficult discussions (with self and others), though, I've come to realize that the way we look most definitely shapes who we are. It's unavoidable, because we're shaped by the way people treat us and respond to us, and a lot of that has to do with first impressions, which are in turn largely formed by visual appearances (or, in the case of people who cannot see, other instantaneous cues as to "race" and class). When you're part of a visually obvious minority, you don't have the luxury of ignoring or forgetting what you look like, because society doesn't let you forget it for a minute. While I've experienced this to a very small degree, I acknowledge that the fact that my skin is lighter rather than darker than most Mexicans' means that my experience as an obvious minority was nothing like that of people who are constantly being taken for shoplifters, muggers, and intruders. I can't imagine living with that year in and year out, and I know I'm fortunate not to have to waste energy and imagination and anger on handling anything like it, because I'd go mad with rage. I wouldn't want to join hands with anybody who looked like the oppressors either, and I might well become militant about it. In fact, my positive experiences and my luck at being treated well in every country I've lived in have very much contributed to my peaceful disposition and my unshakeable conviction that people are people and that people should work together for good. I've had the good fortune, in other words, to end up that way because of the way I look. Because I'm white. It makes me feel dirty sometimes to be white (and here I knowingly say "be white" rather than "have white skin") and to resemble in whatever happenstance way the people who have historically killed, systematically destroyed, and evilly disrespected others who happen to have more melanin active in their skin.
In any case, back to the book. It's very difficult reading, and it brings up fundamental issues. Must we live with existential guilt if we've not risked our lives to save the lives of others? Or can we convince ourselves that it's acceptable to be courageous in other ways, that we're better off alive? Steve Biko wrote what he liked, in his words, but he also got himself murdered doing it. How much more could he have done for South Africans and others if he'd lived another 40 or 50 or 60 years? On the other hand, somebody had to do the awful work Steve Biko did, and I thank him for leaving our world a little less brutal than it would have been without his bravery. It's incredibly unpleasant to admit, as I've done after 100 pages or so of this book, that he must have been right -- that the blacks in apartheid South Africa had to go it alone, that they were not in a position to accept any aid of any sort from even well-meaning whites. I can just see myself being turned away, lowering my head and crying with frustration while walking away rejected by SASO. And I prickle constantly as I read. I tend to prickle when I'm told that, essentially, I can't understand and can't stand in solidarity because I don't look right. How did things get so bad? I don't know enough about the country's history to know how the country's horrid state of affairs went so far as to necessitate such radical action as Biko called for in his many speeches and articles, but I'm left with little doubt that by the time Biko reached the age of political consciousness, there was no other choice. This stings terribly but surely can't compare with the beehive in which countless blacks lived (miserably) and died (brutally) throughout the period of apartheid.
I can only be glad (and that's not the right word, because racially based police brutality is unconscionable and horrific) that, though things for black people now (in 2014) in the U.S. (according to some statistics) are even worse than in apartheid S.A., I'm welcome to take part in rallies and vigils and protests. The U.S. is in a much better place than S.A. was at the time in that there's a sense in the U.S. that everybody (with a halfway decent attitude) is in it together and that a tragedy for any individual or city or sector of society is a national tragedy, a human tragedy, something that affects us all. I wish Steve Biko had lived to see people of all appearances standing together for justice; it's clear from the writings he left behind that he never experienced such a thing.
Lastly, on reading the transcript of Biko's answers to the judge and the defense attorney while on trial: Biko was incredibly articulate, never condescending, and entirely reasonable, though he must have been simmering with rage particularly at that time. To have had such a thinker among us should be a point of pride for the human race.
"The rule of the oppressor is prescribed by the endurance of the oppressed." ...more
A deceptively casual, simple glimpse into the life of an honest, unassuming thinker.
I have exactly zero interest in running, but as a musician I findA deceptively casual, simple glimpse into the life of an honest, unassuming thinker.
I have exactly zero interest in running, but as a musician I find Murakami's insights both useful and spiritually enriching, especially with regard to his thoughts on discipline and focus. This book also inspired me to take a (for me) very long bike ride and to maintain a new inner awareness throughout.
I recommend this book very highly to anyone looking at this review. I will be buying additional copies for several family members....more
This is a relatively engaging little volume summarizing many philosophies related to kindness, but it reads like a literature review and adds little iThis is a relatively engaging little volume summarizing many philosophies related to kindness, but it reads like a literature review and adds little in the way of new insight. Somehow, one expects a bit more ...warmth... in such a sweet-looking little volume. ...more