Totally riveting. I flew through this massive book, which is a history of how autism was given a name and how that name — and the development of the aTotally riveting. I flew through this massive book, which is a history of how autism was given a name and how that name — and the development of the autism spectrum and what that diagnosis entails — has shifted, and continues to shift, from the 1940s to the present. That's the key takeaway: None of this is finished. This is not a definitive history. The authors betray their broadcast journalism roots sometimes (ending almost every chapter's final paragraph with a predictable "hook"), but it worked on me; I read hungrily from chapter to chapter.
I'll admit that I harbored a good deal of fear about autism (and receiving that diagnosis for a potential child), but a lot of that misinformation I was carrying was been addressed by the thoroughness of this book. And while there is still a good deal of fear and grief that confronts every parent whose child receives this diagnosis, there is so much more support and hope now than there ever has been — thanks, largely, to tenacious mothers and the scientists they persuaded to get involved....more
"For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to
"For humans to have a responsible relationship to the world, they must imagine their places in it. To have a place, to live and belong in a place, to live from a place without destroying it, we must imagine it. By imagination we see it illuminated by its own unique character and by our love for it. By imagination we recognize with sympathy the fellow members, human and nonhuman, with whom we share our place. By that local experience we see the need to grant a sort of preemptive sympathy to all the fellow members, the neighbors, with whom we share the world. As imagination enables sympathy, sympathy enables affection. And in affection we find the possibility of a neighborly, kind, and conserving economy."
The titular essay is thought-provoking, if perhaps a bit narrow and reductive in parts. The rest of this little book is not entirely interesting, although I did enjoy his brief perspective on civil disobedience and the loss of land. He is a genial conservationist. The serious typos in the book did bother me, however (repeatedly adding an apostrophe to Howards End, on which the title of the book is based, and President Barak Obama on the back cover. REALLY, GUYS). ...more
The photos were delightful, but I'll admit that Morey's philosophizing dampened my enjoyment of Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves. There is some helpfuThe photos were delightful, but I'll admit that Morey's philosophizing dampened my enjoyment of Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves. There is some helpful historical context in this book, which had a lot more text in it than I expected, but I felt that some of her judgments of these photos were a bit extreme and needlessly academic. I wanted to hear more about dogs in American history—not about how twisted everyone's politics were. ...more
“Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of“Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found. It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own.”
3.5 stars. I am a fan of Rebecca Solnit's style—that meandering, somewhat easily distracted cadence—but this book wasn't as coherent or compelling for me (compared with, say, Wanderlust). Still, she's a great pleasure and there are some lovely passages in here. It just struck me as a bit too self-focused and self-indulgent in parts, particularly when knowing the excellence she is typically capable of. ...more
"Is it true that human beings are fundamentally cruel? Is the experience of cruelty the only thing we share as a species? Is the dignity that we cling"Is it true that human beings are fundamentally cruel? Is the experience of cruelty the only thing we share as a species? Is the dignity that we cling to nothing but self-delusion, masking from ourselves this single truth: that each one of us is capable of being reduced to an insect, a ravening beast, a lump of meat? To be degraded, damaged, slaughtered—is this the essential fate of humankind, one that history has confirmed as inevitable?"
These questions could be read as the thesis of Human Acts, a short novel that explores the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea in 1980. Han Kang chooses a handful of different voices to tell their own stories of the protests and subsequent massacre. I found the prisoner's chapter to be the most compelling. As an exploration into the inherent darkness of humankind, it is noteworthy; as a strong novel, it is not as much....more
“To turn aside from the anger of Black women with excuses or the pretexts of intimidation is to award no one power—it is merely another way of preserv“To turn aside from the anger of Black women with excuses or the pretexts of intimidation is to award no one power—it is merely another way of preserving racial blindness, the power of unaddressed privilege, unbreached, intact. Guilt is only another form of objectification. Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. Black women are expected to use our anger only in the service of other people’s salvation or learning. But that time is over. My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity.” ("The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism")
Powerful and extremely relevant. It was a galvanizing pleasure to read her work back to back; I had only ever read snippets before. And of course I am not the first or the last to say that this book, and Audre Lorde's work in general, is an essential component of the American feminist canon. I was also reading this while reading Adrienne Rich's collected poems, so I found the interview between them, which is included here, particularly fascinating. We white feminists have a lot to learn from our foremothers of color. It's a good time to shut up and listen.