On Avoiding Conversations With Children

Yesterday afternoon, as I rode back from Manhattan to Brooklyn to pick up my daughter from daycare, I noticed three children board the subway car I was seated in. One of them was a friend’s son, all of nine years old; he was accompanied by two younger children. An older woman, clearly their chaperone orContinue reading “On Avoiding Conversations With Children”

Lessons From A Vision Of A Funeral Pyre

My grandfather’s funeral was the first I attended of a significant family member. It was also the first time I witnessed a cremation, that fiery return to the ashes–and possibly eternal cycles of becoming and passing away–which signals the end of a Hindu’s life. As we prepared for it, I was aware, even through theContinue reading “Lessons From A Vision Of A Funeral Pyre”

Mass Incarceration And The ‘Overfederalization’ Of Crime

America’s mass incarceration is the bastard child of many. Among them: racism, the War on Drugs (itself a racist business), the evisceration of the Constitution through ideological interpretive strategies, prosecutorial misconduct, police brutality, and so on. Yet other culprits may be found elsewhere, in other precincts of the legal and political infrastructure of the nation.Continue reading “Mass Incarceration And The ‘Overfederalization’ Of Crime”

My First Academic Conference

The first academic conference I attended was the 1999 Annual Meeting of the Association of Symbolic Logic, held at the University of California at San Diego. I submitted an abstract for a presentation, which was accepted, and so off I went, hoping to gain ‘experience’ and ‘exposure.’ My paper was based on part of myContinue reading “My First Academic Conference”

Epistemology and ‘The Leftovers’

Imagine that an extremely improbable event occurs, one for which there was no warning; your best theories of the world assigned it a near-zero probability (indeed, so low was this probability then calculating it would have been a waste of time). This event is inexplicable–no explanations for it are forthcoming, and it cannot be fittedContinue reading “Epistemology and ‘The Leftovers’”

Fascism In American Iconography

As the United States of America prepares for the eventuality that on 20th January 2017, John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, could swear in an orange-haired fascist with a tiny penis as the US’ next President, it is worth reminding ourselves that the aforesaid toupeed individual would take the reigns ofContinue reading “Fascism In American Iconography”

Stephen Jay Gould’s Weak Argument For Science And Religion’s ‘Separate Domains’

Stephen Jay Gould‘s famous ‘Two Separate Domains‘ argues, roughly, that religion and science operate in different domains of inquiry, and as such do not conflict with each other: We get the age of rocks, and religion retains the rock of ages; we study how the heavens go, and they determine how to go to heaven.Continue reading “Stephen Jay Gould’s Weak Argument For Science And Religion’s ‘Separate Domains’”

Angela Davis On Reparation, Reconciliation, And Prison Abolition

In Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories Press, New York, 2003, pp. 106) Angela Davis writes: It is true that if we focus myopically on the existing system–and perhaps this is the problem that leads to the assumption that imprisonment is the only alternative to death–it is very hard to imagine a structurally similar system capable of handling such a vastContinue reading “Angela Davis On Reparation, Reconciliation, And Prison Abolition”

Paul Ryan Wants A Fig Leaf From Donald Trump

Over at The Nation John Nichols makes note of Paul Ryan’s undignified ‘dance’ with Donald Trump: Ryan says he is “not ready” to formally endorse Trump’s unpopular presidential candidacy. Trump says he is “not ready” to embrace Ryan’s unpopular austerity agenda. But after speaking with Ryan, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says the speakerContinue reading “Paul Ryan Wants A Fig Leaf From Donald Trump”

Kōbō Abe’s ‘Woman in The Dunes’ And The Scientist’s Existentialist Despair

Kōbō Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes wears and displays its existentialist, absurdist aspirations openly and transparently; this is its terse Wikipedia summation: In 1955, Jumpei Niki, a schoolteacher from Tokyo, visits a fishing village to collect insects. After missing the last bus, he is led, by the villagers, in an act of apparent hospitality, to a houseContinue reading “Kōbō Abe’s ‘Woman in The Dunes’ And The Scientist’s Existentialist Despair”