Drexel University Should Uphold George Ciccariello-Maher’s Academic Freedom

On Christmas Eve, George Ciccariello-Maher, Associate Professor at Drexel University, sent out a tweet which read as follows: All I want for Christmas is White Genocide There were no scare quotes around ‘White Genocide’ but the upper-case spelling was an indication that something less straightforward than calling for the genocide of white people was onContinue reading “Drexel University Should Uphold George Ciccariello-Maher’s Academic Freedom”

Westworld’s ‘Analysis Mode’ For Humans

In the course of a discussion about the various motivations underlying the character Robert Ford‘s actions in HBO’s Westworld, a friend raised the following query: In what senses would it be good, and in which bad, if human beings could put one another into ‘analysis mode’ like techs can do with hosts in the show?Continue reading “Westworld’s ‘Analysis Mode’ For Humans”

V. S. Naipaul On The Supposed ‘Writing Personality’

In The Enigma of Arrival (Random House, New York, 1988, pp. 146-147) V. S. Naipaul writes: It wasn’t only that I was unformed at the age of eighteen or had no idea what I was going to write about. It was that idea given me by my education–and by the more “cultural,” the nicest, part of thatContinue reading “V. S. Naipaul On The Supposed ‘Writing Personality’”

John Nash On Thinking Rationally As Dieting

In A Beautiful Mind: The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1998, p. 351), Sylvia Nasar writes: Nash has compared rationality to dieting, implying a constant, conscious struggle. It is a matter of policing one’s thoughts, he said, trying to recognize paranoid ideas and rejecting them, justContinue reading “John Nash On Thinking Rationally As Dieting”

On Seeking Out The Unpleasant For The Subsequent Relief

This past Saturday afternoon, after I had completed my abortive attempt to scale Mt. Washington, I returned–exhausted, bedraggled, and freezing–to my motel room in North Conway, NH. It was about 3:30 PM; I had stopped off on the way to pick up a cup of coffee (and had my car get stuck in the parkingContinue reading “On Seeking Out The Unpleasant For The Subsequent Relief”

Democratic Party Mulls Forced Population Transfers As 2020 Strategy

The Democratic Party’s planning for the 2020 elections, as expected, began on November 10th, and have only picked up pace since then–even as party officials and campaign strategists engage in the proverbial struggle to drink from the fire-hose of hot takes seeking to assign blame for the 2016 electoral fiasco. But consensus is emerging, drivenContinue reading “Democratic Party Mulls Forced Population Transfers As 2020 Strategy”

Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – II

Yesterday, I made note here of my activities on the first of a pair of days of guided climbing in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Our plan for the second day was to try to summit Mt. Washington, a beastly business in the winter. I had hoped a) to become proficient enough in climbing to attemptContinue reading “Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – II”

Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – I

Last week, I drove up to New Hampshire–more specifically, to the White Mountains in New Hampshire–to do a little guided climbing. (With the endlessly patient and tremendously knowledgeable Nick Aiello-Popeo of Synnott Mountain Guides in Intervale, NH.) Climbing in the winter is supposed to be hard work; this past weekend turned out to be just that.Continue reading “Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – I”

On Bearing Grudges

I bear grudges. Some of them are of impressive vintage, their provenance almost hidden, tucked away in some distant corner of my memories and recollections. Yet others are more callow, stemming from events and incidents that have barely received their marching papers. Some burn with a fierce intensity, the glow of yet others is dull,Continue reading “On Bearing Grudges”

Broadchurch’s Grieving Mother And Our Reactions To ‘Victims’

Viewers of the BBC’s Broadchurch are subjected to a trial of sorts: we have to watch, in some excruciating detail, the reactions of parents, and in particular, a mother, to the violent death of a beloved child–at the hands of a malevolent, unknown actor. Paying close attention to our reactions to what we see andContinue reading “Broadchurch’s Grieving Mother And Our Reactions To ‘Victims’”