nevver:

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:      1. What am I trying to say?       2. What words will express it?       3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?       4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

nevver:

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
      1. What am I trying to say?
      2. What words will express it?
      3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
      4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

01/03/2013
13:27
12/29/2012
11:40

bohemianarthouse:

“Seize the Day” from the movie Newsies. Here’s the lyrics (which I think is appropriate considering what’s all going on right now):


Open the gates and seize the day
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us
Give our rights away
Arise and seize the day 

Now is the time to seize the day
Send out the call and join the fray 

Wrongs will be righted
If we’re united 

Let us seize the day 

Friends of the friendless, seize the day
Raise up the torch and light the way
Proud and defiant
We’ll slay the giant
Let us seize the day 

Neighbor to neighbor
Father to son
One for all and all for one 

Open the gates and seize the day
Don’t be afraid and don’t delay
Nothing can break us
No one can make us
Give our rights away 

Neighbor to neighbor
Father to son
One for all and all for one

09/30/2011
18:15

precariousness

Is there something inherently bad in the type of activity we associate with “precarious labor”, or can precarious labor be made safe, without foregoing its flexibility and fluidity? The assumption that work which is short-term, mobile, variable in intensity and adaptive is bad is tied, of course, to its frequent connection to a lack of guarantees of financial support that allows for future planning, provision for needs such as health care and time-off,  and social/legal standing. The Fordist factory work is replaced by the migrant day-laborer, the adjunct instructor, the consultant, the temp…. Obviously, these figures are highly useful for Capital, given its own emphasis on mobility, profit-margins, efficiently, global reach, and it seems not unlikely that capitalism takes little account of human needs or life plans, much less suffering. And there is very real danger that some workers, particularly those (often women) engaged in sex work or global domestic employment, who lack legal or practical protection. It is highly unlikely that, of its own accord or even perhaps with pressure, the working world will revert to a model where each household is headed by a breadwinner who stays at a company throughout his life and is stable in this position (if this was even truly true). But, along with the uncertainly engendered by precarious labor, and the frequency with which the precarious do the same work as others who have more guarantees, without receiving the same compensation or respect, there are also ways in which precarious labor is beneficial. Surely a world in which work is not restricted to the options of 9-5, 5 days a week is potential beneficial to family life, as well as those who pursue art or education as well as employment.  

Precarious labor, of course, is experienced in different ways by different classes, and those devestated by the shifts in the job market since 2008 are most often middle-aged men who were exposes to emasulation and mass experiences of superfluidity, and the ability to set own’s own hours at the unemployment office is surely not a valuable gain. But, if the economists are right that certain types of jobs will not return, certainly a more broadly flexible conception and practice, perhaps combined with more robust options for technical re-training for adults, could alleviate at least some of the existential precariousness of this situation. Similarly, for the actual poor, for whom “precariousness” is often a euphemism for either absolute exclusion or minimum wage slavery, particularly for the millions of paperless immigrants who perform much of the unwanted work in the developed world, some sort of guarentee of security, both material and in terms of the possibility of entering into history of “being sombody”, not in the vulgar sense, but in the sense of the dignity of living in the company of others who might remember your story, should be possible.

Labor is precarious not because it is flexible, part-time or connected to maintenance of life and the private sphere, but because this model of laboring is seen as apolitical, private, and valueless. It is, paradoxically, seen as superflous, even as it is actually key to the operations of the secured operations (thus, a Day without Immigrants would actually bring most cities to a standstill). This is the work that builds and cares for the public space, which is paradoxically allowing its evisceration on the grounds of economic necessity. Decoupling the political from the public, and from paid, full-time employment, so that the citizen is more than a good worker, and so that material and social benefits are untied to one’s employment status, is one way to begin to make precarious labor, whether it the work of mothers, sex workers, secretaries or interns more safe. 

05/23/2011
16:54

upaya

today: read Birmingham on Arendt/Benjamin, Arendt on Kafka, Dude quoted below on time/woling/connolly, a bit of the cambridge arendt companion. wrote two or three pages on feminism and public/privateness, to be part of the chapter on contemporary citizenship and work. its not too late, hoping to reread/skim stevens States without Nations, Peg’s Arendt and Human rights, and read some more cambridge and Balibar on europe…

I need a dissertation tracker that works like my nike tracker in my shoe. Self-surveillance may not be the only method for writing a dissertation, but I think it has to be mine.

03/24/2011
16:07
Along with slow food, we need slow housing, slow transportation, slow ecology, slow citizenship, slow democracy. The precise configuration of these movements is yet to be charted, but they will likely—as does Slow Food—combine local stakeholder participation with transnational networks of solidarity, communication, and commerce. However, without a sense of commitment to discovering and maintaining the common (something, as Wolin reminds us, best achieved through slow-time practices of negotiating shared grievances with others in our local political spaces), such movements will quickly fade into irrelevancy. The urgent challenge is finding practices, habits, ideas, and objects of identification that will bend the bow of democratic desire in these directions.
McIvor, D. (2010). The Politics of Speed: Connolly, Wolin, and the Prospects for Democratic Citizenship in an Accelerated Polity. Polity, 43(1), 58-83. doi:10.1057/pol.2010.23
03/24/2011
14:24
theatlantic:

Forget Your March Madness Bracket: Play NCAA Bingo! Instead

Why even bother with brackets, really? You’ll be much happier playing BINGO!—our new March Madness-themed BINGO!, that is. Just print out the specially-designed card below, and use bottle-caps or coins to cover a square every time you hear one of these common March Madness-y words or phrases. Or you could just use the card to play a drinking game and drown your sorrows while watching your brackets implode.

Read more at The Atlantic

theatlantic:

Forget Your March Madness Bracket: Play NCAA Bingo! Instead

Why even bother with brackets, really? You’ll be much happier playing BINGO!—our new March Madness-themed BINGO!, that is. Just print out the specially-designed card below, and use bottle-caps or coins to cover a square every time you hear one of these common March Madness-y words or phrases. Or you could just use the card to play a drinking game and drown your sorrows while watching your brackets implode.

Read more at The Atlantic

03/17/2011
12:21

elaborate metaphors are fun.

A riptide is a little understood phenomenon. It is not really a tide at all, but a strange current created by the interaction of waves and wind which functions like a conveyor belt more than a rabbit hole. You may swim into a rip tide because it appears unusually smooth and inviting, and then quickly panic as your are pulled out to sea. You may struggle towards the shore against an unmatchable ocean. You will fight against the current until you grow exhausted and drown; if you only knew it, the water to either side of you is calm. 

To survive a riptide, you must tread water, poised, until you are deposited at the other end of the conveyor belt. You must then swim at a diagonal towards the shore and away from the riptide, resisting the urge to take the quickest route. You must see the riptide, and by extension the ocean, not as a combative force but as a impersonal one, responding to patterns that you, too, can live by. 

To repeat: sometimes, you must tread water. 

03/11/2011
22:14

WBEZ on funding issue

Dear Alison,

I’m embarking on what I hope ends up to be a helpful, factual summary of some of the issues surrounding recent proposals in Congress to de-fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which supports public television and radio stations. 

I’m writing this to individuals like you who support WBEZ 91.5  FM,  and our affiliated signals 
90.7 FM and 89.5 FM, which many of you know as Vocalo.

As a dedicated listener, you have had the opportunity to enjoy the programs which, with your support, we produce and distribute nationally and globally such as This American Life, Sound Opinions and, in partnership with NPR,  Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

My role as director of this institution is to provide public service with a firm faith in the ability of an informed citizenry to shape policy. We recognize the inappropriateness of our institution—dedicated to fair and comprehensive journalism—to misuse our communication platforms to drive specific outcomes in national policy of any kind.

The public broadcasting defunding debate has generated a lot of misinformation, and my goal in writing to you is to provide a clear—and accurate—summary of what’s happening and why. I also hope to pinpoint who would be most affected if wholesale defunding of CPB were to occur.

I hasten to note that we are also conflicted here. Chicago Public Media, Incorporated (th
e community non-profit that owns and operates WBEZ 91.5 and Vocalo, 89.5 FM) receives money from the annual federal appropriation to CPB. 

Despite this conflict, I am motivated to write because the funds from CPB help not just major market stations like us—but also hundreds of independent, locally based public radio and television stations all over the country. We consider you key investors in our mission, and as such, we think it’s appropriate to keep you informed of issues that could have a negative impact on that mission here, and by extension, across the country.

It seems that even the most fundamental of facts about this are presently lost in the
 national debate: the Federal appropriation is designed to support the operations of public broadcast stations, some 900 of which are public radio stations, along with nearly every public television station in the country.

What Federal funding does not do is provide any annual operating dollars for national production houses such as NPR or distributors like PRI or PBS, which own and operate no broadcast stations. While these production houses and distribution companies may occasionally receive one-time project-specific grants from CPB through a competitive process, the magnitude of these one-time grants is relatively immaterial in size to the other revenues generated by the national producers.

The hot rhetoric ricocheting around Washington and elsewhere—where some see defunding as a way to strike out against perceived failings of these national producing companies—fails to make this distinction: local stations receive the money, not NPR, not PBS. This is a crucial distinction. 

Some commercial and cable media exaggerate the size of this federal support (CPB funding is actually under 500 million dollars in a proposed budget of 3.8 trillion dollars) while understating its benefit.

Hundreds of public service radio and television stations in small- and medium-sized cities, many serving rural and racially diverse American communities, depend on this annual funding for 20%-30% of their budgets every year.

Unlike the UK and other countries, public television and radio in the US has always been completely de-centralized. There is no real “network” in public radio or public television. PBS is a distribution company and NPR is a producer and a distributor of programming. PBS and NPR (and other big distributors) are owned and managed separately from all public television and radio stations that purchase their products.  Furthermore, there is no requirement or directive to purchase nationally distributed program products. That’s why so many public television and radio stations have distinctive schedules, offering original and acquired programming specifically tailored to the character of the communities they serve.

As community institutions, public radio and television stations are devoted to providing an arena for civic discourse. For many cities, towns, and regions, the local public radio station, along with public television, are the most important source of non-commercial news and information in this country. More than ever at this point in our history, whether we are in  times of crisis or calm, I hope we all can see the value of trusted, non-commercial programming. I would think none of us would see the country as better off were such services to go silent or fade to black.

If you wish to learn more, here is a link to some background on the federal appropriation to public radio and television stations through CPB. Ultimately it is your place as an active citizen to decide what, if anything, you might wish to do in voicing your position on this legislation to your representatives. To assist you, should you wish to express a view,  we have provided links at the bottom of this letter for further reading and for contacting members of Congress, should you wish to do so.

Naturally, I am also available. My email is tmalatia@chicagopublicmedia.org.

Thank you for giving this matter the serious consideration it deserves.

All the best,
Torey Malatia
President and CEO
Chicago Public Media

02/17/2011
18:46

feeling like a KFC famous bowl. (metaphor, not desire)

I sort of made my goal last week, at least enough to feel some sort of break is in order, even though I really need to edit what I’ve written & submitted and get on the rest of it. I’m tired of that bit, even if other bits interest me, and I just read a terribly dull book on Judgment and Kant and Human Rights and Exemplars and Evil and now I have no motivation to write my own terribly dull book.

I should be reading, but I have done a poor job of stocking my home with books that I need at the moment, along with essentials like food and water.


Even this blog is boring me.

02/06/2011
18:53