Tag Archives: democracy

selections from Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

No one ever said that you could work hard—harder even than you ever thought possible—and still find yourself sinking ever deeper into poverty and debt. Continue reading

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selections from Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Feminism, as writer Marie Sheer remarked in 1986, “is the radical notion that women are people.” (122) Continue reading

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how i voted in the June 7, 2016 election

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bernie Sanders
UNITED STATES SENATOR: Kamala Harris
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Nancy Pelosi
STATE SENATOR: Ken Loo
MEMBER OF THE STATE ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 19: Phil Ting
JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT, OFFICE NO. 7: Victor Hwang

PROP 50: Yes
PROP A: Yes
PROP B: No
PROP C: No
PROP D: Yes
PROP E: Yes
PROP AA: Yes Continue reading

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my favorite Oscar Wilde poems

LIBERTATIS SACRA FAMES

Albeit nurtured in democracy,
And liking best that state republican
Where every man is Kinglike and no man
Is crowned above his fellows, yet I see,
Spite of this modern fret for Liberty,
Better the rule of One, whom all obey,
Than to let clamorous demagogues betray
Our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.
Wherefore I love them not whose hands profane
Plant the red flag upon the piled-up street
For no right cause, beneath whose ignorant reign
Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honour, all things fade,
Save Treason and the dagger of her trade,
And Murder with his silent bloody feet. (699)

—————

REQUIESCAT

Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it. (709)

—————

THE HARLOT’S HOUSE

We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot’s house.

Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The “Treues Liebes Herz” of Strauss.

Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.

We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille.

They took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.

Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try to sing.

Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out, and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.

Then, turning to my love, I said,
“The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.”

But she–she heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.

Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.

And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl. (779)

—————

THE ARTIST

One evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could only think in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment. (843)

—————

THE DOER OF GOOD

It was night-time and He was alone.

And He saw afar-off the walls of a round city and went towards the city.

And when He came near He heard within the city the tread of the feet of joy, and the laughter of the mouth of gladness and the loud noise of many lutes. And He knocked at the gate and certain of the gate-keepers opened to Him.

And He beheld a house that was of marble and had fair pillars of marble before it. The pillars were hung with garlands, and within and without there were torches of cedar. And He entered the house.

And when He had passed through the hall of chalcedony and the hall of jasper, and reached the long hall of feasting, He saw lying on a couch of sea-purple one whose hair was crowned with red roses and whose lips were red with wine.

And He went behind him and touched him on the shoulder and said to him, “Why do you live like this?”

And the young man turned round and recognised Him, and made answer and said, “But I was a leper once, and you healed me. How else should I live?”

And He passed out of the house and went again into the street.

And after a little while He saw one whose face and raiment were painted and whose feet were shod with pearls. And behind her came, slowly as a hunter, a young man who wore a cloak of two colours. Now the face of the woman was as the fair face of an idol, and the eyes of the young man were bright with lust.

And He followed swiftly and touched the hand of the young man and said to him, “Why do you look at this woman and in such wise?”

And the young man turned round and recognised Him and said, “But I was blind once, and you gave me sight. At what else should I look?”

And He ran forward and touched the painted raiment of the woman and said to her, “Is there no other way in which to walk save the way of sin?”

And the woman turned round and recognised Him, and laughed and said, “But you forgave me my sins, and the way is a pleasant way.”

And He passed out of the city.

And when He had passed out of the city He saw seated by the roadside a young man who was weeping.

And He went towards him and touched the long locks of his hair and said to him, “Why are you weeping?”

And the young man looked up and recognised Him and made answer, “But I was dead once and you raised me from the dead. What else should I do but weep?” (843-4) Continue reading

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Winters Love [archive]

things are really changing. my semester’s coming to a close as signaled by tons of due dates, Adam’s on his way to Japan as i type these words, and Spring has overthrown Winter for good.

love love love love.

i learned many interesting things about ancient Athina this morning, especially about the organization of their democracy. at the base of the structure, the men of age formed the citizenship. any citizen could take part in the assembly, but it had to number at least 6000 for it to vote on any legislation. the council, numbering 500 (fifty from each of the ten tribes) proposed all legislation that the assembly then voted yes or no on. these 500 were replaced each year by randomly selecting citizens, but each citizen could only serve twice and only in two non-consecutive years. each of the ten months of the year, one of the tribes’ fifty representatives would serve as the executive council, receiving any ambassadors and handling any high-priority issues. on top of this, every single day one citizen from those 50 was randomly selected to be, as my professor put it, “queen for the day.” look at this for a pretty picture of how meticulously organized this system was.

one of the most bizarre political procedures Diamant lectured us on was called ostrakismos. a little bit like California’s recalling of governor Gray Davis, this was a method by which the very citizens of Athina could expel one citizen from the polis for ten years. each year, the assembly, if numbering 6000+, could decide whether to hold an ostracism. if they voted yes, these citizens would write the name of the person they wanted ostracized on pottery shards. after the shards had been counted up, the ‘winner’ had ten days to leave the city knowing that if he returned he faced death. it’s original purpose was to prevent tyranny (something Athenians feared immensely), but it eventually just turned into a corrupt game where politicians would try to get rid of their rivals. things never change, everything always changes.

in more recent news, i found my debit card! apparently i’m an idiot and left it at the atm right down the street. i thanked the bank teller beamingly. i don’t really have much more to say except that this is the shortest post i’ve made in a month. Continue reading

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public domain [archive]

i think my art/archaeology class might be my favorite here. the things we discuss, the topics my professor emphasizes in his lectures always stick with me throughout the day. i always want to share them with you.

today we discussed the emergence of the Public Domain in classical Greece. once again, my close friends see me drooling at the sight of such a phrase, which brings to mind the goliath struggle of Lessig and his progressive license, Creative Commons, battling against the bloodthirstily raging armies of fat rich white people currently focusing on the takedown of one of the greatest websites on the internet. good luck to you, fuckers.

rewinding 2500 years, we find a feast of a culture developing in which all the citizens dine. after discussing how the Greeks invented the first true alphabet (and i tripped out on how i could possibly have never noticed that we say ALPHA-VITA, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet), our professor emphasized that this was a society in which everyone was literate. an archaeologist recently uncovered thousands of etchings in the rock in the mountainside; one read, “my name is ***** and i am a shepherd,” dating from about 750 BC. ridiculous.

even religion was public. religions today, as the religion then, have sacred spaces. christian churches are beautiful and epic and mass is held by a professionally trained priest. Greek sanctuaries had temples, but their sole purpose was to house the image of the god, to please the god. nothing at all took place in the temple. instead, you would go to the altar, in the open air, and make your offering there. as a citizen, you could do this whenever you wanted, without bothering with any religious bureaucracy like the kind that pollutes christianity and other major religions today.

the final example of the public domain was to be seen in the military. when the city-state was attacked, the good citizen would pick up his weapon and armor (paid for with his money), bringing food (paid for with his money), and join his fellow citizens to defend his home. though democracy was not inherent in the polis (and didn’t develop until 461), equality for all citizens was inherent. we have an ancient manuscript that reads something like, “Athens is the Athenians.” that quickly reminded me of how people say, “the government is the people,” when talking about the United States. but is that even true? was it ever true? are the people the government, or is our government just the RIAA/MPAA/AAP/Disney/Viacom/Sony/Big Tobacco/Big Oil gang? if i had a six foot spear, i tell you… watch out.

by the way, anything on this blog can be copied, packaged, sold, eaten, drunk, unless you’re going to make money off of it. in that case i’d like some of that money. or at least a box of chocolates or something. maybe. talk to me. of course nothing here is really sellable. maybe i should give advice. advice is usually sellable and i’ve already given a ton away for free today. here, have some advice:

  1. always do what you want
  2. be open about everything
  3. never commit to anyone/anything
  4. never follow advice

if that’s not sellable, i don’t know what is. Continue reading

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