David Bentley Hart Describes Yankee Fans…

(The G.O.A.T.) (The G.O.A.T.)

Not that the horror is easy to recall clearly. The trauma is too violent. Memory cringes, whines, tries to slink away. One recollects only a kaleidoscopic flux of gruesomely fragmentary impressions, too outlandish to be perfectly accurate, too vivid to be entirely false: nightmarish revenants from the dim haunts of the collective unconscious … monstrous, abortive shapes emerging from the abysmal murk of evolutionary history … things pre-hominid, even pre-mammalian … forms never quite resolving into discrete organisms, spilling over and into one another, making it uncertain where…
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And so I write the letters and make the calls, I support my friends running for office, I march and volunteer and raise money. This is not always gratifying. Frankly, it feels futile most of the time. It’s hard to know if I’m making any difference at all. But it’s far better than knowing for certain that I’m not. We are a young country, that’s true, but we were born too old for this. – Sloane Crosley, McSweeny's

Teach Them a Lesson.

Beating man with stick. (Yes I’m beating you, but it’s for my own good.)

The Guardians of the Great New America invite YOU to join the exciting craze that’s sweeping the nation! An old idea refreshed for your pleasure!

PUNISHMENT.

Yes that’s right. Now you can bathe in the vindictive glory of the new American ethos. We have your back. Put some hurt on!

Punishment rarely effects any real change and it almost always leaves [...] 

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Stories of Your Life and Others

Stories of Your Life and OthersStories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful. Stories with ideas you don't just consider for a moment, but return to again and again.

What if you could remember your future? What if heaven, hell, angels and miracles are real, but reward for your faith is completely arbitrary?

If I knew this, I'd forgotten it, so I was happy to discover that the story "Story of Your Life," was the basis for the film "Arrival." Probably my favorite film of the last few years. Imagine a language that requires knowledge of the future in order to be properly contextualized.

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The Giver

Lois Lowery and book cover. (Author Lois Lowery.)

The Giver (The Giver, #1)The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Archiving the memories of a society that has decided real human experience is too dangerous is an interesting concept. I understand this is a book for younger folks but I would have liked to see the premise unpacked a bit more.

The idea that it's possible to ramp down or suppress human nature and still maintain the sophisticated interactions necessary for a society to survive is not a given. It's unlikely that depth of experience can be managed on a simple linear scale.

However our continuing singular reliance on rule of law does suggest that we haven't stopped trying.

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The Supreme Court Looks Away

President Trump and Chief Justice Roberts. (Donald Trump listens while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.)

From the New York Review of Books article by David Cole:

When the Trump administration sought to identify persons who had come from the banned countries and engaged in terrorism, it was able to cite one sole suspect who came from Somalia and was eventually convicted of providing material support to a terrorist group. But he came to the US when he was a toddler and was convicted a decade and a half later. That’s hardly evidence of a national security crisis.

By contrast, the evidence that the ban was targeted at Muslims was overwhelming; the president openly admitted as much on the campaign trail, and pursued that purpose once in office. Indeed, no one on the court even disputed that the president had acted with anti-Muslim animus; the only real dispute was about the legal implications of that intent. The lower courts had ruled that the ban violated the Establishment Clause, which requires government to maintain strict neutrality among religions and deems invalid any government action that a “reasonable observer,” aware of all the publicly available facts, would view as intended to promote or denigrate a particular religion.

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There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
–Charles de Montesquieu