collection of words (not mine)
"Sonny's Blues" — James Baldwin
"For he also had to see that his presence, that music, which was life or death to him, had been torture for them and that they had endured it, not at all for his sake, but only for mine."
"All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations."
"For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness."
"And I was yet aware that this was only a moment, that the world waited outside, as hungry as a tiger, and that trouble stretched above us, longer than the sky."
"The Virtual Barrio @ The Other Frontier" — Guillermo Gómez-Peña
"When we began to dialogue with US artists working with new technologies, we were also perplexed by the fact that when referring to 'cyber-space' or 'the net', they spoke of a politically neutral/race-less/gender-less and classless 'territory' which provided us all with 'equal access', and unlimited possibilities of participation, interaction and belonging, specially 'belonging' (in a time in which no one feels that they 'belong' anywhere). Yet there was never any mention of the physical and social loneliness, or the fear of the 'real world' which propels so many people to get on line, stay 'there' and pretend they are having 'meaningful' experiences of 'communication' or 'discovery' (two very American obsessions). To many of them, the thought of exchanging identities in the net and impersonating other genders, races or ages, without real (social or physical) consecuences seemed extremely appealing and liberating, and by no means, superficial or escapist.
The utopian rhetoric around digital technologies, specially the one coming out of California, reminded Roberto and I of a sanitized version of the pioneer and frontier mentalities of the Old West, and also the early century futurist cult to the speed, size and beauty of epic technologies(airplanes, trains, factories, etc.) Given the existing compassion fatigue regarding political art and art dealing with matters of race and gender, it was hard not to see this feel-good phylosophy (or rather theosophy) as an attractive exit from the acute social and racial crisis afflicting the U.S."
"How to Tame a Wild Tongue" — Gloria Anzaldúa
"'Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?' —Ray Gwyn Smith"
"So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity—I am my language."
"Welcome to Airspace" — Kyle Chayka, The Verge
"It’s not that these generic cafes are part of global chains like Starbucks or Costa Coffee, with designs that spring from the same corporate cookie cutter. Rather, they have all independently decided to adopt the same faux-artisanal aesthetic. Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing 'a harmonization of tastes' across the world, Schwarzmann says. 'It creates you going to the same place all over again.'"
"The homogeneity of these spaces means that traveling between them is frictionless, a value that Silicon Valley prizes and cultural influencers like Schwarzmann take advantage of. Changing places can be as painless as reloading a website. You might not even realize you’re not where you started."
"If we can be equally at home everywhere, as Roam and Airbnb suggest, doesn’t that mean we are also at home nowhere? The next question is, do we mind?"
Further reading: "The Generic City", "Within the Context of No-Context"
"What Strength Really Means When You’re Sick" — Ed Yong, The Atlantic
"Equating disease with warfare, and recovery with strength, means that death and disability are linked to failure and weakness...Like so much else about the pandemic, the strength-centered rhetoric confuses more than it clarifies, and reveals more about America’s values than the disease currently plaguing it."
"'[President Theodore Roosevelt's] effort to overcome the weakness of his youth instantiated itself through colonialism,' says Zoë Wool, a medical anthropologist at the University of Toronto. 'He demonstrated strength through the claiming of nature in the name of the nation.'"
"In recent years, the ideologies of eugenics, where 'if you’re sick, it’s your own fault and you don’t deserve support, [have] become more and more blatant,' says Pamela Block, an anthropologist at Western University. As the pandemic progressed, many saw the deaths of elderly people, or those with preexisting conditions, as acceptable and dismissible. And as COVID-19 disproportionately hit Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Pacific Islander communities, 'people who believed in the idea of white supremacy felt like the virus was doing their work for them, and could promote the idea that they’re genetically stronger...'"
"Trump is hardly the first American to mischaracterize his own privilege as fortitude, but from his lips, that error is uniquely and doubly pernicious. It distracts not only from the massive advantages that he enjoys, but also from his singular role in America’s pandemic year."
"The Maze and the Labyrinth: Walking, Imagining and the Education of Attention" — Tim Ingold, Psychology and the Conduct of Everyday Life
"...the intentional traveler, wrapped up in the space of [their] own deliberations, is, by the same token, absent from the world itself...to [traverse a labyrinth], [one’s] action must be closely and continually coupled with [one’s] perception—that is, by an ever-vigilant monitoring of the path as it unfolds. Simply put, you have to watch your step, and to listen and feel as well. Path-following, in short, is not so much intentional as attentional. It draws the follower out into the presence of the real."
"how to do nothing" — Jenny Odell
"'...what a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and ever rarer, thing that might be worth saying.'"
"What amazed me about birdwatching was the way it changed the granularity of my perception, which was pretty 'low res' to begin with. At first, I just noticed birdsong more. Of course it had been there all along, but now that I was paying attention to it, I realized that it was almost everywhere, all day, all the time."
"That campaign was about a demarcation of time. So it’s interesting, and certainly troubling, to read the decline in labor unions in the last several decades alongside a similar decline in the demarcation of public space. True public spaces, the most obvious examples being parks and libraries, are places for — and thus the spatial underpinnings of — 'what we will.'"
"In a public space, ideally, you are a citizen with agency; in a faux public space, you are either a consumer or a threat to the design of the place."
"Connectivity is the rapid circulation of information among compatible units — an example is something getting a bunch of shares very quickly and unthinkingly by likeminded people on Facebook...Sensitivity, in contrast, involves a difficult, awkward, ambiguous encounter between two differently shaped bodies that are themselves ambiguous — and this meeting, this sensing, requires and takes place in time. Not only that, due to the effort of sensing, the two entities might come away from the encounter a bit differently than they went in."
"An Attempt to Resegregate Little Rock, of All Places" — Adam Harris, The Atlantic
"It was a shockingly brazen proposal in the town that holds a rarified place in the collective national memory over the fight for school integration. Less than a lifetime ago, the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School became a nationwide story...And now, in 2019, the state had proposed a plan that many residents argued amounted to an attempt to codify separate and unequal schools in the city."
"The tensions over the desegregation of public schools in Little Rock did not leave when the news cameras did."
"A Year of Miseducation" — Matt Thompson, The Atlantic
"Every person has two choices for how to cope with any aspect of society that is uncomfortable: act to change it, or surrender. Miseducation is the art of teaching people to surrender."
"The aftermath of that trauma, of being taught to diminish one’s own self-worth, to question one’s very right to take up space in the world, can engulf entire lives. Given the booster shot of a school or education system, it can swallow whole communities. This makes miseducation so enticing as a means of social control that it recurs again and again, in an endless variety of contexts."
"The children’s native tongues were clipped from them, their hair was ripped from them, their clothes were stripped from them, and they were sent to live in the white culture, in hopes that they would find white tongues and hair and clothes. In many cases, they did not. 'As a result,' the report found, 'many return to the reservations disillusioned,' bereft of the great asset of their cultures. ¶ Grandma, I don’t understand you, they would say. And their grandmothers would respond, Then who are you? ¶ Never forget that a school can be a curse."
"In The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the artist expounds gorgeously on the hard-won knowledge she earned on her ascent to the height of the music industry and into motherhood—lessons on love and money, fame and family, power and principles. Twenty years later, as Hill toured with these songs in 2018, the album still felt like a message out of time, as resonant as it ever was, despite the fact that Hill was just beginning her 20s when she made it. In the confidence of her flow, the lavish rasp of her alto, the iconic, unmistakable production choices, she sounds impossibly wise, wiser than most grown-ups could ever hope to be."
"In the late ’90s, when Miseducation was recorded, Ras Baraka was an activist and educator in an occupied school district. The state of New Jersey had recently taken over control of Newark public schools. That was still the case in 2010, when Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg gave Newark $100 million to transform its education system. The gift, as Dale Russakoff recounts in her definitive book, The Prize, reflected a grand bargain between Zuckerberg and Chan, Newark’s then-mayor Cory Booker, and New Jersey’s then-governor Chris Christie. The three parties sought to demonstrate that with the right leadership, empowered by the state to put in place new, proven approaches to education, Newark’s schools could become a model for cities around the country in only five years. That aim, Russakoff argued, helped to doom the popularity of the group’s reforms among residents. 'The language of national models,' she wrote, 'left little room for attention to the unique problems of Newark, its schools, or its children.'"
"If a school is devised purely as an escape route to a different world, he believed, then it will teach students only the information required to exist in that other world. The students will emerge knowing nothing about their environment except why and how to leave it, leaving them incapable of understanding it, much less improving it."
"'If you understood who you are,' Ras Baraka once said, 'you would understand that the world belongs to you. And you shouldn’t claim a piece of it, you should claim all of it. And when you begin to claim all of it, you fight for the whole of humanity.'"
Others: All EFF'd Up, Making It, East of Palo Alto's Eden