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Life in the meat world

Life in the meat world

A little virus with a few unfortunate mutations in its recent past has laid bare the collectivism-whether-you-want-it-or-not that is more or less the contract of life in the meat world, the terms, the deal. “Life,” as the wild Scottish psychologist R.D. Laing said, “is a sexually transmitted disease.” “

Threatening behavior

Threatening behavior

She didn’t know if calling the police and reporting the incident was the right thing to do. The police, she knew, were not exactly sympathetic to her political point of view. She had no confidence that they’d put professionalism before politics to protect her family, because she’s heard stories about the local police that made it very possible they wouldn’t.

Heard ’round the world

Heard ’round the world

By the mid-Seventies, I’d already learned some math and a fair amount of grammar from Schoolhouse Rock, which had debuted its ingeniously compressed, educational animated short films nationally in 1973, when I was eight. Much of the material was written and performed by jazz great Bob Dorough (1923-2018), irresistible, instantly memorable melodies to which I still recite my times tables, catchy tunes that help me remember a noun is a person, place, or thing, and the words and, but, and or are conjunctions.

Making better decisions

Making better decisions

I guess I’ll also have to tell my son, who’s been fielding news of his teenager friends getting grounded for smoking pot and stealing family funds, that I’d also been in jail for shoplifting in my late teens, There was also that college incident in the U.K. involving a stupid drinking game and charges of public drunkenness.

The maverick teacher

The maverick teacher

The fiery, life-of-the-mind, maverick teacher is an American archetype: the mercurial, off-script renegade in perpetual hot water with the administration, flouting curricula, crossing lines of propriety, working blue, going taboo, always fired up, often fired.

Once more, with feeling

Once more, with feeling

I just saw that a Fox news anchor was fired for sexual harassment. His co-anchor had to read that announcement. She read it with professionalism, but the clip I saw showed just a moment as she stopped, where her expression said something. I will not presume to know what it said. But she was thinking and feeling something she didn’t express.

Down with the statues

Down with the statues

The “Lost Cause” would have you believe the Confederates fought for freedom from the urban North, likened in Lost-Cause mythology to England in the American Revolution. Similar to the crown, the North sought to control these people who believed God entitled them to build empires however they wished.

We’re still kids now

We’re still kids now

I can hear my mother chiding me about not forcing my son to keep a regular bedtime. I can vaguely remember myself sleeping until all hours back when I was his age, staying out all night to smoke cigarettes and drink instant coffee when at boarding school. Priding myself on how often I’d catch the sunrise when in college, or later in New York City as a young man.

Holding on to his suffering

Holding on to his suffering

The poetry worked, just as well as if it had all been Philip Larkin-grade. It helped my friend realize that he felt this way because he liked to. That’s a pretty profound discovery, no matter how much innocent ink is spilled. We will give up anything but our suffering, as Gurdjieff, I think, famously said.