A Decade of Farce

Well, no reading round-up this week unfortunately. I was pretty busy at work, which is when I normally do most of my browsing. So, as an alternative, I’m providing a video clip: GO BLUE!

9/11 Reflection

I sort of feel like it would be remiss not to mention that today is the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I have avoided pretty much all media surrounding the anniversary because I wanted to write something reflective but without the noise of the media and commentary influencing my own memories and thoughts.

Yet, here it is nearly 11pm and I am just now forcing myself to write something – anything. I suppose this is because I find it very difficult to ‘remember’ 9/11 without also remembering what came before and what has since passed. I hold what are probably some pretty unpopular opinions, but I just can’t for the life of me bring myself to grieve for my countrymen and women without also grieving for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in our subsequent quest for vengeance. Why did we expect to be insulated from the violence that we have for so long perpetrated against others?

I force myself to imagine what it must have been like to hear bodies crashing onto cars; people so desperate to escape the smoke and flames that they leapt to their death. I imagine what it must have been like to have a loved one who never came home from work that day. It is heart-breaking and horrifying. But then, I remember these photos (WARNING: NSFW – disturbing photos, viewer discretion is advised) and can really only conclude that we are no better than those we seek to destroy. When I look at these pictures I can really only think of how sterile the attack on the WTC was; the hijackers did not actually have to witness the death or pain of their victims, let alone continue to inflict that pain hand-to-hand. Just as I imagine it is easier to pull a trigger than sink a lethal stab, how much easier must it have been to fly a plane into a building, compared to tying up naked men, and humiliating and torturing them? Evil has no national boundaries, that is one thing of which I am absolutely sure.

Today I will remember, but not selectively. I will mourn those who perished and empathize with their families, for their lives lost is truly tragic, but I will not watch the patriotism porn and feel sorry for the USA. I will not support the view that retribution is justice, no matter what the collateral price. Today, I remember that an Iraqi’s life – their humanity – is no less than an American’s. Some may call me a bleeding heart liberal; my only reply can be that I would rather have a bleeding heart than a calloused one.

I could say a lot more, but it’s late.

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Reading Round-Up

Okay, starting off this week’s ‘reading round-up’ is… another video. This one is of Beyonce’s performance at the VMA’s last week (apologies to international readers, I’m pretty sure mtv restricts viewing to in the US). I love everything about this. From the snazzy, 80’s style blazers to the simple choreography, to Adele singing along and Lady Gaga’s commitment to her character, Beyonce’s strutting around in massive heels and knee jumping while pregnant, Jay-Z’s pure joy and pride at the end and the song itself with its Motown vibe… it’s just all over amazing.

So, to kick off the links, here is a Beyonce related flow chart from Good. And while I’m at it, an article contemplating whether Jay-Z is a feminist, from Feministing.

And now onto more serious things…

First up, a study on language and gender that is particularly interesting can be read here. I think a really interesting thing would be to have people submit samples of their own writing and see where in the bell-curve they fall in regards to how gendered their language is. I’d definitely be a willing contributor.

Next, anyone who’s read African travel literature should read the article How to write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina. I generally stay away from this kind of literature and it pleases me to no end to see it mocked mercilessly.

This isn’t new, but Stephen Colbert’s imitation of a T-Rex trying to put on a condom shouldn’t be missed by anyone (also, not technically reading material and apologies to my international readers).

For some perspective, the Earth as a star.

To round out the list, and in celebration of Labor Day and Unions (aka the people who brought us the weekend), an article that explains what is just plain common sense to anyone who has lived and worked in Europe: the value of vacation.