Don’t we all wish to bathe in the soft comfort of the moonlight, through the window, into our dreariness? Sometimes, even to see that light is enough; wishing to be in it, but satisfied that it merely exists.
But still, we keep the light on, though far less satisfying, for fear of the darkness.
The simple fact is this: we (humanity) make poor choices in emotionally charged circumstances.
First, I think the simple fact this is being brought up so soon is in poor taste and fear-mongerish. Of course, some would argue that the dead don’t get any deader, and one should strike while the iron is hot. I can understand that, although I don’t agree.
But, the Atlantic and many others are describing this as an inevitability in a country with guns (the degree of acceptable lawful gun ownership depends on the commenter).
My first thought is that similar events have taken place recently in the UK (which is arguably legendary for its gun control) and Norway (also with very strict gun laws). However, Israel (with possibly the greatest proliferation of privately held firearms in the first world) rarely has non-terror related gun violence.
It seems that this is a symptom of a greater problem. There’s something about the US that encourages violence. We have road-rage, violence at children’s sporting events, fighting is so common we don’t think it odd. What causes this propensity for violence? And the problem is only made worse by the defunding of the public mental health network. Like it or not, mental illness still carries a stigma and the mentally ill are more likely to end up in jail or prison than a treatment program. But, that is a far more complicated problem to try and solve, so we resort to addressing the symptom.
Some would say that the second amendment isn’t important today, and should be curbed. And let’s not minimize what the conversation is about: restricting a right important enough to have been the second amendment to the constitution, before protection from unreasonable search and seizure! A right that many believe is the difference between a subject and a citizen, which serves as a last line in defense of liberty. Others would say that we live in a civilized society, and the need to rise up in defense of liberty is not only unnecessary, it’s unrealistic. These others would also point out that mass murders, while not dependent on firearms, are made exponentially worse by them.
I’m not saying I agree, or have an opinion one way or the other. I’m saying that, before we start removing rights from people, we should have a rational informed discussion. And if it is decided to remove peoples’ rights, it should only be done in a reasoned way.
When we act in the heat of emotion we pass the PATRIOT act. We form the house committee on un-American activities. We intern Americans of Japanese descent. We do many things that we later regret. When we have reasoned debate, we make decisions that may not be perfect, but we can usually live with them.
Of course, this would all depend on being able to have a reasonable discussion. I’d hope that was possible.
But what do I know?
Capturing Libya: Through a Hipstamatic Lens
To photojournalism purists, it was pure blasphemy: a prestigious prize, third place for photo of the year, granted to a New York Times photographer who’d used not a 35mm to document U.S. soldiers in Iraq, but simply, his iPhone — and an app called Hipstamatic. Immediately, traditionalists went berserk: “What we knew as photojournalism at its purest form is over,” one photojournalist lamented. Using Hipstamatic in a news report, another commentator proclaimed, was “cheating us all.”
And yet, to Ben Lowy, a conflict photographer who has made a career out of a certain brand of iPhonography — and will debut the first ever photojournalism-inspired Hipstamatic lens with his namesake later this year — the award was a well-needed wake-up call for photo fundamentalists. Last February, Lowy set out to capture the uprising in Libya from his iPhone, alongside millions of protesters who’d document the Arab Spring on their mobile devices. In October, Lowy’s Hipstamatic images of everyday life in wartime Kabul were published in the New York Times Magazine, prompting the magazine’s photo editor, Kathy Ryan, to defend their use on the paper’s 6th Floor blog. And since then, Lowy has published an iPhone photo a day — from dramatic images of war to mundane life in Brooklyn — on his Tumblr, captured under the title, iSee.
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor, movement IV - Ode to Joy. A misleading title. Not that Beethoven’s life wasn’t tragic enough, but this was written at a time when Europe had just been laid low by Napolean, who was expected to be a liberator, but instead was another king. After years of war, millions of lives lost and destroyed, with no gain to the common person.
Adopted for the EU anthem in modern times, it represents the hope that Europe could end the wars that had plagued them for so long. That liberty, instead of monarchy, could find a home in Europe. Oddly, I don’t think many people realize that the main movement for founding the EU was not to compete with the US, but to tie nations together so closely that war would be almost impossible.
It is an ode to joy, but much more. It is a call for unity, an end to war, written as Europe was bathed in blood.
It’s called Ode to JOY for a reason. I can’t stop grinning.
(And I really needed that this morning. I dropped my phone in water and now it’s broken and sitting in a bowl of rice and I was feeling stupid and silly and sorry for myself and then I remembered that there are much worse things than losing a phone in this world. And much better things that having one.)
Do your opinions follow facts, evidence, and data; or do your opinions seek confirming facts, evidence, and data?
Do you have the ability to change your opinion when faced with contradictory evidence? To evaluate new information objectively and adjust outlook accordingly?
To take new information, and the implications thereof, fairly and reasonably? To incorporate that information in a substantive way?
I find myself questioning some of the foundations of my worldview. I haven’t had this happen in a long, long time. It feels odd.
Ken Tucker reviews Fiona Apple’s new album: ” I mean it as a compliment to say that Apple is working in the literary tradition of “the difficult woman,” closing in on Virginia Woolf and already superior to Sylvia Plath. Apple’s achievement is to both indulge in melodrama and to isolate the hard truths behind her extravagant emotions.”