Saturday, November 29, 2008


True, some of the white settlers are escapees from hell: Jacob’s wife, Rebekka, whom he imported sight unseen from London, retains too-vivid memories of public hangings and drawings-and-quarterings. “The pile of frisky, still living entrails held before the felon’s eyes then thrown into a bucket and tossed into the Thames; fingers trembling for a lost torso; the hair of a woman guilty of mayhem bright with flame.” America, she figures, can hardly be worse. But even the relatively kindly Rebekka (kindly, that is, until she nearly dies of smallpox herself and gets religion) and the relatively human Jacob have that European brimstone clinging to them, and it’s stinking up the place. One native sachem diagnoses their unique pathology: “Cut loose from the earth’s soul, they insisted on purchase of its soil, and like all orphans they were insatiable. It was their destiny to chew up the world and spit out a horribleness that would destroy all primary peoples.” This sounds like P.C. cant, and even Lina doubts that all Europes are Eurotrash. But the sachem’s got a point. Does anybody own the earth we all inhabit as brothers and sisters? From that perspective, property really is theft, and if you don’t think Europeans did the thieving, I’ve got $24 worth of beads I’d like to sell you.

review of toni morrison's latest novel

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Patrick Manning and Keith Rowley, Bobol again and again

As he left Parliament last night after Manning’s statements, Rowley told reporters: “The facts have come out, that he is wrong. He is too big to say he is wrong. He is too big to say he will apologise. There is somebody or persons who are misleading the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister is prepared to be misled. I am saying now that the Prime Minister is in need of proper advice on these and other matters.”

Rowley added: “Whoever is taking the Prime Minister down this road, is doing him no favours. I think the Prime Minister’s conduct is disgraceful.”

“I call on the Prime Minister to cease and desist. Somebody should advise the Prime Minister when you are in a hole and you want to get out, the first thing you have to do, is stop digging.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"One of the core components is the medial prefrontal cortex (see diagram), which is known to evaluate things from a highly self-centred perspective of whether they're likely to be good, bad, or indifferent. Parts of this region also light up when people are asked to study lists of adjectives and choose ones that apply to themselves but not to, say, Britney Spears. People who suffer damage to their medial prefrontal cortex become listless and uncommunicative. One woman who recovered from a stroke in that area recalled inhabiting an empty mind, devoid of the wandering, stream-of-consciousness thoughts that most of us take for granted."

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"People wanting to touch strangers."

Once the polls closed on November the 4th, 2008 the night became a stage upon which many individuals came together and shared an idea. It was no longer about race or class, gender or ethnicity, sexuality or age – those variables and many others too – social scientists, politicians and the media use to paint representations of the world we live in. The bodies on the street, the many faces dancing inside their own white house, embracing each other, sharing magic were souls holding the same idea. An idea that made us all family, and that’s what it felt like on the road, like we were all fictive kin. A momentary solidarity. Tangible. Tactile. Real. A solidarity stretching beyond the streets into other countries and towns. Perhaps this idea – change – might be a little hard to define, articulate and give material presence to; but as I moved amongst thousands until the wee hours of the morning we all became more than strangers to each other, we now shared a dream. To hold it inside oneself meant recognising each other as kin. We understood how and why solidarities can and should always be made. There is nothing more terrifying to those in power than the mobilisation of people, together, as one, as family (and I don’t want to borrow the label ‘mob’ to make this point because this was more than a mob).

The anthropology of this fascinates me, its why I do so much work on festivals and carnivals, powwows and football crowds РI love to breath humanity experienced together. Within such socio-cultural forms I believe exists the greatest power - bigger than weapons, the dialectic, religion or capital. The clich̩ of 'divide and conquer,' is for me personally the root of all the worlds inequalities. Seeing ourselves in each other is a rare glimpse of another world.

For a long time I worried about the spontaneity of people in the US, outside of the contrived and regulated, outside the carnivals that become parades and the sporting triumphs tied to neoliberal economics, I believed this soul, this way of being in the world no longer existed. Last night out on the streets of Washington, DC I saw I was wrong. Those worries were misplaced. There is optimism all around, and while it might have been hibernating and out of sight for a while it returned in a wave of humanity from all corners of the quadrant. For this to happen in DC of all places, a normally staid and low key city, speaks volumes by itself. However, its not just about DC, its about how the idea, the idea we share, makes all of us fictive kin. Makes everyone who cares, who invests their own hopes in the election, it makes every last one of us family. Thats what i felt last night. Thats what i'll always remember...when strangers became family.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


"The chairman of the World Bank visited Haiti this past week. This man, Robert Zoellick, is an expert finance-capitalist, a former partner in the investment bankers Goldman Sachs, whose 22,000 ‘traders’ last year averaged bonuses of more than $600,000 each.

Goldman Sachs paid out over & 18 billion in bonuses to its traders last year, about 50% more than the GDP of Haiti’s 8 million people."

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