Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quick Hits

Scientific history-writing, Bailyn writes, is always skeptical and problematic; it questions itself constantly and keeps its distance from the past it is trying to recover. By contrast, memory’s "relation to the past is an embrace. It is not a critical, skeptical reconstruction of what happened. It is the spontaneous, unquestioned experience of the past. It is absolute, not tentative or distant, and it is expressed in signs and signals, symbols, images, and mnemonic clues of all sorts. It shapes our awareness whether we know it or not, and it is ultimately emotional, not intellectual".
  • This month's Advocate has a cover story on Hillary Clinton and LGBT rights, which is worth the read.
  • Bob Herbert, whose NYT column I've been enjoying more and more over the last few months, on the violence of American culture: "If we were serious, if we really wanted to cut down on the killings, we’d have to do two things. We’d have to radically restrict the availability of guns while at the same time beginning the very hard work of trying to change a culture that glorifies and embraces violence as entertainment, and views violence as an appropriate and effective response to the things that bother us." One of my favourite authors, Lonesome Dove's Larry McMurtry, on the same subject.

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