All posts filed under: Miscellaneous

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Deep Adaptations For These Trying Times

I resisted taking COVID-19 seriously in the beginning. Processing the scope and magnitude of the changes it so rapidly initiated and making big decisions based on rumors that continued to become substantiated went against the way that I try to navigate the happenings of our world. Only a month ago, I was dismissing the news as hype and hysteria, not believing in its urgency or that nations would ever really take such drastic policy measures so quickly, particularly when they went against the logic of capitalism. Yet, it has happened, in many ways quite literally overnight, and we¹ are now living a new reality. All over the world, commercial flights have been grounded until further notice; we’ve stopped going to work and assembling in large groups; and we now think more deeply about the ethical implications of how we consume. Suddenly, governments are able to gather the monetary resources for massive stimulus packages, pausing debt payments, and providing citizens with basic income. One of the struggles of political organizing and movement building has always been engaging in the …

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Bipartisanism & Other Blunders in U.S. Political Consciousness

The United States today is a nation divided. We’ve all witnessed the way that both liberals and conservatives attack one another on social media at the first indication that someone upholds the opposing political stance. Considering that we exist in an age of post-truth, data harvesting, and infowars, this rift continues to widen and calcify. It has gotten to the point that a recent survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, suggests that Americans have “become radically split in their basic perceptions of reality.” The resulting damage can feel massively irreparable. Yet, perhaps this so-called polarization isn’t actually the root of our nationwide psychosis, but a symptom of something deeper. Our entrenchment in an atmosphere of American exceptionalism and historical amnesia deludes us into believing the falsehood that this polarization is based on a legitimate opposition of two political ideologies. In actuality, the divide between liberal and conservative has more to do with party branding than it does with concrete reality. While the policies and political history of the United States display relatively little systemic …

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Venice, Italy

There’s no doubting that Venice is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. While the rest of the world regards Paris as the city of lovers, Parisians have reserved this title for Venice, meaning that it can be hard to escape the clichés that come along with it, especially in a city that’s hardly even inhabited by native Venetians…. Read more.  

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On Catalonian Independence in an Era of Global Neoliberalism

Over the course of the last few months, news of the Catalonian Independence movement has been elevated onto the international arena. Yet, the European Union has repeatedly dismissed it as an exclusively internal affair to be dealt with by the Spanish government. In today’s globalized world, however, the situation does not exist in a vacuum. In his article titled, “Catalonia: Past and Future,” Luke Stobart says, “In all, throughout Catalonia’s modern history a general pattern can be identified: rather than Catalan national consciousness being a constant — ever-seeking to create or develop a national polity — it is a more variable reaction to the political and social limitations of the Spanish national project.” One of the most significant external forces to have a hand in the latest wave of Catalonian independent struggle is that of neoliberal economic policy, which has taken hold in Europe and beyond over the past fifty years. The European Union To understand how these forces are at play in the situation, it is necessary to zoom out and examine the trajectory of the EU in the …

Still Image from They Live, dir. John Carpenter (Universal, 1988), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J91ezRf4Zn4.

In the Weeks That Follow: Media Literacy and the Identity Politics of Terror

This post was originally published on Tangents USA. You can find it here.  The Need for Media Literacy To contextualize my thoughts on the way we form our perceptions of humanity at large, I have a confession to make. I tend to watch the people through the windows of the apartments across from mine. I know that’s pretty much the definition of voyeurism, but hear me out. I do it because their mundaneness is comforting. It reminds me that what I’m seeing is a far more accurate depiction of the daily goings-on of the people in my own world and beyond. It is a relief to know that the guy cooking a quick dinner and the couple watching television are perhaps more common occurrences than the overwhelming amount of horrific events that my TV, computer, radio, and social media accounts report as the norm. It causes me to wonder whether our worldviews and the ways that we shape our understandings of humanity have become increasingly informed by the media rather than by the daily goings-on …

Spokeswoman from a well-intentioned UNICEF commercial. Source: http://bit.ly/1EaQyRU

Altruism in the Midst of a Global Epidemic of Economic Exploitation

This post was originally published on Tangents USA. You can find it here.  Remember those commercials that used to be on TV in the 90s which played depressing montages of languid sub-Saharan African children with swollen bellies? Then some white lady would come on the screen and promise that for only fifty cents a day you could help solve poverty? Chances are you probably never signed up to save one of these sorrowful African children from hunger. Why is it that? Under the assumption that you’re still a decent human being that possesses some level of altruism, you were probably experiencing a combination things. Maybe you were too absorbed in your own daily problems to research the root causes of prevailing social issues and consciously act. Perhaps your budget was restricted. Possibly it was that commercials like these failed to fit within the bounds of our human capacity to feel empathy, as these distant faces appeared for fleeting seconds on TV screens. There are, no doubt, numerous factors that kept you from picking up your phone and calling the 1-800 number on behalf of someone thousands of miles away. …