Reflections on Second Life

Interesting update on, yes, quite faded “platform reality.” I stayed away from it not least because it was another way to avoid doing work and because the avatars seemed like such banal caricatures of real persons. And the idea had been around for a long time. I mean, Second Life is almost exactly what was imagined in “The Machine Stops.”

Happy Halloween Headline Horror

A Japanese serial killer. The piece notes the utterly low rate of homicides in the country. I wondered about that context, and so read the stories of a couple of Japanese multiple-slayers. Most chilling: they were exactly like the sexual-sadist psychopaths from the US, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, you name it. This is a poisonous combination of characteristics, nothing special to do with the environment. One biggest advantage for a serial killer in Japan is that murders are so rare the police aren’t looking for them. I mean, they found this creep out almost by accident.

R.I.P.: Kate Millett

Cornerstone spirit and thinker. I had puttered around in The Second Sex during my exploration of French lit in high school, but ultimately found it too arty and indirect (the translation seemed terrible, too). Millett’s Sexual Politics came right out and said it. Unless you were a sex-stereotyper yourself, her arguments were undeniable. That my mother had always been a working professional probably helped my understanding. Also had a growing conviction that “the Revolution” was freeing men while leaving women in chains.

Charles M. Blow Has No More F*cks To Give

So he’s laying it right out there, since too many missed it the first four thousand times.

Bill Clinton had a number of cowardly moments, but one that really stuck in my craw was the whole “didn’t inhale” garbage. The first POTUS to admit he was going to let the powerless rot in jail for ages because of a harmless “crime” he had committed himself. That’s a new level of hypocrisy and indifference to the weak.

Not as evil as the original establishment of the “War on Drugs” of course, which I brought up in my second point back here.

I fell short when I forgot that there was a confessed tyrannical agenda behind these irrational “wars.” And I see how it worked. Operating in total ignorance, my parents thought maryjuana was Satan incarnated in a plant.

The Fundamental of Racism

This Michael Eric Dyson essay is essential reading. I remember coming across the LBJ quote when it was recent and thinking “So THAT explains it.” Why in the hell was I not hearing that in my classroom rather than “Mumble, mumble, slavery was wrong and evil but it was a long time ago and if we aren’t having race riots in town here you don’t have to worry about it.” Unfortunate traces of that “lesson” explains why I was so shocked at the blatant bigotry I encountered in Boston: the metropolitans were supposed to be more sophisticated, not more bestial.

Grace for Lady Grace

Retail is tough. Everyone can do their best and still come up short. Several businesses are leaving our closest retail center. Don’t feel the same about all of them (the less said about Panera Bread the better), but there’s a tinge of sadness about Pier 1 and, especially, Lady Grace.

The store display windows were discreet enough you wouldn’t suspect their emphasis on lingerie, but they featured what I consider my Mother’s biggest breakthrough idea: there was a shortage of fashionable clothes for older women. You shouldn’t have to choose between inappropriate youngster-imitation and frumpy. I thought Lady Grace did an especially good job with such outfits and sensed it was a place where Mother would have been glad to work.

But the same tides of taste affected both Pier 1 and Lady Grace. The accessories, decorations, furniture and doo-dads in Pier 1 were ahead of their time in quality and affordability when I first encountered the store. But it’s now an outdated form of funky-but-fun. And likewise, the past couple-three years, Lady Grace has looked more out-of-step than before. Happens often. But like I say, it’s tough.

R.I.P.: Roger D. Abrahams

Listened to, and perceptively reported, what Zora Neal Hurston called “lies above suspicion.”

Right off my shelf are African Folktales (1983) and Afro-American Folktales (1985). And I should read more, esp. since he shows such insight into language nuance. Gonna go for the ground-breaker, Deep Down in the Jungle (1964).