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Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Speech on Confederate Monuments - The Atlantic
"A piece of stone. One stone.

Both stories were history.

One story told.

One story forgotten or maybe even purposefully ignored.

As clear as it is for me today—for a long time, even though I grew up in one of New Orleans’ most diverse neighborhoods, even with my family’s long proud history of fighting for civil rights—I must have passed by those monuments a million times without giving them a second thought.

So I am not judging anybody, I am not judging people. We all take our own journey on race. I just hope people listen like I did when my dear friend Wynton Marsalis helped me see the truth. He asked me to think about all the people who have left New Orleans because of our exclusionary attitudes. Another friend asked me to consider these four monuments from the perspective of an African American mother or father trying to explain to their fifth grade daughter who Robert E. Lee is and why he stands atop of our beautiful city.

Can you do it?

Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her? Do you think she will feel inspired and hopeful by that story? Do these monuments help her see a future with limitless potential? Have you ever thought that if her potential is limited, yours and mine are too?

We all know the answer to these very simple questions.

When you look into this child’s eyes is the moment when the searing truth comes into focus for us. This is the moment when we know what is right and what we must do. We can’t walk away from this truth.

And I knew that taking down the monuments was going to be tough, but you elected me to do the right thing, not the easy thing and this is what that looks like. So relocating these Confederate monuments is not about taking something away from someone else. This is not about politics; this is not about blame or retaliation. This is not a naïve quest to solve all our problems at once.

This is, however, about showing the whole world that we as a city and as a people are able to acknowledge, understand, reconcile, and most importantly, choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong.

Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division and yes with violence.

To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.

History cannot be changed. It cannot be moved like a statue. What is done is done. The Civil War is over, and the Confederacy lost and we are better for it. Surely we are far enough removed from this dark time to acknowledge that the cause of the Confederacy was wrong.

And in the second decade of the 21st century, asking African Americans—or anyone else—to drive by property that they own; occupied by reverential statues of men who fought to destroy the country and deny that person’s humanity seems perverse and absurd.

Centuries old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place. Here is the essential truth: we are better together than we are apart. Indivisibility is our essence.

Isn’t this the gift that the people of New Orleans have given to the world?

We radiate beauty and grace in our food, in our music, in our architecture, in our joy of life, in our celebration of death; in everything that we do. We gave the world this funky thing called jazz—the most uniquely American art form that is developed across the ages from different cultures. Think about second lines, think about Mardi Gras, think about muffaletta, think about the Saints, gumbo, red beans and rice. By God, just think.

All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity.

We are proof that out of many we are one—and better for it! Out of many we are one—and we really do love it!

And yet, we still seem to find so many excuses for not doing the right thing. Again, remember President Bush’s words, “A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects them.”

We forget, we deny how much we really depend on each other, how much we need each other. We justify our silence and inaction by manufacturing noble causes that marinate in historical detail. We still find a way to say “Wait—not so fast,” but like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “wait has almost always meant never.”

We can’t wait any longer. We need to change. And we need to change now. No more waiting. This is not just about statues, this is about our attitudes and behavior as well. If we take these statues down and don’t change to become a more open and inclusive society this would have all been in vain.

While some have driven by these monuments every day and either revered their beauty or failed to see them at all, many of our neighbors and fellow Americans see them very clearly. Many are painfully aware of the long shadows their presence casts; not only literally but figuratively. And they clearly receive the message that the Confederacy and the cult of the lost cause intended to deliver.

Earlier this week, as the cult of the lost cause statue of P.G.T Beauregard came down, world-renowned musician Terence Blanchard stood watch, his wife Robin and their two beautiful daughters at their side. Terence went to a high school on the edge of City Park named after one of America’s greatest heroes and patriots, John F. Kennedy. But to get there he had to pass by this monument to a man who fought to deny him his humanity.

He said, “I’ve never looked at them as a source of pride … it’s always made me feel as if they were put there by people who don’t respect us … This is something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It’s a sign that the world is changing.”

Yes, Terence, it is—and it is long overdue.

Now is the time to send a new message to the next generation of New Orleanians who can follow in Terence and Robin’s remarkable footsteps.

A message about the future, about the next 300 years and beyond; let us not miss this opportunity New Orleans and let us help the rest of the country do the same.

Because now is the time for choosing. Now is the time to actually make this the city we always should have been, had we gotten it right in the first place.

We should stop for a moment and ask ourselves—at this point in our history—after Katrina, after Rita, after Ike, after Gustav, after the national recession, after the BP oil catastrophe and after the tornado: If presented with the opportunity to build monuments that told our story or to curate these particular spaces, would these monuments be what we want the world to see? Is this really our story?

We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations. And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people.

In our blessed land we all come to the table of democracy as equals.

We have to reaffirm our commitment to a future where each citizen is guaranteed the uniquely American gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That is what really makes America great and today it is more important than ever to hold fast to these values and together say a self-evident truth that out of many we are one. That is why today we reclaim these spaces for the United States of America. Because we are one nation, not two; indivisible with liberty and justice for all, not some. We all are part of one nation, all pledging allegiance to one flag, the flag of the United States of America. And New Orleanians are in—all of the way.

It is in this union and in this truth that real patriotism is rooted and flourishes. Instead of revering a 4-year brief historical aberration that was called the Confederacy we can celebrate all 300 years of our rich, diverse history as a place named New Orleans and set the tone for the next 300 years.

After decades of public debate, of anger, of anxiety, of anticipation, of humiliation and of frustration. After public hearings and approvals from three separate community led commissions. After two robust public hearings and a 6-1 vote by the duly elected New Orleans City Council.

After review by 13 different federal and state judges. The full weight of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government has been brought to bear and the monuments in accordance with the law have been removed.

So now is the time to come together and heal and focus on our larger task. Not only building new symbols, but making this city a beautiful manifestation of what is possible and what we as a people can become.

Let us remember what the once exiled, imprisoned and now universally loved Nelson Mandela and what he said after the fall of apartheid.

“If the pain has often been unbearable and the revelations shocking to all of us, it is because they indeed bring us the beginnings of a common understanding of what happened and a steady restoration of the nation's humanity.”

So before we part let us again state the truth clearly.

The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and humanity. It sought to tear apart our nation and subjugate our fellow Americans to slavery. This is the history we should never forget and one that we should never again put on a pedestal to be revered.

As a community, we must recognize the significance of removing New Orleans’ Confederate monuments. It is our acknowledgment that now is the time to take stock of, and then move past, a painful part of our history.

Anything less would render generations of courageous struggle and soul-searching a truly lost … [more]
nola  neworleans  classideas  history  us  confederacy  2017  mitchlandrieu  confrontinghistory  monuments  inequality  racism  race  slavery  wyntonmarsalis  terenceblanchard  culture  division  unity  community  abrahamlincoln  robertelee  jeffersondavis  pgtbeauregard  georgewbush  barackobama  andrewjackson  henryclay  omission  civilwar  indivisibility  lexanderstephens 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The United States of Work | New Republic
"how the discipline of work has itself become a form of tyranny, documenting the expansive power that firms now wield over their employees in everything from how they dress to what they tweet"



"both books make a powerful claim: that our lives today are ruled, above all, by work. We can try to convince ourselves that we are free, but as long as we must submit to the increasing authority of our employers and the labor market, we are not. We therefore fancy that we want to work, that work grounds our character, that markets encompass the possible. We are unable to imagine what a full life could be, much less to live one. Even more radically, both books highlight the dramatic and alarming changes that work has undergone over the past century—insisting that, in often unseen ways, the changing nature of work threatens the fundamental ideals of democracy: equality and freedom.

Anderson’s most provocative argument is that large companies, the institutions that employ most workers, amount to a de facto form of government, exerting massive and intrusive power in our daily lives. Unlike the state, these private governments are able to wield power with little oversight, because the executives and boards of directors that rule them are accountable to no one but themselves."



"they use the language of individual liberty to claim that corporations require freedom to treat workers as they like."



"These conditions render long-term employment more palatable than a precarious existence of freelance gigs, which further gives companies license to oppress their employees."



"Indeed, it is only after dismissal for such reasons that many workers learn of the sweeping breadth of at-will employment, the contractual norm that allows American employers to fire workers without warning and without cause, except for reasons explicitly deemed illegal."



"
A weak job market, paired with the increasing precarity of work, means that more and more workers are forced to make their living by stringing together freelance assignments or winning fixed-term contracts, subjecting those workers to even more rules and restrictions. On top of their actual jobs, contractors and temp workers must do the additional work of appearing affable and employable not just on the job, but during their ongoing efforts to secure their next gig. Constantly pitching, writing up applications, and personal branding on social media requires a level of self-censorship, lest a controversial tweet or compromising Facebook photo sink their job prospects."



"from Marx and Hegel to Freud and Lincoln, whose 1859 speech he also quotes. Livingston centers on these thinkers because they all found the connection between work and virtue troubling. Hegel believed that work causes individuals to defer their desires, nurturing a “slave morality.” Marx proposed that “real freedom came after work.” And Freud understood the Protestant work ethic as “the symptom of repression, perhaps even regression.”"



"In today’s economy, the demand for such labor is rising rapidly: “Nine of the twelve fastest-growing fields,” The New York Times reported earlier this year, “are different ways of saying ‘nurse.’” These jobs also happen to be low-paying, emotionally and physically grueling, dirty, hazardous, and shouldered largely by women and immigrants. Regardless of whether employment is virtuous or not, our immediate goal should perhaps be to distribute the burdens of caregiving, since such work is essential to the functioning of society and benefits us all.

A truly work-free world is one that would entail a revolution from our present social organizations. We could no longer conceive of welfare as a last resort—as the “safety net” metaphor implies—but would be forced to treat it as an unremarkable and universal fact of life. This alone would require us to support a massive redistribution of wealth, and to reclaim our political institutions from the big-money interests that are allergic to such changes."



"If we do not have a deliberate politics rooted in universal social justice, then full employment, a basic income, and automation will not liberate us from the degradations of work.

Both Livingston and Anderson reveal how much of our own power we’ve already ceded in making waged work the conduit for our ideals of liberty and morality. The scale and coordination of the institutions we’re up against in the fight for our emancipation is, as Anderson demonstrates, staggering."
work  politics  2017  miyatokumitsu  government  governance  labor  corporatism  liberty  freedom  la  precarity  economics  karlmarx  hegel  abrahamlincoln  digmundfreud  care  caregiving  emotionallabor  caretaking  maintenance  elizabethanderson  jameslivingston 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Intimate Spaces: The Archaeology of Pockets | Archaeology and Material Culture
"Few spaces could be more familiar yet more unremarked upon than pockets. Clothing pockets are a presence of sorts, but like edges of an excavation unit their material definition may be made by their tangible boundaries and the things in them rather than the vacuum that is perhaps the actual pocket. Pockets are distinctively intimate since they are stitched into our public garments yet conceal our bodies, and they hold a narrow range of small things like coins, keys, wallets, phones, makeup, lighters, and similar objects that for various reasons are held close to our bodies and accessible to our hands. There are some idiosyncratic but illuminating insights into privacy, place, and self that can be made based on an “excavation” of pockets and the cargo that finds refuge in them.

Maybe our use of some pockets is largely functional, like a right-hander who habitually slides their key chain into their readily accessible right front pants pocket. Yet many pocket use patterns are the complicated result of longstanding practices and the vagaries of fashion. For instance, men’s back pants pockets often betray “billfold bulge,” which is even worse in the face of contour-hugging skinny jeans and similar cuts. In 1977, the Palm Beach Post assessed increasingly lean European pants cuts and pocket-less pants and recognized pocket use was a force of habit, concluding that “most men just don’t feel comfortable unless everything is in the same place its been for years.” Thirty years later Details advised that there “is absolutely no need for you to shove an engorged wallet in the pocket of your $400 jeans.” They concluded that “the contemporary pocket-stuffer is one of three things: an oblivious creature of habit, a man too insecure to carry a shoulder bag, or someone lacking the organizational skills to pare down the clutter that sits like a benign tumor on his right cheek to a couple of $100 bills and an AmEx.”

Much of pocket use is rooted in ideological notions of gender, class, and sexuality, historical fashion styles, and unexamined pocket use habits. Since the late 19th century masculinity ideologies and fashion have cast pockets as somehow distinctively “masculine” reserves. In the 18th century women’s garments included concealed pockets, with expansive tie pockets under dresses and petticoats in use for roughly two centuries. Garments began to include far fewer pockets in the late 19th century as dresses and coats became more streamlined and the handbag became the carry-all of choice for women. In 1899 a New York Times commentator noted the gradual disappearance of women’s garment pockets and remembered that “our grandmothers . . . used to have big, deep pockets in their skirts which they could get at somehow and in which they usually carried the household keys, a ball of yarn with knitting needles stuck in it, a little smooth-worn gourd for darning operations, and very often a few doughnuts or cookies and apples and a pair of spectacles.”

[via: http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2015/02/pockets.html ]
pockets  archaeology  everyday  carrying  inventories  2015  handbags  backpacks  contents  objects  history  anthropology  abrahamlincoln  clothing  wearables  wearable  gender  georgelegrady  jasontravis  erintaylor  lindaalstead  rafaellozano-hemmer  francoisrobert  hannahsmithallen  meredithbrickell 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The President's Hand-Written Response to the Gettysburg Address - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
"President Obama didn’t go to Gettysburg today, which some critics, well, criticized him for. But, this evening, he did release a little, hand-written essay about the address. The speech’s solemn nature, its multiplicity of forms, seemed to demand something more than an electronic press release from him. It demanded hand-writing, which, in a digital age, underlines the sincerity of a message.

In an age of pretty fonts and easy publishing, the image of hand-writing gets about as close to speech as a text can get.

The President’s manuscript is below, followed by my transcription of it.

Whether or not he wrote it (I think it’s written by him), it is a little ode on the nature of language: the famous language of the speech, the commanding language of the law, and the language which makes action possible."
handwriting  robinsonmeyer  barackobama  2013  gettysburgaddress  abrahamlincoln 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Mark Twain And Grant's Memoirs - Ta-Nehisi Coates - National - The Atlantic
"…beautiful thing about writing is it has no real respect for credentialism. You can get various degrees in writing. (…my initial plan was to get MFA.) But a degree can't make you a writer in the way that JD can make you a lawyer.

Great writing comes from all classes people…all kinds of experience. Edith Wharton was raised rich. EL Doctorow was not. 

When I visit schools around country I consistently repeat this—not because I think school is worthless, but b/c, very often, there are kids in audience who are lost, just as I once was. I don't come there to contravene their education…to tell them to drop out. On the contrary, I try to reinforce the ethic of hard work. But they need to know that a grade in a class, is not who they are—and I would say that whether the grade is an A or F. I failed English in HS…then failed British Literature in college. For whatever reason, it simply wasn't my time. But had I taken those grades as an eternal mark, I doubt I would be talking to you now."
ulyssessgrant  frederickdouglass  civilwar  abrahamlincoln  eldoctorow  marktwain  learning  readiness  grading  grades  deschooling  unschooling  education  credentialism  credentialing  credentials  writing  ta-nehisicoates 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Diversity Lecture: Ta-Nehisi Coates - YouTube
"As part of our Bob and Aliecia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center Diversity Lecture Series, Grand Rapids Community College presents Ta-Nehisi Coates speaking on "A Deeper Black: The Meaning of Race in the Age of Obama.""
ta-nehisicoates  civilwar  2011  martinlutherkingjr  race  barackobama  identity  dropouts  learning  education  observation  obsession  blackhistory  us  abrahamlincoln  slavery  history  africanamerican  truth  hemingway  huckleberryfinn  marktwain  malcolmx  acceptance  understanding  safety  incarceration  society  bodyscanners  airports  convenience  inconvenience  comfort  self-esteem  justice  challenge  segregation  success  progress  policy  politics  desegregation  parenting  books  homeenvironment  reading  curiosity  exposure  youth  adolescence  teens  adults  moralauthority  wisdom  mlk 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Thrall « Snarkmarket
"The last one is my favorite (so far)—not because it describes my own experience (it doesn’t) or because I agree with it (I don’t quite), but because it’s a great example of someone thinking out loud—working something out in words. And also because it seems to evoke this great line of Lincoln’s, from his Second Inaugural:

"As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

Yeah, I think that’s actually what I like about Bridle’s post: it seems to be about thrall and how to get out of it. It’s a concept I am always sometimes obsessed with and always sensitive to; there’s a lot of thrall out there and you have to be careful or it seeps into your clothes, your skin.

I think you can actually finish Lincoln’s line with a lot of different words—industry, company, family—and it stays true."
snarkmarket  robinsloan  thrall  abrahamlincoln  change  lying  deception  self-deception  yearoff  stasis  deschooling  unschooling  servitude  bondage  power  control  freedom  independence 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Thoreau's Walden Is 156 Years Old Today, but Relevant as Ever - Science and Tech - The Atlantic
"In a country where so many gamely adopt the latest new gadget, we need our Thoreaus, not to stop the profusion of technology, but simply to remind us to use them well. There are spaces shot through our massively complex society to find "Simplicity! Simplicity! Simplicity!" by simply deciding to look for it.

Take another grave and important personality of the time, Abraham Lincoln. His views on technology, delivered in a series of speeches on "Discoveries and Inventions" in the years directly after Thoreau's Walden, were more positive. For Lincoln, technology did not debase humanity, as Thoreau would have contended, but it also wasn't a magical staircase leading to a better world under the label of Progress."
alexismadrigal  thoreau  technology  progress  simplicity  luddism  abrahamlincoln  walden 
august 2010 by robertogreco

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