Encountering Rankism

It was eleven months ago that I published the New Gatekeepers series. I’m still learning. Just last Friday, Elisa Cooper of Berkeley, CA, posted a comment informing me about the concept of rankism, and its supporting website, Breaking Ranks. The concept Rankism has been coined by Robert Fuller, a past Professor of Physics at Columbia and President of Oberlin College. He had come to realize that all of our old scourges of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry had a common root– an -ism called rankism— but it was not until he left academia that the idea coalesced. He told Publishers Weekly: "Lacking the protection of title and status in the years after Oberlin, I experienced what it’s like to be taken for a nobody."

Good Night, and Good Luck on your Website

The current movie Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow and directed by George Clooney, has been co-produced by a group called Participant Productions. They got a good head start with setting up companion websites (using the Drupal software, no less) for their films (which also include Syriana, Murderball, and North Country), but these are mere baby steps. If they want to have an activist mission, they must have an educational mission first. And it would also be best of them to avoid the scattershot "blog" approach and instead adopt a constructive media approach. Here’s my review that I also posted on their site.

Where can audio-guide podcasts be found?

While the podcast medium has not ushered in much of a revolution so far– downloadable audio files have been around for years now, and their marriage with RSS has not made it that much easier to skim them, as it has for bloggus bloviatus, the common blog– there is one use where the aspect where podcasters make a brilliant use of the format.

Not Exploiting the Homeless

Two Sundays ago, I cross the river into Cambridge to experience a local meeting of the National Writers Union. This was the day that Penny For Your Thoughts piece was cited in the Sunday Globe (not as anything special, just merely as one of a few blog curiosities).

Seeking Good Christians to Talk About God

What’s promising about the Internet, it’s been suggested, is that it can facilitate conversations, particularly among people who wouldn’t ordinarily meet in everydate life. Online I purposesly try to seek out people different from myself.

Walt Whitman, Primogenial Blogger?

I have a case for Walt Whitman being some sort of early blogger. It is the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Leaves of Grass, so no doubt he will be discussed in every school in this country this year. When researching “singer” as one of the main archetypes of today’s bloggers, I came up with that term as I remembered that Whitman was fond of singing as a metaphor for celebrating oneself.

Self-Organizing the Hub of the Universe

To bring order to the universe— at least that part we call the Hub here in Boston, home of the repeat NFL champion New England Patriots and World Series champion Boston Red Sox, Adam Gaffin has organized the Universal Hub. (I’ve only lived here seven years, and live in neighboring Brookline while working in neighboring Cambridge, but one of the first things I learned was that Oliver Wendell Holmes originally dubbed Boston the “hub of the universe.” It’s the hub of my commute, for sure.)

A penny for your thoughts: getting to know a neighbor

For the last couple of months, there’s been a man panhandling by the Store 24 on Beacon St., between the streetcar stop and the Griggs path. Today I gave him a buck, which is the same amount I gave him a couple of weeks ago, only that time he gave me a 1960 silver quarter in exchange. There’s been panhandlers before on the corner in years past, but no one really stuck around much, as far as I knew. Maybe he’s stuck around a bit because I asked him his name and give him a few words of conversation. So I see him once every couple of weeks; I’m not sure what his pattern is.

Judging the Character of one’s Content on MLK Day

On Martin Luther King Day, I celebrate by listening to WGBH’s Eric Jackson‘s salute to the great man, which he does by interespersing King’s speeches with jazz music. There are very few evenings on the radio as

Personal reaction to the tsunami disaster news

I suppose it is a bit unfair to judge others about their initial response to the tsunami, without posting my own thoughts.

A poem of Thanksgiving

For no other reason than Mom wanting to take a break
from preparing and cleaning up.
We drove down to Jersey,
past the silent campuses at New Brunswick and Princeton,
and then up the Delaware, Washington crossed on Christmas Day
in 1776, he had gone to Trenton;
now we went the other way, to Lambertville,
to the Lambertville Station restaurant
where we served ourselves a buffet dinner

Joining Rep. Jeff Sánchez on the May 23rd ALA Asthma Walk

I’ll be doing the American Lung Association Asthma walk on the Charles River in two weeks, and I’ve joined team Sánchez. For a couple of simple reasons. One, my Dad has suffered from an asthma-like condition. The more direct reason is that Rep. Jeff Sánchez asked people to join his team at the recent Democratic Town Committee meeting. So I joined up, and I pledged to raise an additional hundred dollars. Sánchez’s district covers part of Brookline– not my part exactly, but just down the street, one of the places that I’m looking to buy a condo. Or just as well, Sanchez’s district may yet change thanks to a court-ordered redestricting of Boston’s legislative districts.

You’ll never guess who’s a friend of Boston’s Homeless

The fundraising bug has bit me bad. Here’s tonight’s Mastercard damage:

Next time we’ll show up early. Jamie and I missed the dinner (which only would have set us back another $30), missed the Mayor, missed meeting any new people, and missed much of Kendrick Oliver’s band playing– they played one song in the third set. The crowd really thinned out after the dinner; I haver never seen Avalon so empty. And once again, I get that feeling of winning a fundraising contest in weak competition. It would have been nice to learn more about the organizations my money went to. I hope I have the courage to look a homeless person in the face now.

Passion stories for nonbelievers

I was trying to figure out how The Passion‘s resonance with believers can be understood by non-Christians. Were there any equivalent movies that could be made, or had been made? Movies about faith and inspiration which are overtly religious demand not just a suspension of disbelief, but a suspension of belief— one’s own– which make them difficult to watch.

Lost in translation: responding to defenders of the Passion

Watching some of the news shows this week reviewing Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, I was appalled how many of them peddled a Jew-Christian dichotomy over the film: that is, Jewish observers were portrayed as being on the offensive over anti-Semitic undertones in the film, and mostly Christian faithful defending the it, often conflating an attack on the movie as an attack on religion. I started wondering whether this pattern was exhibited elsewhere.

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