The Tao of Trumpism

I’ve been thinking. I struggle to understand why people continue to support Trump after he has demonstrated his unfitness to be president (at least in my eyes) time and time again. As a young math prodigy I learned that the mathematical systems we use depend upon which axions or postulates we accept as true and unquestionable. If you accept the principle that say zero multiplied by anything equals zero (zero x a = 0) you get a quite different mathematics than if you base it on the principle zero multiplied by anything equals that thing (zero x a = a.) 

What I learned from my father

You know how when you are watching a horror film you want to scream don’t go in there as the protagonist is about to open a door because you know some new horror is behind it? That’s how I am feeling about the news today. I don’t want to see whatever horror the Trump administration has tweeted, committed or had revealed. So I thought I’d just write about a childhood memory I was thinking about recently. My father was a working man who we only got to spend time with infrequently on weekdays. Oh he lived with us, but it

Reclaim All Lives Matter, End Police Brutality

Of course all lives matter, nobody in Black Lives Matter has said differently. The simple phrase has become, however, something that people hide behind to avoid addressing the uncomfortable realities of racism in American society. I would like to reclaim that phrase. Oppressed groups have long reclaimed the words that are used to oppress them e.g. nigger, bitch, faggot, queer. I want to use it to show that police militarization and brutality are not just black issues. All people of color, no matter how respectable they think they are, are subject to this brutality. The statistics for police violence against

There’s a Riot Going On

James Baldwin said “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” I keep this in mind as riots break out throughout the country in response to police killings of brothers.  Maybe we should ask not why they continue to happen though nothing changes, but why they don’t happen more often? The differential fatality rates of Covid 19 among racial groups has laid bare the results of racism in the health care system. The underlying racial (yeah I know there are other ways of looking at this) economic and social inequality is staring

Any sufficiently advanced technology …

Legendary Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated three “laws” or adages the third and most famous of which is “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Whenever a hear it I am am transported back to my first trip to Africa to do my dissertation research. I was doing research on the effect of a Lutheran mission on the religious beliefs in a village about a hundred miles from the capital. When we went there the foreign missionaries had been replaced by a home grown Lutheran church who were only to eager to rent a house on the

 Francois de La Rochefoucauld Quotes I have found to be true

Many, many years ago when I was studying French I was required to read the pithy maxims of French philosopher and wit Francois VI Duke de La Rochefoucauld. He was an elitist French nobleman of the seventeenth century who commented on the foibles of humans. He wrote hundreds of quotes some good, some too pessimistic and some that are just irrelevant or too relevant for my life. Reading them again fifty years later here are 20 I have found to be true:

 

“How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and

My Dinner with David Driskell

I have read many of the tributes marking David Driskell’s death and they rightfully mention his enormous achievements.  However as one who met him I just wanted to remind folks that he was a wonderful man too. Over the course of my career I have had dinner with many of the the celebrity African Americans who came to my campus to speak. I just saw it as part of the job. Some impressed, some did not. One I will always remember was an unofficial private dinner arranged through an art historian colleague who was a great friend of David Driskell.

Random Thoughts on Covid-19

What makes this pandemic different from the ones we have had before? Why the widespread panic in this one?

What happens when a person who believes that the Corona virus is a liberal (or Chinese or Democratic or media) plot gets sick? Don’t they take the medical precautions anyway e.g. quarantine? Ideology and fantasy meet reality.

Is Wall Street realizing that having an incompetent idiot in power, even if he is your idiot, is not good for them?

Toilet paper will not save you.

As much as nationalists want to withdraw from the world, we cannot.

If you fire, ignore, deny, and denigrate the scientists

Day after Super Tuesday

Everyone else is analyzing what happened so I thought I’d add my two cents for what it’s worth. Let’s first sum up. The Democratic primary voters have shown a preference for an innocuous, bland, no new ideas, oatmeal candidate who they feel is the most likely to defeat Trump rather than an insurgent candidate who they feel will alienate too many voters to oust Trump.  Barring some miracle it is now essential a two man (man used intentionally) race. I did not support either of the finalists, but I would vote for either in November. Both have shown weaknesses and

Now what happened was…

There is an African American narrative tradition in which a story begins “Now what happened was….” Once you hear this you know you are about to hear a long, convoluted tale that tells the story from the perspective of the storyteller and which only occasionally (and possibly never) has a connection to what actually happened. Here is a hilarious example of this storytelling tradition by Tiffany Hadish. The clip itself is about 8 minutes long but is so funny the time just flies by, however if you can sample just a minute or two you will understand the narrative tradition.