There was something that indeed bothered many readers of Philip Roth

Dara Horn nails it! I was the kind of boy who enjoyed reading Roth and Bellow when I was 16, and my mother read him religiously (pun intended). But part of my brain always knew the novels were trashy, in exactly the way Horn identifies.

Now Roth is dead, and in our current American culture, literature means little; the shared humanity that great literature inspires matters even less. What endures, sadly, is Roth’s lack of imagination, the unempathetic and incurious caricaturing of others that he turned into a virtue — and which now defines much of American public life. In the discussions since Roth’s death, we’re still talking about Roth, just like his works taught us to do. Yet in the years to come, the real meaning of his work will emerge not in how we judge Roth, but in how we judge ourselves.

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Appoline Traoré, Naky Sy Savane et Amélie Mbaye : Leur film “Frontières” à Angoulême

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You really should be watching live stream of Hawai’i lava flow for at least ten minutes

Gradually you get an idea that the plumes of molten lava shooting into the air are maybe the size of a ten story building. So much for us “ugly sacks of mostly water.”

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Resilient Social Contracts and Sustaining Peace from the International Peace Institute

Participants at this event discussed how social contracts manifest themselves in and adapt to different contexts, transcending from what are often unsustainable, ephemeral elite bargains into more inclusive ones with durable arrangements for sustaining peace. The findings of the research project “Forging Resilient National Social Contracts” were presented and case studies on South Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Tunisia were featured. These case studies explore social contracting within contexts of conflict and fragility, highlighting the mechanisms through which agreements are forged that support prevention and sustaining peace.This event engaged with current policy findings and debates, and highlight how the UN can better understand the role of the social contract, and utilize this framing in its work, to support national actors in attaining and sustaining peace. It is hoped that by focusing on concrete examples and cases studies, this conversation helped member states and other key national stakeholders develop a shared and deeper understanding of what sustaining peace means in practice as they attempt to implement the above joint resolutions and deliver on their commitment to make prevention the core function of the United Nations.

Source: Resilient Social Contracts and Sustaining Peace | International Peace Institute

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Libertarians need to think more about this tendency of humans to band together and discriminate

The argument that “the market” will erode or make less profitable discriminatory behavior has no theoretical support. It could, but it also could not. Lots of economics theory has been written about this.

In the hallways of a rural Oregon high school, gay and lesbian students were taunted with homophobic slurs. In the cafeteria, students pelted a transgender student with food. And when gay and lesbian students got into trouble, the school’s principal assigned a specific punishment just for them: readings from the Bible.

Students detailed those allegations in recent state investigative reports into the North Bend School District, a coastal area about 100 miles north of California. In the reports, gay and lesbian high school students described years of harassment and bigotry from school employees and other students, and a deeply religious culture that silenced their complaints.

The two reports, completed in March by an investigator in the Oregon Department of Education and made public this month, found that top officials in North Bend had for at least the past two school years fostered hostile conditions for gay and lesbian students, hesitated to intervene after reports of sexual harassment and retaliated against a school counselor who had cooperated with the state investigation.

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Air-conditioning vicious circle

From the NYTimes. We were just talking about this vicious circle in class yesterday:

The number of air-conditioners worldwide is predicted to soar from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by midcentury, according to a report issued Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. If left unchecked, by 2050 air-conditioners would use as much electricity as China does for all activities today.Greenhouse gas emissions released by coal and natural gas plants when generating electricity to power those air-conditioners would nearly double, from 1.25 billion tons in 2016 to 2.28 billion tons in 2050, the report says. Those emissions would contribute to global warming, which could further heighten the demand for air-conditioning.

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The Bones of J.R. Jones – St. James’ bed

Posted in Music