We Are Neither Lunar Nor Martian, But Staunchly Earthlings

A rational and evocative, save the earth piece in the NYT.

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Tyger Tyger Burning Bright

‘He’s gonna get rid of all immigrants!’

‘He’s gonna build that thang up taller than this!’
Well, if he does build it, I hope it’s rock solid with bricks
‘Cause like him in politics, I’m using all of his tricks
‘Cause I’m throwin’ that piece of shit against the wall ’til it sticks

And any fan of mine who’s a supporter of his
I’m drawing in the sand a line: you’re either for or against
And if you can’t decide who you like more and you’re split
On who you should stand beside, I’ll do it for you with this:
Fuck you”

–Eimenem

Bovine Desires

Cow
By Selima Hill

I want to be a cow
and not my mother’s daughter.
I want to be a cow
and not in love with you.
I want to feel free to feel calm.
I want to be a cow who never knows
the kind of love you ‘fall in love with’ with;
a queenly cow, with hips as big and sound
as a department store,
a cow the farmer milks on bended knee,
who when she dies will feel dawn
bending over her like lawn to wet her lips.

I want to be a cow,
nothing fancy –
a cargo of grass,
a hammock of soupy milk
whose floating and rocking and dribbling’s undisturbed
by the echo of hooves to the city;
of crunching boots;
of suspicious-looking trailers parked on verges;
of unscrupulous restaurant-owners
who stumble, pink-eyed, from stale beds
into a world of lobsters and warm telephones;
of streamlined Japanese freighters
ironing the night,
heavy with sweet desire like bowls of jam.

The Tibetans have 85 words for states of consciousness.
This dozy cow I want to be has none.
She doesn’t speak.
She doesn’t do housework or worry about her appearance.
She doesn’t roam.
Safe in her fleet
of shorn-white-bowl-like friends,
she needs, and loves, and’s loved by,
only this –
the farm I want to be a cow on too.

Don’t come looking for me.
Don’t come walking out into the bright sunlight
looking for me,
black in your gloves and stockings and sleeves
and large hat.
Don’t call the tractorman.
Don’t call the neighbours.
Don’t make a special fruit-cake for when I come home:
I’m not coming home.
I’m going to be a cowman’s counted cow.
I’m going to be a cow
and you won’t know me.

Artisanal Resistance

Radio-Free-Vermont

A novel by Bill Mckibben. The novel presents a fable of resistance in an age of political turmoil, i.e. the age in which we live now.

I would like this novel as it proposes a thought-experiment of seccesion. Vermont wants to secede in the manner of a secession of New York, suggested many years ago by Norman Mailer–that Gotham gain sovereignty from the state of New York that should henceforth be called “Buffalo.”

The New York Times Book Review critiques “Radio-Free Vermont” as being “more than a fable of resistance […] it’s a love letter to the modest, treed-in landscape of Vermont […] it’s a dirge for the intense cold […] an elegy for the slower, saner vermont […] and dependable Yankee virtues like neighborliness, self-reliance and financial prudence […] The book also helps contextualize Bernie Sanders’ anti-establishment crankiness.”

 

Same-Sexy-Ness

Call me by your name

The famed Italian film director Luca Guadagnimo’s new film on same-sex desire, “Call Me By Your Name,” normalizes homoeroticism, if we are to believe critic Manhola Darghis’ superb review.

A strong narrative, writes Darghis, tethers the film’s “sensuous surface” with its “churning feeling.” We get an inkling of the intertwining of surface and depth in the following description of slow but sure irradiation of seduction between the two young male characters in the film, Elio and Oliver:

Elio and Oliver’s affair begins slowly with each circling the other at a distance, conveying the kind of nonchalance that’s a shield for interest. Oliver proves far better at this part of the game; he knows more than to look too long and too hard. Elio’s furtive, ducking glances, by contrast, tend to linger, hovering in the air like questions. He’s increasingly curious about this new guest, but soon inexplicably (to Elio, at least) irked by him as well, leading Elio to complain to his parents about Oliver’s standard signoff (“later”). But when Elio scribbles a private rebuke in a notebook, chastising himself for responding harshly toward Oliver, it’s as if he were writing an apologetic love letter.

Having seen several films based on same-sex desire–“Blue is the Warmest Color,” “My Summer of Love,” “Carol” and “A Single Man,” among others–I need to say this: Films featuring women lovers end up producing more unnecessary objectification, eruption (of negative emotions) and subterranean violence than films featuring male one’s. A pro-male bias?

Seen through Ms. Darghis’ lens, “Call Me By Your Name” is awash in sensuality and the soft touch of normal romance, twin attributes of the “real” that I missed in the films where women fall in love with one another.

Food Fear

“If there’s something we need to cut from our diet, it’s fear,” writes Aaron Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The most interesting–and disturbing–point raised by Dr. Carroll is about an American antipathy for science in this case. Even if scientists discredit the notion that “gluten-free” food is necessary for everyone, American consumers don’t care. The indifference to science is part of a general anti-intellectual trend that pervades our culture, perhaps since time-immemorial.