Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Two Israeli Soldiers

Two die so thousands must.  See the comment left on the post below: an angry Israeli performs a late-night scan over the blogosphere for pro-Lebanon posts, tacks up a plaintive cry for those two lives, for justice at any cost.  What does it mean, I wonder, to make that argument for two lives over the millions of blogs of the world, every night over a fortnight?  What do those two lives mean?  Who will read the comment with sympathy?  Why is it so confusing to us? 

In the twentieth century, we lost the understanding of scale.  Every human has always been delicate to even the loss of a single life close to them.  A mystic would say that numbers belong to God alone, that the number of days of a human's life, the number of humans that have died or will die can only be owned by God. 

But the imbalances of the last decade have been staggering, in part because the meaninglessness of numbers has been used to justify all sorts of horror. 

Two thousand dead in the World Trade Center: an argument for hundreds of thousands of Afghani and Iraqi lives.  Two dead soldiers in Lebanon: an argument for thousands of Lebanese deaths at Israeli hands. 

God surely weeps for every single one of these deaths, and God just as recoils in a terrible confusion at the justification of such unequal numbers.  

What mental distortion invites us to play such deadly games?  The twentieth century taught us how.  The deaths of millions by starvation every week in foreign countries.  The starving millions in our own countries.  We don't know how to measure those numbers, only the sickness and death of a single individual close to us.  So we have calculated an occult mathematics that justifies the preservation of those one or two known to us against the millions unknown, the millions taht signify the meaninglessness and insignificance and selfish horror of our own lives. 

Remember: how many German lives -- however the story went that they had been or might be lost -- for six million Jews?  We are not allowed to play games with numbers.  We must develop our sense of scale along with our sense of justice. 

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Carpet-bombing Chicago

A desperate plea for intelligent politics from my friend Robert Arnold:

The best metaphor I've seen for what is happening in Lebanon right  now:  It is the moral equivalent of carpet-bombing Chicago because Al Capone is operating there.

Sorry to send you all this political rant, but this bill that  congress just passed (H.R.921) by a vote of 410-8 is making me crazy.  The bill expresses unconditional support of Israel in their current 
wholesale destruction of Lebanon. Despite over 350 civilians killed and 500,000 - that's half a million (about 15% of the country's population) - made refugees, it praises Israel for their 
"longstanding commitment to minimizing civilian loss".

It contains no call for restraint. It announces to the world that the US is completely out of touch with the rest of the world, who unanimously condemn Hezbollah for their provocation (they kidnapped 2 Israeli soldiers, and have killed about 35 Israelis in the course of the war), but also condemn Israel for its utterly out-of-proportion response.

Your Representative likely voted for this awful bill (Pelosi did). If you don't like that, I highly suggest you call them (I did.)

I expect this kind of thing from the administration, but couldn't the Democrats at least pretend to be an opposition party from time to time? Maybe with a little prodding? You can find their numbers here:

The only sensible course is an immediate cease-fire, but the US has actually vetoed a UN resolution calling for one.

Um, looks like it's us and Israel against the world... (even Britain is changing its tune:

For more information:

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Conversation at Café Nefeli

shaggy boy to jo : "i see you're reading parnell.  is that parnell the irishman?"
jo to shaggy boy : "no... the financial reformer..."

[jo attempts to explain why financial reform was so important to the making of modern political discourse]
[shaggy attempts to look impressed]

jo : "so what's that you're writing?"
shaggy boy : "oh, um,"  [flips pages] "you know, um,"  [looks at pages, distressed]

j : “whatever the muse sends you?”
s : “if only it were the muse... ” [looks disappointed]

j : “that’s the problem, isn’t it?  she has so many ugly sisters.”
s : “yeah... you gotta kiss a lot of frogs”

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Back to church.

Father Rector to Jo:  Welcome back!  It's been a little while.  Were you traveling again?

Jo to Fr. Rector:  Thanks!  No... I was just wandering the earth.

Fr. Rector: Wandering the earth, eh?

Abbot Basil: Wasn't that in... um, the Book of Job.  Yes.  Where God asks the Devil where he's been, and the Devil replies, Wandering the earth?

Jo: That's right.  I was wandering the earth looking for the devil.  I'm not sure I found him though.

Fr. Rector: Um....  Perhaps I'll let that one go...

Complaint from Simon

complaint (please broadcast to all women)


Simon: Well, actually I grew up in England.
Girl: Oh? Really? Did you have an accent?
Simon: Yes, but, as you can tell, it is gone.
Girl: That is so unfortunate. English accents are SO sexy.
Simon: Ah, yes, so I've been told.
Girl: Can you do an English accent for me now?
Simon: No.
Girl: English accents are SO sexy.

Girl: The stars are so pretty tonight.
Simon: Yes, they are.
Girl: Tell me about the constellations.
Simon: Well, actually, I do mostly theoretical things, there's a lot of
Girl: But you must know the constellations.
Simon: Actually, well, um, I don't.
Girl: How can you be an astronomer and not know the constellations?
Simon: Well, you see, the constellations actually have no scientific...
ah, what's the use. [makes up facts about made up constellations

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pics from birthday party

robin, jo, sutter
Originally uploaded by joguldi.
(click on photo to see more)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dating advice from Simon

film guy: So, what's up?
aloofi: ...
film guy: Yeah, uh, so I'm making this film...
aloofi: oh *that*s interesting.
film guy: Uh... yes, well I'm sure you'd be impressed...
aloofi: Ha.
film guy: There's something about your aloofness...
aloofi: ...
film guy: It makes me want to call you all the time...
aloofi: ...
film guy: Also, your silence makes me develop elaborate theories about
your inner mind, in a kind of "projection" effect where I believe you to
be far more interesting than would a disinterested observer.
aloofi: Are you done? I have to go.
film guy: Don't go, Aloof Guldi! Never leave me!

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Happy summer ya'll

homage to robert arnold
Originally uploaded by joguldi.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

What we learned about social change at the conference

too much econ!
Originally uploaded by joguldi.