Monthly Archives: December 2007


Holiday greetings to all! Enjoy the perfect description of this year at Unsane’s! 😀

Coming up from a southern beach as the sky turned rosy-dark I blinked and merged left beneath an arrow saying Golden Gate Bridge.

I moved with the automatic gestures of a commuter but then started and thought: “People wait their entire lives to do this.”


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Mary Austin

I have my grandmother’s copy of Land of Little Rain, but I see that it is now a Google Book, a Virginia e-text, a part of the Berkeley SunSITE, and a Gutenberg e-book.

This book describes things as they were in the nineteenth century when my various relatives arrived. At random:

I like that name the Indians give to the mountain of Lone Pine, and find it pertinent to my subject, — Oppapago, The Weeper. It sits eastward and solitary from the lordliest ranks of the Sierras, and above a range of little, old, blunt hills, and has a bowed, grave aspect as of some woman you might have known, looking out across the grassy barrows of her dead. From twin gray lakes under its noble brow stream down incessant white and tumbling waters. “Mahala all time cry,” said Winnenap’, drawing furrows in his rugged, wrinkled cheeks.

Weather does not happen. It is the visible manifestation of the Spirit moving itself in the void.

Oftenest the stream drops bodily from the bleak bowl of some alpine lake; sometimes breaks out of a hillside as a spring where the ear can trace it under the rubble of loose stones to the neighborhood of some blind pool.

Of the high Sierras choose the neighborhood of the splintered peaks about the Kern and King’s river divide for storm study, or the short, wide-mouthed canyons opening eastward on high valleys.

They speak a purer Castilian than obtains in like villages of Mexico, and the way they count relationship everybody is more or less kin.

The meal done without buys a candle for the neighbor’s dead child. You do foolishly to suppose that the candle does no good.

Come away, you who are obsessed with your own importance in the scheme of things, and have got nothing you did not sweat for, come away by the brown valleys and full-bosomed hills to the even-breathing days….



Filed under Bibliography, Poetry

Angel Island

From Kai Chang I had learned that there was Chinese writing on the walls on Angel Island but I have now discovered that this building is closed for renovation until at least 2009.

It is an excellent island, however, with unique and arguably the best views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate.

I rode to Angel Island by ferry and walked up to the top of Mt. Livermore, the summit, 788 feet above sea level. Far below you can see the immigration prison. I will have to try to see it again in 2009.

Here is an English translation of the fourth Angel Island poem:

Imprisoned in the wooden building day after day,
My freedom withheld; how can I bear to talk about it?
I look to see who is happy but they only sit quietly.
I am anxious and depressed and cannot fall asleep.
The days are long and bottle constantly empty; my sad mood, even so, is not dispelled.
Nights are long and the pillow cold; who can pity my loneliness?
After experiencing such loneliness and sorrow,
Why not just return home and learn to plow the fields?

We can see it written in the original characters, and listen to it in Mandarin or Cantonese.


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Barbara Lee

Observe OneVoicePAC. It is excellent.

Then in that spirit support the people of New Orleans.

Then read Momo on the triumph of the corporate university and feel your blood run cold.



Filed under Movement, What Is A Scholar?

More Outsourcing

From 02138:

Because, in any number of academic offices at Harvard, the relationship between “author” and researcher(s) is a distinctly gray area. A young economics professor hires seven researchers, none yet in graduate school, several of them pulling 70-hour work-weeks; historians farm out their research to teams of graduate students, who prepare meticulously written memos that are closely assimilated into the finished work; law school professors “write” books that acknowledge dozens of research assistants without specifying their contributions. These days, it is practically the norm for tenured professors to have research and writing squads working on their publications, quietly employed at stages of co-authorship ranging from the non-controversial (photocopying) to more authorial labor, such as significant research on topics central to the final work, to what can only be called ghostwriting.

Read the whole article, it is very important. Then consider my story,

I once had to write a full professor at a good institution to say that the piece he had contributed to my collection was in very poor shape, in terms of content development as well as grammar and other more mechanical issues, and that I was rescinding my invitation to participate in the volume unless he could get me something more nearly publishable. He responded, apologizing on behalf of his assistant who had inadvertently sent one of her early drafts of his article. He said this without batting an eye.

At the time I thought it was gender discrimination, combined with an utter lack of integrity. It was one of the events which contributed to my extreme loss of respect for professors. I did not realize at first that this person was only following the custom. When I did discover that, it only made things worse.



Filed under Banes, News, What Is A Scholar?

Robert Jay Lifton

Here is a small excerpt from one chapter of a book by Robert Jay Lifton.

The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis. In [Chinese Communist] thought reform, for instance, the phrase “bourgeois mentality” is used to encompass and critically dismiss ordinarily troublesome concerns like the quest for individual expression, the exploration of alternative ideas, and the search for perspective and balance in political judgments.

[I]n addition to their function as interpretive shortcuts, these cliches become what Richard Weaver has called “ultimate terms”: either “god terms,” representative of ultimate good; or “devil terms,” representative of ultimate evil. In [Chinese Communist] thought reform, “progress,” “progressive,” “liberation,” “proletarian standpoints” and “the dialectic of history” fall into the former category; “capitalist,” “imperialist,” “exploiting classes,” and “bourgeois” (mentality, liberalism, morality, superstition, greed) of course fall into the latter.

Totalist language then, is repetitiously centered on all-encompassing jargon, prematurely abstract, highly categorical, relentlessly judging, and to anyone but its most devoted advocate, deadly dull: in Lionel Trilling’s phrase, “the language of nonthought.”

If you read the whole chapter you get a very good idea of why I call Reeducation that. People keep trying to explain Reeducation theory to me. They say it is not what I think it is. Slogans, for instance, they say are helpful and freeing. Yes, I suppose so, if one wishes to be freed from thought.

I could of course qualify this, as I well understand why people attend some forms of Reeducation. Nevertheless, for purposes of the wider world I do insist that my point stands.



Filed under Banes, Bibliography, Resources


You may not be able to tell because I wrote my posts ahead of time, but I am in California. I have been here for several days and I will be here for several more days. What I have to say on this location is: 1. It is its own country, entirely different from anywhere else. 2. It is prosperous. Very. I say this with full awareness of Californian non-prosperity. No matter how you cut it this place is prosperous.



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