Sunday, May 22, 2011

The incomparable Rebecca Solnit 'splains all for you.

Worlds Collide in a Luxury Suite
Some Thoughts on the IMF, Global Injustice, and a Stranger on a Train

By Rebecca Solnit
How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d’Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity.
Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought he could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking.
Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we’ve just been given? The extraordinarily powerful head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global organization that has created mass poverty and economic injustice, allegedly assaulted a hotel maid, an immigrant from Africa, in a hotel’s luxury suite in New York City.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A stranger comes to town... A man with a history of intimidation... A black man... A Muslim

Was enjoying a nice little hour to kill last night in the lobby/piano bar of  the Pfister with a friend from Chennai.  We were enjoying a locally brewed dark beer and a small pizza; my back was turned as she remarked about seeing the tallest man she'd ever seen, passing through the Jefferson Street entrance, heading  for the desk, carrying his own luggage.

Welcome back, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I hadn't seen the man in-the-flesh since he headed west in the mid 70s.

Tried to be cool, avoided gawking.  Some nearby youngsters in their 30s--who'd never heard of, much-less seen the skyhook--marveled at his stature, seemed in-the-dark on his history in Milwaukee.

On the way out a bit later, the doorman mentioned that he comes to the Pfister whenever he has a speaking engagement here.

A speech?    Maybe another speech to go back-to-back with Herb Kohl's announcement of his coming retirement as the Senior Senator from Wisconsin. 

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.