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Ciro Faienza
filmmaker/writer/actor/artist/critic; podcast reader at Strange Horizons
filmmaker/writer/actor/artist/critic; podcast reader at Strange Horizons

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Today's world's been a bit of a let-down. Imagine something greater — 

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Brilliant analysis and strategic call to action. Money quotes abound, but —

"... the role of an elected official — and of the Electoral College — is one of heeding the people, but also of “standing up with generous fearlessness against the clamor of the mob.” (That turn of phrase is Teddy Roosevelt describing his admiration for Alexander Hamilton.)

We’ve got a real ugly mob that took November 8’s results as a license to come out of the woodwork with what they interpret as a national mandate for their racist agenda. We have a chance right now, and only right now, to pull the rug out from under them, and show them that all the Trump voters who’ve said they didn’t vote for racism mean it. We have a chance right now, and only right now, to say it’s not ok to give the highest office in the land to the person who got fewer votes instead of the president chosen by the people."

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My absentee ballot arrived today...

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You might be surprised to see me post these pictures. I’ve said before that the simple act of seeing them is a kind of trauma, a trauma that can accumulate with each viewing, and there is no reason we should need that trauma to understand their reality. Even those people who are inured to images, or are rather not yet sensitized to them, have some empathy for what they are seeing.

Responsible adults looking at world affairs must sometimes believe their empathy betrays them—undeserved pain that interferes with the decisions they need to make to meet their own needs. I think all of that obscures something I have noticed in these pictures, which is not the dead human meat or the destruction, but the witnesses to it.

The face of the Turkish soldier whose job that morning was to pick up the drowned body of a 3-year-old and carry it off the beach. The 5-year-old, whose brain is an incredible organ of adaptation, better at it than you or I can ever hope to be again, learning something unspeakable about the world around him. The rescue worker who pulls a baby out of the tons of rubble of a deliberate, man-made earthquake. The father who nearly lost his family to the sea. The father who lost them.

These people did not see sad things. Each of us has mechanisms to process and recover from basic loss and heartbreak, and they are not designed for the moments here. What these people are feeling in the pictures crosses a boundary of kind, and our language when we talk about it rarely acknowledges that. There is a paradigm we use to live and function in a most basic way as whole people, and it becomes radically altered when we witness events like these beyond the comfort of the frame. The witnesses feel something they always claim to be unable to describe to its fullest, and we tell a lie to call it grief, because it so clearly goes beyond grief. It is an encounter with the abyss. Living things were not meant to see it.

In every good, kind, happy, or hopeful moment we create, in all our creeds and morals and philosophies and laws and religions, this is the final antithesis. This is the darkness we are trying to push back. We are seeking from birth to death to hold shut the door on that abyss, and these events which we impotently turn into headlines rip the doors wide open. They are abominations on the face of human history.

As free agents, as members of faiths or communities, as professionals, as politicians, as citizens, as rational actors, as patriots or soldiers or consumers or thinkers, as humans, we have no higher responsibility than to keep those doors shut. None. Nothing, literally nothing, supersedes the mandate to prevent what we see in these pictures, either by what we do or what we chose not to do. It is not the egg we break for an omelet. It is in the interest of no nation. There is no hard truth that can contain it, no ethical calculus, no matter how gray or grim, that permits it, so that even our vices—our ignorance, our selfishness and greed, our willful blindnesses, our lies—are powerless, are plainly unable to swallow or excuse the moral obscenity in that candy metaphor.

The only thing that can accept it is madness.

#Syria #trump #refugees #skittles #election #Hillary #bernie #crisis #europe

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what i see
You might be surprised to see me post these pictures. I’ve said before that the simple act of seeing them is a kind of trauma, a trauma that can accumulate with each viewing, and there is no reason we should need that trauma to understand their reality. Eve...

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I am disappointed that so much of the Remain camp failed to acknowledge the quite legitimate grievances the UK has had with the EU (even if those of the Daily Mail variety were actually railing against the fallout of Thatcherism), and I wonder if a different approach might have produced different results. However, UK grievances pale in comparison to those of virtually the entire south of Europe, and they are structural—foreseeable since Maastricht. Leaving was not a vote for never having joined. The past cannot be changed, even if you burn the entire future.

My hope is that instead of the remaining members stoking their own separatist fires, they will come together to oppose the anti-sovereignty forces Schäuble has mustered, that they will choose democracy over Weimar-style nihilist despair. Here is a group that is pushing toward that goal—

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They blurb me on the back cover, which makes me happy because I really like this one.

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The experimental film ‘copy complete’ focuses the cinematic presentations of the computer in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Sequences with computers are accompanied by split screens together into a collage as a journey back to the origin of the digital era.

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"How many interesting facts fail to be converted into fertile discoveries because their first observers regard them as natural and ordinary things! ... It is strange to see how the populace, which nourishes its imagination with tales of witches or saints, mysterious events and extraordinary occurrences, disdains the world around it as commonplace, monotonous and prosaic, without suspecting that at bottom it is all secret, mystery, and marvel." - Santiago Ramón y Cajal

"Winter is coming." - Stark House words

"That is very well put, but we must cultivate our garden." - Candide
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