The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from July 2017

What it’s about

July 31st, 2017 · No Comments

“In theory, the outcome of elections in the United States reflects, with only minor distortions, the political preferences of the electorate. That’s what representative democracy is supposed to mean. Only it doesn’t work out that way. More precisely: the range of choices over which the American electorate is allowed to exercise its preference is sharply […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Not to pass the time

July 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it? What we must have are books that come upon us like ill-fortune and distress us deeply.” – Franz Kafka

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Tags: Franz Kafka · Lit & Crit

What you can get away with

July 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“There is a difference between a damage caused by continued vibrations of trains which are performing a necessary public service, and a damage caused by a single blast set off on the private property of another. It is such differences which make law not mainly the product of logic, but of experience, social necessity and […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

Just lie back and relax

July 28th, 2017 · No Comments

“The tendency of every utopian movement is totalitarian: when perfectibility is the assumption, coercion must be the result.” – George Scialabba, “The Crooked Timber of Humanity”

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Apples are not oranges

July 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“The aims of scientific method—predictiveness, universal applicability, logical simplicity, ontological parsimony—cannot be imported into the study of psychology, history, or politics. Individuals and cultures are radically diverse, ineffably deep, infinitely complex. Only imaginative identification, a renunciation of the urge to theoretical mastery, and a yielding to the sheer particularity of things can produce genuine understanding. […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

Freedom isn’t free

July 26th, 2017 · No Comments

“Whatever else liberal democratic societies have had in common, there’s this: they’ve all been rich. The two pillars of liberal ideology—the right to undisturbed enjoyment of one’s property and the right to a fair share of society’s resources, at least enough for a decent subsistence—may be fundamentally inconsistent, but the contradiction has usually remained implicit. […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Imagine all the people

July 25th, 2017 · No Comments

“Culture and psychology are central to politics. But cultural politics must reckon with our psychic ecology: the sum of our adaptations, over the course of two million years, to infantile dependence, territoriality, scarcity, mortality, and the other hitherto inescapable limits of human existence. We are organisms; we cannot flourish at just any tempo, pressure, or […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

You can’t get there from here

July 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“Utopia, then, is in the future. Why is this worth emphasizing? Revolutionists and abolitionists, utopia’s false friends, insist that it can be constructed out of present materials through a heroic act of will. This is to underestimate recklessly the depth and subtlety of the necessary changes and the intricacy and inertia of every moral culture. […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Where it is

July 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“To search for a democracy of individual participation, particularly if the goal is to restore the give-and-take of face-to-face relations in the neighborly community, is to swim against the tide of history. The main drift in modern industrial life has been toward expanding scale and complexity, the centralization of power and the growth of hierarchical […]

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Tags: Politics & Law

What’s the price on that?

July 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Critical rationality, as propagated by the Enlightenment and modeled on the natural sciences, has (along with market rationality) undermined the cultural authority of virtually all moral values, norms, customs, and beliefs in virtually all modern societies. The moral foundations of Western culture have been hollowed out. To the question ‘why be good?’ there is now […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Divided we stand

July 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“Is it necessary to choose between cosmopolitanism and agrarian populism? Let us hope not. The liberal virtues and the republican virtues are both indispensable. But that does not mean they are, at this moment, equally urgent or equally vulnerable. The apparently irresistible thrust of global capitalism threatens the latter virtues far more than the former, […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Not to mention everything else

July 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“The truth about human nature is very bad news for socialism.” – William Barrett, The Truants

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

Winter is a-cumin’ in

July 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“If there be no great philosophic idea, if, for the time being, mankind, instead of going through a period of growth, is going through a corresponding process of decay and decomposition from some old, fulfilled, obsolete idea, then what is the good of educating? Decay and decomposition will take their own way. It is impossible […]

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Tags: D. H. Lawrence · Lit & Crit

Making sense of it

July 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“Symbolic expression, however forceful, leaves a space between communicator and recipient, a space for contesting, fighting back with one’s own words and images, organizing to oppose whatever action the abhorred speech may incite. Though speech may, and often does, support the structure of domination, whether by lending aid and comfort to the powerful or frightening […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

The simple things

July 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“What we want is . . . bread for the people, rest for the people, immunity from robbery and scorn for the people, hope for them, enjoyment, equal respect and consideration, life and aspiration, instead of drudgery and despair.” – George Bernard Shaw

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Tags: Economics · George Bernard Shaw · Politics & Law

The truth you are allowed to tell

July 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“Telling the truth is not just not telling lies about your enemies; it is talking straight to your friends. It means the avoidance of bad faith. What makes this so hard is the politics of solidarity, which applies quite equally on Right and Left. What solidarity politics means is that you have to stay on […]

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Tags: Politics & Law

The long way down

July 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“America has no real alternative to continuing imperial decline: the big questions are simply how fast and how peacefully. The problem is that the arms industries will fund any and every Presidential candidate and, whoever wins, those industries will demand to be fed. It is unclear, though, whether Americans at large are willing to accept […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Making America Great Again

July 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“Safe, simple, effective, and relatively cheap ways to increase intelligence and longevity in the American population include mounting the equivalent of the antismoking educational campaign against the high levels of fat, sugar, and salt in our national diet; encouraging physical activity, for example by forcing ourselves, through gasoline taxes and urban rezoning, to walk more, […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Not just another word

July 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“What is free speech supposed to be free from? Political and legal restrictions, presumably. But commercial fraud, libel, perjury, declaiming in a stranger’s living room, and shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater are all uncontroversially restricted forms of speech, whose boundaries are nevertheless sometimes contested. Those contests are resolved—and hence the boundaries of ‘free’ speech […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

There doesn’t seem to be a shadow

July 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“The summer would be celebrated by people of every nation in the city. People marauding after work, discontented. Thugs surfing on the sides of cars, flagging. Going into the garbage cans and throwing bottles in the street. Immigrants working, forever working, watching people go by who have days off, time off, while they don’t. Trying […]

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Tags: Atticus Lish · Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Forever War

Either way, it just goes on

July 11th, 2017 · No Comments

“He saw the sand going on and on across the continent. The broken palm trees and mud buildings and corrugated steel lean-tos and dead trucks and the domes and spires of the mosques. He could hear the loudspeakers wired by a man who weighed twenty pounds less and looked twenty years older and who was […]

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Tags: Atticus Lish · Lit & Crit · The Forever War

Score’s thirty-love, love

July 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“You can love the game, but the game loves no one.” – Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life

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Tags: Atticus Lish · Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Forever War · Verandah

State of grace

July 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.” – Atticus Lish, Preparation for the Next Life

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Tags: Atticus Lish · Lit & Crit · The Forever War

It’s over here

July 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“There’s always been a story that wasn’t written, and it almost always should have been.” – Seymour M. Hersh, Chain of Command

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The Forever War

Hitting the gym

July 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“An editor is a mouse training to be a rat.” – Shirley Povich, Editor, Washington Post

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Tags: Lit & Crit

It already passed

July 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“There are times when most cards you are dealt come up aces, when forces you cannot control—or even influence—combine to push you forward. Such a moment does not often last long.” – Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War · Verandah

We have met the enemy and it is us

July 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“Terror is the most dreaded weapon in the modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against their own people. It can add fear and helplessness to the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

What it’s about

July 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“I’ll tell you what war is about. You have got to kill people, and when you have killed enough of them they stop fighting.” – General Curtis LeMay (quoted by Michael Scheuer in Imperial Hubris)

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

Paranoia strikes deep

July 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“A small Christian subculture in the United States strongly believes in the notion of cosmic war. Believers are splintered into a number of small groups, the largest of which is the Christian Identity movement. According to Christian Identity ideology, the British are descended from ‘Aryan’ northern Israelite tribes who migrated to the British Isles in […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Politics & Law · The Forever War

And the walls came down

July 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

“The scriptural emphasis on warfare has armed successive generations with powerful mental images of an embattled world. The community of the faithful is perpetually in crisis or at its edge. When a religious group believes that its identity is fundamentally threatened, it may turn to stories of apocalypse that describe the end of earthly history. […]

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Tags: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon · Politics & Law · The Forever War