The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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Entries Tagged as 'Lit & Crit'

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

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

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

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

Decline and fall

June 27th, 2017 · No Comments

“History, scholars say, is written in three stages: heroic, with the narratives of great individuals and their feats; revisionist, which turns those accounts on their head; and tragic, where we see how events conspired to bring about an end beyond the reckoning of most actors of the time.” – Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The […]

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

Making sense of it all

June 24th, 2017 · No Comments

“The political and the non-political, freedom and restriction, fairness and unfairness, ideas and their consequences: these distinctions are all indispensable but contingent. They are working distinctions. We can’t do without them, on pain of intellectual and social incoherence. But what content we give them is determined by our fundamental goals and values, our deepest sense […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Making art safe

June 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Contemporary society, and in particular contemporary criticism, has tamed the arts, gradually deprived them of their prophetic and subversive possibilities. There’s no place in modern life for the mystical or the unpredictable; the arts have been institutionalized and are now managed by a cultural bureaucracy of scholars, critics, patrons, businessmen, and publicists. . . . […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

It’s a free country

June 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“A four-letter word beginning with ‘f’ has tragically corrupted the minds of countless innocent Americans. I mean ‘free,’ in the expressions ‘free market’ and ‘free enterprise.’ It is a glorious word, of course, but its association with these morally neutral abstractions generally serves to obscure their often harsh and irrational consequences.” – George Scialabba, “The […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba

All you need is

June 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“Literature has always been about love; the modern novel has been about love as a problem. More precisely, about love as one instance of the fundamental modern problem: autonomy, individuality, selfhood. Enacting one’s identity, living up to one’s inherited role, offered premoderns plenty of scope for literary heroism; but devising one’s identity, choosing one’s role, […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

To be disillusioned

June 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“We read the late novels of D.H. Lawrence or the cantos of Ezra Pound, aware that these are works of enormously gifted writers yet steadily troubled by the outpouring of authoritarian and Fascist ideas. We read Bertolt Brecht’s ‘To Posterity,’ in which he offers an incomparable evocation of the travail of Europe in the period […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit

The silence of the lambs

June 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“A number of gravestones lie fallen; the grass is rank. This is the burial-site of Russian infantry who died at the approaches to Weimar when the war was virtually over. No more, I reckon, than thirty or forty graves. A fair number are those of boy-soldiers, aged sixteen or seventeen, out of the Asian steppe, […]

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Tags: Politics & Law · The Second World War

You’ve been warned

June 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“A little learning is a dangerous thing, though not nearly as dangerous as a lot of it.” – George Scialabba, “Errata”

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Tags: George Scialabba · Lit & Crit

The extent of it

June 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“Life is short, the arts long, opportunity fleeting, experience fallacious, judgment difficult.” – Hippocrates of Kos

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Ancients

Try as we might

June 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“You should know that there is little you can seek in this world, that there is no need for you to be so greedy, in the end all you can achieve are memories, hazy, intangible, dreamlike memories, which are impossible to articulate.” – Gao Xingjian, Soul Mountain (trans. Mabel Lee)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Apples and oranges

June 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“The leading British conservative of the 19th century, Benjamin Disraeli, was a legendary wit and a successful novelist whose books are still worth reading. The leading American conservative of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan, was an amiable duffer with a head full of old movies and a shoebox full of old newspaper clippings. The leading […]

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

Sweet dreams are made of these

June 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“The thing about a story is that you dream it as you tell it, hoping that others might then dream along with you, and in this way memory and imagination and language combine to make spirits in the head.” – Tim O’Brien, “The Lives of the Dead”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

What it takes, what it makes

June 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others.” – Tim O’Brien, “Notes”

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien

Pretty as a picture

June 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“For all its horror, you can’t help but gape at the awful majesty of combat. You stare out at tracer rounds unwinding through the dark like brilliant red ribbons. You crouch in ambush as a cool, impassive moon rises over the nighttime paddies. You admire the fluid symmetries of troops on the move, the harmonies […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · The Vietnam War · Tim O'Brien


June 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.” – […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Tim O'Brien