The Art of Tetman Callis

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

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The gates of hell

May 16th, 2018 · No Comments

“Ukraine under German occupation became a large-scale model of a concentration camp. As in the camps, the line between resistance and collaboration, victimhood and criminal complicity with the regime became blurred but by no means indistinguishable. Everyone made a personal choice, and those who survived had to live with their decisions after the war, many in harmony, some in unending anguish.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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Yet prescient

May 15th, 2018 · No Comments

“In December 1940 [Hitler] signed a directive ordering preparations for war with the Soviet Union. The operation was code-named Barbarossa after the twelfth-century German king and Holy Roman emperor who had led the Third Crusade. He had drowned while trying to cross a river in heavy armor instead of taking the bridge used by his troops. It was certainly a bad omen.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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A fine-looking bunch

May 14th, 2018 · No Comments

“By early October 1939, the Polish army had ceased to exist . . . . The Red Army, which was no match for the Germans in mechanization, demonstrated its superiority to the Polish troops in the quality of its armaments, which included new tanks, aircraft, and modern guns—all products of Stalin’s industrialization effort. But to the surprise of many, the Soviet officers and soldiers were often badly dressed, poorly fed, and shocked by the relative abundance of food and goods in the Polish shops. The locals found Soviet officers ideologically indoctrinated, uncultured, and unsophisticated. For years, they would tell and retell stories about the wives of Red Army officers who allegedly attended theaters in nightgowns, believing them to be evening dresses.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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Out, damn spot

May 13th, 2018 · No Comments

“The past is not made out of time, out of memory, out of irony but is also a crime we cannot admit and will not atone.” – Eavan Boland, “Making Money”

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Call it what you will, people died

May 12th, 2018 · No Comments

“Was the Great Ukrainian Famine (in Ukrainian, the Holodomor) a premeditated act of genocide against Ukraine and its people? In November 2006, the Ukrainian parliament defined it as such. A number of parliaments and governments around the world passed similar resolutions, while the Russian government launched an international campaign to undermine the Ukrainian claim. Political controversy and scholarly debate on the nature of the Ukrainian famine continue to this day, turning largely on the definition of the term ‘genocide.’ But a broad consensus is also emerging on some of the crucial facts and interpretations of the 1932-1933 famine. Most scholars agree that it was indeed a man-made phenomenon caused by official policy; while it also afflicted the North Caucasus, the lower Volga region, and Kazakhstan, only in Ukraine did it result from policies with clear ethnonational coloration: it came in the wake of Stalin’s decision to terminate the Ukrainization policy and in conjunction with an attack on the Ukrainian party cadres. The famine left Ukrainian society severely traumatized, crushing its capacity for open resistance to the regime for generations to come.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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Dictatorship of the proletariat

May 11th, 2018 · No Comments

“The ‘Russian revolutionary sweep’ that Stalin wanted to combine with American efficiency came to Dniprohes with tens of thousands of Ukrainian peasants unqualified to do the job but eager to make a living. The number of workers employed in the construction of the dam and the electric power station grew from 13,000 in 1927 to 36,000 in 1931. The turnover was extremely high, even though the Soviets abandoned the earlier policy of equal pay for all categories of workers, and the top managers received up to ten times as much as unqualified workers; qualified workers made three times as much as the latter. Peasants had to turn into workers not only by learning trades but also by getting accustomed to coming in on time, not taking breaks at will, and following the orders of their superiors. It was a tall order for many new arrivals at the construction site of communism. In 1932, the Dniprohes administration hired 90,000 workers and released 60,000.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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Song sung blue

May 10th, 2018 · No Comments

“The Ukrainian national anthem begins with the words, ‘Ukraine has not yet perished,’ hardly an optimistic beginning for any kind of song.” – Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe

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Just another industry

May 9th, 2018 · No Comments

“Courts acknowledge that running a prison is an inordinately difficult undertaking that requires expertise, planning, and the commitment of resources, all of which are peculiarly within the province of the legislative and executive branches of government. Courts must therefore accord substantial deference to the professional judgment of prison administrators, who bear a significant responsibility for defining the legitimate goals of a corrections system and for determining the most appropriate means to accomplish them.” – Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, Koger v. Dart (internal quotes and citations omitted)

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Not me

May 8th, 2018 · No Comments

“Is it not well that even for a little time the light of life shine—though it shine through fear and sadness—than be cut off altogether? For who knows where the trails tend that lead through the darkness of the night of death?” – The Elder Maiden of Héshokta, “Átahsaia the Cannibal Demon,” Zuñi Folk Tales (recorded & translated by Frank Cushing)

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That’s why we till and reap and hunt and fish

May 7th, 2018 · No Comments

“My face is in front of me, and under a roof is no place for men.” – Mátsailéma, “Átahsaia the Cannibal Demon,” Zuñi Folk Tales (recorded & translated by Frank Cushing)

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Same as they ever were

May 6th, 2018 · No Comments

“ ‘Ye of the Home of the Eagles! Ye do I now inform, whomsoever of ye would gather datilas, whomsoever of ye would gather piñon nuts, whomsoever of ye would gather grass-seed, that bread may be made, hie ye over the mountains, and gather them to your hearts’ content, for I have driven the Bear away!’ A few believed in what the boy said; and some, because he was ugly, would not believe it and would not go; and thus were as much hindered from gathering grass-seed and nuts for daily food as if the Bear had been really there. You know people nowadays are often frightened by such a kind of Bear as this.” – “The Ugly Wild Boy Who Drove the Bears away from South-Eastern Mesa,” Zuñi Folk Tales (recorded & translated by Frank Cushing)

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One among several

May 5th, 2018 · No Comments

“Prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse.” – Douglas Richard Hurd, Baron Hurd of Westwell, Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, 1985-1989

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In some respects, they’re all the same

May 4th, 2018 · No Comments

“No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.” – Nelson Mandela

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Can he read a honeydew list

May 3rd, 2018 · No Comments

“Pretty girls care very little how their husbands look, being pretty enough themselves for both. But they like to have them able to think and guess at a way of getting along occasionally.” – “How the Corn-Pests Were Ensnared,” Zuñi Folk Tales (recorded & translated by Frank Cushing)

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Which do you prefer

May 2nd, 2018 · No Comments

“Now, there are two kinds of laugh with women. One of them is a very good sort of thing, and makes young men feel happy and conceited. The other kind is somewhat heartier, but makes young men feel depressed and very humble.” – “How the Corn-Pests Were Ensnared,” Zuñi Folk Tales (recorded & translated by Frank Cushing)

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Children of the lesser gods

May 1st, 2018 · No Comments

“Utopianism isn’t hope, still less optimism: it is need, and it is desire. For recognition, like all desire, and for the specifics of its reveries and programmes, too; and above all for betterness tout court. For alterity, something other than the exhausting social lie. For rest. And when the cracks in history open wide enough, the impulse may even jimmy them a little wider.” – China Miéville, “We Are All Thomas More’s Children”

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Hurtling forward, looking back

April 30th, 2018 · No Comments

“In individual experience immediacy is never fully enjoyed; satisfaction is a subsequent affair. Existence is ever-not-quite. We look to the past for the source of our enjoyment. That backward look, in fact, constitutes our enjoyment.” – David L. Hall, “Culture, History, and the Retrieval of the Past” (emphasis in original)

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Time will let me

April 29th, 2018 · No Comments

“Were I outside time, able to dip into it here or there at will, I should have little trouble in retrieving a specific past moment. I am, however, inexorably constituted by time, for without memory I should have no means of having, of being, a self. Only by remembering my self may I remain a self. In some crucial sense, I am my memories.” – David L. Hall, “Culture, History, and the Retrieval of the Past” (emphasis in original)

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Form is function

April 28th, 2018 · No Comments

“It is the essence of fascism to have no single fixed form—an attenuated form of nationalism in its basic nature, it naturally takes on the colors and practices of each nation it infects. In Italy, it is bombastic and neoclassical in form; in Spain, Catholic and religious; in Germany, violent and romantic. It took forms still crazier and more feverishly sinister, if one can imagine, in Romania, whereas under Oswald Mosley, in England, its manner was predictably paternalistic and aristocratic. It is no surprise that the American face of fascism would take on the forms of celebrity television and the casino greeter’s come-on, since that is as much our symbolic scene as nostalgic re-creations of Roman splendors once were Italy’s. What all forms of fascism have in common is the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; the worship of power wherever it appears and whoever holds it; contempt for the rule of law and for reason; unashamed employment of repeated lies as a rhetorical strategy; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. It promises to turn back time and take no prisoners. That it can appeal to those who do not understand its consequences is doubtless true. But the first job of those who do understand is to state what those consequences invariably are.” – Adam Gopnik, “Being Honest About Trump”

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Not the building of walls

April 27th, 2018 · No Comments

“Cosmopolitanism is not a tribal trait; it is a virtue, as much as courage or honesty or compassion. Almost without exception, the periods of human civilization that we admire as we look back have been cosmopolitan in practice; even those, like the Bronze Age, that we imagine as monolithic and traditional turn out to be shaped by trade and exchange and multiple identity.” – Adam Gopnik, “Being Honest About Trump”

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Here, there, and everywhere

April 26th, 2018 · No Comments

“You will not be able to find the boundaries of the soul even if you walk every path, so deep is its measure.” – Heraclitus (quoted by John Bussanich in “The Roots of Platonism and Vedanta”)

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Better to remain silent

April 25th, 2018 · No Comments

“Words fail us; they only encompass the most deceiving appearance of things, and bump into each other in multiple contradictions.” – Roland Omnès, Quantum Philosophy: Understanding and Interpreting Contemporary Science (trans. Arturo Sangalli)

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They’ll be back

April 24th, 2018 · No Comments

“The campaigns of the Mongol armies were the last and the most destructive in the long lines of nomad invasions from the steppes. In just over fifty years they conquered half the known world and it was only their adherence to tribal traditions and the rivalry of their princes that denied them the rest of it. Western Europe and Islam were not saved [on the battlefield], they were saved when Mongol armies halted in their moment of triumph. If [the Mongol leaders] had not died when they did, the largest empire that the world has ever known would have been bounded in the west not by the Carpathians and the Euphrates, but by the Atlantic Ocean.” – James Chambers, The Devil’s Horsemen

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

Same as a modern political party

April 23rd, 2018 · No Comments

“Unlike the masters of other great empires, the Mongols contributed little to the civilizations that came after them. They adopted the cultures of their subjects and when their empire disintegrated the world forgot them, but they had altered the course of history and they had left it scarred. Russia was torn away from Europe, and when the Mongols abandoned it after two hundred years it was feudal and backward. Poland and Hungary were so devastated that they never emerged to play their part in the renaissance that followed in the west. Bulgaria, like Russia, was isolated and then fell to the Ottoman Turks, whom the Mongols had driven out of Khwarizm and who were one day to stand on the banks of the Danube as the Mongols had done. The lands that once nurtured the great civilizations of the Persians were returned to the desert and they have never recovered. Wherever the Mongols rode they left an irretrievably ruined economy and wherever they ruled they left a petty, self-important aristocracy and an exploited peasantry.” – James Chambers, The Devil’s Horsemen

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Music to soothe the beastly baby

April 22nd, 2018 · No Comments

“The positive benefits of music can be extended to infants before they are even born. For instance, from as early as the 24th week of an unborn infant’s life, their perceptual world is embedded within the sound of their mother’s heartbeat. The child is not grown in an acoustic vacuum, but rather in an environment textured by the regularly occurring beats of the mother’s heart and the melodic contours of her physiological states. These temporally regularized acoustic textures provide security to the infant as their regularity affords an environment in which the infant’s expectations can be repeatedly satisfied and secured. It is unsurprising, then, that one of the most stressful changes that occurs during the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life is the loss of rhythm that the fetus has become accustomed to through months of being exposed to maternal movements, breathing, and heartbeat. Research has suggested that an infant’s transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life, and as a result, their transition from a more rhythmic to a more chaotic acoustic environment, has the unwelcome effect of disrupting the infant’s basic life processes [. . . and] adversely affects neonatal biorhythms which, in turn, affect sleep regulation and state lability. In short, babies have good reason to be kicking and screaming as they enter the new world; for the new world is acoustically unstable, unpredictable, and in a constant state of unharmonious disequilibrium.” – Adam M. Croom, “Music, neuroscience, and the psychology of well-being”, Frontiers in Psychology, January 2012 (citations and internal quotes omitted)

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The necessary qualities

April 21st, 2018 · No Comments

“There is no man alive who is braver than Yessutai, no march can tire him and he feels neither hunger nor thirst; that is why he is unfit to command.” – Chingis Khan (quoted by James Chambers in The Devil’s Horsemen

→ No CommentsTags: Politics & Law · The Forever War

The good artist borrows, the best artist steals

April 20th, 2018 · No Comments

“No one owns anyone’s culture, and that to believe otherwise is to deprive us of the human fullness and richness we all deserve. To reconcile this insight with an equally compelling American truth—that racial injustice is our inheritance and our responsibility—is the challenge for every artist and critic, black or white.” – George Packer, “Race, Art, and Essentialism”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · The American Constitution

Doan dwit

April 19th, 2018 · No Comments

“Girls, never trust a man under 40, because he’s still a boy.” – John Mellencamp (interviewed by Edna Gundersen in AARP The Magazine)

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How it is to be done

April 18th, 2018 · No Comments

“To obtain the right training for virtue from youth up is difficult, unless one has been brought up under the right laws. To live a life of self-control and tenacity is not pleasant for most people, especially for the young. Therefore, their upbringing and pursuits must be regulated by laws; for once they have become familiar, they will no longer be painful. But it is perhaps not enough that they receive the right upbringing and attention only in their youth. Since they must carry on these pursuits and cultivate them by habit when they have grown up, we probably need laws for this, too, and for the whole of life in general. For most people are swayed rather by compulsion that argument, and by punishment rather than by a sense of what is noble. This is why some believe that lawgivers ought to exhort and try to influence people toward a life of virtue because of its inherent nobility, in the hope that those who have made good progress through their habits will listen to them. Chastisement and penalties, they think, should be imposed upon those who do not obey and are of an inferior nature, while the incorrigible ought to be banished abroad. A good man, they think, who orients his life by what is noble will accept the guidance of reason, while a bad man, whose desire is for pleasure, is corrected by pain like a beast of burden. For the same reason, they say that the pains inflicted must be those that are most directly opposed to the pleasures he loves.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 9

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Go figure

April 17th, 2018 · No Comments

“Some people believe that it is nature that makes men good, others that it is habit, and others again that it is teaching. Now, whatever goodness comes from nature is obviously not in our power, but is present in truly fortunate men as the result of some divine cause. Argument and teaching, I am afraid, are not effective in all cases: the soul of the listener must first have been conditioned by habits to the right kind of likes and dislikes, just as land must be cultivated before it is able to foster the seed. For a man whose life is guided by emotion will not listen to an argument that dissuades him, nor will he understand it. How can we possibly persuade a man like that to change his ways? And in general it seems that emotion does not yield to argument but only to force. Therefore, there must first be a character that somehow has an affinity for excellence or virtue, a character that loves what is noble and feels disgust at what is base.” – Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 10, Ch. 9

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