Monthly Archives: November 2013

In Defense of a Loaded Word

“A separate and unequal standard for black people is always wrong. And the desire to ban the word “nigger” is not anti-racism, it is finishing school. When Matt Barnes used the word “niggas” he was being inappropriate. When Richie Incognito and Riley Cooper used “nigger,” they were being violent and offensive. That we have trouble distinguishing the two evidences our discomfort with the great chasm between black and white America. If you could choose one word to represent the centuries of bondage, the decades of terrorism, the long days of mass rape, the totality of white violence that birthed the black race in America, it would be “nigger.”

But though we were born in violence, we did not die there. That such a seemingly hateful word should return as a marker of nationhood and community confounds our very notions of power. “Nigger” is different because it is attached to one of the most vibrant cultures in the Western world. And yet the culture is inextricably linked to the violence that birthed us. “Nigger” is the border, the signpost that reminds us that the old crimes don’t disappear. It tells white people that, for all their guns and all their gold, there will always be places they can never go.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/coates-in-defense-of-a-loaded-word.html

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What Screens Want by Frank Chimero

“A designer’s work is not only about how the things look, but also their behaviors in response to interaction, and the adjustments they make between their fixed states. In fact, designing the way elements adapt and morph in the in-between moments is half of your work as a designer. You’re crafting the interstitials.”

http://frankchimero.com/what-screens-want/

(Source: https://twitter.com/ayjay/status/405081712129888257)

The Uses of Ignorance

We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom. But those who have always lived within the Christian fold may be too easily dispirited by them. They are bad, but such people do not know what it looks like from without. Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity. I know, for I saw it; and well our enemies know it. That unity any of us can find by going out of his own age. It is not enough, but it is more than you had thought till then. Once you are well soaked in it, if you then venture to speak, you will have an amusing experience. You will be thought a Papist when you are actually reproducing Bunyan, a Pantheist when you are quoting Aquinas, and so forth. For you have now got on to the great level viaduct which crosses the ages and which looks so high from the valleys, so low from the mountains, so narrow compared with the swamps, and so broad compared with the sheep-tracks.

http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/webexclusives/2013/november/uses-of-ignorance.html?paging=off

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Vonnegut on writing

“Readers want our pages to look very much like pages they have seen before. Why? This is because they themselves have a tough job to do, and they need all the help they can get from us.

Pity the Readers Readers have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don’t really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school — twelve long years.

So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists. Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient teachers, ever willing to simplify and clarify, whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.”

Vonnegut

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http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/01/14/how-to-write-with-style-kurt-vonnegut/

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