Staughton Lynd was the keynote speaker at the Rouge Forum Conference in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the weekend before last.  --  This year's theme:  "Education, Empire, Economy, and Ethics at a Crossroads."  --  Lynd spoke on "What Is to Be Done?"[1]  --  The problem he addresses:  "Capitalist society in the United States offers very few opportunities to experience another way of doing things."  --  However, "people learn by experience."  --  Where, then, can people have the experience of "another way of doing things" in this society?  --  His answer:  at school.  --  The bulk of his Staughton Lynd's address is an account of his experience leading the Freedom Schools movement in the Civil Rights Movement in 1964.  --  NOTE:  Staughton Lynd, now 79, figures briefly in a recent book on John F. Kennedy's assassination:  "Inspired by the doctors' testimony, historian Staughton Lynd and Jack Minnis, research director for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, wrote the first published critique of the JFK assassination.  Appearing in the December 21, 1963, issue of the *New Republic*, their article concluded:  'The central problem — the fact that the President was wounded in the front of the throat, 'the midsection of the front part of his neck,' according to 'staff doctors' at Parkland Hospital on November 23 (New York Times, November 24) — remains.'  The problem that the throat wound raised, which Lynd and Minnis underscored, remains to this day" (James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters [Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008], p. 308)....

 

Norman Mailer died in November 2007.  --  Though fêted in his day as one of America's leading writers, his work seems to have been consigned posthumously to a sort of limbo.  --  We noticed today that Cannibals and Christians, for example, is now out of print.  --  That's too bad, because its pages resonate with the present-day United States in interesting ways.  --  Consider, for example, "In the Red Light: A History of the Republican Convention in 1964," reproduced below with extensive annotations.[1]  --  Mailer wrote the piece for Esquire (it appeared in the November 1964 issue, just before Lyndon B. Johnson was reelected); he made it the opening section of Cannibals and Christians, and the metaphor of the title derives from "In the Red Light."  --  A biographer has called it "one of his finest political studies" (Carl Rollyson, The Lives of Norman Mailer [New York: Paragon House, 1991], p. 180).  --  The complete text is not, to our knowledge, available anywhere else on the Internet....


Philosophy begins in wonder (Plato, Theaetetus 155b), and this is the sentiment of a bemused Dave Matthews in "Funny the Way It Is," the third track on the soon-to-be-released Dave Matthews Band album "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King."[1]  --  But in Matthews's case, the wonder doesn't go very far.  --  Released in April, the song is constructed around antitheses that thematize ironies and paradoxes of the human condition.  --  Matthews adopts a cosmic perspective in which war and peace are "neither right or wrong," just tiles in the larger mosaic.  --  Of the contemporary world, Matthews says that "Now the world is small."  --  True to the complacent and narcissistic Carpe diem theme recurrent in Matthews's work, "Funny the Way It Is" ends by inviting his listeners to join him in his passivity:  "Standing on the bridge / Watch the water passing underneath." ...