You Are Here

YouAreHere

I’ve been here many hundreds of times, across the water from Vancouver’s Science World, yet apparently I have never been fully here, as in ‘YOU ARE HERE’. How did I miss this great sign?!

My teacher and friend Robert Creeley titled at least eight of his poems “Here.” It was the title of one of his very last published poems:

Up a hill and down again.

Around and in –

 

Out was what it was all about

but now it’s done.

 

At the end was the beginning,

just like it said or someone did.

 

Keep looking, keep looking,

keep looking.

And here is one from “Hello,” a book from Creeley’s mid-career:

 

Since I can’t

kill anyone

I’d better

sit still.

.

“Taking a Second Look With Local Photography Legend, Lincoln Clarkes”

LC

A lovely interview with my friend Lincoln in Scout Magazine, by Thalia Stopa.

Photo by Michaela Morris 2018

Ways of knowing other people

This quite moved me:

In 1980 [Arthur] Ashe retired after thriving in an era when on-court behavior was starting to get out of control, thanks to men like Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. Because of them, his reputation for sportsmanship and gentlemanly composure stood out. That reputation played a large part in his selection as America’s Davis Cup captain. He oversaw a team led by McEnroe, who was earning his “superbrat” nickname and would send Ashe into one of the most turbulent moments of his career.

In 1981, in Cincinnati, the Americans were playing against a strong Argentine team when McEnroe — who’d already embarrassed Ashe in other matches — got into a war of words with the great José Luis Clerc and loudly cursed at him for all to hear. Ashe said: “I thought I might punch John. I have never punched anyone in my life, but I was truly on the brink of hitting him.” Yet the consummate sportsman went light on McEnroe, giving him just a stern warning.

Some, at the time, felt Ashe had compromised his principles to placate his best player, but there was something deeper going on. The two men were opposites, but Ashe, who’d had it in him since childhood that he had to behave perfectly on the court, also had a sort of envy of McEnroe’s way. Later in life Ashe wrote: “Far from seeing John as an alien, I think I may have known him … as a reflection of an intimate part of myself. This sense of McEnroe as embodying feelings I could only repress, or as a kind of darker angel to my own tightly restrained spirit, may explain why I always hesitated to interfere with his rages even when he was excessive. … At some level … John was expressing my own rage, as I could never express it; and I perhaps was even grateful to him for doing so.”

He also once remarked, “I’ve got to admit that for a long time I’ve had this urge to walk out on Centre Court at Wimbledon and for just one match act like McEnroe.”

And then,

That said, he knew McEnroe would not have been able to act like that if he were black.

The book review is titled Why Arthur Ashe Is the Spiritual Father of Colin Kaepernick.

 

Goddess Aretha Franklin

From David Remnick’s lovely tribute this morning:

Prayer, love, desire, joy, despair, rapture, feminism, Black Power—it is hard to think of a performer who provided a deeper, more profound reflection of her times. What’s more, her gift was incomparable. Smokey Robinson, her friend and neighbor in Detroit, once said, “Aretha came out of this world, but she also came out of another, far-off magical world none of us really understood. . . . She came from a distant musical planet where children are born with their gifts fully formed.” Etta James once recalled listening to Franklin’s version of Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael’s standard “Skylark.” In the second verse, Franklin jumps an octave. “I had to scratch my head and ask myself, *How the fuck did that bitch do that?* I remember running into Sarah Vaughan, who always intimidated me. Sarah said, ‘Have you heard of this Aretha Franklin girl?’ I said, ‘You heard her do ‘Skylark,’ didn’t you?’ Sarah said, ‘Yes, I did, and I’m never singing that song again.’ ”

Saudi “scholarship students” leaving Canada

I’ve had a number of superb students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University from that country. This is awful news.

From Inside Higher Ed this morning:

Saudi Arabian students in Canada are caught in diplomatic crossfire.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education is making plans to transfer students out of Canada to institutions in other countries after a diplomatic meltdown between the two countries sparked by Canada’s criticism of the kingdom’s arrest and detention of human rights activists.

A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s education ministry said on Twitter that the ministry is “working on preparing and implementing an emergency plan to facilitate the transfer of our students to other countries.”

CNN reported that 7,000 Saudi students on government scholarships in Canada will be relocated.

Dan Drezner of the Washington Post has three “not mutually exclusive” explanations for the Saudi action:

– Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is “trying to demonstrate that he is in control [in his country], even if these sanctions will not lead to any Canadian concessions.” …

– “Another possibility is that these sanctions are less about compelling Canada and more about deterring other Western countries from criticizing Saudi Arabia.”

There is one final, more speculative explanation. There has been some recent international relations research into “prestige goods” or “Veblen goods,” things that states spend costly sums of money on with little tangible return. … As I explained this summer: “Veblen goods are positional goods, in which demand increases along with price because the good is seen as a display of prestige. Veblen goods can explain why some countries choose to invest in aircraft carriers or space programs when they should be allocating scarce resources elsewhere.” …

Maybe, just maybe, economic sanctions themselves have become a kind of Veblen good. Not many countries have the resources to impose economic sanctions of any kind on another state in world politics. The United States sanctions a lot, the European Union sanctions some, so do Russia and China, and then . . . crickets.

Except for Saudi Arabia. If Saudi Arabia is seen as a country that can sanction others, it starts to look more like a great power. The very fact that these sanctions are costly is what makes them such a compelling Veblen good. According to this logic, it does not matter whether they work: Most sanctions fail anyway. What makes them successful is that Mohammed has demonstrated that he can impose them in the first place.

To serve and house the homeless …

Seattle’s “technology community” is here to help.

Tech companies such as Amazon opposed Seattle’s short-lived head tax on large businesses to pay for homeless services and housing, but Mayor Jenny Durkan now says they can assist the city in other ways.

Rather than tap the companies’ bank accounts, she wants Seattle to tap their know-how. For example, they could help the city design apps for social services, Durkan says.

Sweet!

The mayor has convened an Innovation Advisory Council to seek advice on challenges such as homelessness and transportation. … She described the panel as a “new collaboration with Seattle’s technology community that will better highlight technology solutions.”

Besides Amazon, participants at this point include Microsoft, along with Zillow, Expedia and Tableau, whose leaders spoke out this year against the idea of a head tax. …

A Durkan executive order creating the council includes no concrete pledges of time or money by the companies.

“What we’ve heard from company to company as I’m talking to them is, ‘Tap us for our know-how … We have some of the most talented people on the globe right here in Seattle,’ ” the mayor said.

Her order says the group will identify issues, make policy recommendations and implement projects related to “data analytics, dashboards, applications and software for the city.”

Dashboards!

(This is so fucked up.)

h/t @atrios

flaw design tragic

Three people have died in clothing donation containers in the Vancouver area since 2015.

Your organization needs someone whose main job is to wonder how this operation or that choice will bring calamity.