a spy in the midst of decontextualized sameness


Yesterday my cold intensified. I guess I’ve had it since Friday or even before. It wasn’t debilitating on Sunday. But yesterday it pretty much was. I did get out and help Eileen do some Christmas and Aldi shopping. But the rest of the day I was in bed. I backed out of events for the evening (a rehearsal and an American Guild of Organists dinner). I hope today I will feel better. I need to do work stuff and practice organ and guitar. All I managed yesterday was some guitar practice. The guitar gig is Saturday.

Reading Sarah Schulman is definitely a breath of fresh air in my thinking.

One problem with living in a small town for me is that I’m the most radical person I know. Holland is perfect example of what Schulman calls “gentrification of the mind” which I take to mean substituting homogeneity and denial for diversity and awareness. Schulman recalls to me the times in my life when I knew curious, passionate, committed, honest and reckless people. Inspiring people, really.

Now I feel that I’m a spy in the midst of decontextualized sameness. An invisible man who is not seen by the people around him. I know this is by choice since I chose to live in this small Michigan town. I was remarking to Eileen that we moved here in the late eighties and found what felt like a throw back to the fifties. Then the entire United States went mad and became like Holland.

Just my impression. I think having a bad cold might make me grumpy.

1. H5N1 – Sam Altman

My nephew’s boyfriend, Tony Wesley, put this link up on Facebooger. He was talking about micro biological robotics when he was visiting at Thanksgiving. I don’t think he reads this blog but thanks, Tony! Interesting little read about “tail risk” which a google reveals means (in this context) the probability of a rare event.

2. History and Explanation of Gentrification – Gentrification

A little background I bookmarked for myself.

3. The 10 Best Books of 2013 – NYTimes.com

I love these lists. Again I haven’t read any of these books. But I do see two authors that enjoy: Adichie and Atkinson.

4. Japan’s  Top Voice – High, Polite and on the Phone – NYTimes.com

Phone answering competition.

5. The Catholics Still in Exile – NYTimes.com

Frank Bruni puts a little balance into the gushing response to the new pope, including an example of an organist who was fired for being gay.  My teacher in undergrad school advised me to get a Master’s from Notre Dame. That way I “could always work for the Catholics.” I watched the Catholics get more and more reactive.  It showed itself to me personally first with the push to only hire Catholic musicians. I can remember being at a Diocesan workshop where the theme was pretty much only “Catholics” can lead Catholics. I took the presenter aside and asked him if I should leave the workshop (not being Catholic). He told me that I wasn’t the problem.

I wonder if eventually I would have been fired for not being Catholic. I remember one job I had where I informed the priest in charge if he fired a staff person for being gay, I would quit. I guess that’s more likely.

6. Bigger Than Bambi – NYTimes.com

Maureen Dowd nicely sums up the recent weird only-positive-book-review-allowed nonsense.

1 thought on “a spy in the midst of decontextualized sameness

  1. “I’m the most radical person I know” I do not think you are correct in that judgment. I am sure there are more radical people in Holland than just you. What does it mean to be radical? From my Christian point of view Holland is radical even though one sees a lot churches. To me being radical is not being Christian. True biblical Christians are the true radicals. All around me I see radicals or people holding to views that are unbiblical.

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