Village Voices

The price of certainty

The price of certainty

A vetted and substantiated “against” is practically a prerequisite for any good “for.” That expansion/contraction, generative/critical, for/against dialectical rhythm seems to me the essence of creativity and critical thought. I am not a someone who is afraid of negativity. I don’t think of it is poison, sour grapes, or the last smirk of the cynic. I can hardly imagine meaning and progress without it.

On screaming in Phoenicia

On screaming in Phoenicia

Summer 2020 is coming. Spring 2020, in fact, has been unusually lush and beautiful. Or maybe we’ve all just been paying closer attention. After almost two decades here, I am finally learning the names and calls of birds, the species of trees that have watched over this most interesting chapter of my life.

November’s coming, folks

November’s coming, folks

New York’s governor is no saint. He’s maybe not even someone I would like if I met him. But on Sunday, for a few minutes, I heard a guy who knows what’s right, has the power to make it happen, but hasn’t been able to do it. And he was angry. Somehow, that gave me hope.

And so it starts

And so it starts

“They may own the skies but we rats down here know the streets, our alleys,” says the black man in a gas mask next to me and my son. We’re out in the street a half-block away from home, facing police in riot gear.

The dubious virtue of reading

The dubious virtue of reading

I was brought up to believe unquestioningly that reading was healthy, good for you like spinach,  and virtuous. I now see reading as entirely neutral, the absurd claims of its inherent powers little more than middle-class social-mobility propaganda, as well as a puritanical reaction against the rise of electronic media in mid-century.