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These hearts-on-strings
    of the tenderest green
things that rise
from dirt,
then fall
                toward the floor,
            the air

on-strings of the tenderest
green things—
    they rise from dirt
then fall toward
        the floor,
    hanging in
            the air like—

hearts-on-strings of the
tenderest green things,
from dirt then falling
toward the floor,
    in the air like

Peter Cole, “August”

DreamHost’s brief illuminates the key issues: the search warrant is dangerously overbroad, and implicates protected speech. The Department of Justice isn’t just seeking communications by the defendants in its case. It’s seeking the records of every single contact with the site—the IP address and other details of every American opposed enough to Trump to visit the site and explore political activism. It seeks the communications with and through the site of everyone who visited and commented, whether or not that communication is part of a crime or just political expression about the President of the United States. The government has made no effort whatsoever to limit the warrant to actual evidence of any particular crime. If you visited the site, if you left a message, they want to know who and where you are—whether or not you did anything but watch TV on inauguration day. This is chilling, particularly when it comes from an administration that has expressed so much overt hostility to protesters, so relentlessly conflated all protesters with those who break the law, and so deliberately framed America as being at war with the administration’s domestic enemies.

Ken White, “Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant to Get Data on Visitors to Anti-Trump Site”

Can slave be used as a metaphor? Or rape (i.e. bandwidth rape)? Or are the circumstances from which they derive so specific, so horrific, that it degrades them to be used in other contexts?

In Israel, the word survivor refers to a Holocaust survivor. It is only understood in that context. One cannot be a survivor of sexual assault, for instance. A friend of mine learned this when she taught a women’s self-defense class, and referred to the trauma of sexual assault survivors. The students in the class clarified: survivor is not used, not understood in that way.

My friend didn’t say what took its place.

Peggy Shinner, “What Does It Mean When We Call a Key a ‘Slave’?: On the Power and Responsibility of Metaphor”

The thing we share with these migrating peoples is that we are all deprived of land. We, the old Europeans, are deprived because there is no planet for globalization and we must now change the entire way we live; they, the future Europeans, are deprived because they have had to leave their old, devastated lands and will need to learn to change the entire way they live.

Bruno Latour, “The New Climate”

The horizon of our time is marked by the Fukushima event. Compared to the noisy catastrophes of the earthquake and the tsunami, Tokyo’s silent apocalypse is more frightening and suggests a new framework of social expectation for daily life on this planet. The megalopolis is directly exposed to the Fukushima fallout, but life is proceeding almost normally. Only a few people have abandoned the city. Most citizens have stayed there, buying mineral water as they have always done, breathing with face masks on their mouths as they have always done. A few cases of air and water contamination are denounced. Concerns about food safety have promised US officials to halt the importation of certain foods from Japan. But the Fukushima effect does not imply a disruption of social life: poison has become a normal feature of daily life, the second nature we have to inhabit.

Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance

That we might walk out into the woods
together, and afterward make toast
in our sock feet, still damp from the fern’s
wet grasp, the spiky needles stuck to our
legs, that’s all I wanted, the dog in the mix,
jam sometimes, but not always.

Ada Limón, “The Great Blue Heron of Dunbar Road”, in Bright Dead Things

Complexity is the hidden door in the wall, the blurted confession, the patchwork of irony furring our lives. It is the canned tuna I see piled up in a friend’s kitchen. This particular friend is from a tiny village in the Sierra Norte, and he is a major critic of the United States and an advocate of natural, non-GMO, unprocessed fresh food. He loathes supermarkets and their packaging and advertising. He once held a birthday party in which the central dish was the spiny chayote squash that grows on his mom’s property. He and his wife have a newborn baby, and we are at his house to celebrate. There, in the kitchen, stacked high with boxed milk straight from the supermarket, is the canned tuna, on which they have come to rely in the fervor of new parenthood. It is so incongruous I laugh. It echoes the image of another friend of ours, a cynical, sarcastic hipster from Mexico City who works as a curator, decked out in a feathered headdress, being bathed in ceremonial smoke during a Mexica wedding ceremony. Or my husband, the gentlest soul a tiny Mexican pueblo did birth, armed with a rifle in full camo in the rain on an Ohio winter morning. Instead of seeing these as anomalies, I begin to see them as entry points: the places where people become accessible, human, where we find empathy.

Sarah Menkedick, “On Oaxaca, Early Pregnancy, and Motherlands”

Like [Roger] Scruton and most other old-school conservatives, I believe that healthy mediating institutions are essential to a healthy society. And I think he is right in noting how relentlessly the Left attacks such institutions. But international capitalism does too, because every healthy mediating institution, by providing security and fellowship and belonging to its members, reduces its members’ dependence for their flourishing on what can be bought and sold. Neither the Left nor the Market want to see such institutions flourish, though their hostility sometimes stems from different agendas.

I’m usually allergic to generalizations in these matters, but let me risk a big generalization: I think what we have seen and will continue to see in our social order is the fragmentation of institutions and their effective replacement by platforms.

Alan Jacobs, “Platforms and Institutions”

I believe that a truly “good” family is one that is deeply and in fact primarily concerned with the behavior of its members towards other people. That instead of reinforcing indifference, exploitative behavior, arrogance about class, race or gender, blind allegiance to the state, and cruelty towards sexual partners, they systematize methods of accountability. In this way, each family member would grow up with a loving practice of opposition, with the commitment to psychological insight, individuation, and a means of discussion that emphasizes context, objective, and the order of events. Blind adherence would be the definition of “disloyalty,” as it is detrimental to peace and justice. Our model of relationships within groups can be transformed from obedience to biology, biological assumption, or simulacra of biology, emphasizing instead the ethics of each individual’s actions, cumulative consequence, and the necessity of self-criticism. In other words: accountability.

Sarah Schulman, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair