A Native Perspective on Memorial Day | by Mark Charles

“Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”

— George Erasmus, aboriginal leader (Dene)

Read the article here | Wireless Hogan

 

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

One thing Mr. Trump has been consistently doing the last few months is not challenge this country’s sensibilities, ideals or democratic convictions. Mr. Trump stands defiantly upright, proud and stubbornly in the middle of the room, seemingly uninvited, like a thorn under the foot -infected- being a crystal clear, non-distorting mirror.
And looking at ourselves in that mirror after a 300-year orgy with street hookers, expired pills and moonshine, hangover, blackout and all, seems like encountering an intruder. Pants down.

And without a gun.

[George Erasmus, an aboriginal leader from Canada said, “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.”]

The Problem the Republican Party, and now the Nation, has with Donald Trump

 

As Compassion is Becoming Scarce | The Urgency of Empathy and Social Impact in Museums

[I think in moments like these, it’s important for museums—and the people who work for them—to pause and reflect on the roles that we serve within our communities. Yes, museums are institutions that hold collections. But they can also serve a powerful role with our communities as active spaces for connection and coming together, for conversation and dialogue, for listening and sharing. Museums can be spaces for individual stories and community voices. They can be a space for acknowledging and reflecting on differences, and for bridging divides. They can be spaces for growth, struggle, love, and hope.

Roman Krznaric is among a growing chorus of voices who see an urgent need for empathy and human understanding in an era too often marked by violence, hatred, resentment, self-interest, and toxic political and social debates. In his TEDx Talk “How to Start an Empathy Revolution,” he defines empathy:

“Empathy is the art of stepping into the shoes of another person and looking at the world from their perspective. It’s about understanding the thoughts, the feelings, the ideas and experiences that make up their view of the world.”

In September 2015, Krznaric put these ideas into practice in the realm of museums with the development of  the Empathy Museum,dedicated to helping visitors develop the skill of putting themselves in others’ shoes. Its first exhibit, “A Mile in My Shoes,” did quite literally that, setting up in a shoe shop where visitors are fitted with the shoes of another person, invited to walk a mile along the riverside while being immersed in an audio narrative of this stranger’s life, and then write a short story about it. With contributions ranging from a sewer worker to a sex worker, the stories covered different aspects of life, from loss and grief to hope and love.]  

Read the full article:

The Urgency of Empathy & Social Impact in Museums

Red America: Why Poorer Areas Vote for Politicians Who Want to Slash the Safety Net

Ever wonder why all those folks in rural, “red” America still vote in droves for the same Republicans who brag about gutting the very social programs keeping them alive?  How someone like Matt Bevin can run a winning campaign in Kentucky based on cutting people’s access to affordable health care? How Republican governors can get away with refusing free Medicaid for their own citizens?

In an insightful article about what motivates the rural poor to vote Republican, Alec MacGillis, who covers politics for ProPublica,  took a tour through deep red America, asking the same questions. In an Op-Ed for today’s New York Times, MacGillis explains that it’s not all about guns and abortion that drives people in economically-depressed areas to vote Republican. In fact it’s something very basic to human nature, which the GOP exploits at every turn. And Democrats ignore it at their peril.

Here is the article: Who Turned my Blue State Red? | NEW YORK TIMES

1 A politics

 

 

 

Being, and Being in the World | Open-Air Cremation in Colorado

Death rites are becoming more down-to-earth here in the West. As eco-minded baby boomers age, they’re seeking out alternatives to the trappings of  modern funerals — with all their concrete burial vaults and chemical embalming. Even cremation uses a lot of energy. Instead, they’re choosing to be buried wrapped in shrouds or in plain pinewood caskets, and even, in one small Colorado town, cremated in the open air, using piñon and juniper boughs. Crestone, Colorado, has hosted one of the only legal providers of open-air cremation in the United States since 2008.  –High Country News intern Kate Schimel

See the photo-essay here | HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

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A Message for Christmas… and Thanksgiving, and all Special Days Out There

The Construct of “Privacy” | The Shotgun House

SHOTGUN

[In the working and middle class neighborhoods of many Southern cities, you fill find rows of “shotgun” houses. These houses are long and narrow, consisting of three or more rooms in a row. Originally, there would have been no indoor plumbing — they date back to the early 1800s in the U.S. — and, so, no bathroom or kitchen. In a traditional shotgun house, there are no hallways, just doors that take a person from one room to the next. Doors are usually all in a row….

In New Orleans, shotgun houses are found in the parts of town originally settled by free people of color, people who would have identified as Creole, and a variety of immigrants. Outside of New Orleans, we tend to see shotgun houses in places with large black populations.

The house, though, doesn’t just represent a building technique, it tells a story about how families were expected to interact. Shotgun houses offer essentially zero privacy. Everyone has to tromp through everyone’s room to get around the house. There’s no expectation that a child won’t just walk into their parents’ room at literally any time, or vice versa. There’s no way around it.

“According to some theories,” then, Campanella says:

…cultures that produced shotgun houses… tended to be more gregarious, or at least unwilling to sacrifice valuable living space for the purpose of occasional passage.

Cultures that valued privacy, on the other hand, were willing to make this trade-off.] Read the full story | Sociological Images