February 18, 2014
Requiem for a Suicide Bomber

Reflections on the meaninglessness of terrorism in post-Arab Spring Egypt.
Read more. [Image: Youtube]

Requiem for a Suicide Bomber

Reflections on the meaninglessness of terrorism in post-Arab Spring Egypt.

Read more. [Image: Youtube]

1:27pm
  
Filed under: Egypt Violence Arab Spring 
February 4, 2014
The Wrong Way to Talk About Violence In Movies

Harvey Weinstein is right that film mayhem is linked to real-world mayhem. But the amount of carnage on screen probably matters a lot less than how it’s consumed.
Read more. [Image: The Weinstein Company]

The Wrong Way to Talk About Violence In Movies

Harvey Weinstein is right that film mayhem is linked to real-world mayhem. But the amount of carnage on screen probably matters a lot less than how it’s consumed.

Read more. [Image: The Weinstein Company]

January 16, 2014
The Questionable Ethics of Teaching My Son to Love Pro Football

Like countless other middle-aged American men, some of my happiest childhood memories involve watching professional sports with my dad. So it was an unexpected delight when my eight-year-old, previously largely indifferent to my New England Patriots obsession, showed sudden interest a few weeks ago. Last Saturday night, he proudly dug out a long-unused Patriots jersey and joined me on the couch late into the night as the Patriots dispatched the Indianapolis Colts.
It was wonderful. And it made me a little sick.
Read more. [Image: Stuart Seeger / Flickr]

The Questionable Ethics of Teaching My Son to Love Pro Football

Like countless other middle-aged American men, some of my happiest childhood memories involve watching professional sports with my dad. So it was an unexpected delight when my eight-year-old, previously largely indifferent to my New England Patriots obsession, showed sudden interest a few weeks ago. Last Saturday night, he proudly dug out a long-unused Patriots jersey and joined me on the couch late into the night as the Patriots dispatched the Indianapolis Colts.

It was wonderful. And it made me a little sick.

Read more. [Image: Stuart Seeger / Flickr]

December 11, 2013
"Offered the chance to be free by the avowed white supremacist P.W. Botha if he would renounce violence, Mandela replied, “Let him renounce violence.” Americans should understand this. Violent resistance to tyranny, violent defense of one’s body, is not simply a political strategy in our country, it is taken as a basic human right. Our own revolution was purchased with the blood of 22,000 nascent American dead. Dissenters were tarred and feathered. American independence and American power has never rested on nonviolence, but on the willingness to do great—at times existential—violence."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on Nelson Mandela and the question of violence.

December 5, 2013
When Design is Used for Violence

Design is never neutral. It alters behavior and has life-and-death implications. For Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the MoMA’s department of architecture and design, this fact has been a fixation. She has initiated an impressive share of breakthrough exhibits and events focusing on the way visuals affect the world. Her latest is Design and Violence, an online forum devoted to exploring the darker side of the creative mind, using essays and discussion boards. Given MoMA’s mandate to acquire and exhibit objects of beauty with cultural significance, it’s a somewhat radical move.
Read more. [Photo courtesy of the designers]

When Design is Used for Violence

Design is never neutral. It alters behavior and has life-and-death implications. For Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the MoMA’s department of architecture and design, this fact has been a fixation. She has initiated an impressive share of breakthrough exhibits and events focusing on the way visuals affect the world. Her latest is Design and Violence, an online forum devoted to exploring the darker side of the creative mind, using essays and discussion boards. Given MoMA’s mandate to acquire and exhibit objects of beauty with cultural significance, it’s a somewhat radical move.

Read more. [Photo courtesy of the designers]

1:25pm
  
Filed under: Design Violence MoMA 
November 20, 2013
How Does One Enjoy a Bullfight?

Blood dripped from the wounded bull, staining the sand of the oval arena. My stomach churned. I nearly became sick.
I thought I was accustomed to seeing violence, having spent my life immersed in hyper-realistic war movies and blowing the heads off of enemies in killing-based video games. But while in Spain, I entered the stadium of my first bullfight with a great deal of naivety. I didn’t understand the tradition; I had never been exposed to the specific form of violence portrayed in bullfights. Though I had been inoculated to a great deal of violence throughout my life, this new stimulus had a profound effect on my conscience.
But within an hour, my psyche had been transformed. By the end of the fight, my shackles of empathy had been loosed. My concern for the bulls was completely gone. I rejoiced when the matadors triumphed. I even joined the crowd in thunderous applause and shared nods of approval with complete strangers.
Read more. [Image: Jim Hollander/Reuters]

How Does One Enjoy a Bullfight?

Blood dripped from the wounded bull, staining the sand of the oval arena. My stomach churned. I nearly became sick.

I thought I was accustomed to seeing violence, having spent my life immersed in hyper-realistic war movies and blowing the heads off of enemies in killing-based video games. But while in Spain, I entered the stadium of my first bullfight with a great deal of naivety. I didn’t understand the tradition; I had never been exposed to the specific form of violence portrayed in bullfights. Though I had been inoculated to a great deal of violence throughout my life, this new stimulus had a profound effect on my conscience.

But within an hour, my psyche had been transformed. By the end of the fight, my shackles of empathy had been loosed. My concern for the bulls was completely gone. I rejoiced when the matadors triumphed. I even joined the crowd in thunderous applause and shared nods of approval with complete strangers.

Read more. [Image: Jim Hollander/Reuters]

November 8, 2013
"I grew up in a time and place where you really did have to fight if you expected to be able to live. I was a boy. I adopted certain codes in order to survive. But I never liked them. To beat a man down, even then, I felt was a kind of self-degradation, a lack of control, a reduction. I am not speaking abstractly. I don’t know how many of you have ever kicked anybody’s ass, but the few times (the one time) I did, what I felt in the aftermath was great pride, then greater shame, and then even greater fear. I don’t like being hurt. I like hurting other people even less."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on violence, football, and Tony Dorsett.

September 26, 2013
Violence in Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities

After hearing about the Chicago shooting last week in which 13 were injured in Cornell Square Park, including a three-year-old, I and writer Mikki Kendall, both Chicago residents, had very different reactions.  It’s “not just the park incident,” Kendall told me by email. “20 people were shot this weekend. People are being shot almost daily. And I have a 14 year-old son who can’t go to the McDonald’s in Hyde Park at lunch because the school has noticed an uptick in crime at that location.”
I was depressed and horrified, too — but depressed and horrified in the way that you are when you hear about gun violence anywhere. Unlike Kendall, I wasn’t directly concerned about the safety of my family.
Based on our reactions, you’d think that Kendall lived much closer to the shooting than I do. But that’s not the case. In fact, we’re both in Hyde Park, about 4 miles away from where it occurred on the city’s South Side. I can walk to the McDonald’s she mentioned.
So why does Kendall feel personally targeted and I don’t? Well, Kendall is black and grew up here; I’m white, and didn’t.
In other words, welcome to Chicago, where segregation is almost a civic art form.
Read more. [Image: stopchicago.org]

Violence in Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities

After hearing about the Chicago shooting last week in which 13 were injured in Cornell Square Park, including a three-year-old, I and writer Mikki Kendall, both Chicago residents, had very different reactions.  It’s “not just the park incident,” Kendall told me by email. “20 people were shot this weekend. People are being shot almost daily. And I have a 14 year-old son who can’t go to the McDonald’s in Hyde Park at lunch because the school has noticed an uptick in crime at that location.”

I was depressed and horrified, too — but depressed and horrified in the way that you are when you hear about gun violence anywhere. Unlike Kendall, I wasn’t directly concerned about the safety of my family.

Based on our reactions, you’d think that Kendall lived much closer to the shooting than I do. But that’s not the case. In fact, we’re both in Hyde Park, about 4 miles away from where it occurred on the city’s South Side. I can walk to the McDonald’s she mentioned.

So why does Kendall feel personally targeted and I don’t? Well, Kendall is black and grew up here; I’m white, and didn’t.

In other words, welcome to Chicago, where segregation is almost a civic art form.

Read more. [Image: stopchicago.org]

July 30, 2013
What Explains the Recent Wave of Violence in China?

4:25pm
  
Filed under: China Violence 
February 15, 2013
"The widely-cited 60,000 and 70,000 numbers bear some kind of statistical relationship to the true death count; though at present, we have no idea what that relationship is. The numbers are a reflection of what is currently known about the conflict — and not, in fact, a reflection of the realities of the conflict. […] A misleading number is now woven into a debate of global importance. The Syria conflict’s true humanitarian scope is being unintentionally yet insidiously distorted."

A U.N. statistic severely underestimates the number of people killed in Syria. Do they have an better alternatives — and would it even matter if they did?

Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »