Monday, May 25, 2009

In memoriam

Fuck the sales and opening weekends of movies, if you want to honor a soldier check out this website for the Arlington West project, which is put together by Veterans for Peace. Arlington West Santa Monica is erected every weekend just north of the Santa Monica Pier. One cross is planted in the beach for every service member who has been killed in the war on terror.

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Hooray Newspapers!

This is an essay that appeared in yesterday's NYT magazine. It's adapted from a book that is about to come out called “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work,” by Matthew Crawford, which Michael Agger at Slate.com essentially said is the best self-help book like ever. Agger said that b/c it's much more about the self than the help. It's a first-person personal story rather than page-after-page of lists of shitty, quippy, clich├ęd advice that reads like stereo instructions with steps and journaling pages. (The worst book I ever bought was There's a Hole in My Sidewalk. Crappy self-help that had a cool blue-and-yellow color scheme and playful art direction that attracted me.)

Crawford has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago, but has found that true human value has come from his work as a motorcycle mechanic. I cannot recommend this essay enough and I am so ready to read this book. Not because I have the empty spot in my soul and have uncalloused hands (though I do have the latter), but because from what I've read, he's a damned good rider telling a great story that just happens to share something. (I'm actually beyond lucky and I have a job with tangible accomplishments.)

It's honestly everything that I'd hope my students would aspire to when they write for L.A. Youth. It's using the personal to impart just a bit of what one has learned and perhaps hoping that the reader interprets what was learned as wisdom?

In the, yes it's 2009 department ... Here's an amazing audio/photo essay on NYTimes.com about a high school in rural Georgia that has separate proms for the black and white students. The white students interviewed say that "it's tradition" and "no one really minds, b/c we're all friends in school" while the black students interviewed see the obvious inequality and regret and lament that they cannot spend such a significant night with their best friends.

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