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Doc Sportello

Doc Sportello's Journal
Doc Sportello's Journal
April 23, 2024

What Is Really Going On at Columbia University?

From Slate, an interview with the current editor of the student newspaper, Colin Roedl and the former editor, Milène Klein, on what is going on at Columbia. They paint a different picture than the frenzied media reporting and internet postings here and elsewhere.

Aymann Ismail (interviewer): What is the mood on campus right now?
Milène Klein: Actually, pretty good. We’re in the newsroom right now. The mood on campus is actually high. There’s a lot of energy. People are chilling on the lawns.
This weekend is the first time the NYPD had been called to actually break up a protest. There had already been arrests around campus, if not actually on campus, so I think many people are very distressed and extremely disappointed—but not surprised. The university introduced security forces to disrupt peaceful protest simply because they want to appease the people who are watching the congressional hearings and who are asking questions in bad faith. This is the audience they are kowtowing to. I think that’s what people are more distressed by than the police presence, to be honest.

Roedl: Actively calling for more police contributes to feelings of unsafety. And those feelings of unsafety are contributing to more police. So we’re seeing a feedback loop with absolutely no communication from our administration. That is the uniting point for a lot of people, regardless of politics, that we’re seeing complete silence from our administration. They made the decision to authorize NYPD on campus, and that’s the last time we have heard from her.

Klein: There’s a lot of discussion about what is happening at Columbia campus. Like, “There’s crisis at Columbia”—you have this image of students hunting each other in the street, like absolute chaos. There are alarmists framing this all around antisemitism, or a crusade against Jewish students, whom are hiding or being pushed out of campus. I don’t think any of us have seen that. The reality is that we’re a community of people who live together, eat together, and go to class together every single day. And for people who want to hear what Columbia students have to say, you have to read what they’re saying in their own words.



https://slate.com/human-interest/2024/04/columbia-university-protests-presidents-jewish-students-encampment.html

February 9, 2024

Thanks to those who gave me hearts

I'm pretty angry right now so the recent one helped to calm me down.

January 30, 2024

N Scott Momaday, Pulitzer-winning Native American novelist, dies aged 89

N Scott Momaday, a Pulitzer prize-winning storyteller, poet, educator and folklorist whose debut novel House Made of Dawn is widely credited as the starting point for contemporary Native American literature, has died. He was 89. Momaday died on Wednesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, publisher HarperCollins announced. He had been in failing health.

He was born Navarre Scott Mammedaty, in Lawton, Oklahoma, and was a member of the Kiowa Tribe. His mother was a writer, and his father an artist who once told his son: “I have never known an Indian child who couldn’t draw,” a talent Momaday demonstrably shared. His artwork, from charcoal sketches to oil paintings, were included in his books and exhibited in museums in Arizona, New Mexico and North Dakota. Audio guides to tours of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian featured Momaday’s avuncular baritone.

He saw writing as a way of bridging the present with the ancient past and summed up his quest in the poem If I Could Ascend:

Something like a leaf lies here within me; / it wavers almost not at all, / and there is no light to see it by / that it withers upon a black field. / If it could ascend the thousand years into my mouth, / I would make a word of it at last, / and I would speak it into the silence of the sun.


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2024/jan/29/n-scott-momaday-dead-pulitzer-native-american-writer

The Way to Rainy Mountain is one of my favorite books of all time. The PBS American Masters doc on him from 2019 is an excellent memorial to one of our greatest writers and a tremendous human being.
January 16, 2024

Werner Herzog: Radical Dreamer review - master director's passionate idealism

With pop-culture brand recognition like no other auteur, he walks the walk and talks the talk … in that inimitable voice. Werner Herzog – film-maker, visionary, adventurer and first among equals of the New German cinema – is now the subject of a highly enjoyable new documentary from Thomas von Steinaecker, who has assembled an A-list gallery of interviewees to talk about knowing or working with the great man; these include Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff, Nicole Kidman, Chloé Zhao, Joshua Oppenheimer, Robert Pattinson and many more.

There’s something almost Wellesian or Hitchcockian in the way Herzog uses celebrity to keep getting pictures made, and his work rate is one of the marvellous things about him. Calling a film-maker a “dreamer” sounds hackneyed, but it does justice to his idealism. Perhaps no other description will do.



https://www.theguardian.com/film/2024/jan/16/werner-herzog-radical-dreamer-review-master-directors-passionate-idealism

Herzog breaks the mold in another way: he proves wrong the saying about never meeting your idols. I've been a big fan of him ever since I saw Stroszek back in the late 70s. I got a chance to meet him at a film festival and he was as gracious and open in person as he appears on tv and other interviews. I was just going to say how much I admired his work and then walk away, but he engaged me in conversation and asked me questions about my work. It was memorable for me. He does indeed walk the talk.
November 9, 2023

The secret to Trump's revenge plot: He's making his plans for vengeance public

As an institution, the mainstream American news media is not built for this moment. They have had more than seven years to adapt. They have mostly chosen not to. In that way, the American news media in the Age of Trump is like a sports team that is continuing to run the same plays even though the game has radically changed and, in many ways, has passed them by. As a result, they (and the American people) keep losing.

From the bothsidesism to access journalism to confusing neutrality with objectivity and an emphasis on the horserace instead of the consequences, the media's obsession with gossip and personalities has provided an undue platform for Trump and other malign right-wing actors to rehabilitate their reputations and circulate their propaganda and lies. Careerism, a lack of intellectual curiosity, and emphasizing profits over bold truth-telling allow the cycle to continue as our democracy languishes.


https://www.salon.com/2023/11/09/the-secret-to-revenge-plot-hes-making-his-plans-for-vengeance-public/
September 28, 2023

I won't be watching tonight's GOP debate

I also won't be talking to Vice-President Harris or telling everyone how important I am.

September 26, 2023

Robert Reich: When the Klan murdered my protector

snip

Once, when the teacher had gone inside, I was dragged off to a mock court behind a large tree where the child bullies charged me with being too short to be in school and threatened to punish me by whacking me over the head with a baseball bat. A kind third-grade boy came over to defend me, saying, “This is unfair!” and commanding them to release me in so loud a voice that they did.

For the next few years, I became adept at finding older boys who’d protect me from bullies. When visiting my maternal grandmother at her cabin in the Adirondack Mountains, I met Mickey. He was a kind and gentle teenager with a ready smile who made sure I stayed safe from the local bullies.

I don’t recall asking Mickey to protect me. He wasn’t the kind of hulking kid I usually chose as protector. He was on the short side and thin. And I don’t remember Mickey putting up any kind of fight to defend me or even quieting the kids who made fun of me. But I do remember Mickey’s warmth and reassuring presence. His calm good nature seemed to automatically cast a positive spell over kids who’d otherwise turn to bullying.

It wasn’t until September of 1964, my freshman year in college, that I heard what had happened to him.

https://robertreich.substack.com/p/when-americas-real-bullies-murdered

September 12, 2023

Who's most responsible for the monopolization of America?

From Robert Reich (with a chart showing that 97% of corporate assets are controlled by the top 1% of corporations):

snip

The social costs of corporate concentration are growing.

— The typical American household is paying more than $5,000 a year because corporations can raise their prices without fear that competitors will draw away consumers.

— Such corporate market power has also been a major force driving inflation.

— Huge corporations also suppress wages, because workers have fewer employers from whom to get better jobs.

— And corporate giants are also fueling massive flows of big money into politics (one of the major advantages of large size).

https://robertreich.substack.com/p/the-awful-legacy-of-robert-bork-corporations?utm_campaign=email-post&r=19zzl3&utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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