Recommended Readings – June, 2014

Every so often, I share some of the articles that I’ve really enjoyed recently, regardless of the subject or length or source. Feel free to check out some of my other recommendations from 2013 (February 17thJune 20thJuly 28th, & August 8th) or earlier this year (March 2014), as I try to make my suggested articles as timeless as possible – after all, as Henry David Thoreau suggested in his Life Without Principle, “Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.” Below, in no particular order, are seven articles that I highly recommend. Let me know what you think.

A cartoon by Tom Gauld, Guardian Review.

A cartoon by Tom Gauld, Guardian Review.

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Recommendations (July 28, 2013)

I’ve come across a lot of great works over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.  Most of these are not new, but they were new to me, so they might be new to you as well.

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Recommended reading (Feb. 17, 2013)

This weekend I’ve made time to read what I want rather than forcing myself to endure assigned readings.  Here are some of the articles that I especially enjoyed:

“The Essay, an Exercise in Doubt” by Phillip Lopate for The New York Times. A great article discussing what makes the art of an essay so intriguing: “Argumentation is a good skill to have, but the real argument should be with oneself.”

“The Killing of Black Boys” by John Edgar Wideman for Essence magazine. A powerful take on the lasting legacy of an unimaginable tragedy: “I cannot wish away Emmett Till’s face. The horrific death mask of his erased features marks a place I ignore at my peril. The sight of a grievous wound. A wound unhealed because untended. Beneath our nation’s pieties, our lies and self-delusions, our denials and distortions of history, our professed certainties about race, lies chaos. The whirlwind that swept Emmett Till away and brings him back.”

“5 Reasons to Grand Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants” by Ed Krayewski for Reason. A well-argued defense of an unpopular idea: “What’s wrong with granting amnesty to hard-working, tax-paying individuals whose only crime is their immigration status? Indeed, amnesty is not only the best solution to our immigration problem, it is the only feasible solution.”

“How Crazy Is Too Crazy to Be Executed?” by Marc Bookman for Mother Jones. A detailed account of Andre Thomas’ gruesome insanity: “Andre had cut out the children’s hearts and returned home with the organs in his pockets. For another, he was careful to use three different knives so that the blood from each body would not cross-contaminate, thereby ensuring that the demons inside each of them would die. He then stabbed himself in the chest, but he did not die as he had hoped.”

“American Citizens Split On DOJ Memo Authorizing Government to Kill Them” from The Onion. As always, The Onion uses satire to point out society’s absurdity: “On the one hand, I get it—it’s important for the government to be able to murder me and any of my friends or family members whenever they please for reputed national security reasons. But on the other hand, it would kind of be nice to stay alive and have, maybe, a trial, actual evidence—stuff like that.”

When I first considered myself a writer

I’ve known how to write for a very, very long time.  But knowing how to write doesn’t make you a writer, in the same way that knowing how to shoot a basketball doesn’t make you an athlete (although it took me quite a while to realize that).

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Nobel Laureate in Boredom

The good news is that the semester is almost over.  The bad news is that the closer to the end I get, the longer every minute lasts, the harder every task becomes.

Mo Yan looks as bored as I am.

Mo Yan looks as bored as I am.

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SHORT STORY– Eventually, Hopefully

I’ve never written a story before. I’ve written articles and speeches.  I’ve tried poems. I’ve even tried rap.  I’ve never written a story before.

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Let’s Be Real Here

I’m an American student.  America’s Youth loves working hard, but let’s be real here- we only work hard the night before it’s due.  And I know that offends my generation, as we don’t like to admit our problems.  Society today, let’s be real here, isn’t exactly being “real” to itself.  I think it’s time to address hypocrisy one pretense at a time.

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Sexism in the Bible: Mark 7:24-30

Mark 7:24-30 text.

Although unknown, the author of the Gospel of Mark was almost undoubtedly a male, just like the rest of Biblical authors are assumed to be.  By using the feminist method of Biblical criticism, we can closely examine how the author, both explicitly and implicitly, views women.  Living in an extremely patriarchal society, the author clearly displays the sexism that was so common in the era, and so common throughout the Bible itself.  This negative view of women is especially exposed in the passage of Mark 7:24-30, in which Jesus interacts with a Syrophoenician Gentile woman.

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