Monday, 18 March 2019


Friday, 10 August 2018

I study decision-making in violent contexts, and I was struck by Paul Bloom’s assertion that perpetrators of violence don’t dehumanize their victims but, rather, see them as humans and intentionally choose to harm them as such (Books, November 27th). Bloom seems to assume that one’s reasons for acting violently are consistent over time, and that the physical and mental responses to harming someone are the same for one’s fiftieth violent act as for one’s first. In my research on the Holocaust and on the Rwandan genocide, I have found that the first time a human kills another human the experience is horrific: perpetrators describe reactions that include vomiting, shaking, recurrent nightmares, and profound trauma—much like the trauma of military veterans, who, arguably, are better trained than civilian perpetrators of genocide to deal with the consequences of killing. But, over time, the physical and emotional horror at participating in violence subsides. This, then, is when the moralizing rationale that draws on dehumanizing propaganda comes into play. How does one adapt to participation in violence? By calling on culturally available repertoires that frame violence as the morally right thing to do.

Letter to the New Yorker (Dec 11, 2017) from Aliza Luft, assistant professor of sociology, UCLA

Saturday, 19 May 2018

shout to someone who does more for me than they will ever know - probably the most of anyone ever bar well i'll stop now

(also double-bind of white privilege here in casually using the below, and yet still)

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Miss Theenie stood watching. One by one, her children had left her and gone up north. Sam and Cleve to Ohio. Josie to Syracuse. Irene to Milwaukee. Now the man Miss Theenie had tried to keep Ida Mae from marrying in the first place was taking her away, too. Miss Theenie had no choice but to accept it and let Ida Mae and the grandchildren go for good. Miss Theenie drew them close to her, as she always did whenever anyone was leaving. She had them bow their heads. She whispered a prayer that her daughter and her daughter's family be protected on the long journey ahead in the Jim Crow car.
"May the Lord be the first one in the car," she prayed, "and the last out."

When the time had come, Ida Mae and little James and Velma and all that they could carry were loaded into a brother-in-law's truck, and the three of them went to meet Ida Mae's husband at the train depot in Okolona for the night ride out of the bottomland.

(Wilkerson, 2010, p.4).

Sunday, 26 March 2017

'in Lafcadio Hearn's travel narrative Two Years in the French West Indies in 1889. Hearn keeps asking what the Creole word means: he is told, variously, that it is a three-legged horse, a hanged man, a five-foot tall dog, or a fourteen-foot tall woman.'

Roger Luckhurst (2015).

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Nasreen gathered the food quickly, but she, too, noticed a series of odd smells carried into the house by the wind. 'At first, it smelled bad, like garbage,' she said. 'And then it was a good smell, like sweet apples. Then like eggs.' Before she went downstairs, she happened to check on a caged partridge that her father kept in the house. 'The bird was dying,' she said. 'It was on its side.' She looked out the window. 'It was very quiet, but the animals were dying. The sheep and goats were dying.' Nasreen ran to the cellar. 'I told everybody there was something wrong. There was something wrong with the air.'

from here