At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.
Beautiful reading of “Ode to a Nightingale” by Ben Whishaw from the end of “Bright Star” (2009)
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness, That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool’d a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green, Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South! Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stainèd mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night, And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays; But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast-fading violets cover’d up in leaves; And mid-May’s eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a musèd rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain - To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now ‘tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?
JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)
Each of us needs something of an island in his life—if not an actual island, at least some place, or space in time, in which to be himself, free to cultivate his differences from others.
I Was Born Lost and Take no Pleasure in Being Found
Happy 112th birthday!
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.
Political Theory Dictionary: Power
Power, truly, is such a heavy word. It’s so heavy that aspiring post-new-years-resolution-wannabe-rhetorical-heavyweights try to cloak barely formed political postulations with vapid vocabulary featuring words like, “power”, “tyranny”, “democracy”, etc, and fail horribly at working it all out.
Since power is the heaviest of all these words, I want to (attempt to) provide a solid definition of power so that those who seek to be well informed can use the word properly and rise above artless muddle.
Following stage cues from Hobbes and Oakeshott, “Power” is not a political relationship. It is a human relationship. It is a word in the political dictionary that specifically applies to humans. Power is a tenebrous and tepid relationship between human beings, where one human being attempts to procure with some degree of certainty a meaningful wished-for response in the independent conduct of another human being. To put it simply, “power” can be properly understood as a relationship where one demands, and the other contingently responds. Contingent is the key here, for power is neither absolute nor is it entirely resistible. The individual who wants nothing or fears nothing can not be susceptible to power, but those people don’t really exist now do they?
When one is subject to power, two processes happen. First, there is the acknowledgement of that power, but that doesn’t mean that an individual should obligate themselves to that power. One who is being blackmailed for example can acknowledge the power the blackmailer holds, but she doesn’t have to comply with her blackmailer’s request. The respondent must weigh to what extent the person wielding the power can implement the threatened blackmail.
Where this is mistaken as being a political relationship is when power is annexed to a political authority (to be defined in a future entry). Power and Authority are categorically distinct. An political office with authority doesn’t mean it has power. Whereas authority (shortly), are the sets of norms, rules, and arrangements respondents tacitly agree to when entering a political arrangement, power is the enforcement of it.
Political entities use power when they mobilize an apparatus of power to promulgate disadvantages and/or injury when respondents choose not to follow their obligation to that power. The monetary penalty for not buying into the Affordable Care Act can be an example of political “power.” Political entities enforce subscription to Authority.
Since we have now separated “Power” and “Authority”, we can say that when extremists claim that America is being “tyrannical”, we are better equipped to emphatically balk at that claim. Tyranny is when the power annexed to the authority is indissoluble. American government is built upon the idea that “power” is being constantly diffused through different apparatuses of government. This misunderstanding leads, for example, with the concept of being “taxed” conflated with the idea of actually being “robbed”. It leads to a confusion of legitimate and illegitimate power. Being taxed isn’t being robbed, it’s simply the enforcement of an obligation to the authority.
To take it a little step further and apply it to American Government, Americans have consented to annexing power to the Federal Government to “secure” our inalienable rights.
LBJ worked the Senate cloakroom like Beyonce worked that chair at the Grammies. A commanding figure: big and tall and earthy, with flappy ears and massive hands; huge golden cuff links in the shape of Texas, and trousers specially cut to contain the reproductive equipment that he boastfully called “Jumbo,” and didn’t hesitate to employ outside the marital bed.
You don’t even watch Downton Abbey!
This week’s #NPRtbt takes us back to 1981, and features the legendary Susan Stamberg. The Radio Hall of Famer is pictured here with the iconic Mister Rogers on his show, ‘Old Friends… New Friends.’ This is one of many collaborations between the two.
Susan is known as NPR’s ‘founding mother,’ an employee since NPR’s inception in 1971 as National Public Radio. She became one of the first hosts of All Things Considered in 1972, making her the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program.
In her ATC days, before she went on-air, Susan would always put on lipstick. Find out why in our interview with Stamberg: NPRInterns.tumblr.com. (at NPR News Headquarters)
Mister Rogers himself had quite wonderful neighbors.