Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.

Imagine with me a city with a major transnational logistics provider and several data-mining enterprises wielding astronomical levels of computing power amongst themselves, pooling resources to, I don’t know, maybe help with tracking vaccine doses per medical provider per neighborhood—avoiding false moral dilemmas around “cutting in line” when there are no lines to cut in a spiraling rhizome of geographically-zoned inoculation not that many degrees more advanced in logic and efficiency and care than Balto and his sled—rather than wasting their time trying to stop their employees from unionizing instead. No, but seriously though, imagine with me whole neighborhoods vaccinated … Continue reading “Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History.”

Shot A + Shot B

“The only way to understand storiessuch as that of the Annunciationis to repeat them, that is, to utter againa Word which producesinto the listener the same effect… I am hailing tonight, with the same gift,the same present of renewed presence. Tonight, I am your Gabriel!” (Bruno Latour) x Do you remember how, in Fight Club, one of the backstories we’re given for “Tyler Durden” is that of a movie theatre projectionist? How he would splice subliminal frames of lewd imagery into family films to mess with normies’ sense of reality, and how the film itself had frames of Tyler’s face … Continue reading “Shot A + Shot B”

Interludes of the Imagination

I read my last entry out loud to Christine, and she said: “I didn’t know that you’d been thinking about these topics,” and I said: “I didn’t know I was either. It just came together.” Lines converging at the center of two circles—poeisis and ecstasy. What makes for significance? Why this story and not that? I’ve struggled with these questions like milk pails over rocky ground. I’ve hesitated. I’ve stopped. This is a memory that sauntered through my brain as I sipped my coffee this morning. There was no reason for it being there other than circumstance and how circumstances … Continue reading “Interludes of the Imagination”

Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity

The institution that I’ve been dedicating myself to is embroiled in an online controversy, and this is valid and good, but I don’t want to discuss the specifics, as I would be doing so in ignorance of much. I prefer to avoid joining the cacophony of voices talking past and over each other. I do want to discuss some of these voices, though, because if I have skills in anything, it’s in listening for the words that people trip over in the thick of the awful din. I believe that, for most people, the human capacity to imagine worlds at … Continue reading “Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity”

Reflections on the Fourth Monday of Advent

“You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth…He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” It’s readings like these that make me empathize with the people who interacted with Jesus—how frustrating it must have been to hear these words! The audacity of these claims! And yet, with 20/20 hindsight, we, as … Continue reading “Reflections on the Fourth Monday of Advent”

#AdventWord 2020, Week 2

#Speak “Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” (Collect prayer for the Second Sunday of Advent, Book of Common Prayer, p. 211) “Can God open our mouths? And if that were to happen, what would God have us say?” (Hugo Olaiz, from a reflection originally published by @fwd_mov & shared … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2020, Week 2”

#AdventWord 2020, Week 1

#Tender I’m not ready for Advent this year. Maybe it’s this prolonged pandemic, this extended Ash Wednesday bleeding through page after calendar page—in which case, I’d be somewhat relieved—or maybe it’s my growing familiarity with what goes on behind the curtains as the audience lines up for their caramel popcorn—a very real possibility I must contend with—either way, this year feels a little off, a little “gently out of time,” as one of Blur’s lesser-knowns goes. Today’s word is “tender” but unlike 2 or 3 years ago, this year, I know that today’s word is not tender—I understand the logic … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2020, Week 1”

Against American Exceptionalism: Voting as Harm Reduction

There’s an organization here called Seattle Solidarity. Years ago, I’d read about them on an old iteration of their website, which was a lot more explicit about a fundamental organizing principle they follow or have followed for over a decade: agitate to win and never mobilize if you’re not convinced that you will. I remember reading somewhere in their FAQs how they understood the critical importance to their effectiveness as a solidarity network and pressure group of maintaining a 100% win rate. I can’t find that information now; I don’t know if their ethos has changed, but when I first … Continue reading “Against American Exceptionalism: Voting as Harm Reduction”

Do You Want To Come Join?

When words frustrate, I sometimes turn to collage. I took this video on July 17, on my way back home after livestreaming a socially-distanced concert at work. I wasn’t the only bystander there, though I may have been the the only one filming — I’m not entirely sure. “Rather than recording, do you want to come join?” No, I did not expect to be addressed so directly by “ongoing events.”

#BusLineHeroes = #GuardiansOfMobility

This is not a message of endorsement I expected we’d receive one year ago, let alone five or ten years ago, when I first started paying attention to public transport in Lebanon: This is the Secretary General of the UITP, the oldest and biggest transit advocacy group in the world. It’s not the sort of organization that is naturally inclined to be supporting of informal transit, but we were there when that door started opening two years ago. Has this crisis afforded new opportunities for relating to each other, after all? Let’s lead the transition.