Day: February 10, 2017

Ed Dwight, Astronaut and Sculptor

I have a cold, so to cheer myself up I figured, day 10 of black history month, hang out and read wikipedia pages about african american astronauts. (If you yourself have a cold, I think this is a great way of dealing with it even when it’s not day 10 of black history month.)

I was particularly intrigued by Ed Dwight, a test pilot and aeronatical engineer selected as one of the first astronauts. After Kennedy’s assassination, some of the buffers against institutional racism were gone, and things got hostile enough that he left the program… and then worked for IBM, and then became a charter pilot in Dallas, and then started a large construction company in Denver… and then decided to learn how to do bronze casting, got an MFA, and became a major public sculptor.

I’ve walked past several of his sculptures. I had no idea they were made by an astronaut. Or a guy who used to work for IBM. Or somebody who ran a major construction company in Denver that probably built some of the buildings I’ve been in and out of in Denver.

I love so much about this. It’s a beautiful demonstration of the way the arts and sciences aren’t either-or. It suggests that a life can have many high points, particularly in a country of opportunity at a time when long, healthy lifespans are possible. It feels magical and futuristic, but it’s right now, and it’s not even that strange.

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When Law and Justice Diverge

If you know something is a human right, it doesn’t matter whether there’s a precedent. “That’s the way it’s always been” describes oppression. It doesn’t legitimize it.

Trailblazers are people who didn’t stop pushing the first time something failed. Or the tenth. Or the millionth. We know the names of some of them; they tend to go in history books. They didn’t settle for prior conditions. They weren’t fooled into thinking “is” means “should be.”

If I’m coming at you with a human right, and you’re coming back with excuses, I’m going to see that for what it is. The only time we need to talk about procedural technicalities is when you’re offering me a tactic to overcome them. Otherwise, you’ve got nothing I need.

Those trailblazers I talked about – whether they were good or evil didn’t have to do with how many rules they broke or followed. It had to do with why.

Law isn’t really rules. It’s philosophy. Get yours straight.


Relatedly, I don’t care whether the rules say Trump is or isn’t allowed to have conflicts of interest, except insofar as it helps me fight against his conflicts of interest, which I oppose becaue they are UNETHICAL. I don’t care whether Trump “can” institute a travel ban except when it helps me stop his travel ban, because it’s CRUEL to people I love.

I’m not a judge; it’s not my job to interpret the laws on the books.
I’m not a legislator; it’s not my job to write new laws.
I’m an everyday American and it’s my job to clearly and consistently push forward my vision of what our society ought to be.

It’s not only morally correct; it’s the only way I’m going to change minds. This country can’t heal by nitpicking about rules and who is better at rules. The conversations that matter right now are about real people who are hurt and frightened and hopeful.

All-Caps Tweets

If you enjoy reading all-caps tweets with unconventional grammatical structures, perhaps you would enjoy revisiting this 2011 interview with Feminist Hulk.

“HULK CHOOSE NOT TO IMPOSE HIERARCHY ON LANGUAGE. PLUS, BIG HULK FINGERS MAKE SHIFT-KEY PROBLEMATIC. HULK MAKE CAPITALIZATION EXCEPTION FOR bell hooks. HULK LOVE HER ESSAY ON MADONNA AND RACIST APPROPRIATION.”

Downright presidential.