theavantguardian mailbag, or “tagbag”, answers every question ever

September 10, 2010
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theavantguardian mailbag, or “tagbag”, answers every question ever

I'd like to know everyone's ideas about art, sex, revolution, and most importantly your dark inner secrets that you only tell your pillow. The great debate. Whatever that debate happens to be.

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political scientism | is our children learning good?

September 8, 2010
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political scientism | is our children learning good?

This week’s theme — “new beginnings” — brought a smile to my face. First, I prefer new beginnings to its ugly cousin, old beginnings, and so I’m glad to see whenever the former is celebrated and the latter is taken down a peg or two. It’s also the start of the school season which, now that I’m no longer a student, is my very favorite new beginning of them all. No more weekday lines at Six Flags! The start of the school year also offers another reason for cheer. I have a set of strongly-held political beliefs with which no one with half a brain and a basic education could possibly quarrel. So, each school year brings us another year closer to a fully informed electorate and eventual nationwide ideological homogeneity. To speed along the process, I have compiled these true-to-life study tips and offer my own startlingly inaccurate commentary. Because any student who carries out these simple acts is sure to do at least the bare minimum necessary to graduate, I like to call them the “Joshua Shore No Child Left Behind Acts.” (Since I did not have the benefit of the “Joshua Shore No Child Left Behind Acts,” I [...]

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the broken past

September 8, 2010
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the broken past

There are three ways we seem to look at our past. First, as antiquarians, we see the past as something to be venerated and sanctified. If you ever find yourself nostalgic for a time since gone, for home, wherever and whatever that might be, you might be an antiquarian. We also have a tendency to monumentalize the past. We look at the giant ideas and people that came before us and strive for the greatness they once knew. I will, every now and again, find myself at a sporting event or a political rally and someone will sing the anthem or America the Beautiful, or something of that ilk and tears will come to my eyes as I think of all that has been accomplished in American history and all the good that we are capable of with all the power we possess. These moments are always tempered by the bad that has been done in American history, but the good is still there and that hope is what pushes me forward. In these moments I am a monumentalist. Finally, we can be critical of our history. We can understand our past as so much rubble to be sifted through. [...]

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the future is full of spiders & surprises

September 7, 2010
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the future is full of spiders & surprises

New beginnings can hit us any time, of course, not just on regularly schedule calendar dates and socially recognized life-markers.  It’s obvious, but sometimes I forget, caught up in cycles of birthdays, new years, new semesters, commencements, break-ups, weddings, new jobs and cross-state moves; the next thing, then the next thing, then the next thing.  By now I have just enough new beginnings under my belt that I can’t help but notice a lot of the big, official ones seem to fall in the first two or three decades of one’s life.  Or they’re supposed to, anyway.  Maybe there’s no official document dictating the schedule of our allotted new beginnings, but we do seem to share a general idea of what this timeline would be: kindergarten then grade school the high school, dating then marriage then kids, education then training then career.  Rebellion, experimentation, stabilization.  Isn’t the renown condition of middle-aged malaise supposed to be about grappling with the notion that you’ve already done all the big things you’re going to do, that you’ve already gone through your supply of fresh starts? Maybe that’s why I find it easy to like stories about unexpected, unpredictable new beginnings.  Unforeseeable new beginnings [...]

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ever-beginning, ever-ending

September 7, 2010
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153947369_d84aa13395_z

Strategic Metamorphosis I, II, III

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machete \/\/ too much/not enough

September 7, 2010
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machete \/\/ too much/not enough

As our intrepid author heads off to Seattle for a spell, he checks in briefly about Robert Rodriguez's newest cinematic effort, Machete.

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outer space, inner space

September 6, 2010
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outer space, inner space

Every time I express enthusiasm for a book or movie in the science fiction genre, I get a conscientious objection from one or other of my friends. These challenges to my sci-fi credibility usually come in the form of one of three arguments. 1. “That’s actually speculative fiction.” 2. “That’s just politics playing dress-up.” The one I’ve heard most often, however, has to be: 3. “That’s mythology. It doesn’t contain any science at all!” Maybe some people are just fond of mythology set on spaceships, okay? But of course science fiction is going to be built from Jungian materials: it concerns the unknown, the final frontier, both within and without. Going where no one has gone before is a terrifying venture. Battlestar Galactica is no different – the upside being that it doesn’t have any corny Star Trek aliens. The bad guys are robots that look like humans, created by humans. It was a show about 9/11 and terrorism and the destruction of the human race; about the military and religion and how right and wrong are difficult to distinguish from each other. “All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again”: it was mythology and [...]

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sub-entry 23> episode 172.1 \/\/ on what you are divisible by

September 5, 2010
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sub-entry 23> episode 172.1 \/\/ on what you are divisible by

Drip. Drip. In the darkness, it's all I could hear – the sound of liquid slowly dripping into a puddle of itself. Drip. Drip. The smell of plants and herbs wrapped around me like a cloak, making my skin tingle all over. It hugged me tight, then whispered into my ear, “Follow me out of here, and all will be well.” “We already had this conversation, remember?” I said. “So I know that you're lying. But I'm going to follow you anyway, because I need to come back to life. I have things to do.”

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i can’t seem to forget where i left my recipe

September 4, 2010
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smell

Many things around us can trigger memories. For some of you it will be a song, the sound of someone’s voice or a familiar perfume. My main sensory trigger is usually…come on, one guess. The smell and taste of food. Ahh, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. There are dishes that bring me back to the happy years of childhood when I could go a whole summer surviving on grilled mozzarella- pepperoni sandwiches, and Ovaltine. Some dishes I am still trying to forget, Thanksgiving leftover smoosh, for example, brings me back to play dates where I would pray my mom could pick me up before dinner was served (sorry Lisa, you know I love you). No matter how much time goes by or how hard we try to forget, these triggers will always bring us back. When I’m away and feeling homesick I always know exactly what to cook to bring me into to my mom’s kitchen, my happy place. Every stage of preparing the meal brings a new memory of comfort and joy. It transports me directly to elementary school days when I would walk through the front door after school or soccer and within an instant I would [...]

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the k team presents\/\/k-nonymous

September 4, 2010
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the k team presents\/\/k-nonymous

There's a Kind of forgetting that comes before you can remember it.

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