Borders

Feel like I am the only person in the world who accepts the reality that borders are over.

This isn’t a political position or something I’m advocating for.  It’s an observation of fact.

Hard to say when we can date it, exactly.  The first time we could see Earth from space?  Maybe Malcolm McLean‘s pioneering of the shipping container.  Stuff, an unstoppable amount of stuff, and money, and information, and people flow and move across borders in a way that is way beyond the ability of any state or government to stop.

The idea of a wall stopping this seems about as futile as Xerxes ordering his guys to whip the sea as punishment.

UAC there standing for unaccompanied children.  That’s from the US Customs and Border Patrol website.

Tyler Cowen reports:

U.S.A. fact of the day

Number of unaccompanied minors, age 17 or lower, apprehended during or after border crossings, fiscal year 2017:

41, 456

Trump aside, what exactly is the plan here?

Hat tip goes to @BaldingsWorld.

“What exactly is the plan here?” is the question for sure.

How much force and violence would be needed to stop this?  Who would direct that?  Do the guys in charge seem like they could handle that?

How many trans-border families already exist, and what to do about that?

I have no answers, only a feeling that statements like “if you don’t have a border you don’t have a country” or something are not in touch with reality.

We already don’t have a border.  Without massive government expenditures, force and violence that would sicken any liberal or conservative, we never will again.

What’re we gonna do now?

 

 


Uncle Vanya, A New Version By Annie Baker

We were up in San Luis Obispo and took a walk to the campus of Cal Poly.

In the college bookstore, among the unsold textbooks, I found this and bought it:

Man, I felt like Keats looking into Chapman’s Homer reading this thing.  These lifeless translations can kill you when you take on foreign literature.  The bad translation can put you off a whole literature for the rest of your life.  In college I was supposed to read one of Chekhov’s plays.  Trying to save a couple bucks bought the Dover Thrift translation, which is probably worse than putting the Russian into Google Translate. (We didn’t have Google Translate then, children).

I KNEW something was wrong here.  There was something about Chekhov that moved people to tears, there was a reason theater people were still talking about Uncle Vanya.

You think this guy didn’t know what he was doing?

Well, anyway, in this Annie Baker edition, you can feel it.  The pain and the sadness and the funniness and the absurdity and the humanity of the whole situation.  Man.

Five stars. 


RIP Stanley Cavell

Here is an obituary of the Harvard philosopher, who has left this Earth. To be honest with you, most of Cavell’s work is over my head.  Much of it seems to deal with the ultimate breakdown of language and the difficulty of meaning anything.

Cavell wrote the epigraph for my favorite book:

and at some point, somebody (Etan?) recommended I check out:

which meant a lot to me.

This book is a study of seven screwball comedies:

The Lady Eve

It Happened One Night

Bringing Up Baby

The Philadelphia Story

His Girl Friday

Adam’s Rib

The Awful Truth

These Cavell calls comedies of remarriage.  They’re stories (mostly) where the main characters have a history, and the plots involve the tangles as they struggle, fight, and reconnect.

What the book really gets it is: what is revealed about us or our society when we look at what we find pleasing and appropriate in romantic comedies?  Why do we root for Cary Grant instead of Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story for instance?

It’s fun to watch these movies and read this book.  

It’s dense for sure.  I read it before the Age of Phones, not sure how I’d fair today.  But I still think about insights from it.

At one point Cavell says (in a parenthetical!):

I do not wish, in trying for a moment to resist, or scrutinize, the power of Spencer Tracy’s playfulness, to deny that I sometimes feel Katherine Hepburn to lack a certain humor about herself, to count the till a little too often.  But then I think of how often I have cast the world I want to live in as one in which my capacities for playfulness and for seriousness are not used against one another, so against me.  I am the lady they always want to saw in half.

Cool phrase.

RIP to a real one!


Carter Families

 


Things I learned reading The Economist this week

  • If you invest $100,000 in the island nation of Saint Lucia, they’ll make you a citizen.
  • South Africa has an unemployment rate of 26%.
  • Bernard Henri-Levy has been performing a one-man show about Brexit at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea.

Pattern

The wind moves the arms of this plant back and forth and it sweeps this pattern on the sand.  


Did Jesus have a brother?

My take?  Yes!  Definitely, sounds like he had some sisters too!

This isn’t that hard.  In Mark 6:3:

A Prophet Without Honor

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[a] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

We’ve been talking about Mark, and how it’s probably the oldest record we have of a guy who almost certainly lived and taught, sometime around years 1-30, named Jesus.

Mark says that guy had brothers and sisters.

So do all the other Gospel writers!  Matthew, 13:55-56.  Luke, 8:19.  They all got him having brothers. I’m not even gonna get into it with the sisters.  John’s pretty straightforward about it too. 

The Greek word used is (I’m told) adelphos.

 

In Paul’s Letters, written sometime after this Jesus was executed, he mentions Jesus’ brother.

In a number of other early Christian sources, there are discussions of Jesus’ brothers.

Why is it a problem that Jesus had brothers, maybe sisters too?

It’s not.  Unless having brothers and sisters like a human of his time screws up what you think you’re supposed to believe about Jesus God status.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches are determined to insist that Mary was a perpetual virgin who never had sex.

I don’t get it, that seems twisted and conjured up out of nowhere.  When I hear that I’m like wait why is it so important that Mary be a virgin?

You can ponder and explore for yourself why the theologians cooked up that one, I’m sure there’s whole shelves in the Catholic libraries about it.  It matters enough that you find scholars twisting themselves into pretzels about the meanings of different words for brother in 1st century Greek and Aramaic.

But hey, maybe they really were his cousins!

Who cares?

Well, if you are trying to get back to primary sources about a historical Jesus, and what that guy actually said, possible brothers, or cousins so close they used the same word as brothers seems like they might have some info.

What this James believed Jesus was up to is too big a question for us today.  What I can tell you about James’ views is that he and Paul did not see eye to eye.

Interesting to me, because it suggests you could be a Jesusist without being a Paulist.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cites Romans 13.

Check out The Brick Bible.( I hope Elbe Spurling doesn’t mind me using this screenshot)

Jesus, it’s easy to forget, was arrested and executed for causing trouble for the authorities.

Discussion question for brunch:

Which characters in the New Testament remind you most of the Attorney General and the President?  Do you like those characters?

Have a joyful Sunday everyone!  (We welcome your letters btw!  I know we got some Bible scholars out there who can school me!)