Little Boy and Fat Man Earrings: a Nuclear Parable


Hiroshima blast and fire damage, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey map.

In the spring of 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting president to make an official visit to Hiroshima. Obama’s strange speech lacked any words of apology to the victims of the atomic bombing, one of the world’s most infamous war crimes. Indeed, Obama clung tightly to the myth that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the only way to compel the surrender of Imperial Japan and saved hundreds of thousands of lives that might have been lost during a military invasion. This is bad history. Japan was on the brink of defeat before the atomic blasts and, in fact, it is now clear that the Truman Administration was rushing to use the bombs before the Soviets entered the war, fearing they might have to divide up a defeated Japan into zones of occupation as they had Germany. The atomic bombs themselves,  Little Boy (Hiroshima) and Fat Man (Nagasaki), have now become fetishized as macabre instruments of mass death, even to the point of replicas being sold in US National Parks and Museums. In 1998, I visited Sandia Labs to report on the Museum Gift Shop’s morbid decision to sell matching pairs of Little Boy and Fat Man earrings. 

As the Chinese know, much to their dismay, Department of Energy sites have become an odd new tourist destination. More people visit Los Alamos each year than Fort Ticonderoga, site of another famous spy scandal. At Oak Ridge, visitors are led on a self-guided nature tour of an irradiated forest. At the Idaho National Engineering Labs, the curious are shown a prototype of one of Edward Teller’s more bizarre fantasies, the nuclear powered jet engine. According to the Department of Energy’s Public Affairs office many of the foreign visitors to these sites are Japanese.

Where there are tourists, there are also gift shops. Among the trinkets to be found at the Energy Department’s Sandia Labs Museum of Nuclear Science and History gift shop on Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are medallions commemorating the flight units which nuked Japan. The gift shop also sells matching pairs of earrings shaped like Little Boy and Fat Man, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The earrings sell for $20 and, according to the gift shop manager are among the most popular items in the store.

Naomi Kishimoto, who heads the Japanese anti-nuke group Gensuikyo (Council Against A and H Bombs) and who learned of the bomb replicas from outraged Japanese tourists, told me that she found the earrings and other nuclear mementos appalling. “We’re very angry”, Kishimoto said. “It’s not the sort of thing that should be hanging from your ears or using to decorate your desk. How can that museum sell something that praises the unit that dropped the atom bomb?”

The museum’s director James Walther saw no problem with the bomb earrings and said he had no plans to stop selling them. “This museum doesn’t advocate war”, Walther said. But the museum director did note that he believed the earrings commemorated a turning point in history and that the museum, along with its gift shop, promotes the idea that the bombings, which killed at least 210,000 Japanese civilians, “ended the war and saved the lives of US soldiers”.

One of five spare casings for the Little Boy nuclear bomb. Imperial War Museum, London. Photo: Nick-DCC BY-SA 4.0

This rationalization perpetuates one of the great frauds of the war in the Pacific. As described in John Dower’s excellent War Without Mercy, by the spring of 1945 the Japanese military had been demolished. The disparities in the casualty figures between the Japanese and the Americans are striking. From 1937 to 1945, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy suffered 1,740,955 military deaths in combat. Dower estimates that another 300,000 died from disease and starvation. In addition, another 395,000 Japanese civilians died as a result of Allied saturation bombing that began in March 1945. The total dead: more than 2.7 million. By contrast, American military deaths totaled 100,997.

The commemoration of the Air Force wing that conducted the bombing of Japan is particularly galling. Beyond the atom bombs, such a memorial sanctifies the barbaric actions of Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, who pressed Harry Truman to put on “as big a finale as possible”. Even though Japan had announced its intentions to surrender on August 10, this didn’t deter the bloodthirsty Arnold. On August 14, Arnold directed a 1,014 plane air raid on Tokyo, blasting the city to ruins and killing thousands. Not one American plane was lost and the unconditional surrender was signed before the planes had returned to their bases.

Those atom bombs were aimed at Moscow as much as they were Japan.

This is excerpted from Grand Theft Pentagon.

Roaming Charges

+ Simone de Beauvoir: “Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.”

+ America has always been a sadistic place. We’re even sadistic about our acts of mass sadism…

+ Eisenhower on the dropping of the atomic bomb: “a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” (Newsweek, 11/11/1963) Of course, as president Eisenhower accelerated the production of US strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, which he used to justify cutting the size conventional forces.

+ In 1964, Army Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin told Congress the Army required 151,000 nuclear weapons to fight—and win—a nuclear war. A year later Gavin’s book, War and Peace in the Space Age, was published, where the recently-retired Gavin assailed the Pentagon for prioritizing strategic over battlefield nuclear weapons.

130 million: number of people who could be killed in a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Another 2.5 billion people could be deprived of food for at least two years.

+ According to the Congressional Budget Office, the current plans to “upgrade” US nuclear forces will cost $756 billion from 2023 to 2032, just over $75 billion per year. Unlike health care, no one seems to be asking if we can afford it…

+ Meanwhile, it looks like the US has found another Gen. Jack D. Ripper just in time for a new war in the Pacific. Gen. Michael A. Minihan, who now runs the US Air Force’s Mobility Command, has ordered the 110,000 troops under his command to prepare for war on China, which his “gut” tells him will start within two years. “Lethality matters most,” Minihan boasted at a conference. “When you can kill your enemy, every part of your life is better! Your food tastes better. Your marriage is stronger.” Just check for fluoride in your water.

+ Global food prices have soared following Russia’s decision to pull out of the Black Sea Grain deal and start attacking Ukrainian ports and grain and sunflower oil facilities, including inland sites along the Danube on the border of Romania. Despite pleas from African leaders, in the past two weeks Russian air strikes have destroyed 220,000 tons of grain, 26 port infrastructure facilities and five civilian vessels.

+ A new Israeli law exacts different punishments depending on the offender’s “race,” one punishment for a Jewish rapist and a harsher one (double the sentence) for an Arab rapist. (You can see why a Kennedy might be supporting of this measure.) Next they’ll be skipping the trial and going straight to the punishment. Whoops. They already do that…More than 1000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons on “administrative detention.”

+ Last week, the Israeli Knesset also expanded an existing law that allows communities to exclude “non-Jews” on the grounds of “social and cultural cohesion.” The measure passed with little dissent.

+ Israel is now destroying Palestinian water wells in the West Bank to preserve the water for future illegal settlements.

+ The Disciples of Christ has become the latest Christian church in North America to declare that “many of the laws, policies and practices of the State of Israel meet the definition of apartheid as defined in international law.”

RFK, Jr.: “Israel is unique in the Middle East for only attacking military targets. And they are very, very disciplined about doing so.”

+ Someone, perhaps his former spokesman David Swanson, should ask Dennis Kucinich if he believes that Rachel Corrie was a legitimate target for the IDF? And if not, why he continues to manage the campaign of someone who does?

+ RFK, Jr.’s in synch with the Democratic leadership on Israel these days. Here’s Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries explaining why he’s taken so many trips to Israel: “Understand something. I’m from Brooklyn where we consider Jerusalem to be the 6th borough [of NYC]. So I’m just starting to catch up.” No surprise here. Recall that in his first campaign for public office, Jeffries attacked his opponent, NYC Assemblyman Roger Green, for being “a practicing Muslim.”


+ Any remnant notion of Trump as a master conman should completely evaporate given the fact that he couldn’t convince, cajole, extort, dupe or intimidate Mike Pence, the most obsequious VP in history, to carry out his scheme and instead see him become the chief witness against him. To be undone by Mike Pence? How embarrassing…

+ There’s some ironic justice in Trump being charged under the Reconstruction Era “Insurrection Act,” given that one of the White House schemes envisioned Trump invoking the same law to retain power.

+ DeSantis: Trump can’t get a fair trial in “DC swamp.” DC is probably the most defendant friendly jury pool in the entire federal court system…Of course, the Central Park 5 might be forgiven for experiencing some schadenfreude at the prospect of Trump facing trial before a black judge and jury.

+ Trump’s playing on old racial prejudices. It’s not the gritty DC of my school days. The District been taken over–and largely destroyed culturally–by Trump-like professional thugs: lobbyists, lawyers and political grifters. The city’s median household income of $90,000 would rank first were it a state.

+ The indictments of Trump–and there’s truly been an embarrassment of them–have been assailed as the “criminalization of politics.” But what institution, aside from the church, perhaps, is more deserving of periodic criminal discipline? What enterprise has inflicted more misery, stolen more from the poor and given to the rich and connected, sent more people to their deaths? The originators of democracy criminalized its practice from the beginning using the process of “ostracization” to banish for 10 years politicians who abused their office, lied to the people or threatened to amass tyrannical powers. Some of the most famous political and military leaders of Athens were chased out of the city state, including: Hipparchos; Megacles (the son of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, no doubt driven out by the anti-vaxxers of his time); Pericles’ father Xanthippus; Aristides, the Athenian general most responsible for winning the Persian war, who Herodotus called “the most honorable man in Athens;” Themistocles the populist hero of the war; Cimon; Alcibiades; Damon, one of the first musicologists; Thucydides, the great historian of the Peloponnesian War; and Hyperbolus (who lent his name to many of the overwrought laments about the trials of corrupt politicians). I say open the dossier the day after inauguration, memorialize every transgression and keep your shards of broken pottery (ostraka) handy. You never know when you might get the chance to toss one out…

+ The whole affair is best summed up by this comment from an unnamed Trump staffer: “It’s all just conspiracy shit beamed down from the mothership.”

+ Could Trump walk? It’s probably more likely than not, given the track record of federal prosecutors. In any event, Trump certainly seems to be making the most of the experience. Here’s Michael Wolff in the NYT describing Trump’s assessment of the merits of his legal team: “A philosophical Mr. Trump said that while he probably didn’t have the best legal team, he was certain he had the best looking, displaying pictures of the comely women with law degrees he had hired to help with his cases.”


+ NYC’s Mayor Eric Adams wants to keep the public from hearing police scanners. Is it any wonder given what those scanners have broadcast over the years? Let’s go back to a June night in 2020, when during a standoff with protesters on Manhattan Bridge police could be heard saying: “Shoot Those Motherfuckers” and “Run Them Over!”

+ After LAPD officers were caught on tape joking about earning overtime pay after shooting someone, Chief Michel Moore was “critical of the officers’ comments, saying they violated ‘professionalism standards.’ The officers received the department’s equivalent of a slap on the wrist: an employee comment card in their personnel files.”

+ The Chesterfield, Virginia County police department is arguing that more than 500 cops on its force “might” go undercover someday, which gives the department the right to withhold all their names from the public.

+ Two-in-five people sentenced to life without parole in the US were 25 or younger at the time of their conviction.

+ In 1991, people over the age of 55 represented just 3% of people in prison. By 2021, that number was 15%. What explains the five-fold increase? According to a new report by the Prison Policy Institute:

“Policing disproportionately targets populations that often include many older adults: unhoused people, people who use drugs or alcohol, and people with cognitive disabilities. Nationally, the unhoused population is growing older. From 2007 to 2014, the number of unhoused people over age 50 expanded by 20%, and in 2014, this age group accounted for more than 30% of people experiencing homelessness. Given that unhoused people are up to 11 times more likely to be arrested than housed people, the likelihood of arrest for older, unhoused people is undoubtedly growing over time.”

+ A North Carolina man named Devalos Perkins is too mentally ill to stand trial, but has languished in jail for a murder case that had gone cold seven years before his arrest. During his 10 years behind bars, Perkins has been repeatedly tasered, pepper sprayed, restrained, and locked away in solitary confinement.

+ In 2020, the FBI paid an informant $20,000 to entice racial justice protesters in Denver into committing crimes. But the only charge to come out of the entire affair came when the informant, himself a felon, convinced one activist to buy him a gun using money provided by the FBI. The activist ended up getting probation.


+ Top Trump donors: $5 million from Florida Scientologist Trish Duggan; $2 million from Vegas casino tycoon Phil Ruffin; $1 million from Woody Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson drug conglomerate and Trump’s former ambassador to the UK; and $1 million from Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, whom Trump pardoned of federal crimes at end of his presidency.

+ Trump’s foundering Save America leadership PAC paid out $108,000 in the first six months of the year for Melania Trump’s hair stylist, Herve Pierre Braillard. It told the FEC that the payment was for ‘strategy consulting’.

+ There’s some comfort in seeing how badly DeSantis is getting crushed by Trump (54% to 17%). But it’s pretty cold: “Mr. Trump still received 22% among voters who believe he has committed serious federal crimes — a greater share than the 17% that Mr. DeSantis earned from the entire G.O.P. electorate.”

+ In Iowa, a 15-year-old interested in military service told DeSantis, “I can’t vote, but I struggle with major depressive disorder.” DeSantis interrupted the teenager with a bizarre joke: “It’s never stopped the other party from not letting you vote.”

+ Some New Hampshire residents were stunned to hear DeSantis vow “we are going to start slitting throats [of federal bureaucrats] on Day One.” Throat-slitting seems to be a favorite metaphor (assuming it is a metaphor) for the man who as a JAG at Gitmo mocked detainees as they were being tortured. The Florida governor also claimed that he wanted a Defense Secretary with “a sharp blade” and a “killer instinct” who would have to be willing to “slit some throats.” DeSantis also said that under his administration the Mexican drug cartels would be “shot stone cold dead.”

+ DeSantis reminds me of Phil Gramm, the TX politician who amassed millions from banks and oil companies and seemed to be the prohibitive favorite in ’96 GOP primaries, but was soon exposed as just a mean SOB with no real political skills at all other than shaking down corps for PAC $$$.

+ When DeSantis’ campaign ran low on money and he began firing staffers, he hired them to fill government-funded positions in Florida instead.

+ More than half ($5 million, in fact) of the funds in RFK, Jr’s SuperPAC came from Timothy Mellon, scion of the Mellon banking fortune, who has denounced social spending as “slavery redux,” donated $53 million to state of Texas border wall construction fund, and gifted $1.5 million toward the legal defense of Arizona’s vicious anti-immigration law.


+ After the Covid vaccines became available, the adjusted excess death rate in Ohio and Florida was 43% higher among Republican voters compared with Democratic voters, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found. There was no distinct gap based on political party before the vaccine.

+ HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the US, uses an algorithm to predict patients that are “likely to die,” who the hospitals can then “discharge” to hospice care in order to claim reductions for their in-hospital “mortality rate.” Some of this patients may have recovered in the hospitals. Sounds like a death panel to me. Who will tell Sarah Palin?

+ According to a Gallup poll, a record-low 18% of Republicans now say they have a ‘great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in big business, whereas nearly twice as many — 35% — report having ‘very little’ or no confidence in it. One assumes those numbers flip for businesses like Trump University and Trump Steaks.

+ Over to you, Dante…

+ Last month, 4,480 eviction cases were filed in LA Superior Court, the highest monthly total in the past six years.

+ Meanwhile, for the first time ever there’s more office space in the US being demolished than being built.

+ At least 11 million people in the US lack driver’s licenses solely because they owe court fines or debts. Many of them are driving, of course, but also lack insurance.

+ In 1910, 14% of farmers were Black, owning more than 16 million acres of land . Today only 1-in-100 farmers are Black. The loss in land value for Black farmers is around $326 billion.

+ When slavery in the British Caribbean officially ended in August of 1834 and the 800,000 enslaved were “freed,” the British government compensated former owners, paying them £20 million. Meanwhile, the formerly enslaved were compelled to work for free for four more years.

+ Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s razor-wire coated buoys on the Rio Grande, snagged two more victims this week, including a child from Honduras. Mexico’s Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador condemned the floating death traps at his daily news conference: “No good person would do this. This is inhumane and no person should be treated like this.”

+ Meanwhile, the Biden administration has imposed a curfew on migrants who have crossed the border seeking asylum.

+ What starts in Hungary (wrapping of books with LBGTQ themes) usually ends up as law in Florida…

+ DeSantis claims the new history standards for Florida schools, the one’s that proclaim the benefits of slavery, were needed to prevent the indoctrination of school kids. Yet, some of the materials which will now be inflicted on Florida students are produced by Prager U., whose founder, Dennis Prager, openly brags about indoctrinating children:

+ Florida has now effectively banned AP psychology in the state. A lot of students hoping they’ll ban Trigonometry next!

+ More than half of Stanford’s undergraduate students come from families in the top 10% of the U.S.’s income distribution.

+ When your brand is so toxic, you charge your clients to hide the association


+ July 2023 was the first month in history to top +1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

+ Bidenmentalism Update: the US is poised to set a yearly record for domestic oil production.

+ Phoenix finished July with an average temperature of 102.7F, the warmest monthly temperature on record for any U.S. city in any year. Only the stations in Death Valley National Park have recorded a warmer month. Phoenix is the 1st major US city to record a triple digit monthly mean temperature. Nine of Phoenix’s 10 hottest years have all occurred since 2003.

+ But even our perceptions of temperature are now warped along political lines.

+ Average annual heat-related deaths in the US have increased by 95% from 2010 to 2022.

+The gap the sea ice cover in Antarctica is now about the size of Argentina or four times as large as the state of Texas. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is happening, but it could be a signal of “a change of state.”

+ Since 2000, the Colorado River’s annual flow has declined by roughly 10%.

+ Global CO₂ emissions for the first six months (January-June) of 2023 is 0.3% higher than that 2022 levels and 2.2% higher than 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.

+ As the remnants of Typhoon Doksuri swept across China this week, Beijing just experienced its worst rainfall event since records began 140 years ago.  The city was drenched in 744.8 mm (29.3 inches) of rain between Saturday and Wednesday morning.

+ Over the last two years, Miami-Dade County has experienced a bigger loss as a share of total population than the cities of Baltimore and Detroit, largely as a consequence of housing costs and climate change.

+ Back in 1980 the losses from three US natural disasters—a drought, a flood and a hurricane—topped $1 billion each (in 2023 dollars). Last year there were 18 $1 billion-plus events, including Hurricane Ian, which was responsible for $114 billion in damage.

+ In June, an insurance industry study predicted that millions of Canadians could lose their home insurance in coming years owing to climate risk. Meanwhile, in Australia, one in 25 homes are expected to be uninsurable by 2030.

+ For the first time, the amount of new renewable electricity generation capacity (mainly solar) added this year (440GW) will be greater than the total global nuclear generation capacity (413 GW).

+ In 2020, the loss of labor as a result of exposure to extreme heat cost the economy about $100 billion, an amounted that is excepted to swell to $500 billion a year by 2050.

+ The Tory government of  Rishi Sunak just announced the approval of nearly 100 new licenses North Sea oil and gas drilling.

+ The Brits aren’t alone in their pursuit of more fossil fuels. At a four day summit in India last week during the lead-up to COP28, a proposal that would commit the G20 nations to triple their renewable energy development by 2030 failed to pass in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, China and Russia.

+ It’s now estimated that the planet will lose more than 99% of its coral this century.

+ The average price of homeowners’ insurance premiums in Florida has more than doubled since DeSantis took office in 2019–that is, if you can find homeowners’ insurance at all.

+ According to the reinsurer Munich Re, nearly 90% of losses inflicted by extreme weather events in Europe in the first half of this year weren’t covered by insurance. Only Africa was more vulnerable to uninsured losses.

+ Climate change is encouraging bark beetles to spread further north. A recent outbreak in Denali National Park “killed trees in 40% more territory than was affected in all the Alaska infestations over the prior 70 years combined.”

+ The eastern variety of Joshua Tree was thought to be more resilient to climate change than its western relative. Now most of them have burned up in the huge York Fire that swept across the Mojave this week…

+ For the third time since 2016, the Yurok Tribe of northern California won’t serve salmon at its annual salmon festival. Too much environmental damage along the Klamath River and not enough salmon left in the river.

+ In 2020, federal prosecutors charged 23 people with environmental crimes. In the same year, they charged more than 23,000 people with drug crimes and more than 23,000 people with immigration crimes.

+ The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (without a single dissent) came at the behest of Donald Verrilli, Jr., the pipeline company’s lead counsel and solicitor general for Obama’s Justice Department from 2011-2016.

+ Last year, California officials set a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 48% below 1990 levels by 2030. Now the state’s Air Resources Board concedes that hitting those targets might not be possible.

+ A new study finds that birds (especially raptors) found dead along power lines in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming were killed by gunshots far more often than by power-line collisions or electrocutions.

+ It hit 103F in Paraguay this week, in mid-winter.


+ Paul Reubens on why he made an effort to hire as many black actors as possible for Pee-wee’s Playhouse, including Laurence Fishburne, S. Epatha Merkerson and  Gilbert Lewis, who played the King of Cartoons. “Not just anybody,” Reubens said. “The king! That came out of growing up in Florida under segregation. I felt really good about that.”

+ The cast of Pee-wee’s 1988 Christmas Special…

+ Climate chaos is wreaking havoc with some famous literary passages. In Ulysses, Buck Mulligan deprecates the scruffy poet Stephen Dedalus for his bathing habits (once a month).

—Is this the day for your monthly wash, Kinch?

Then he said to Haines:

—The unclean bard makes a point of washing once a month.

—All Ireland is washed by the gulf stream, Stephen said.

Aye, but for how much longer, Stephen?

+ Yet Another Side of Bob Dylan…From Greil Marcus’s always intriguing Letter in the Ether Substack column: “On May 24, 1966, in Paris, Bob Dylan, on the occasion of his 25th birthday, appeared onstage at the Olympia with a huge American flag draped as a backdrop. Coming at the height of the Vietnam War, this did not go over well, and prompted even the conservative Le Figaro to proclaim LA CHUTE D’UNE IDOLE.”

+ Noelle Dunphy, the former assistant of co-Conspirator No. 1, who accused the former New York City mayor of sexual abuse, harassment and wage theft, has filed a series of transcripts of audio files.

+ When it comes to the rhetoric of sexual harassment, Rudy’s right up there with Bill O’Reilly…

+ Of course, unlike Bill, Rudy’s views of women seem to be capable of evolving. In 2019, America’s Mayor tells Dunphy she’s made him a sapiosexual: “I can’t think about you or I get hard. Even if I think about how smart you are, I’ll get hard. I’d never think about a girl being smart. If you told me a girl was smart, I’d think she’s not attractive.”

+ Will Rudy follow the RFK, Jr. image rehabilitation tour route by doing some gigs on how much he despises Palestinians with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach?

+ Wanna bet Netanyahu still takes his calls?

+ From Sylvia Plath’s diary: “Today is the first day of August. It is hot, steamy and wet. It is raining. I am tempted to write a poem. But I am reminded of what it said on one rejection slip: After a heavy rain, poems titled RAIN pour in from across the nation.”

+ According to Washington Post columnist Hugh Hewitt, we’re living under “hard left institutions,” which have recreated America according to Herbert Marcuse’s designs, though I’m sure he’d have a hard time recognizing the place.

+ The “hard” left is always either Omnipotent or Impotent, but never just Potent. When will America come under the sway of The Situationists?

+ Your smear is her vindication.

+ Memo to Jason Aldean: In October 1969, Lou Reed addressed a media class run by Dr. Joseph Kruppa at Texas University, telling the students: “Because of media censorship, nobody has heard any real music, nothing to make your hair stand on end.”

+ TS Eliot on his struggles with Unitarianism: “Unitarianism is a bad preparation for brass tacks like birth, copulation, death, hell, heaven and insanity: they all fall within the classification of Bad Form. It often seems to me very bizarre that a person of my antecedents should have had a life like a bad Russian novel.” (From a letter to his brother, Henry, July 29, 1926).

+ The merits of their art aside, there are two immense cultural contributions you can never take away from George Harrison and John Huston: Harrison financed the greatest film ever made (The Life of Brian) and Huston funded one of the world’s greatest museums: the Joyce (Martello) Tower in Dublin. I’ll take them both over the Ford Foundation any day.

It’s So Much Easier to Focus on the Things That Don’t Involve Me

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic
Emily Monosson

Who Would Believe a Prisoner? Indiana Women’s Carceral Institutions, 1848-1920
Indiana Women’s Project History Project
Ed. Michelle Daniel Jones and Elizabeth Nelson
(The New Press)

Russia’s War
Jade McGlynn

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Days in the Desert
High Pulp

Natural Disaster
Bethany Cosentino

I Am Not There Anymore
The Clientele

We Must Not Confuse the Present With the Past

“We must not confuse the present with the past. With regard to the past, no further action is possible. There have been war, plague, scandal, and treason, and there is no way of our preventing their having taken place; the executioner became an executioner and the victim underwent his fate as a victim without us; all that we can do is to reveal it, to integrate it into the human heritage, to raise it to the dignity of the aesthetic existence which bears within itself its finality; but first this history had to occur: it occurred as scandal, revolt, crime, or sacrifice, and we were able to try to save it only because it first offered us a form. Today must also exist before being confirmed in its existence: its destination in such a way that everything about it already seemed justified and that there was no more of it to reject, then there would also be nothing to say about it, for no form would take shape in it; it is revealed only through rejection, desire, hate and love. In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man among men.” (Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: [email protected] or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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