…if you have been brought up to be independant and self-sustaining, it is far harder to turn to someone else and ask for help, it’s hard to admit that your mind has just crumbled in on itself… You don’t have the language to reach out, you don’t have the knowledge to reach out, your pride gets in the way…


Kay Redfield Jamison
paraphrased from an interview
(TVO Allan Gregg)






“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will be there.”


Because grief is so human – it hits everyone at some point – societies and religions have evolved to help us to help each other. But unlike grief, there are no rituals for depression.

(loosely paraphrased from an interview: Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison)

taste, picture this. No5

December 19, 2010

“…it is impossible to sow seed on rock and harvest its fruit.”

from gospel of Judas  (43:25 to 44:2)

“My God, I am drinking the stars”

“Either these curtains go, or I do”
Oscar Wilde on his deathbed




Spades are Tiddly-Winks

November 25, 2010

“…bland bureaucratic euphemisms [may] conceal great crimes. As their meanings become clear, these collocations gain an aura of horror. In the past century, the Final Solution and Ethnic Cleansing were phrases that sent a chill through our lexicon.”
James Saffire
(quoted in Jane Mayer: “The Dark Side”)

precision bombing (bombing… a term in use since since, at least, WW2)
pacification (Vietnam: driving away and/or obliterating of all potential resistance)
strategic hamlet (Vietnam: camp for the detention of civilians)
enhanced interrogation (interrogation under torture)
robust interrogation (same)
special interrogation (same)
targeted killing (political murder)
assassination (political murder)
elimination (killed)
high value target (human being)
neutralize (kill)
rendition (abduction and transfer of someone to facilitate interrogation under torture)
fallen soldier (dead combatant)
passed away (died)
terrorist (militants we oppose)
militant (a combatant that we do not like)
freedomfighter (a combatant that we like)
contractor (mercenary)
mercenary (combatant hired by someone we do not like)
boot camp (privatized prision, featuring rehabilitation by harsh treatment)
concentration camp (WW2 and beyond: many were death facilities, not holding pens)
internment camp (a concentration camp run by ourselves or our friends)
detention facility/center (variously prision, or concentration camp)
refugee (someone fleeing dangers we ackowledge)
migrant (birds, or someone leaving conditioins we do not acknowledge as troubled)
economic migrants (someone hoping to escape poverty abroad)
asylum seekers (refugees we are not ready, or willing, to recognize as such)
idps (refugees who do not managed to cross a border)
improvised explosive device (bomb… ied helps make the enemy seem like rouge militants, amateurs and terrorists)
soften up (abuse in preparation for, or in the process of, interrogation. In the case of at least one detainee in Afghanistan — admitted by US military coroner’s report — beat his legs until they are, and this is not a paraphrase: “pulpified”).

Euphemisms can also be inverted.

When looking at regimes we dislike, it is not uncommon for the fatal shooting or beating (killing) of an unarmed protester to be referred to as “murder”.  Besides disapproving vague connotations of evil, “murder” more precisely refers an act of violence which deliberately kills a specific individual.
Along the same lines, Chomsky points out that a solider can not be “kidnapped”. The use of the term this way is especially familiar from Israeli conflicts with Lebanon and Palenstian Gaza.  Enemies capture soldiers.




Sense can not always be made

November 17, 2010

“There is a constant temptation, when rendering an account of history, to distort reality by making too much sense of itself. This temptation is greatest when history is fresh and deals with crises that are ongoing – crises that mold our understanding of the world and ourselves”.


Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris
Standard Operating Procedure (2008)

Tender Comrade

November 12, 2010

What will you do when the war is over
tender comrade
When we lay down our weary guns
When we return home to our wives and families
and look into the eyes of our sons.

What will you say of the bond we had
tender comrade
Will you say that we were brave
as the shells fell all around us
or that we wept and cried for our mothers
and cursed our fathers…

(Billy Bragg)

we will be there

October 17, 2010

“When we had children together, we pledged to them that we would be there as parents. We didn’t promise that we would be there forever as husband and wife”.


Margaret with Pierre

Margaret Trudeau (paraphrased from memory)…interview with Michael Enright
(CBC Sunday Edition)

chomsky No.1

October 13, 2010

“…The real success of the power systems in the US has been to separate people from one another…”

Noam Chomsky
(Interview w David Barsamian)