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iPhone case? this is mine. get yours at Uncommon.

B-side jewelry takes parts from guns & “recasts them into symbols of non-violence.” (from ecouterre) I don’t really see the non-violence part but I love this necklace! Proceeds from sales of this line go to the NYC Gun Buy Back Program, which basically rewards people for turning in firearms in NYC. Since 2008, some 5,700 guns have been turned in off the streets of the city. Having lived in a city where not a day goes by without someone killed by gunfire, that’s music to my ears…

[click the image to view a New York Times photo gallery of Haiti, post-earthquake]

This tragedy is overwhelming, I don’t quite know what else to say. Please donate if you can, text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross (it’ll show up on your next phone bill). If you want something out of it, buy a “Hope for Haiti” tee here (proceeds go to PIH) or visit Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago & buy the Haiti fundraiser cupcake (proceeds go to the Red Cross). Preferably, give whatever you can afford directly to the cause – visit Partners In Health to donate on their website.

I encourage America to see this through, completely, too. This is an unthinkably wealthy country and the best thing we can do is to give our resources freely to those in need.

(writing with frozen fingers… weather.com says “feels like -20.” curse you, Midwest…)

…At the same time, “sin” is so difficult for the Christian to avoid (as counter-revolutionary activity is today, for us) that this demand leads to feelings of guilt, failure, and ultimately dispair when he realizes that it is impossible for him to be “innocent” and “pure.” In fact, by forbidding “sin,” Christian doctrine makes it all the more tempting and intriguing for the believer; for whether the mind does or not, the human heart recognizes no authority and will always seek out that which is forbidden.

We must not make the same mistakes as the Christians. The demand that radicals be free from hypocrisy, free from any implication in the system, has the same effects as the Christian demand that people be free from sin: it creates frustration and despair in those who would seek change, and at the same time makes hypocrisy all the more tempting. Rather than seek to have clean hands, we should aim to make the inevitable negative effects of our lives worthwhile by offering enough positive activity to more than balance the scales. This approach to the problem can save us from being immobilized by fear of hypocrisy or shame about our “guilt.”

Besides, demands that we avoid hypocrisy deny the complexity of the human soul. The human heart is not simple; every human being has a variety of desires which pull her in different directions. To ask that she only pursue some of those desires and always ignore others is to demand that she remain perpetually unfulfilled… and curious. This is typical of the kind of dogmatic, ideological thinking which has afflicted us for centuries: it insists that the individual must be loyal to one set of rules and only one, rather than doing what is appropriate for her needs in a particular situation.

It might well be true that the whole self can only be expressed in hypocrisy. Certainly a person needs to formulate a general set of guidelines regarding the decisions she will make, but to break from these occasionally prevents stagnation and offers the opportunity to consider whether the guidelines need reevaluation. A person who is not afraid to be hypocritical from time to time is in less danger of selling our permanently one day, because she is able to taste the “forbidden fruit” without feeling forced to make a permanent choice. She is immune to shame and eventual despair that afflict those who strive for perfect “innocence.”

So be proud of yourself as you are: don’t try to get the inconsistencies of your soul to match up in a false and forced manner, or it will only come back to haunt you. Rather than holding inflexibility to a set system, let us dare to reject the idea that we must be faithful to any particular doctrine in our efforts to create a better life for ourselves. Let us not claim to be innocent, let us not claim to be pure or right! But let us proclaim proudly that we are hypocrites, that we will stop at nothing, not even hypocrisy, in our struggle to take control of our lives. In this age when it is impossible to avoid being a part of the system we strive against, only blatant hypocrisy is truly subversive – for it alone speaks the truth about our hearts, and it alone can show just how difficult it is to avoid living the modern life which has been prepared for us. And that alone is good reason to fight. Thanks, Jane Humble.

beware_thecostofwar

Media (photographic, especially I feel) coverage of the war has changed a lot in the past 50 years — today we don’t see the real cost of war or get to know the individuals whom war affects. And what we do see is an abbreviated version that allows us to feel concern and sadness while carrying on our comfortable American lives, nary missing a step. The Vietnam-American war was the first widely televised and reported war because it came at a time when the television had become a common household item. We had never seen what was happening “over there” before. Exciting technology beat out censorship and government control. Currently, war reports are so filtered that it’s easy to forget we live in a world of bloodshed. Images on the daily news are not graphic, even photographs on CNN only cover the fluff, not the [sometimes literal] meat of war.

So I’m grateful for magazines like 100Eyes, photographers like Yoav Galai & Andy Levin, who explore the truth of war tragedy. Please please please click the image above to get a clear sense of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what it really looks like — Don’t you wonder why we, as people living in America, somehow escape not only death by war but the destruction of our buildings and homes, escape seeing our loved ones die before our eyes…? And where the US government is involved, I do believe in bringing the war home, if even only through photographs. We, as Americans, must be informed and must have an opinion. Be open, ask questions, never stop exploring.