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Showing posts from June, 2017

My Cubs: A Love Story

Scott Simon spoke at the afternoon graduation ceremony of the University where I work few years back.  I mention this because I actually remember something of his speech, which is unusual.  I have been to, conservatively, fifty college and university graduations and 10 high school graduations.  At the reluctant son’s high school graduation this year, his principal, the graduation speaker, said something that I remember.  He said that people often complement him on what he says, then, when he asks them what that was, they can’t remember.  He went on to give a very good talk – and one that I can’t remember a thing from – like almost all of the other speeches.  And that’s not because I don’t listen – I do.  There is a picture of me at my Ph.D. ceremony in a sea of graduates, all looking in different directions or talking with each other – I am looking intently at the speaker.  I have no idea who he was (I think he was male), or what he said, but I’m sure I knew at the time.
Scott Simon …

Wonder Woman – Comic Books Question American Exceptionalism – Who knew?

What a surprise – Wonder Woman, a summer blockbuster about a female superhero (something to which I have been dragged in the past with a less positive outcome – see a post on Lucy) turns out to be the emotionally satisfying version of another summer release War Machine.  Wonder Woman is also a comic strip envisioned and executed by a psychologist based partly on his psychological theories.  It also turns out, in my own little universe, to be the culmination of a year of learning about American Exceptionalism and what it is – not so much in a distant, cerebral sense, but more in a lived, constantly engaged sort of way (There have been multiple posts about that this year including Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Cone, and Nguyen's The Sympathizer).  Finally, it is a movie that evokes positive stereotypes in me, not just about women, but also about Jews.
I was not a comic book guy growing up.  Some of my friends were.  They would read them voraciously, save and trade them; putting them in p…

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer – Confession, Torture, and the Psychoanalytic Process

This brutally beautiful book is difficult to remember, to integrate, and therefore to review or discuss.  Traumatic memories have been described as being recovered like paint splotches – as bits and pieces without a narrative whole that links them together.  The narrative that forms the skeleton of this story is not revealed until page 308.  And it is also at page 308 that we plunge from the ordinary every day trauma of the aftermath of war and its remembrance into the heart – and this is a pun – of darkness.
I will tell the story in reverse order because I think that it will help organize what has happened – and will allow me to clarify how this traumatic book resembles psychoanalysis (and in the process perhaps send every potential analysand among the readership running to the hills).  This will, however, likely take away some of the delicious pleasure of reading this book for those who have not yet done so.  The author of the manuscript, who never identifies himself by name – he i…

Megan Gogerty’s Lady MacBeth and Her Pal Megan: Fun at the Fringe

The Fringe Festival is Pop Up Theater that appears every June in our town.  It occurs in what used to be a fringe neighborhood, Over the Rhine, a ghetto for the southern Catholic German Immigrants who crowded into our town in the 1800s and lived in tenements and rowhouses until they made their way up the social ladder and moved out to better parts of town, leaving the crumbling buildings behind for the poor – mostly African Americans – to create a ghetto of despair in the shadow of the skyscrapers of downtown.  More recently, gentrifiers have realized that this is prime real estate within walking distance of many of the highest paid jobs in town, and expensive new condominium buildings sit cheek by jowl with boarded up buildings, buildings with tenants barely hanging on and rehabbed row houses with beautiful new windows and doors.
We parked our car in a garage that is all but hermetically sealed, and took our ticket as we would need that to re-enter the secure seeming structure to wa…