Gabriel García Márquez.

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He would have been 90 years old today. In reading a remembrance, there was this particular quote:

“The more power you have, the harder it is to know who is lying to you and who is not. When you reach absolute power, there is no contact with reality, and that’s the worst kind of solitude there can be. A very powerful person, a dictator, is surrounded by interests and people whose final aim is to isolate him from reality; everything is in concert to isolate him.”

— From The Paris Review Interviews, Gabriel García Márquez, The Art of Fiction No. 69

How very apt.

Not Enough American Exceptionalism & Free Market Glory!

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Credit: Democracy Now.

Republican Arkansas state Sen. Kim Hendren introduced a bill to the state legislature that will ban the works of historian Howard Zinn from any schools that receive public funds.

The Arkansas Times reported Thursday that House Bill 1834 would ban all public schools and open enrollment charter schools from “including in its curriculum or course materials for a program of study books or any other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn.”

Zinn is the author of “A People’s History of the United States,” the groundbreaking re-examination of U.S. history in terms of its effects on the poor, people of color and women.

What began as a fringe interpretation of history has gradually gained ground. In 2014 and 2015, Republicans across the country fought a pitched battle against the federal AP high school history program. Conservatives argue that the curriculum looks at U.S. history through the lenses of race and class, placing too much emphasis on slavery and Native American genocide and not enough on American exceptionalism and the glory of the free market economy.

Why you can’t go around teaching history that isn’t properly whitewashed, oh no. Lies are so much better. As usual, in that exceptional American way, the truth is the enemy. Full story here.

Adding to the load of exceptional American stupidity, is Ryan Zinke, the new Secretary of the Interior. What’s he done? Why, he’s lifted the ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Because lead doesn’t cause any harm at all, right? Right.

Naturally, the NRA is elated over this idiotic move. As lead causes the unintended deaths of birds and fish, you’d think perhaps all those avid hunters and fishers would have a moment of head scratching, and figure out that lead would mean less animals available for them to slaughter. And of course, having lead scattered all over the place, leaching into the ground and water, eh, what’s the problem?

In the hypocritical stupidity exceptionalism category, we have one Mike Pence, and his little email problem:

Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues.

Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe. In one email, Pence’s top state homeland security adviser relayed an update from the FBI regarding the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges.

Cyber-security experts say the emails raise concerns about whether such sensitive information was adequately protected from hackers, given that personal accounts like Pence’s are typically less secure than government email accounts. In fact, Pence’s personal account was hacked last summer.

Word Wednesday.

Pernicious.

Adjective.

  1. highly injurious or destructive.

  2. archaic: wicked.

– perniciously, adverb.

– perniciousness, noun.

Pernicious implies irreparable harm done through evil or insidious corrupting or undermining.

[Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin perniciosus, from pernicies destruction, from per – + nec -, nex violent death.] 15th Century.

I found this fellow at the bottom of the chest under a lot of other stuff. Fortunately our pernicious vicar hadn’t quite got to it before his collapse.” The Ghosts of Sleath, James Herbert.

Word Wednesday.

Words1Philippic.

 
Noun.

A discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation: Tirade.

Origin: Middle French philippique, from Latin and Greek; Latin philippica, orationes philippicae, speeches of Cicero against Mark Antony, translation of Greek Philippikoi logoi, speeches of Demosthenes against Philip II of Macedon. Literally, speeches relating to Philip. (1592).

That was the kind of outburst Stefan had to put up with for five years as I worked on the Wharton bibliography, wading through file cards and fits. The explosion would usually be followed by an overly detailed explanation of what I was reading, then a philippic of one form or another. No wonder he was sick of everything Wharton.” – The Edith Wharton Murders, Lev Raphael.

Word Wednesday.

Words1Louche.

 
Adjective: not reputable or decent; dubious, shady.

[Origin: French, literally, cross-eyed, squint-eyed, Old French losche, from Latin luscus blind in one eye.]

And so it is with old HPL: the very model of an 18th century hipster, born decades too late to be one of the original louche laudanum-addicted romantic poets, and utterly unafraid to bore us by droning on and on about the essential crapness of culture since Edgar Allen Poe, the degeneracy of the modern age, &c. &c. &c.

– Equoid: A Laundry Novella, Charles Stross.

Word Wednesday.

Obscurantism. Words1

Noun.

1. Opposition to the spread of knowledge: a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public.

2a. A style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness. b: an act or instance of obscurantism.

-obscurantist noun or adjective. (1834)

Yes. Because once you get away from the original words, the purest of theories just become rumours. Then we don’t know anything. From one approximation to another inaccuracy, the truth unravels and obscurantism takes over.” – The Ghost Riders of Ordebec, Fred Vargas.

Word Wednesday.

words

Audacity.

Noun.

1. Boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.

2. Effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness.

3. Usually, audacities. audacious or particularly bold or daring acts or statements.

1400-50; late Middle English audacite < Latin audāc-, stem of audāx daring.

Adamsberg was beginning to take in her plan, based on two elements which were usually in contradiction: audacity and finesse. Together they made up an unpredictable force, like a battering ram with the delicacy of a needle. – Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, Fred Vargas.

Books.

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Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor was available yesterday, downloaded and read! The ending is abrupt, and somewhat upsetting, because you definitely won’t feel like you’re done reading yet. Brought home some dead tree, too:

Books

© C. Ford.

I’m not usually a zombie type, but we’ve been watching iZombie, so…

Word Wednesday.

words

Twaddle.

Noun.

1 a: Silly, idle talk. b: something insignificant or worthless. Nonsense.

2. One that twaddles: Twaddler.

Verb.

Twaddled; twaddling. – Prate, babble.

Origin: probably alteration of twattle (1550s), idle talk.

1782.

“What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the magazine down on the table; “I never read such rubbish in my life.” – A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Best Bookstore Ever.

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A bookstore you can sleep in. My dream come true. The Book & Bed Hostel is established in Tokyo, with another one now in Kyoto. Your sleep cubicle comes equipped with an outlet, a light, a privacy curtain, clothes hangers, and a wireless connection. There’s also beer.

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Book & Bed is a self-described “accommodation bookshop” with beds built into bookshelves. When the first Tokyo location opened last year, bibliophiles were obviously overjoyed because, for the first time, it was socially acceptable to wander into a bookshop, pick up a book, and then doze off to sleep. Now, the popular concept hotel is getting a 2nd location in Kyoto.

 

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beds are embedded into bookshelves and surrounded by over 5000 books.

Rates are low and start at just 4,445 yen (about $40) for a compact bed. But if you’re a light sleeper, or privacy is your big thing, the Book & Bed hostel may not be for you. Sleeping areas are semi-private with just a curtain separating you from other book dwellers. And bathroom areas are shared too. In fact, the bookshop hostel doesn’t promise “a good night’s sleep.” Instead, the promise “the finest moment of sleep”: dozing off in the middle of your treasured pastime, immersed in books.

 

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Book & Bed.

Book & Bed on Instagram.

I think I’d want to stay…for always. What a wonderful idea. Via Spoon & Tamago.