Please please please listen to Part 1 of this episode of This American Life, “Before It Had A Name.” It discusses the first recorded testimonials of Holocaust survivors made by David Boder made in 1946 before the term “the Holocaust” even existed and before people even the mass move to record oral histories in the 1960s. It’s haunting, it’s morally intriguing, and it raises interesting questions about how we record history and how language shapes the human experience.
Just once, it would be nice to walk into a classroom and see a teacher who has a real, honest-to-God degree in education and not a twentysomething English graduate trying to bolster a middling GPA and a sparse law school application. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a qualified educator who has experience standing up in front of a classroom and isn’t desperately trying to prove to herself that she’s a good person.
For those of us queer people in the West, we must support human rights everywhere in the world; however, standing up for our LGBTQ siblings’ rights also means acknowledging how we are culpable. We must stop pretending that we are ahead of the world when we talk about LGBTQ rights and democracy. If being “ahead” of other nations means that we export our hate instead of confronting it, we are not only backwards, but we are also hypocrites. We cannot call attention to other LGBTQ people’s voices if we only want to hear half of the story. Our struggles are not all the same, but they are definitely connected.
“If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.”—POTUS on Iran (via kateoplis)
I have been a writer since 1949. I am self-taught. I have no theories about writing that might help others. When I write, I simply become what I seemingly must become. I am six feet two and weigh nearly two hundred pounds and am badly coordinated, except when I swim. All that borrowed meat does the writing. In the water I am beautiful.
Kurt Vonnegut, “Introduction,” Welcome To The Monkey House
Minerva is the Roman virgin goddess of wisdom, crafts, the arts, and war. It is said she invented both music and numbers. She has roots in the Etruscan goddess Minrva, and as Romans became more heavily influenced by the Greeks, she became equated with the Greek goddess Athena. Minerva is one of the Roman Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, and was born out of Jupiter’s head. She is typically seen with an owl, representing her connection to wisdom, and is featured in the seals of many educational establishments.
It’s a fitting name for Professor McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts and possibly the fiercest, most competent, and most dedicated educator of the Harry Potter universe. She also leads the battle at Hogwarts against Lord Voldemort in book seven, a perfect final moment for the goddess of war and wisdom.