Today, we are candles.
He hoarded his Christmas gifts. We would get him cologne, ties, shirts, tchotchkes from our travels, treatments to soften his overworked hands, and they would all find their ways into drawers and cabinets, untouched for years. His clothing had to wear to nothing before he would discard it and start the next one’s slow disintegration. New, untouched things are a treasure to save for when they are needed, not an indulgence for in between. Scarcity is behind every shadow and over every hill, and a good hoard is insurance against doing without. It’s a habit my father, my grandfather, and I all share, to each other’s bemused frustration. They tangled with Communists, I grew up autistic, and we all hoard.
I feel like I have a special relationship with grief.
Hay una banda sonora especial para la matanza moderna. La mayoría no son envenenando a la gente en un sueño permanente. Cuando un asesino moderno con un arma moderna asesina a 50 personas y hiere a 53 más, hay un sonido que sigue el carillón del último casquillo cuando cae al piso. Mucho tiempo después de los gritos y llantos y sirenas se colocan por otro lado, hay otro sonido, nos dicen.
CN: 11 June 2016 Orlando murders.
There’s a special soundtrack to a modern massacre. Most of them aren’t poisoning people into too-long sleep. When a modern killer with a modern gun murders 50 people and injures 53 more, there’s a sound that follows the last shell casing’s floor-bound chime. Long after the shrieking and crying and sirens are diverted elsewhere, there’s another sound, they say.
There’s nothing quite like a set of loaded questions from a believer to illuminate what being an atheist really means. For all the increased and increasing visibility that celebrity nonbelievers like Daniel Radcliffe and Jodi Foster are getting us, and for all that atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett have rendered an exemplary case for non-belief as a philosophical position, we continue to suffer from a litany of stereotypes. (Often, our most visible proponents do little to disprove them…)
There’s a lot to think about in Boston right now.
There was a bombing and a shooting. Two ethnic Chechens were implicated in the bombing, and one of them is in custody right now, to likely face a farce of an “enemy combatant” trial as soon as the feds are done fabricating a tie to international terrorist groups. [EDIT: He got a regular trial, thank the stars.] Hateful mooks have been subjecting an Indian-American family to a torrent of threats and insults because their son went missing a few months ago and was also suspected, forcing them to shut down the site they used to help them find him.
Amidst all of the maneuvering, it’d have been easy to miss a few tidbits that highlight the ongoing nightmare of being a nonbeliever in the United States.
The holiday season usually sees me visiting my family in Miami. While they’re not as overwhelmingly zealous as Ania’s family, they’ve made a point to remind me that my not being a Christian is something they don’t like. Amusingly, they’ve even suggested I privately doubt while going through the motions and living, to all appearances, as a Christian, to spare them the difficulty of having to deal with the existence of atheists and the shame of having one so close to home. Apparently “thou shalt not bear false witness” has an addendum somewhere about cultural hegemony.