The Pencil Today:


Today would have been Howard Zinn‘s 90th birthday. The brilliant radical historian died in January 2010.

His histories portrayed this holy land as a steamroller that flattened everything (or, more accurately, everybody) in it’s path. The America portrayed in Zinn’s books was as distant from that in school textbooks as the Earth is from Pluto.

I keep a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” in my bathroom. Sometimes a passage from it makes me so mad that I slam the book shut. Like anybody else, my first impulse is to blame the messenger. Why, I mutter, couldn’t this man see the good in America?

After a few moments, I realize (again) that he did. He was a patriot. He loved this nation so much that he devoted his life to the study of it. He loved it so much that he knew all the ugly and hateful bits of it. He loved it so much that he urged his readers to fix it.

I hope we do.

More than anything, Zinn despised bullshit. He wasn’t going to be a cheerleader. There are more than enough of those people around.

Here are a few of Zinn’s more trenchant lines:

“If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.”

“In the United State today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.”

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

“We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate,a war against innocents, a war against children.”

“War itself is the enemy of the human race.”

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present/&/CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Friday, August 24, 2012

◗ East 4th Street between Dunn & Grant streets — Flavors of 4th Street International Food Festival, outdoor food tasting; all weekend, today noon-10pm

◗ IU CinemaJorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series: Joe Swanberg; 3pm

WonderLabTeen Night, refreshments and special activities; 5:30-8:30pm

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit openings:

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; Gallery talk by Glen Joffe; 5-6pm — Opening reception 6-8pm, on view through September 15th

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animations by Miek van Dongen; Opening reception 6-8pm — Gallery talk by the artist; 6-7:30pm, on view through September 15th

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterBuddhism in Everyday Life Series: Ani Choekye presents A Guide to Meditation; 6:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Sun Don’t Shine,” with appearance by director Amy Seimetz; 6:30pm

Ryder Film Series“The Well Digger’s Daughter” at IU Fine Arts; 6:45pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Joe Sanford; 7-9pm

Chateau Thomas Winery, Nashville — Music: Sharlee Thomas, Will Devitt; 7pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Frangipani Room — Recreational folk dancing; 7:30pm

Ryder Film Series“Take this Waltz” at IU Woodburn Hall; 8pm

Cafe DjangoMusic: Sam Huffman Trio; 8pm

The Player’s PubMusic: Impasse; 8pm

The Comedy AtticGarfunkel & Oates; 8pm

Max’s PlaceMusic: Blue Sky Back; 8:30pm

Ryder Film Series“The Pigeoneers” at IU Fine Arts; 8:45pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series outdoor presentation: “A Streetcar Named Desire”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdMusic: Clayton Anderson; 9pm

Bear’s PlaceMusic: Apollo Quad, Second Chance at Eden, Ravello; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Music: Barbara McGuire; 9:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Alexander the Last”; 9:30pm

The Comedy AtticGarfunkel & Oates; 10:30pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “V/H/S,” with appearance by director Joe Swanberg; 11:55pm

The BishopMusic: Cherub; Midnight


◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • “Media Life,” drawings and animation by Miek von Dongen; through September 15th

  • “Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture”; through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

One thought on “The Pencil Today:

  1. bill says:

    That Zinn’s work clashes greatly with the scribes of Opposite World verifies nearly every word he wrote. A country in which anything used to be possible has been taken down from within by parasites.

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