This Week’s Essential Reading

y usual Saturday round-up of interesting and compelling articles from elsewhere that I’ve stumbled upon over the past week, this time with a decidedly political flavour:

UK MP George Galloway Rips Congress: Read the full transcript of the remarks by the guy who testified in his own defence against the accusing US Senate Committee on Homeland Security, remarks that were so devastating to this bunch of witch-hunting, bullying clowns that they have been pulled from the official Congressional record. You tell ’em, George. Thanks to Cyndy for tracking this story: Here’s her link to an interview with Galloway by Thom Hartmann.

Empowering Citizens With Film: The illustrious Canadian National Film Board has a new program,  CitizenShift, to encourage and enable documentary and investigative film projects by ordinary citizens. It’s supported by a comprehensive online site with many excerpts from films made under the auspices of the program.

Reforming Education: Capitalizing on the success of some recent documentary features and the power of the visual media, a group of filmmakers is working with esteemed education critic John Taylor Gatto to make a damning and enlightening 6-hour documentary on formalized Western education, with a bold prescription for its long-overdue reformation.

Explaining the Red-Blue State Gap: US Conservative journalist Steve Sailer has written a fascinating series of articles on the demographic differences between red and blue states, and why those differences allow Republicans to win so many elections. The articles (Baby Gap, Marriage Gap, Mortgage Gap and Real Estate Gap) are supported by extensive statistical data. Sailer maps out a program for his beloved Bush that includes a strong anti-immigration and anti-environment platform, piping Canadian water in to make the US plains more ‘habitable’, and encouraging younger marriage and more babies. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

Rediscovering Oscar Wilde: I read The Importance of Being Earnest in high school, but only recently became aware of how many popular expressions (the one I used the other day, “nothing succeeds like excess” and “a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” among them) were penned by Wilde during his short (he died at 46) tumultuous life.. Since then I’ve discovered these Wilde gems (remember many of these are tongue-in-cheek, and they’re all more than a century old):

  • Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
  • Biography lends to death a new terror.
  • Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
  • I don’t want to earn my living; I want to live.
  • Imagination is given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour to console him for what he is.
  • The problem with conversation is that the clever people never listen, and the stupid people never talk.
  • A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
  • One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.
  • Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
  • The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for.
  • Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
  • Each time one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it.
  • Beauty is a form of genius – is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.
  • Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas.
  • As soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all.
  • Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
  • A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?
  • How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?
  • A pessimist is one who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.
  • It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.
  • Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.
  • I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.
  • One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

Cartoon by Wiley Miller from the wonderful strip Non-Sequitur.

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4 Responses to This Week’s Essential Reading

  1. Jon Husband says:

    funny … I have The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde at my bedside, and it has been the mainstay of my bedtime reading for the last month

  2. dave says:

    So you’re supporting the racist, lying, despicable George Galloway now? Wow.

  3. Kevin Carson says:

    “…piping Canadian water in to make the US plains more ‘habitable’….”Ah! In other words, corporate welfare to ADM and Cargill–brought to you by the Adam Smith Institute’s favorite “free market libertarian.”

  4. ochreous says:

    If you weren’t already aware of it, Ths BBC has a realplayer feed of Mr. Galloway’s testimony. It would make a nice addition to the links provided above. Congressman Coleman can’t disappear that!

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