476 Slices
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Medium 9780253019059

Around the State

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Indiana preacher earns 101 Boy Scout merit badges, and
now he’s out to get the only two that are left

CLINTON, Ind.—His name is the Rev. Clyde Covington Pearce, but all the kids in Clinton call him “Pearce.” He’s the only preacher I’ve ever known that a kid could walk up to and call by his last name, just as though he were another kid.

He must be a good preacher, because he doesn’t act like a preacher at all. He’s about 6 foot 3, and athletic looking, and speaks not in mournful language. He’s in his 40s, I’d say.

I’m writing about him, not because he’s a preacher, but because he has the very great distinction of possessing more Boy Scout merits than anybody in America. Probably more than anybody in the world.

Under the Boy Scout setup, 103 merits are available. Pearce has 101 of them. The two he lacks now are “canoeing” and “citrus fruit raising.” He’s going to get the canoeing one this summer, and the fruit one as soon as he can save enough money to go to Florida.

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Medium 9780253001818

Part 2 The Personal and the Political

William O'Rourke Indiana University Press ePub

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the mid-1980s, I was sitting in the living room of the first house I ever owned, watching the television show, This Old House, on PBS. Bob Vila was doing a rehab project on Cape Cod. As he would, on occasion, he took a side trip to view other real estate (Vila more often went to factories to see how house products, windows, etc., were made). He went to a home in Hyannis, on the Cape, with a view of the bay. In front of it was one of the last beach-front properties for sale in the town.

Vila pulled up behind the house, because there was no garage, and not much of a front “yard,” since the house was built on what was still dune, but a fairly beat-down one, where the land was becoming solid earth, not shifting sand.

There was bright, blinding light all around, the sun glancing off the water of Cape Cod bay and my black and white TV seemed luminous, dream-like, as Vila approached the home’s back door, which, more or less, functioned as a front door.

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Medium 9780253356864

8. Distance

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Despite its reputation as a remote sanctuary, Thoreau’s cabin was only a mile and a half from Emerson’s door, less than a mile and three quarters from his own family’s house, and barely six hundred yards from the Fitchburg railroad’s tracks. To what extent does this proximity to the very civilization disowned by Walden invalidate the book? If Stanley Cavell is right that Thoreau’s “problem is not to learn what to say to his neighbors” but “his right to declare it,” is that right undermined by the surprising lack of distance between him and his neighbors?

For some Walden readers, captivated by the idea of a heroic retreat from society, the discovery that Thoreau walked into town almost daily, often dined at home, and regularly entertained visitors seems a betrayal. Thoreau, of course, anticipates that response, insisting that the distance that matters is the one separating us from our better selves and that bridging this gulf requires the real heroism. “Is not our own interior white on the chart?” he asks in his “Conclusion,” urging his reader to “be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought” (215). Wittgenstein would propose the same project in the same terms: “If you want to go down deep you do not need to travel far; indeed, you don’t have to leave your most immediate and familiar surroundings.”

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Medium 9780253011992

1. The World of the Brivnshteler

Alice Nakhimovsky Indiana University Press ePub

The age of the brivnshteler was an age of modernization, which some Russian Jews pursued, some resisted, and most accommodated to one degree or another. The brivnshteler served as an agent of change, guiding Jewish readers in their adaption of new social, cultural, and economic realities. It was also a reflection of change, encompassing within its pages almost the full range of Jewish responses to modernization.

The earliest Russian brivnshtelers appeared against a backdrop of political and social fragmentation. In the early nineteenth century, the authority wielded by the rabbinate was under attack, as the spread of Hasidism gave rise to a competing religious establishment. The cohesion of Jewish communities was further broken by the military draft instituted by Nicholas I. With no good way out, community leaders used the children of the poor to fulfill conscription quotas dodged by the rich through influence and bribes. The kahal—the autonomous Jewish community council—continued to run local communities even after being formally outlawed in 1844,1 but its authority over individuals was considerably weakened.

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Medium 9781574416367

Chasing Bayla

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press ePub
Medium 9780892727605

The Ogre and I

Down East Books ePub

Elaine Ford

I

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Medium 9781552452585

My Friend Tasie

Heather Birrell Coach House Books ePub

My Friend Taisie

IN MY NEXT LIFE, I tell Taisie, who is drying a glass pitcher with a tea towel covered in tiny Eiffel Towers, I will come back as a dancer.

Thomas, she says, you are a dancer.

Exactly, I reply, flexing and pointing one exquisite foot. I am already a dancer. And I am thinking, thats how good it feels, thats how unlucky you are, all of you who have never danced. It is smug and mean of me to have these thoughts, but it is also the truth, and I believe that the truth, while not always possible to speak, is essential to the evolution of the spirit. Joe always said that if you cant say something out loud, you can say it to your Self and if you are lucky, your Self will listen, head cocked, eyes heavy-lidded and entranced.

Taisie picks up a sticky note from the counter. I have to remind myself of things these days, she says. The note says, Register yourself at Sears, 6th floor Help Desk.

Joe used to leave me notes around the house. Like: What, according to you, is the funniest thing ever?

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Medium 9780253000958

Speaking for the Land

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

At the dedication ceremony for the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in June 1934, the pioneering ecologist Aldo Leopold began his remarks by declaring: “For twenty centuries and longer, all civilized thought has rested upon one basic premise: that it is the destiny of man to exploit and enslave the earth. The biblical injunction to ‘go forth and multiply’ is merely one of many dogmas which imply this attitude of philosophical imperialism.”

Leopold was not shy about making such grand claims, especially when, as in this brief talk, he wished to distill a complex argument into a few words. One could cite many examples of “civilized thought,” including the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Native American cultures, that do not advocate enslavement of the Earth. And one could cite biblical injunctions that urge us to be caretakers rather than exploiters of the creation. Still, there was ample evidence in Leopold’s time that the majority of his fellow citizens regarded the Earth as purely a source of raw materials, to be mined, dammed, deforested, plowed, paved, and otherwise manipulated to suit human needs, without regard for the needs of other species and with scant regard for the needs of future generations. This attitude of “philosophical imperialism,” which wrought so much damage in the Dust Bowl years, remains powerful in our day, and is now wreaking havoc on a global scale.

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Medium 9780253018632

“I Make Them Call Him ‘Uncle’”

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a conversation with Jamaica Kincaid on AIDS, family, and My Brother (1998)

María Frías

ON A COOL and breezy July afternoon in 2006, I spoke with writer and scholar Jamaica Kincaid in her office in Harvard University’s Department of African American Studies. Only a couple of weeks earlier my youngest sister Lourdes had passed away in Madrid. She died of AIDS. At the time, I was compelled to revisit Kincaid’s story My Brother, which chronicles her brother’s diagnosis and deterioration from the same disease.

Kincaid is also the acclaimed and controversial author of many other books, including Lucy, Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter. In her canonical work A Small Place, Kincaid angrily revises the history of brutal penetration and colonization of Antigua, while she examines the pernicious impact of tourism of the island. In 2009 Jamaica Kincaid left Harvard University and moved to Claremont McKenna College outside of Los Angeles, where she is now Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and Professor of Literature. Her latest work is the novel See Now Then.

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Medium 9780253001795

4. Transcultural Night Work of U.S.-Based South American Cultural Producers

DeGuzmán, María Indiana University Press ePub

On full moon nights, I sit alone near the piers, reaching across the waters to commune with my sisters. Each standing on her own pier, shore, or river’s edge, we extend outward our spiders’ webs until our thoughts meet and our spirits touch once more.

—Mariana Romo-Carmona, “The Web,” in Speaking Like an Immigrant:
A Collection
(1998 first edition and 2010 second edition)

“Transcultural” is the adjectival form of “transculturation.” The latter term was originally coined in Spanish more than half a century ago by Cuban anthropologist and ethnographer Fernando Ortiz Fernández (1881–1969) to describe a bi-directional if not multi-directional convergence of different cultures that changes all cultures in the process, creating new hybridized cultures. He deliberately coined the term and elaborated the idea of “transculturation” as an alternate paradigm to coloniality, the dominant paradigm in the Americas including the United States, that assumes and attempts to enforce the acculturation and assimilation of what are deemed non-hegemonic nationalities, ethnicities, or cultures to what are deemed hegemonic ones.

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Medium 9781938901249

13. Butch and Sundance

Susan Spano Roaring Forties Press ePub

13

BUTCH AND SUNDANCE

“Most of what follows is true.”

That’s the opening of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the 1969 movie about two bandits born as the sun was setting over the mesas and buttes of the old Wild West.

Morally ambiguous, violent, a classic western turned inside-out, the movie struck a chord with Vietnam War–era audiences who stood and cheered when Paul Newman as Butch and Robert Redford as Sundance met a hail of bullets in a dusty Bolivian town, etching the final freeze frame onto my 15-year-old heart.

I didn’t know it then, but the movie wrote something else there: a love of sumptuous Western scenery, like the kind you see in Utah. Only part of the movie was filmed there, and the real Butch robbed banks and trains all across the West, making frequent stops at Fanny Porter’s high-class bordello in San Antonio. But with five national parks, Utah’s scenic grandeur is unrivaled in North America, and it’s also where Robert LeRoy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy, was born in 1866.

On the Parker spread in the beautiful Sevier River Valley, 200 miles south of Salt Lake City, Butch learned to be a cowboy first, and, later, how to put his brand on other peoples’ livestock. He trained his mounts not to shy at the sound of gunfire and to stand still when he jumped into the saddle from behind. Apparently, he pulled only one big job in his home state, the 1897 Pleasant Valley Coal Co. payroll robbery at Castle Gate. But between heists, he and his Wild Bunch gang often hid out in isolated nooks and crannies on Utah’s Colorado Plateau.

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Medium 9781927068304

The Sound of One Cow Grazing

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub

THE SOUND OF ONE COW GRAZING

I know a good place. By day I tramp around its trails and through its bushes, stoop like one of Gideon’s failed soldiers to drink water at its creek, gaze at things that flap and fly there, and listen to others that chirp or shriek or thump. Sometimes I talk to these creatures as if we were all children, and sometimes they reply.

But when the sun sinks below the hills across the river, stillness pervades and the dark closes in, lively critters withdraw to their thickets and nests and holes, and I am alone. There are no conveniences and no diversions — no television, no music, no toilet but an outhouse huddled in a distant black clump of trees: and if I don’t take a bottle of brandy with me, no insulation of any kind against the vastness and silence.

Here I become a boy again. In daylight, adventures beckon: spreading trees are familiar spirits, no creature fails to announce the world’s wonders. But when the place goes dark, the spooks driven off by city lights congregate, and if I’m alone I hear them, too.

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Medium 9781574412086

7. Gary Clark, “Memories of a Prairie Chicken Dance”

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 7

Gary Clark

Memories of a Prairie

Chicken Dance

Gary Clark is a dean at North Harris College and author of “Wonders of Nature,” a weekly column in the Houston Chronicle. His writing has been published in a variety of state and national magazines including AAA

Journeys, Birds & Blooms, Birder’s World, Living Bird, Rivers, Texas Highways,

Texas Parks & Wildlife, Texas Wildlife, and Women in the Outdoors. Gary’s

first book, Texas Wildlife Portfolio (Farcountry Press, 2004) is available through major booksellers.

Gary has been active in the birding and environmental community for over 25 years. He founded the Piney Woods Wildlife Society in 1982 and founded the Texas Coast Rare Bird Alert in1983. He served as president of the Houston Audubon Society from 1989 to 1991 and purchased the North

American Rare Bird Alert (NARBA) for Houston Audubon in 1990. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.

During his collegiate career, Gary has been a professor of marketing, a faculty senate president, a Teacher Excellence Award recipient, and the

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Medium 9780253356864

17. Idleness

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Walden offers itself as a practical book, but anyone hoping to find a set of immediately operable instructions will be confronted by its contradictory advice. On the one hand, the book’s first two chapters and its “Conclusion”—at once Thoreau’s most hectoring and inspiring—propose deliberation and effort as the means to a vivid, wide-awake life. In one of Walden’s most famous sentences, Thoreau declares, “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor” (64). The key word endeavor will return near the end:

I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. (217)

His repeated insistence that we “put the foundations” under our “castles in the air” (217) casts these parts of Walden in the active voice: we can work on our lives. “To affect the quality of the day,” he concludes, “that is the highest of arts” (65).

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Medium 9780253018571

The Great Convert

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

The fangs of a tiger and the mouth of a mosquito are capable of the same harm.

—IGBO PROVERB

IN MANY OF his sermons, Fr. Paul talked about the process of sanctification. He would stand on the altar, his arms half-concealed in his flowing white robe with yellow stripes, and his steps lissom as he moved about the altar, speaking and gesticulating while the congregation sat in silence as if hypnotized. Although it is now nine years past, the memory of these things is so sharp in my mind that I can still vividly recall the exact words he often used: “It is a process, a divine process akin to that of childbearing. Christ tears down the once imperforate veil of sin with the tempered force of his divine presence. And this,” he would say with great assurance, letting his eyes dart from row to row, “is the way of sanctification; of transformation.”

His own transformation began one Sunday morning in March 1984, when a band of armed robbers stormed our church during a service. Mass was going on and Fr. Paul was about to bless the sacrament, his hands raised over the bowl containing the Holy Communion, when the service was interrupted by a blast of gunshots. Within a breath, armed men entered the cathedral from all the entrances, screaming: “All of you get down. Get down! Down!” There was an immediate response as the congregation of over two hundred people flattened on the paved floor. One of the men pointed his gun to the roof again and, after a thunderous roar, I saw a bullet perforate one of the blades of the ceiling fan. From where I lay on my back near the front seat of the auditorium, I watched the hole in the now dented fan blade swirl like a revolving eye. Although the entire congregation had lain on the floor, Fr. Paul did not. He stood firmly behind the wooden podium, his hands on the Bible half-opened in front of him. As he would tell me later, although he’d found himself trembling, he’d felt as though two long nails had been driven through his feet into the firm ground, rendering him immobile. This defiance surprised the bandits.

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