Think List


22

November 1, 2020


Wake Up Time

Nobody in This Whole Goddamn Prison Did Anything

Dave Chappelle: That special [Sticks & Stones] was my second favorite. And the thing that I really liked about it was that it was very difficult at the time to say any of those things.
You come out there like ... You're cool. You don't give a fuck, but it's gut-wrenching, 'cause you are subject to the interpretation of so many people. And I understand why people take objection to this material and all that, but it's ... It's worth exploring. It's a well-intentioned piece.
David Letterman: Well, maybe this is loftier than I'm smart enough to put together, but without disagreement, do you learn anything?
Chappelle: In that particular special?
Letterman: No, no, generally speaking, if we all agreed—Everybody here all agreed on everything, what's to learn?
Chappelle: That's exactly right. I think that we're unpacking so much that they've got to leave some kind of room for redemption. The more room you leave for redemption, the more room there is for people to be honest. And if you want to get to the bottom of any of these things, any of these issues that keep getting raised, it's going to require some honesty and definitely some forgiveness.
Nobody in this whole goddamn prison did anything, as the old saying goes, but everybody did something. And if we make it contextual, we can actually honestly address what we've done. We can even figure out what is happening, why these things are being perpetuated, et cetera. Then we'll come to a more comprehensive understanding, but this tightrope walk just makes everybody not want to get caught.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Dave Chappelle, S3:E3, October 2020

Mercy’s Antithesis

As far as I can see, cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty)—moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.
Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society. Compassion is the primary experience—the heart event—out of which emerges the genius and generosity of the imagination. Creativity is an act of love that can knock up against our most foundational beliefs, and in doing so brings forth fresh ways of seeing the world. This is both the function and glory of art and ideas. A force that finds its meaning in the cancellation of these difficult ideas hampers the creative spirit of a society and strikes at the complex and diverse nature of its culture.
But this is where we are. We are a culture in transition, and it may be that we are heading toward a more equal society—I don’t know—but what essential values will we forfeit in the process?

Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files Issue #109, August 2020

The Way I See It

President Obama again and again would come back to, "Okay, if we do what you're proposing, how is it likely to play out?" He welcomed dissent and debate and discussion. His belief was that he would make the best decisions if he had been exposed to the greatest array of counterarguments, alternative viewpoints.

Samantha Power (Former US Ambassador to the United Nations), The Way I See It

Healing From the Center Out

[Biden's] core message, which has been remarkably consistent, is not a divisive or partisan one. It is neither angry nor bitter. Despite mockery and scorn from some understandably embittered partisans, he has a hand still held out if Republicans want to cooperate. In this speech at Warm Springs, where Biden invoked the legacy of FDR, you can feel the Obama vibe, so alien to the woke: “Red states, blue states, Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, and Liberals. I believe from the bottom of my heart, we can do it. People ask me, why are you so confident Joe? Because we are the United States of America.”
[...]
His closing message has been about healing—from the wounds of Covid, economic crisis, and resilient racism. And if there is one thing Biden really knows in his heart and soul it is healing. Recovering from the loss of a wife, a daughter and a son requires a profound sense of how to take the hits that life can bring, how to stay strong while accepting vulnerability, and how to move slowly forward.
This is how he put it last week, as he related to the isolating, desolating casualties of Covid19: “Alone in a hospital room, alone in a nursing home, no family, no friends, no loved ones beside them in those final moments, and it haunts so many of the surviving families, families who were never given a chance to say goodbye. I, and many of you know, what loss feels like when you lose someone you love, you feel that deep black hole opening up on your chest and you feel like you’re being swallowed into it.”
I have felt that way for four years now. What I grieve is an idea of America that is decent, generous, big-hearted, and pragmatic, where the identity of a citizen, unqualified, unhyphenated, is the only identity you need. I miss a public discourse where a president takes responsibility even for things beyond his full control, where the fault-lines of history are not mined for ammunition but for greater understanding, where, in Biden’s words, we can once again see the dignity in each other. I am not a fool, and know how hard this will be. But in this old man, with his muscle memory of what we have lost, and his ability to move and change in new ways, we have an unexpected gift.

Andrew Sullivan, The Weekly Dish, October 2020

Wake Up Time

And it's wake up time
Time to open up your eyes
And rise and shine

Tom Petty, "Wake Up Time", Wildflowers