musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Politics

The Art of the Con: Donald Trump, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the Divided States of America

In the past year, I have probably read more political commentary than I have over the course of my lifetime. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in politics and society before this election, but for a variety of reasons, this election cycle felt far more important and personal, and got me to questioning where exactly I stood on the bloody battlefield.

This article has been several months in the making. I’d start, then stop, then start again. The target kept moving. Every news article about Donald J. Trump, every nutty thing that emerged from his mouth, every media outcry, public reaction and friend’s Facebook post, and I would be rethinking my perspective. In the end, what I thought would be a philosophical view from high above the fray, as an impartial observer, became a hard look around myself, at the convictions and beliefs of friends on both sides of the divide, at self-righteous liberals in my own family and at the world outside my strange bubble. Because, as progressive and enlightened as we may like to think we are, we all live within our own self-created reality and, increasingly, in “reality bubbles” that only serve to reinforce our world view.

As the dust begins to settle, I see blindness and intolerance on both ends of the spectrum. I make no attempt here to arrive at any truths or come to any definitive conclusions. These are only observances. Read on Medium.com.

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Emmaar, Tinariwen’s Return to the Desert

[For the abridged version of this article, see Ryan’s Smashing Life]

The past few years have been difficult for the people of Mali. There was a devastating drought and armed conflicts which made the country unsettled for the long-suffering population. There were military coups, people were out of work and farmers were unable to plant their crops and raise livestock. Poor harvests continued into 2013, while road conditions and security issues hindered relief efforts. Aid groups warned of a serious food crisis with as many as three million people at risk. There continues to be political instability, even after French troops successfully ousted Islamic jihadists who had taken over Northern Mali and were trying to impose sharia law.

That isn’t your typical album review introduction, but then again, North African Tuareg band Tinariwen isn’t your typical band. They were founded in the Tuareg camps in Libya in the 1980s, where these nomadic people had relocated. They were looking for work and to rebuild their lives after fleeing their Saharan homeland. Truth is, the Tuareg have been continuously moved from places they tried to call home since the late 1960s. They traveled through Mali, Algeria, Libya, Chad, Mauritania and Niger. In all of these regions, they were considered refugees. They were (and continue to be) a people without a home. It is a complicated story.

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Strike up the band, The Bread & Puppet Theater are back in town!

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

The Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Cambridge Common, Cambridge MA (Mass. Ave & Garden St., near Harvard Square)
Sunday, September 2nd, 3pm – FREE! (rain or shine)
to kick off Harvard Square’s annual “Revival Month”

Sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council and the Harvard Square Business Association

What better way to celebrate (and ridicule) the Ridiculous Neverending Circus of this political campaign year with that esteemed bastion of progressive thought, The Bread and Puppet Theater!

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