Scroll down to the third item posted on your friends’ Facebook walls. Comment “that’s racist.” Collect the responses in chronological order as the dialogue for a four character play.


Write down the names of as many fruits as you can in 60 seconds. Write a poem using nothing but the letters in those words, and omitting nine of them.

Be an arrival

You are crying and your skin is greasy and you can’t stop farting and what about the impact of agriculture on human metabolism and diet and besides, all language depends on the sexual the sexualization of violence, so what you have to do is at all times and thoughts, be an arrival.

Products and Consumption

I had a dream in which a performance artist and writer gave me a copy of one of her books while I was sitting in the audience for one of her readings. I carved the spine off of the book and ate it. Later, she said that her fans were horrified and she asked me why. I told her I was exploring the notion that people “consume content,” and the reduction of textuality to content and information. That’s as effective and clear a description of my personal project as any.

As I woke up, I found myself thinking about the ideas of “personal projects” and “works,” and how they, too, are in the gravity well of products and consumption. Also, the spine of the book tasted like cheese.


Sometimes…it’s that barely tuned-out shriek of increasingly intolerable stupidities, the howl so loud that even the walls of your bubble hum, high-pitched, that defies you to keep not hearing it…

Abydene dessert

Whenever something unpleasant happens as a result of someone having shown up at the wrong time, we are accustomed to call it an “Abydene dessert.” This is because the people of Abydos, whenever they entertain a fellow-citizen or a foreigner, bring their children around to be admired after the ointments and the crowns. Those in attendance are disturbed by both the nurses clamoring and the children screaming. Hence it has become customary to say the foregoing.

(Ἀβυδηνὸν ἐπιφόρημα: ὅταν ἀκαίρως τινὸς ἐπιφανέντος ἀηδία τις ᾖ, εἰώθαμεν λέγειν Ἀβυδηνὸν ἐπιφόρημα. διὰ τὸ τοὺς Ἀβυδηνοὺς, ὅταν τινὰ τῶν πολιτῶν ἢ ξένων ἑστιῶσι, μετὰ τὸ μύρον καὶ τοὺς στεφάνους τὰ παιδία περιφέρειν φιληθησόμενα. τῶν τε τιθηνῶν θορυβουσῶν τῶν τε παιδίων κεκραγότων ἐνοχλεῖσθαι τοὺς παρόντας. ἀφ’ οὗ εἴθισται λέγειν τὸ προκείμενον.)

“Abydene Dessert.” Suda On Line. Suda On Line and the Stoa Consortium. Web.

Viral Indifference

I’m surprised to see how many otherwise decent people are willing to scoff at the impact of the ebola crisis. Entirely reputable epidemiologists describe it as the worst global public health outbreak since AIDS. Yet oh-so-self-satisfied people congratulate themselves for being too reasonable to be concerned. So, as with its spread, the current outbreak of ebola is the worst failure of compassion since AIDS, too.

Ultimately, reasons to withhold empathy fall under two headings: “it doesn’t affect me,” or “other things kill more people,” framed as a demonstration of superiority to the media hype. But media aside, neither one of these dismissals counts as release from the ethical responsibility of concern. The opposite of panic is not indifference; both spread all-too quickly.

To pursue the parallel, one might note similar dismissals of AIDS from the 1980s. Some said, “it’s not my problem, because it only happens to ‘those people,'” whoever they happen to be. Others said, “why should we worry about that when there are more serious and more important health issues that affect ‘us?'” Neither of these stray too far from simply saying, “I don’t have to worry about that.”

But we all do. We are all responsible to each other, even if in just our basic compassion and concern.