Issues: Preamble

Before I dive into the mosh pit of American and worldwide events I feel it is important to state my starting position. This will provide context for my positions on topics like politics, religion, economics, environmentalism, and so on.

I am a straight Caucasian male. I was born in June of 1969, which makes me a member of Generation X. Politically, I am a hodge-podge of liberal, socialist, anarchist and Green. Religiously I am predominantly Buddhist, with a strong dash of Taoism and sprinklings of Eastern Orthodox mysticism. I have a college degree and a good job as a programmer. My life is stable enough for me to occasionally feel genuinely bored.

As a straight white dude I am overwhelmingly on the side of hegemony in the United States. Every benefit it is possible to accrue simply by being born white and straight and a dude, I have accrued. In the past twenty years and eight jobs I have only *really* had to fill out a resume once. The only way I could more closely hew to the current odious version of the American Dream would be for me to be conservative and Christian.

Those last two points? Never gonna happen.

I recognize how privileged my life is, and how little I have had to work, comparatively, to make it so. The system is set up specifically for people like me, and specifically against people who are not like me. And that fact nauseates me.

As a nerdy kid in a small farm town I was bullied regularly. Not badly, compared to the suicide-inducing standards of today, but consistently. That led directly to my lifelong practice of martial arts, and to my lifelong–and steadily increasing–hatred of bullies and bullying. For the purpose of any discussion along those lines, I will define bullying simply as punching down from a position of strength. And since this is my blog, I will be the sole determiner in these discussions as to what constitutes punching down.

To go along with that definition, I also have three general rules or guidelines or aphorisms that I try to keep front-and-center:

  1. There is no such thing as an over-reaction to being bullied.
  2. In any particular situation, if you take the side of hegemony, the only direction you can punch is down.
  3. When in doubt, err on the side of compassion.

I agree that the third point is incongruous with the first two. So be it. I contain multitudes. And sometimes pie.

Issues: Preamble

2017 Reading List

Same as the 2016 reading list. This are all of the books and journals acquired/read by Yours Truly in the 2017 calendar year.

January

  1. Suah, BaeRecitation (Deep Vellum)
  2. Klougart, JosefineOf Darkness (Deep Vellum)
  3. Manson, MarkThe Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  4. Blasim, Hassan (ed). – Iraq + 100 (Comma Press UK)
  5. The Long List Anthology vol. 2 (Diabolical Plots LLC)
  6. More, ThomasUtopia
  7. Harrison, JimRepublican Wives (novella)
  8. Žižek, SlavojEvent
  9. Volodine, AntoineRadiant Terminus (Open Letter Books)
  10. Chopra, Serena – IC (Horse Less Press)
  11. Anderson, Stephanie – Lands of Yield (Horse Less Press)

February

  1. Athitakis, MarkThe New Midwest (Belt Publishing)
  2. Atkinson, Scott (ed) – Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology (Belt Publishing)
  3. Wolin, Sheldon S.Democracy Incorporated
  4. Thompson, Hunter S.Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail ’72
  5. Thompson, Hunter S.The Great Shark Hunt
  6. Thompson, Hunter S.Generation of Swine
  7. Thompson, Hunter S.Songs of the Doomed
  8. Thompson, Hunter S.Better Than Sex
  9. Granta #138: Journeys
  10. Du Bois, W.E.B.The Souls of Black Folk (Restless Books)
  11. Weir, AndyThe Martian
  12. Aira, CésarThe Proof (And Other Stories)
  13. Dick, Philip K. – The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
  14. Noll, João GilbertoAtlantic Hotel (Two Lines Press)
  15. Two Lines, Issue 26
  16. Harrison, JimA Really Big Lunch

March

  1. Eco, UmbertoThe Name of the Rose
  2. Xue, CanFrontier (Open Letter Books)
  3. England, AndreaOther Geographies (Creative Justice Press)
  4. Robinson, Kim StanleyNew York 2140
  5. Hines, Jim C.Revisionary
  6. Sterling, BrucePirate Utopia (Tachyon Publications)
  7. Castillo, AnaPeel My Love Like an Onion
  8. Castillo, AnaBlack Dove (Feminist Press)
  9. Blackburn, PaulThe Collected Poems (Persea Books)
  10. Castillo, AnaWatercolor Women Opaque Men (Northwestern University Press)
  11. Li HeGoddesses, Ghosts and Demons: The Collected Poems of Li He
  12. Kicknosway, FayeWho Shall Know Them?
  13. Vallejo, CésarPoemas Humanos

April

  1. Condrescu, AndreiAlien Candor (Black Sparrow Press)
  2. Cope, David (ed) – Song of the Owashtanong (Ridgeway Press)
  3. May, JamaalHum (Alice James Books)
  4. Wright, C.D.The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, a Wedding in St. Roch, the Big Box Store, the Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All (Copper Canyon Press)
  5. Poetry Magazine, April 2017
  6. Pitol, SergioThe Magician of Vienna (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  7. Gnarr, JónThe Outlaw (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  8. Adams, John Joseph (ed.) – Cosmic Powers
  9. Conversations with Paul Bowles (University Press of Mississippi)
  10. Conversations with Chinua Achebe (University Press of Mississippi)
  11. Patterson, Jorge ZepedaMilena, or The Most Beautiful Femur in the World (Restless Books)
  12. Fresán, RodrigoThe Invented Part (Open Letter Books)
  13. Garréta, AnneNot One Day (Deep Vellum Publishing)

May

  1. VanderMeer, JeffBorne
  2. Springer, FilipHistory of a Disappearance (Restless Books)
  3. Jaeggy, FleurI Am the Brother of XX (And Other Stories)
  4. Segaloff, NatA Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison (NESFA Press) #165 of 500
  5. Dostoevsky, FyodorCrime and Punishment
  6. Dostoevsky, FyodorDemons
  7. Jussawalla, Feroza and Dasenbrock, Reed Way (eds) – Interviews with Writers of the Post-Colonial World (University Press of Mississippi)
  8. Granta #139
  9. Miéville, ChinaOctober
  10. James, D.R.Split Level (Finishing Line Press)
  11. McGookey, KathleenHeart in a Jar (White Pine Press)

June

  1. Carroll, JimLiving at the Movies
  2. Rulfo, JuanThe Golden Cockerel & Other Writings (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  3. Nowicki, WojciechSalki (Open Letter Books)
  4. Glossolalia, Issue 3
  5. Jodorowsky, AlejandroWhere the Bird Sings Best (Restless Books)
  6. Martin, George R.R.The World of Ice and Fire
  7. Hopler, JayThe Abridged History of Rainfall (McSweeney’s)
  8. Walsh, JoannaWorlds from the Word’s End (And Other Stories)
  9. Laurel, Juan Tomás ÁvilaThe Gurugu Pledge (And Other Stories)
  10. NDiaye, MarieMy Heart Hemmed In (Two Lines Press)
  11. The 3288 Review, Issue 2.4 (Caffeinated Press)

July

  1. Schafer, William (ed.) – Best of Subterranean (Subterranean Press)
  2. Alexie, ShermanThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
  3. Alexie, ShermanReservation Blues
  4. Alexie, ShermanYou Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
  5. Oliver, MaryWhy I Wake Early
  6. Open Palm Print #7
  7. Eggers, DaveZeitoun
  8. Hammond, Rose L. – Just a Poor Country Girl (Run With It)
  9. LeBel, SteveThe Universe Builders: Bernie and the Lost Girl (Argon Press)
  10. LeBel, SteveThe Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty (Argon Press)
  11. Davis, JeanThe Last God
  12. McClure, Patricia M.Losing a Hero to Alzheimer’s
  13. Payne, J. ScottThe Green Hell (Argon Press)
  14. Compton, Deanna J.Freecurrent: The Legacy (In God’s Hands Publishing)
  15. The Best of McSweeney’s (McSweeney’s)
  16. Torres, FernandaThe End (Restless Books)
  17. Bergsson, Guðbergur – Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller (Open Letter Books)

August

  1. Dickie, TenzinOld Demons, New Deities (O/R Books)
  2. Carroll, JonathanThe Crow’s Dinner (Subterranean Press)
  3. Sterling, BruceHeavy Weather
  4. Sterling, BruceGlobalhead
  5. Russell, Mary DoriaThe Sparrow
  6. Blas de Roblès, Jean-MarieIsland of Point Nemo (Open Letter Books)
  7. Kenny, TimothyFar Country (Bottom Dog Press)
  8. Steadman, RalphExtinct Boids
  9. Steadman, RalphNextinction
  10. Shrestha, RomioGoddesses of the Celestial Gallery (Mandala Publishing)
  11. YossA Planet for Rent (Restless Books)

September

  1. Hernández, CarlosThe Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (Rosarium Publishing)
  2. Merwin, W.S.The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon Press)
  3. Merwin, W.S.The Essential W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)
  4. Two Lines, issue 27
  5. The Paris Review, issue 222
  6. Powers, TimMedusa’s Web; signed #462 of 474 (Subterranean Press)
  7. Gallagher, StephenThe Authentic William James; signed #279 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
  8. Carroll, JonathanThe Crow’s Dinner; signed #312 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
  9. Egan, GregThe Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred; signed #669 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
  10. Grant, MiraFinal Girls; signed #1161 of 1250 (Subterranean Press)
  11. Bujold, Lois McMasterPenric and the Shaman  (Subterranean Press)
  12. Kiernan, Caitlin R.Dear Sweet Filthy World (Subterranean Press)
  13. Resnick, MikeVoyages; signed #911 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
  14. Reynolds, AlastairBeyond the Aquila Rift (Subterranean Press)
  15. Shepard, LuciusFive Autobiographies and a Fiction (Subterranean Press)
  16. Silverberg, RobertEarly Days; signed #626 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
  17. Pugliese, NicolaMalacqua (And Other Stories)
  18. Boullosa, CarmenHeavens on Earth (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  19. Lahens, Yanick – Moonbath (Deep Vellum Publishing)
  20. Brandt, Per AageIf I Were a Suicide Bomber (Open Letter Books)

October

  1. Suah, BaehNorth Station (Open Letter Books)
  2. Neruda, PabloBook of Twilight (Copper Canyon Press)
  3. Chamoiseau, PatrickTexaco
  4. Bishop, K.J.The Etched City
  5. Akhmatova, Anna – Selected Poems
  6. Navarro, Elvira – A Working Woman (Two Lines Press)
  7. Unnikrishnan, Deepak – Temporary People (Restless Books)
  8. Cruz, Victor Hernandez – Red Beans (Coffee House Press)
  9. Michigan Quarterly, vol. 56 No. 2
  10. McSweeney’s #50
  11. Jemisen, N.K. – The Fifth Season
  12. VanderMeer, Jeff – Annihilation
2017 Reading List