Happy 4th! I’m still recovering from my weekend of little sleep, grilling out, and eating lots of peaches. I miss it all already.
Here’s what’s been brewing over the weekend:
In his book, Michael Billig coined the term “banal nationalism” to draw attention to the ways in which nationalism was not only a quality of gun-toting, flag-waving “extremists” (p. 5), but was quietly and rather invisibly reproduced by all of us in our daily lives.
So, what’s the problem with banal nationalism? Sociologists have critiqued nationalism for being the source of an irrational commitment and loyalty to one’s nation, a commitment that makes one willing to both die and kill…. [Read on]
Read more: Check out Michael Billig’s book Banal Nationalism
A few months ago I read about encouraging advances in the science of male contraception. That led me on a long search to speak to the leading minds in the field.
As readers know, I had a vasectomy several years ago. But I have several buddies who are either on the fence about wanting kids or don’t want them right this second. So, for those guys, I wanted to ask these scientists: What’s taking so long? [Read on]
- The Good Men Project – “Male Birth Control Takes a Step Forward in the US” by Ryan O’Hanlon which discusses how a new male contraceptive RISUG will begin testing in the US within 5 years.
- MaleContraceptives.org – an information database on male contraception techniques and the important discussions behind them.
- MaleContraceptives’s page on RISUG
Georgia is having mixed results with a new program replacing migrant farm workers with probationers.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal started the program after farmers complained a crackdown on illegal immigrants was scaring away the mostly Latino workers needed to harvest labor-intensive crops like blueberries and cucumbers. (This article sparks a plethora of conversation points – worker’s rights, prisoner’s rights, the value of migrant work and the claim that migrant workers take jobs from US citizens, and the intersections of class, race, and ethnicity to name a few.) [Read on]
- LivingHistoryFarm.org – “POWS Work the Fields” about how we enlisted about 12,000 German POWS to work as farm laborers near Fort Robinson, Nebraska.
- The Red Phoenix – “America’s Plantation Prisons” by Maya Schenwar who investigated how largely African American prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary work as farm laborers in slave-like conditions. Read more about their experiences on Angola farm and the organizations fighting for their rights here.
“The moment when something is transformed into something else is the most beautiful moment; it’s a magical moment,” said Brazilian artist Vik Muniz in the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary Waste Land (in Portuguese, “Lixo Extraordinário”), directed by Lucy Walker, João Jardim and Karen Harley.
The movie tells the remarkable story of how the “catadores,” scavengers of recyclable materials found in an enormous landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, are coached by Muniz to transform mountains of discarded items into breathtaking works of art….[Read on]
NPR also has a few more articles on the project. Check them out: