New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Living, Loving Meaningfully

August 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Windy Cooler

The Revolution Will Not Be Anti-Social

by Windy Cooler

I have been ruminating lately on how much I am looking forward to school starting up again for Ob, my six year old son, because of how deeply I enjoy my time with other parents picking up their kids after school; how meaningful, powerful, and frankly, political, much of that time is.

Most of us are women. One is a grandfather and one is a stay at home father, married to the only woman he ever dated. We are very different people, religiously, in age, in personality, in class background and country of origin, to some extent, racially. We talk about everything and we have a huge impact on each other’s lives.

We jokingly call ourselves, after the suggestion of one of us, a poet and homeschooling mother, the “Playground Coven.” I usually write for activists, and I am doing it here, despite myself. I think of us sometimes, in that light, as a kind of Bughouse Square. (more…)

Shards

August 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Mary Sojourner

A Woman’s Life Offered Unto Itself

by Mary Sojourner

I wrote. When all was said and done, when I had known it was over, when I had barred the door behind my love, when I had burned his last letter, the one in which he diagnosed me as permanently broken and lost; when dust radio broadcast no more, and the word “much” meant only a great deal, then on a silver-gray day I wrote.

I wrote because to do otherwise was to negate the slab of juniper tucked in a niche below the porch roof of my little cabin. The wood was golden. A red prayer ribbon from a Tibetan nun looped through a crack in the juniper. A few weeks before my love (Code name: Monkey) had come to visit the first time, I wrote She Writes on the juniper in black marker. I wondered why I felt compelled to declare the ordinary. There had not been a day for two decades in which I hadn’t written.

A year later Monkey arrived to live in a cabin near me. A few weeks later, he began to die in front of my gaze. His ghost was hungry to move in — not to occupy Monkey’s cabin, but to seep into Monkey’s flesh, to live behind his eyes, to stare out, un-seeing and unseeable. (more…)

Material Manifestations

August 09, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Guest Author, Jay Walljasper

What Do We Lose When Experiences Go Extinct? 

by Chris Desser 

Over many years as an activist, attorney and artist working on environmental campaigns, Chris Desser began to wonder about the sensual pleasures that will disappear from our lives as more and more species go extinct. That was the genesis of her “Catalog of Extinct Experiences” — a multimedia installation at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center planned for the Fall of 2013.

“At its most basic, as we lose these experiences we lose ways of coming to consciousness,” Desser explains. “These things are all part of the commons — these experiences belong to all of us.

Some of the exhibits that she is planning for the exhibition include: images of endangered landscapes preserved in jars, like extinct species preserved in formaldehyde; recordings of soundscapes from rainforests, deserts and other threatened places; vials of perfumes made from endangered plants; honey flavored by various flowers, with empty jars for extinct species; commissioned and curated work from other artists.

(more…)

Love in the End Times

July 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jennifer Browdy, Politics

Tend to the Parts You Can Reach…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

The political horse race in American politics has begun, with both major Presidential candidates running full-tilt but ponderously towards each other like armored knights on horseback, wielding the lances of millions of dollars’ worth of attack ads and backed up by slick, smart campaign pages.

Meanwhile, it continues to be hot, hotter and unbearably hot here in the Northeast.  It was a blessing to wake up this morning to a brief soaking rain, breaking weeks of drought.

But there is no way to fool myself into hoping that things will go back to normal, weather-wise.

As many people have been saying lately, this is the new normal.

Just as we’ve gotten used to a political climate in which it’s normal for a Presidential candidate to hide his tax returns, refuse to comment on moving his millions into off-shore tax havens, and totally repudiate everything he once stood for in order to lick the shoes of his political bosses, we’re going to have to get used to a climate that lurches from one extreme to another — from blizzards to heat waves, from floods to droughts. (more…)

For Love or Money

July 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Robert C. Koehler

Saying ‘No’ to the World of the Debtors’ Hell

by Robert C. Koehler 

Poverty has always been the shadow of prosperity, but now we have an advancing global depression creating more of it — pulling in more and more of the middle class, the folks who aren’t used to it. This is where the headlines are.

Oh, the drama. A suicide epidemic manifests in struggling Europe:

“On March 28, Giuseppe Campaniello set himself on fire in front of the Equitalia office” — Italy’s tax-collection agency — “in Bologna after he received a final notice about the doubling of a fine he could not pay,” Newsweek reported last week. “He died in a burn ward nine days later.”

Economics is a cruel game. The stakes are life and death. The driving theory is simplistic, mechanical, with a cauldron of emotion and judgment bubbling just below the surface.

“Today many people want much bigger government and still more handouts; these freeloaders want others to pay for their sloth,” writes Richard M. Salsman in Forbes. “‘Soak the rich,’ they cry, for the rich allegedly have no right to the wealth they’ve actually earned, but the freeloaders supposedly have a ‘right’ to the wealth they didn’t earn.” (more…)

A Mother’s Day Manifesto

May 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Family, Windy Cooler

Promoting Personal and Communal Responsibility

by Windy Cooler

“Bite this stick,” the doctor might have said as we birthed our children a hundred years ago. The grunting,  whimpering, sobbing, pleading, sweating, stinking, bleeding nudity of motherhood channeled into that sweet gag, silent, as the towels mount to soak up all of the  nasty animal we are as we labor with the promise of life. Bite this stick.

To date, my most popular blog entry (Of Mice and Moms), is one in which I refuse the bite the stick. It is  vaguely about Mother’s Day and it is, honestly, the kind of screaming that does not produce life. Birth is a channeling of the pain, down, not up into the air,  pushing through it, sinking, a kind of focus that for all the animal smell, is what is truly animal. But the response from other mothers, and even fathers,  people in general, to my scream was huge.  I was a little taken aback. We are angry. We are sad. (more…)

A Healing Justice?

May 02, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Overcoming the State of Fear Through Restorative Practices

by Robert C. Koehler

This was the headline: “Zimmerman, Martin’s parents to face off in court.”

The words, of course, merely summed up a moment in the news cycle last week. We, the news-consuming public, were primed — by CBS, but it could have been any mainstream outlet — for a tidbit of potential drama the next day in the hottest murder trial around right now. But in the process, we were also silently reminded, yet again, that everything is spectacle. At the level at which we call ourselves a nation, nothing is serious, not even matters of life and death.

There’s something so painful about all this — painful beyond the horror of the crime itself, or the national murder rate. The 24-7 media trivialize the stakes and gleefully report the “courtroom drama” as a sporting event; but even more distressingly, the legal bureaucracy swings into motion without the least awareness of any value beyond its own procedures. It all happens with a certainty of purpose that generates the illusion that things are under control and social order prevails. But none of this has anything to do with what social order actually requires when harm has occurred, which is . . . healing. (more…)