New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Waking Life

March 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Randall Amster

You Don’t Need a Clock to Know What Time It Is

by Randall Amster

With each passing day, the news grows increasingly grim. In recent weeks alone, we’ve seen women’s rights under assault as reactionary forces seek to turn the clock back by decades. Half a world away in Afghanistan, corpses are defiled and more are brutally created, without even their ages or innocence sufficient to protect them. Meanwhile, back at home, Congress passes and President Obama signs a new law that further restricts the ability of “we the people” to say or do anything that might stem the tide of the insanity. It’s all such a familiar tune, one that plays out with flawless precision in nearly every turn of the news cycle.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere buzzes along, chronicling the morass and the madness with vigor. The headlines read like an excruciating autopsy of democracy and justice in the late, great United States — and a horrifying blueprint for how to decimate that portion of the planet’s inhabitants who have the misfortune of living atop, amid, or around something that we covet. Naked fascism here and wanton destruction there, with each solidifying the other in our hearts and minds as the gears of consumer culture blithely grind about their business with clocklike precision. Tick: the Dow Jones goes up! Tock: another celebrity melts down! And hardly anyone seems to really know what time it is… (more…)

Sister, You’re an Addict

March 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Mary Sojourner

Empowerment Is Not Spelled C-R-A-Z-Y B-U-S-Y

by Mary Sojourner

In the early Seventies, I was the divorced working mother of three kids, a community activist, peacenik, teacher — and a fool for weak men. In those days, Redbook magazine ran short stories by women, about women, for women. One night after kids and boyfriend were tucked in bed, my ad for the food co-op written, my lesson plan for my next class written and I was too wired to sleep, I opened Redbook. By the time I finished that month’s story, I knew sleep would be possible. And that I was neither depressed nor crazy — I was exhausted.

The writer had taken me through a day in the life of a dead woman who did not have time to die. The young wife and mother suffered a fatal stroke as she was racing up the stairs with three bags of groceries so she could start dinner, clean the apartment, stuff dirty laundry in a bag to take to the laundry and get to the school to pick up her kids. She knew she was dead. And, she had to keep going. (more…)

Stepping Away

February 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Mary Sojourner

An Experiment in Research Methods

by Mary Sojourner

The world outside my writing room window is diamond bright. Gleaming black ravens hop and posture around the corn chips and unshelled peanuts I’ve scattered for their breakfast. Conan, a ferocious tassel-eared squirrel half a raven’s size, scoots down the apartment wall and dashes into the birds. They step aside. If I were prone to anthropomorphizing, I would conjecture that they are muttering, “Sheesh, it’s that pushy kid again. Humor him.” Conan stuffs corn chips in his cheeks and races off.

There’s a flash of sapphire. A Steller’s jay drops down to grab one of the peanuts. He gobbles one, then grabs a second and flies off. “Hey,” I say, “you’ll choke.” He’s back in a forager’s heartbeat and I find myself wondering about that first peanut. Did he swallow it whole? Did he tuck it somewhere behind his beak? (more…)