New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Dirty No More!

May 29, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Family, Politics

Cultural Recuperation and the Case of Southern Italy

by Diane Lefer

Last month I learned about a genocide I had never known of before. It happened not in an isolated unknown part of the world, but in Southern Italy, the ancestral home of members of my own family. Even more shocking to me, Southern Italians themselves are only now beginning to learn the facts of this ethnic cleansing, in large part thanks to the books of Pino Aprile, journalist and Southerner. Terroni: All That Has Been Done to Ensure That The Italians of The South Became “Southerners” had an electrifying effect on my friend Enzo Fina who comes from Lecce, in the heel of Italy’s boot. Enzo is half of the duo Musicàntica, the other half being Roberto Catalano, ethnomusicologist from Sicily. Based in Southern California, they keep the music and traditions of Southern Italy alive.

“You grow up knowing there’s something that isn’t right,” Roberto told me.

“You have feelings, even if unconscious,” said Enzo. (more…)

The Oracle Says…

May 18, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Mary Sojourner

“We Told You So…”

by Mary Sojourner

Spring 1973, Atlanta. My lover was a professor of psychology, a man more familiar with suburban angst and tenure and fretting about interest rates rather than whether the month is going to outlast the income. I was thirty-three, had lived with my three kids in communes for six years; started food co-ops and collective day care centers; and had seen my friends lug their hand-thrown pots, hand-dipped candles, and hand-woven shawls to craft fairs and tiny stores in the heart of the dying city in which I lived.

“You’re going to love this,” he said. “Underground Atlanta! It’s the next phase of what you and your friends have been creating.”

We descended by escalator into an inferno of neon and charm. “Dear God,” I said to my lover, “may you be wrong.” We were surrounded by chain boutiques, chain craft shops, chain yogurt stands, and what were then called fern bars — cutesy joints with fake antiques on their walls and menus some think tank had designed. (more…)

The Good Word

February 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Family, Walt Anderson

Taking Stock and Investing in Shares

by Walt Anderson

Am I allowed to postdate a New Year’s Resolution?

Taking stock.  No, I am not talking about financial matters — something much more important actually.  The arrival of 2012 reminds me to reflect upon my life, not on transient accomplishments or on political or social disappointments.  Few of those things are lasting, scarcely more significant in my life than the taste of yesterday’s breakfast.  What was it that I ate, anyway?

What should be important is what I chose to share with others.  My vow this year — one that is much more realistic than how many pounds I will lose, how often I intend to work out, or what yard work I may or may not get to — is to open myself to greater sharing. (more…)

Writing Instruction as Social Practice

August 16, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Diane Lefer

What I Did (and Learned) in Barrancabermeja, Colombia

by Diane Lefer

Friends and family expressed concern when I said I was going to Colombia. Isn’t it dangerous? So I got a kick out of the tourism video Avianca showed en route: Colombia! The risk is that you won’t want to leave!

Apparently something of the sort happened to Yolanda Consejo Vargas, dancer and theatre artist born in Mexico, and her husband Italian-born director Guido Ripamonti when they found themselves in 2007 in Barrancabermeja, specifically in Comuna 7, which began as a neighborhood of squatters–people who’d been driven out of the countryside by violence, had landed in the city and were struggling to get by. The area was controlled by the guerrilla forces of the ELN. Then rightwing paramilitary death squads swept in, disrupting a Mothers Day celebration in 1998, killing and disappearing civilians, including children, while the Colombian military failed to intervene. The people of Comuna 7 organized, intent on reweaving the social fabric and creating a culture of peace. (more…)