Monthly Check-In

Hello folks. I just heard the news about Tom Fox. The CPT are eloquent on the loss of their brother. A single tragedy linked to a vast tragedy – Fox’s own life and death were about making those links, between the individual lives of Iraqis and the war against them, the individual ethical decisions people make from one day to the next on how to face a huge machinery of evil.

* * *


Hello folks. I just heard the news about Tom Fox. The CPT are eloquent on the loss of their brother. A single tragedy linked to a vast tragedy – Fox’s own life and death were about making those links, between the individual lives of Iraqis and the war against them, the individual ethical decisions people make from one day to the next on how to face a huge machinery of evil.

* * *

I haven’t been around so much lately. I am still here. It’s a bit of a fallow period I like to think. I’ve been seeing what it’s like to not keep up with events, to read and think about things I don’t usually, and try to sort out other aspects of my life. I suspect I’ll get going again before long, but in the mean time I’ll try to check in occasionally.

I got to spend some time with Patrick Elie in Toronto a couple of weeks ago. That was good.

I’ve been reading a lot of different things, a lot of them not really political. I’ve read a bunch of psychology, stuff that I used to think was flaky but, having looked into it, found some nuggets in. Some highlights:

-Addiction by Patrick Carnes
-Sexuality by Susie Bright
-Verbal Self-Defense by Suzette Haden Elgin
-Stuff on anxiety from various sources (analytical and behavioural therapy approaches), stuff on depression and anger, also from various sources, including one called “How to Deal With Emotionally Explosive People” that was quite useful.
-The more political/psychological classics, like Fromm and Reich
-Some decent ones on male psychology, including one called “When Good Men Behave Badly”
-Beverly Engel

Other random reading: “Maximum City” by Suketu Mehta. That was a hell of a book. The access he got – makes me want such a book for every city, including my own. “Freakonomics”: interesting, but the “breakthrough” thinking exhibited is marred by failure to do the obvious comparisons – their quick look at money in elections without comparison to spending in other democracies, their look at the drug economy without comparison to places without such brutal prohibition, their look at standardized testing without looking at educational outcomes in places that don’t use such tests as the benchmark (look at Lani Guinier’s work, for example. I haven’t – I just saw the recent interview republished on ZNet and found it fascinating). And after so many cautions to the reader about the difference between correlation and causation, they seem to make some major leaps from correlations…

Okay folks. That’s it for now. See you soon.

Author: Justin Podur

Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.