#10: In a time of Chimpanzees

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1.  "I was fortunate to avoid getting a university education.”

Jane is one of the most beautiful and powerful documentary films I've seen in a long, long time. It's a portrait of Jane Goodall, a self-taught anthropologist who had enough fortitude, patience, courage, and wisdom to be the first human to ever successfully coexist with wild chimpanzees and study their behavior to better unlock and understand our own human nature. Her reliance on observation and what's actually happening in the moment rather than on theory is a sparkling testament to the power of simple attention directed at a worthy subject. A truly glorious film, and one that breaks your heart with its humanity and its love for all of life. Run as fast as a cheetah to watch this. Or be a lazy bones and merely watch the trailer here

 

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2.  More bloodshed, this time in a small Texas town, in a church. What a fucking horrific reality we live in––my eyes were puffy all week from the tears; sometimes I couldn't help water drops from rolling down my face in the middle of dinner. But leaky or not, people of character keep their intentions clear and they consistently get at it, showing up to local meetings, writing their congressmen,  setting up protests, suggesting alternatives, attempting to hear the other side from the heart. This is one of the best attempts I've read yet: 

 

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"That’s the blunt, damning truth: Sunday’s horror was 100 percent predictable. After each such incident, we mourn the deaths and sympathize with the victims, but we do nothing fundamental to reduce our vulnerability.

Some of you will protest, as President Trump did, that it’s too soon to talk about guns, or that it is disrespectful to the dead to use such a tragedy to score political points. Yet more Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, since 1970 (about 1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history going back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.3 million). And it’s not just gang-members: In a typical year, more pre-schoolers are shot dead in America (about 75) than police officers are.
 

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Yes, making America safer will be hard: There are no perfect solutions. The Second Amendment is one constraint, and so is our polarized political system and the power of the gun lobby. It’s unclear how effective some of my suggestions will be, and in any case this will be a long, uncertain, uphill process.

But automobiles are a reminder that we can chip away at a large problem through a public health approach: Just as auto safety improvements have left us far better off, it seems plausible to some gun policy experts that a sensible, politically feasible set of public health steps could over time reduce firearm deaths in America by one-third – or more than 10,000 lives saved each year.

So let’s not just shed tears for the dead, give somber speeches and lower flags. Let’s get started and save lives."

 

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3. We've also had another week in which sexual abuse and harassment charges, and in Louis C.K's case, public admission of dick-wagging and wrong-doing and harm, have been pouring forth. Here's what bell hooks had to say about the root of the problem:

“The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.” 

Men have character work to do. Let's find our spiritual elders and wake up and grow up. Don't know where to start? Read this:

 

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4. Beer and Book Club remains beautiful! Our next meeting is Friday, November 17th, 6:30 pm-8:00pm @ Radio Coffee! (Note the change in time to help folks avoid the worst of Austin Traffic) In theory, we'll be discussing all the way up to part II, but come as you are, no matter how much you've read. We need you! You'll begin to understand how to genuinely engage with those you can't understand which is important if we're serious about not blowing up each other and our planet. So quit talking shit on Facebook and Twitter and do something that will actually help. Please and thank you. 

 

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