Week In Review
The Week In Review is a roundup of interesting, inspiring or thought-provoking things I've read this week. "How are you to imagine anything if the images are always provided for you? To defend ourselves...we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief system. We all need these skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds." -- Adrien Brody
Melania Trump causes controversy with her New Year’s dress by Dolce and Gabbana | Caroline Leaper, The Telegraph
...while many designers have so far remained quiet when Melania has chosen to wear their clothes (with some even suggesting that she bought them off-the-rack, and therefore without their consent) Stefano Gabbana was quick to take to Instagram to express his pride in dressing the incoming FLOTUS. But simply posting his thanks to Melania and declaring her to be a ‘#DGwoman’ was enough to start rows on the social media platform, prompting over 1,000 comments from the designer’s followers and fans.
Capitalism Is the Problem | Richard D. Wolff, Truthout
Over the last century, capitalism has repeatedly revealed its worst tendencies: instability and inequality. Instances of instability include the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Great Recession since 2008, plus eleven "downturns" in the US between those two global collapses. Each time, millions lost jobs, misery soared, poverty worsened and massive resources were wasted. Leaders promised that their "reforms" would prevent such instability from recurring. Those promises were not kept. Reforms did not work or did not endure. The system was, and remains, the problem...[and] system change, not another reform, is our primary task...
The particular connecting relationship at the core of capitalism will have been superseded: rather like what happened earlier to the slave-centric core relationship (master-slave) and the feudal-centric core relationship (lord-serf). Instead, the post-capitalist core relationship will be democratically worker-centric, with the central type of workplace being the worker cooperative.
Finland experiments with a basic income scheme for unemployed | Dylan Brethour, openDemocracy
Finland has recently begun a two-year trial providing basic income for the unemployed...The government hopes that a basic income will ultimately reduce poverty by tackling the ‘disincentive problem.’ The monthly allowance is considerably less than the country’s average private sector wage of €3,500. However, expectations remain high that the scheme will reduce bureaucracy while also helping recipients back into work.
How ‘Bambi’ Got Its Look From 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Art | Daniel McDermon, The New York Times
The spare but expressive style of Mr. Wong’s work draws heavily from the landscape paintings of the Song dynasty (A.D. 960–1279)...Song dynasty painting idealized the expression of the artist, and the painting as a direct connection with the heart and soul of its creator.
The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi | Rozina Ali, The New Yorker
Rumi is often described as the best-selling poet in the United States. He is typically referred to as a mystic, a saint, a Sufi, an enlightened man. Curiously, however, although he was a lifelong scholar of the Koran and Islam, he is less frequently described as a Muslim...
The erasure of Islam from Rumi’s poetry started long before Coldplay got involved. Omid Safi, a professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at Duke University, says that it was in the Victorian period that readers in the West began to uncouple mystical poetry from its Islamic roots. Translators and theologians of the time could not reconcile their ideas about a “desert religion,” with its unusual moral and legal codes, and the work of poets like Rumi and Hafez. The explanation they settled on, Safi told me, was “that these people are mystical not because of Islam but in spite of it.”
What have you read this week?