I am now writing on Medium, so I think something on the order of an introduction is called for.

I have never been crazy about talking about myself. I always thought that the world at large is a lot more interesting than I am. But I am part of this larger world, and when I talk about it I am in fact also talking a bit about myself and how that world shows itself to me. …


(Wikimedia commons: Archangels’ Chapel in Rila Monestery, Jacob’s Ladder)

Hodos anō katō mia kai hōutē. (The path up and down is one and the same.) — Heraclitus, Fragment 60

Five years ago, I managed to execute a simultaneous exit and re-entry: I started transitioning from male to female and began my return to the Christian church. Were you to have asked me ten years ago if this could have been one of the forking paths in the garden of my life, I would have dismissed the thought with a chuckle. While I was never the kind of ex-Catholic to refer to the Roman church with nothing short of venom…


This piece is absolutely spot-on. Kudos!

One thing that I've noticed is that in the contemporary "discourse", no distinction is made between an "expert", an "authority", and a member of "the elite". But they all connote and denote different things. "An elite" wields power, whether legitimately or not. An "expert" is one who claims knowledge and understanding in a specific field, usually one where you are trying to decide how to solve a specific problem: they are about means rather than ends. An expert plumber helps eliminate the tendency for your pipes to clog; an expert recording engineer helps your…


Associated Press (Fair Use)

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. . . . — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“No hugging, no learning.” — Larry David, on the formula for the situation comedy Seinfeld

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Besides being perhaps the most elegantly written novel authored by an American, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a masterful sociology of the American pathology, the clueless overconfidence that we know…


Georges Rouault, Wikimedia commons

Dilige, et quod vis fac. [Love, and do what you will.]” — St. Augustine of Hippo, Easter Sunday Sermon, 407 CE

When asked about my political position, I will sometimes reply “somewhere between a Social Democrat and a Democratic Socialist.” Since that is quite vague, and also a mouthful, I usually tag myself as a “polite radical.”

It’s a description I copped from the late George Carlin, who used it once when hosting his own short-lived late-night talk show on ABC. He was talking politics with the late actress Shelley Winters. It was during the waning of the Nixon years…


Photo by Heidi Kaden on Unsplash

The January 6th House Select Committee hearings, which took place last Wednesday, were troubling, to put it mildly. Both the testimony of the witnesses from D.C. and Capitol police and the new video footage made it very clear that the Capitol rioters wished to stage a hard coup against the pro forma process of certifying Joe Biden’s election to the presidency. But I also found it troubling that all parties were adamantly insisting that the Committee was non-partisan.

I understand why. The Democrats were eager to define the Committee as an effort to uncover the truth about the events of…


(Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash)

Review of George Packer, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal (Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2021).

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George Packer begins his reflections on the state of the nation with the following quip: “I am an American. No, I don’t want pity.” (Kindle loc 30) Packer’s book expresses his hopes for national renewal, however bleak things seem to be; pity is antithetical to sustaining these hopes. However, a paragraph later, he says the following:

I know a woman who said of her own husband and children, “They’re not the people I’d choose to be quarantined with.” Are my fellow citizens…


(Wikimedia Commons: Portrait of Alice Neel by©Lynn_Gilbert_1976)

(Alice Neel: People Come First, an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through August 1, 2021)

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, §25

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Does Dasein have a body?

One would think so: Heidegger’s Dasein has a world — or more precisely, it is in the world, in its world, as a “thrown project.” The world shows itself as a phenomenon to a Dasein that projects itself into the world through its aims, goals, and ends. …


Wikimedia Commons

“I’ll teach you differences!” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, quoting William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 1, Scene 4

Ever since the eponymous Time article of 2014, much has been said about the “transgender tipping point,” the emergence of trans women and trans men as a critical part of the LGBTQ constellation and their place in the discourse about culture, society, and politics. Unfortunately, “the discourse” has of late been, at best, a mixed bag for us trans people. …


Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Review of Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby (One World, 2021), pp. 341

Midway through his explanation of why he detransitioned, Ames (formerly Amy), one of the main characters in Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby, likens his struggles and that of his trans cohort to the predicament of orphaned baby African elephants. Habitat destruction, poaching, and thousands of micro-encroachments on elephant culture caused orphaned elephants to become violent and uncontrollable. Ames explains:

Throughout their long history, elephants have lived in intricately ordered social structures. Young elephants learned their place and healthy behavior in concentric societal rings of caregivers — birth mother, aunts, grandmothers…

Laura Nelson

Writer, philosopher, information technologist,guitarist, neurotic, polite radical, avid and indiscriminate reader, Episcopalian, trans woman.

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