Little Poet and Big Poet

When I read books to Klara, she now finishes the lines because she remembers most of her books. When she doesn’t remember or doesn’t understand the concept in a line, she comes up with her own ending that always rhymes (even when the original doesn’t) and is often better than the original.

For instance, today we were reading a story about an outing that Llama Llama went on with his mama. The original goes,

Yucky music, great big feet

Ladies smelling way too sweet.

Klara is too young to understand the line about sweet-smelling ladies, so she came up with

Yucky music, great big feet,

Llama Llama in the street.

Since I’m on it, a famous (and best-selling) writer from the Basque Country shared on social media a beautiful poem he dedicated to his daughter. Several people in the comments responded with “Nice poem but I disagree with the following verse” and proceeded to offer ideological disagreements. With the poem. I’m hoping that Klara will grow up to be able to enjoy art without experiencing the need to check it against a list of PC requirements.

Silly Study

I’m an academic, so I don’t know many conservatives. I’m not sure I know any at all. But I find it impossible to imagine that they can be any more constantly terrified, apocalyptically minded, anxiety-ridden and likely to envisage complete horror befalling them than Liberals. Because it’s just not humanly possible.


I’m reading about the history of the Basque Country, and more specifically, the enormous efforts that the French state apparatus made between 1870 and 1910 to integrate – often with great violence – the rural populations into the nationalist ideology of a linguistically and culturally uniform France. This France, just like any other nation-state, was quite fictitious. Even in the mid-nineteenth century, most of its inhabitants didn’t even speak French, let alone see themselves as “French.”

But it worked. France was fashioned into a model nation-state, and the rural masses eventually came on board.

Today, just a blink of an eye later, the descendants of these rural folks who had to give up everything for the nation-state are told they are ridiculous and antiquated losers for wanting to hold on to it.

It’s just that it was all so recent. It’s not something that happened in a remote past. 1910, 1920 – there are people who are still alive who were born then. It’s a weird feeling to read about the swiftness of this process.

The Good Effects of #MeToo

At least #MeToo has inspired women in countries where there is a real rape culture to start realizing it’s not ok and they don’t deserve it. I’ve been reading beautiful articles by women in Russia who are finally arriving at a conclusion that the violence and the humiliation they experience on a daily basis is wrong.

What’s really interesting is that women in Russia have changed the narcissistic hashtag #MeToo to the collective #WomenTogether.

So it’s not all inanities and navel-gazing. Some people are putting this to good use.