Groping an Elephant

The “Caravans are coming!” and the “Democracy is dying!” folks are blind men palpating the same elephant and hating each other to death because they are groping different parts of the poor animal and can’t agree on what it looks like.


What Stands Behind the Politics of Fear

The late German philosopher Ulrich Beck said that the economy has escaped from under the influence of politics and is now happening in the spheres that float high above the political sphere.

This is why the political space has been conquered by appeals to fear. “Caravans are coming! Scary hordes are on the threshold! Democracy is dying! Authoritarianism is knocking at the door!” These are not complete lies. The statements are kind of true in the sense that fluidity is coming and it is quite scary, and democracy isn’t dead but something quite worse. It’s irrelevant.

No, Bernie, Just No

I love Bernie, I really do, but what the hell is he smoking if he believes something like this:

Trump is a 100-percent political opportunist, who has no political views other than how he can win elections. Today, if he is a racist and a sexist, tomorrow he may be a great civil rights champion — if he thinks it gets him five more votes. He has no core values.

Come on now. A great civil rights champion, really? The guy wouldn’t know how to pretend to care about civil rights for all the money in the world. I agree he’s an opportunist but he does have core values, albeit not very nice ones.

I have stopped understanding Bernie a while ago.

Pressing Issue

The Wall Street Journal [paywall] just published a major expose revealing “several previously unreported instances in which Mr. Trump intervened directly to suppress stories about his alleged sexual encounters with women.”

Yes! Democrats should now form a congressional committee and dedicate all their energies to investigating this. Because there is no issue more pressing in the country right now.

Random Stories

I went out with colleagues and students last night. Had a great time, the students are wonderful and very different in civilian life than in class. But I’m looking at them and thinking, “God, I so wouldn’t want to be this age again.” I shared this feeling with colleagues but they didn’t agree. I guess their youth was more pleasant than mine.


Facebook is not your friend. For some mysterious reason, I started running into Brazilian colleagues (meaning, academics in different fields from Brazil) everywhere. I don’t know anything about Bolsonaro except for what I saw on Facebook. But the mildly disparaging comments and a couple of jokes I tried to make about Bolsonaro elicited a displeased reaction. I guess he’s not a candidate of uneducated bigots and nobody else, as FB suggests.


I was inducted into an organization as an honorary member yesterday. Part of the induction ceremony was a ritual that involved new members lighting candles from the fire of a larger candle and then reflecting, as we looked at the glow, on the warmth and the light of our candles and their symbolic meaning. The ceremony was rendered utterly meaningless, however, by university regulations that don’t allow candles to be lit in campus buildings. And we couldn’t do it outside because there was snow and winter weather advisory.

Confused by the UK

I understand that Corbyn is an anti-Semite and the Labour party is riddled with anti-Semites (just as much as the Tories are, I’m sure). But what is the Scotland Yard doing investigating it?

I had no opinion on Theresa May’s government because I don’t know much and don’t like to opine when I lack knowledge. But this is very disturbing. I don’t know what the hell is happening over there that makes it ok to start a criminal investigation of political opponents for icky opinions. Maybe somebody here who’s from the UK can explain. But it’s like every day there are news from over there of people being arrested over saying something mean. I don’t get it.