Posting History for arlenegoldbard
|Ethelbert Miller: A Sustaining Presence is Forced Out and Everyone Loses
On 3 April, the powers-that-be at Howard University laid off 84 staff members, including E. Ethelbert Miller, director of Howard University's African American Resource Center, who attended Howard ...
|My English Teacher’s Son Won the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award
Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish won the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Fiction Award this week. I have nothing to say about the book, since I haven’t yet read it. The writer’s name gave rise to ...
|Class Suicide and Radical Empathy
Last Friday, on the first night of Passover, I was asked to share a teaching on Moses, who led our people out of slavery in Egypt. A friend suggested I share it with you: The idea that always ...
|Passing the (Star)bucks
My favorite epigram is from Voltaire: the perfect is the enemy of the good. I like the way it encapsulates a deep truth, that nothing is perfect, that fault can always be found, that often doing one��
|Three Words for Love: Selma, Aloha, Ahava
SELMA . A few days ago, an estimated 40,000 people descended on Selma, Alabama, for the 50th anniversary of the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (and recently ...
|A Story of My Heart
Let us forge a state of union A place where every child is A child Where you see me and I see you I mean really see each other as extensions one of one another From People’s State of the Union ...
|TV Family Values
My big TV-watching time is in the mornings while I exercise. I save up episodes of series I’d never give 100 percent of my attention, usually detective shows (and never medical ones). But there is ...
|Another Kind of Spiritual Practice
It’s easy to think of spiritual practice as something separate from ordinary life: the time one spends on a meditation cushion or chanting prayers or sending praisesongs into the world. But for me ...
Today’s my birthday. When my husband asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted to feel young for a day. Spending the day in bed would have been one way to get my wish, but this is not what I had in ...
|I Just Don't Know
The physicist Niels Bohr said it very well: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” It occurs to me that prediction is just a short sidestep from analysis. Saying what you ...
|The Year of Whiplash
I spent decades denying I was an optimist before copping to it, and now—instead of trying to live the label down, I find myself trying to live up to it. I’d say this year has left me with an ...
|Cultural Equivalence and Implicit Bias
The demonstrators who are stopping traffic, occupying public spaces, and marching through busy shopping streets want to disrupt business-as-usual in the hope of awakening conscience and action. The ...
I fear a new racial climate change and global warming. There are no more poems left for me to write. Every word is now broken in my hand. E. Ethelbert Miller I’ve been a fan of the proposal to ...
|Inauguration Celebration Oration
NOTE TO READERS: My essay “Living Into The Questions,” leads off the Americans for The Arts’ blog salon about “The Beauty in Change: Considering Aesthetics in Creative Social Change Work.” ...
|Post-Election Letter to A Friend
Here’s the note a friend sent me on Facebook late last night: Arlene, now that the midterm results are in, how can the dreams/predictions that you make in your recent books The Wave and The ...
|Happy Blog-iversary (and A Half) to Me
I forgot to notice that this past May was the 10th anniversary of my blog , which I started in 2004 to coincide with the publication of my novel Clarity . (It has a small but devoted following. If ...
|Ferguson: Generations and Expectations
This past weekend, activists streamed into Ferguson, Missouri, for Ferguson October , a “weekend of resistance” comprising actions and events organized by Hands Up United, Organization for Black ...
|Call to Creative Action
The work of artists and creative activists can help to create a cultural democracy that prizes diversity, practices equity, and brings a deep respect for human rights to every aspect of civil society.
Have you noticed how easily people fall into passionate disagreement over points that matter far less than the heat they generate might suggest? I see it all the time. Last week my blog shared ...
|We, Thee & Me
I’ve been researching women in the arts and culture for a presentation next week at the Women’s International Study Center’s inaugural symposium . There’s ample information online, and it ...
|Israel, Palestine, and Us: The Peace That Passeth All Understanding
Facebook has been a forest of assertions and denunciations this week. Maybe it’s the company I keep, but almost everyone is posting links at an accelerated rate, and the subject of this battle of ...
|Belonging, Purpose, Pleasure
I’ve been trying to find the right words. I think they might be “belonging,” purpose,” and “pleasure.” Remember in the first Clinton campaign, when the candidate became famous for a ...
|On Safety and Umbrage
Have you been reading lately about “trigger warnings?” These are alerts to those who find themselves in a college classroom or other public setting, warning them that some of the material they ...
|Plutocrats and Plebeians
At dinner with friends recently, the subject of rents came up. It’s a big topic around San Francisco, because an influx of new money (from hi-tech, mostly) and other factors have made that city a ...
|Pro Bono Blues
Have you noticed? Money changes everything. Almost daily, I get into conversations about compensation and fairness. Sometimes I even start them. But whoever starts them, by the time they get going, ...
|Here We Go Again: Cultural Equity in San Francisco
An enduring pattern has been inscribed on the struggle for cultural equity in this country. Those who get the biggest share of funding—them that’s got, as Billie Holiday put it—pay lip-service ...
|Go Come Back: Culture Is A Bridge and a Fortress
Did you ever have something that generated feelings of pride and shame simultaneously, depending on your viewpoint? Something you wanted to share but also wanted to hold close? Something good you ...
|Running Nature's Numbers
I love to poke around arguments—my own and others’—finding all the blindspots, or at least wearing myself out trying. I like thinkers who question orthodoxies. When I wrote about Braungart ...
|Skin in The Game
I am slow to anger, but it really pisses me off when people prescribe for others some purportedly virtuous (or at least dutiful) behavior they’d never embrace in their own lives. In the financial ...
|Racism Stunts Your Growth
A new study correlates racism with reduced creative capacity. Those holding strong prejudices, such as beliefs that inferiority is an essential quality of other races, rely on “rigid, categorical ...
|On Being A Sore Winner
Before dinner last night, my husband thought the asparagus I was preparing to grill were too wet, that the baste wouldn’t stick. I doubted it, but I dried them off. He then proceeded to add ...
|Climate Change & The Human Quandary
I’m on my way home from Philadelphia and the annual meeting of The Shalom Center , where I have the privilege of serving as president. The organization has a long history of peace and justice ...
|"Realism" and Its Discontents
This has been a strange time in my little world: I’ve been traveling for work while my computer stayed home and lost its mind. I’m glad to say that sanity (i.e., memory, software, and general ...
|Just Call Me Chief Policy Wonk!
For a year and a half or so, I’ve been an advisor to a new and exciting project, the US Department of Arts and Culture , which is demonstrating the public cultural presence we need in this country ...
|Deceleration & Sustainability
In her concluding keynote for Staging Sustainability 2014 , Adrienne Goehler exhorted conference attendees to support a “basic income grant” as a universal right. She put it succinctly: the ...
|Aesthetics & Sustainability
In my keynote for Staging Sustainability 2014 , I was asked to define “sustainability.” “The implicit meaning of the term refers to its opposite,” I told the group. “We fear having damaged ...
I spent a chunk of last week in a very cold and snowy Toronto at Staging Sustainability 2014 , a conference with the subtitle “People. Planet. Profit. Performance.” It was masterminded by Ian ...
|The Idiocy of The System: A Cultural Lens
I used to love the original “Star Trek,” each episode a short course in cultural anthropology. The Enterprise traipsed through outer space, often stumbling across civilizations running on a ...
|Desires That Will Never Be Fulfilled
I feel my artworks, to a great degree, they are desires that will never be fulfilled. But that doesn’t impact on what we do manage to do. Just as I feel that the great part of the demand for ...
|Time of Discernment
Many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time. I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. And this is the time of discernment. ...
|Nostalgie de la Boue
Joseph Epstein is a conservative writer, mid-70s, who has spent much of his literary life pissing off readers with liberal or left values. His newest piece in the Wall Street Journal — "The Late, ...
|I Need to Say This, But I Don’t Know if You Want to Hear It
There’s been an art-blogworld swirl lately about need versus want . You can find a summary with links to relevant posts by half a dozen bloggers in this entry in Barry Hessenius’s blog . In ...
Nato Thompson : I said to you, ‘Rick, what are you going to do? Because now there are all these social practice programs where a lot of white kids are graduating and they’re going to go into ...
|The Culture Made Me Do It
I’m not a sports fan. in fact, I’m so not a sports fan that I can seldom match the team names with the sports they play. But friends have been sharing so many stories and clips about the Richie ...
I've been traveling lately, talking with people about creating a culture of possiiblity in their own arenas—organizations, communities, companies, movements, and beyond. The idea that animates ...
|Glenn Beck's Latest Art Attack (I'm Included)
I'm always talking up the power of art and culture to change worlds. Today, I'm going to let the poster child for the paranoid style in American politics make the case for me as he swoons with fear ...
|What Would You Do?
I'm on my way home from New York. At Bowery Poetry, I gave my first Culture of Possibility workshop, aimed at actualizing the ideas in my new books . As so often happens, everyone resonated with my ...
I'm going through one of those bumpy passages on the journey to belonging. I moved a couple of months ago, and while the reason was love and I feel the opposite of regret, the adjustment to a new ...
|The Hubris of Certainty
It happens so often, doesn't it? Something burrows its way to the surface of your awareness in the little world of face-to-face, and then you see the same dynamic writing itself across the globe. ...
|Calling Out The Day
The day will come when you will trust you more than you do now, and you will trust me more than you do now. We can trust each other. I do believe, I really believe…that we can all become better ...
|Honoring Generativity: This Is What 80 Looks Like
Silence, as every meditator knows, confers the opportunity to notice what matters most. This past week, I've been noticing our ideas about age and thinking about an important event approaching fast: ...
|Generation to Generation
This silly little story keeps popping into my head. It must have been at the height of the Sixties—1968, maybe. My aunt was reminiscing about the past. Reaching for a story to impress me with the ...
|The Stockholm Syndrome State
You know the "Stockholm Syndrome," right? It's when hostages empathize with their captors, a form of what psychologists call "traumatic bonding." Welcome to the Stockholm Syndrome State. The culture ...
|What Matters Most
When we have rights, it's easy to take them for granted. It's when they are contested that they matter most. Today, I write about two very different examples provided by the U.S. Supreme Court and ...
I first got wind of it in Linda Essig's post on Facebook (Linda, who writes the blog "Creative Infrastructure," was also kind enough to post a "love letter" to The Culture of Possibility last week). ...
|Advice to A Young Artist-Activist
It's interesting to have opportunities to give advice to young artists. Each time, I learn something about myself, something about the way I may appear in others' eyes—and something about the gap ...
My sweetheart loves to fly fish. He never keeps the fish, just tenderly tips them back into the sea. So he's plugged into various fishing networks, some devoted to survival of species that are ...
|The Big Squeeze
In New York for my book launch, I did some of the things I usually do: walked the streets endlessly on my way from one meeting to another, connected with old friends, wondered what exactly it says ...
|Words Like Knives
(Dear Readers: I'd love to see you at my upcoming book launches in New York at 6 pm on Thursday, 23 May and Berkeley at 2 pm on Sunday, 2 June.) ( This post is a part of the Artistic Innovation ...
|The Chilling Effect
(Dear Readers: I'd love to see you at my upcoming book launches in New York at 6 pm on Thursday, 23 May and Berkeley at 2 pm on Sunday, 2 June.) Last night, almost done reading one of my two new ...
|Sharpening Blunt Instruments
Sharpening Blunt Instruments Dear Readers: I'd love to see you at my upcoming book launches in New York at 6 pm on Thursday, 23 May and Berkeley at 2 pm on Sunday, 2 June. What comes to mind when ...
Where have I been, people keep asking. Right here, it turns out, giving birth to two books I've been incubating for many months. If you're on my e-list, you received a notice yesterday that my two ...
|My New Normal
I was on the tarmac in Las Vegas, gazing from my window seat at the dusty prospect below. Ten yards away, three robust men in fluorescent pink-and-green vests and orange jumpsuits crouched in the ...
|Incoming and Outgoing
After dinner the other night, a friend who'd recounted the rather impressive incompetence of the powers-that-be at his workplace said that he tried not to think about how messed up things are in the ...
It all comes down to this: no matter how you parse it—art, politics, spirit, planet; body, mind, heart, and soul—the realms that are reckoned separate in the official version of our current ...
|The Pleasure Principle
If you stick around long enough writing books and essays and giving talks, people come to you for advice. Very often, the requests I get turn on choices between alternate futures. Graduating students,
|Roy Buchanan Saved Me
It's been one of those times when the pace of events—both interior and exterior—accelerates almost beyond reckoning. Granted, these days I get much of my news from "The Daily Show," but still: ...
I had a conversation last week with someone who gave up making films to start a business he hopes will earn enough money to finance major social-change organizing projects. He condemned progressives ...
One feature of the history of ideas is a persistent belief in progress that isn't disrupted by learning that trendy ideas often turn out to be as flawed as the silliest old ones. Part of the problem ...
These are tender times. The usual end-of-the-year retrospective ache has been amplified in the aftermath of so many storms, inner and outer. It's often hard to know whether an ambient mood is the ...
|Sowing and Reaping
Of this I have no doubt: the U.S. urgently needs meaningful gun control. I support the four-point platform of the Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence shared in Benjamin Van Houten's Yes Magazine ...
|My Xmas Kvetch
It's that time of the year again, when my inner voices have an unending argument that may even sound a little like some families' Christmas-dinner conversation writ large: You don't understand how I ...
|The Interior Colony
As I write this, my plane has just taken off from Heathrow, seven hours after its scheduled departure. I spent six of them on the tarmac, trying to soothe the part of my brain that was spinning a ...
|Unearthing The Implicit
Few things make me as happy as discovering a way of seeing the world that illuminates both large political events and my own inner voices. I'm happy right now, because I'm ready to add another name ...
|Sha, Sha, Baby: Something Delicious, Part 15
In English, we say "Shhh" to mean "Quiet down." In Yiddish, it's " Sha ." If a nightmare sent me into inconsolable sobs, my grandmother would say, " Sha, sha, bubeleh , don't scare yourself, it's ...
|Storm Warnings: Annals of The Culture of Politics
Lately, I've been on the road a lot for speaking engagements, the proximate cause of a temporary lapse in my blogging. But I could have squeezed it in somehow: I've often spent airport hours ...
|Four Future Memories
My lack of interest in sports competitions is so total that I've sometimes wondered if it is dangerous, un-American, or both. You know the World War II movies where the German spy is discovered ...
|A New Story
Every spiritual path has its core stories, signposts that point to new directions under new circumstances. I went to a wonderful retreat for Yom Kippur, and in a very old story, I found a fresh ...
|Politics in The Default World
"No matter how cynical you get, you can't keep up." (Lily Tomlin) I have a friend who talks about "the default world." He means the one in which we adjust to absurdity, tolerating behavior that we ...
|Taking Oneself Seriously
Years ago, at a time when I felt trapped by circumstance, when the way forward was anything but clear, a wise friend asked me this: How seriously can you take yourself? What would it look like to ...
|Don't Lose Your Mind
The kind of hope that interests me is grounded in reality: not crossing one's fingers and buying a lottery ticket, but noticing the signs and reminders that suggest possibility. One thing that gives ...
|Fifty Years After
This year marks the 50th anniverary of The Port Huron Statement , a democratic manifesto drafted largely by Tom Hayden and modified and adopted by Students for a Democratic Society, a leading ...
|Ideas Matter (Sometimes)
I've been spending long delicious hours in a tiny world, the space bordered on one side by my computer and the other by my chair. I'm doing a last pass through my manuscript, reading aloud as I edit.
|Art As The Practice of Freedom
A quotation from James Baldwin has been making the rounds of some friends on Facebook this week. I like to observe this phenomenon, how a snippet of text gets unmoored from its intended context and ...
|The Surreal Season: Annals of the Culture of Politics
Have you got it yet? The Surreal Season Headache-and-a-Half? I start to feel my SSHH! when the presidential election campaigns ramps up during the summer before the election, and the pounding doesn'...
|Something Delicious, Part 13: Red, White, and True Blue
Fireworks last night in Richmond, which sponsors a convivial gathering every July third. There's a great view of the display from the lawn across from my apartment. A cover-band version of "Street ...
|Adding It Up: Annals of the Culture of Politics
I've written often about my conviction that getting big money out of politics is the necessary precursor to anything like a meaningful democracy in the United States. Most recently, it was in "The ...
|The Mystery: Annals of The Culture of Politics
If the question had been put outright, my friend and I agreed, a supermajority would have voted on our side: Do you want to live in a nation where a few ultra-rich individuals own as much as ...
|Groupthink: Annals of The Culture of Politics
Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and globalization critic, has a must-read essay in the current Vanity Fair , excerpted from his forthcoming book. He analyzes the consensus ...
What principle do you hold dearest? What sense of American identity matters most to you? If I put a question— say, What do you stand for? —what answer resounds with total conviction? My friend ...
|Well-Maladjusted: Annals of The Culture of Politics
We need a new rallying cry. Van Jones has an idea that's not quite cooked, but suggestive. On Saturday, someone who heard Jones address a Scott Walker recall rally in Wisconsin tweeted this quote ...
|Five Books That Changed My Life
The rambling life ain't restful, to paraphrase Satchel Paige. The last five weeks have been almost nonstop work for me, including nearly 10,000 miles of air travel. I always think that 30,000 feet ...
|On Getting One's Hopes Up
Did you notice that I changed the tagline on my website to "Here to get your hopes up"? It used to say "Pleasure & Purpose. Aligned," which is a motto I still like, but the new sentiment has ...
There's a quote from Gandhi I love: "To a people famishing and idle, the only acceptable form in which God can dare appear is work and promise of food as wages." Read literally, it is humane and ...
In ancient Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was a kind of maze built at Knossos by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete. It was designed to hold the Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half-man and half-
|Clout: A Blogfest on Art and Political Power. Part 7: A Wrap-Up from Me
This is my final installment in a weeklong blogfest on art and political power I'm cohosting with blogger Barry Hessenius . To readers who aren't as obsessed with this subject as we are, thanks for ...
|Clout: A Blogfest on Art and Political Power. Part 6: Barry Hessenius
This is the sixth installment in a weeklong blogfest on art and political power I'm cohosting with blogger Barry Hessenius , former Director of the California Arts Council; President of the ...
|Clout: A Blogfest on Art and Political Power. Part 5: Dudley Cocke
This fifth installment in a weeklong blogfest on art and political power I'm cohosting with blogger Barry Hessenius was authored by Dudley Cocke, Artistic Director of Roadside Theater , a stage ...
|Clout: A Blogfest on Art and Political Power. Part 4: Ra Joy
This fourth installment in a weeklong blogfest on art and political power I'm cohosting with blogger Barry Hessenius was authored by Ra Joy, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois , an artist ...
|Clout: A Blogfest on Art and Political Power. Part 3: Diane Ragsdale
This third installment in a weeklong blogfest on art and political power I'm cohosting with blogger Barry Hessenius was authored by Diane Ragsdale, currently attending Erasmus University in ...
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