Author: Laurie Prim

What I’m Reading Now (31): Don’t Think of an Elephant!

July 1, 2017 Finished: Don’t Think of an Elephant! By George Lakoff (Note: I read a 2004 edition; there is a 2014 edition.)  The crux of this book (sort of a CliffsNotes version of Lakoff’s book Moral Politics) is the difference between how progressives and conservatives think, and how conservatives have, quite successfully, framed the issues over the past 40-plus years to promote their agenda. Lakoff, a cognitive scientist/linguist, instructs us that every word evokes a frame. Right now, don’t think of an elephant. Can’t do it, right? Because to “not” think of an elephant, we conjure the frame of an elephant. “Elephants are large, have floppy ears and a trunk, are associated with circuses, and so on. The word is defined relative to that frame. When we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.” (pg3) Some takeaways: ~ Cognitive frames are the way we see the world. Reframing is social change. ~ Language activates frames. To activate new frames (new thinking), new language is needed. ~ Conservative thinking is largely based on a strict father family model. That model simplified: The world is difficult and dangerous. There are winners and losers. There is absolute right and wrong. Children are born bad and must be taught to be good. The job of strict fathers, therefore, is to protect and teach. Children must be disciplined and obey, this is the...

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What I’m Reading Now (30): The Making of Donald Trump

June 25, 2017 Finished: The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston I am not going to spend a lot of time on this review; I spend too much time on Donald Trump as it is. I picked this book up primarily hoping to gain insight into his childhood and family of origin. What in the HELL contributes to making a man like Donald Trump? Who was his mother? What was his father like? Does he even have siblings? How did it all go so terribly wrong, because of that there can be no doubt. How might we tweak what we discover to help us in the resistance, and warding off anyone like him in the future? The author is an acclaimed investigative journalist—winner of a 2001 Pulitzer Prize—and long-time follower (not supporter) of Donald Trump. In this book, he chose to focus on Trump’s obsession with money, relationships with criminals, and overt disregard for law, fairness, or women. As a result, I didn’t get much of the sociological insight I’d hoped for. Other than learning that Trump’s father and paternal grandfather were also basically scumbags, The Making of Donald Trump was account after account of all the ways and times Trump has lied, cheated, stolen, conned, and degraded. I will never, ever understand how he stayed out of jail long enough to become the utter disgrace to...

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An Open Letter to Brian Mast: Shame on you for blowing off constituents.

June 22, 2017 Dear Mr. Brian Mast: Thank you for your response regarding my “upcoming” trip to Washington, D.C., which was A MONTH AGO. Surely you remember. I had an appointment with you on May 17th, on behalf of RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association to discuss important upcoming legislation, including permanently securing IVF for wounded veterans. Instead of honoring our scheduled meeting, you sent two of your staff members to speak with my colleague and me in the hallway. They were very young, and lovely, and I wanted to encourage them to run from the wrong side of history, but held my tongue out of respect for RESOLVE. Later that day, and the next day, I again visited your office, as an individual constituent of District 18 and member of IndivisibleMartin. Again, I was turned away without a meeting. I was instructed to email Caitlyn, which I did, with no response. I was asked for my phone number, and was never called. I essentially pleaded for “two minutes, any time this afternoon or tomorrow,” but could not be accommodated. You did, however, manage to meet with two Republican realtors from District 18 that day, who happily posted their photo op with you on Facebook. It was ironic, wasn’t it, that the Gil Smart opinion piece, “Mast trades barbs with Indivisible foes” featuring quotes from both you and me was...

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From Advocate to Activist

June 20, 2017 I cannot love this article enough. I started as an advocate with RESOLVE, but the Trump atrocity made me a full-on activist. This is ME. And this is so many cherished new friends. If I am now a cliche, I’ve never been so glad and proud to be one.“I tell people that I am fresh out of fucks,” says Tamara Brooking. “Seriously. I’m done. I’m done pretending that your hateful rhetoric is okay. I’m done pretending that people like us must be quiet to make you feel comfortable.” And many simply can’t see ever returning to how life was before November 8. “I can never go back,” said Burnham. “I look at where I was even three or four months ago and I’m not the same person.” As Tamara Brookings put it: “We’re activists now. This is who we are.” #RESIST #PERSIST...

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What I’m Reading Now (29): A Man Called Ove

June 18, 2017 Just Finished: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman This is a story about a grief-stricken, unapologetic curmudgeon and the community that embraces him anyway. Based on the runaway rave reviews it has received, I thought I’d like it more than I did—it felt a bit wordy and cliché at first—but I did end up settling into what has been described as its charm, and will definitely seek another title from this author. One takeaway: I’m a fan of calling shit shit and not painting a rosy picture of everything; I find the societal tyranny of positivity exhausting and inauthentic. And I think we’re all wired a certain way and essentially should be true to ourselves. On the flip side, I don’t think people get a free pass on making everyone around them miserable, even under the guise of “but he’s really got a big heart,” as with Ove. Everyone’s got some sort of shit. Everyone carries pain. There’s real value in acknowledging and sharing it, but a lifestyle of being petty and cross in everyday minutia is ultimately just self-indulgent and rude. At some point, there is a personal responsibility to figure out ways to deal, or get some therapy. Ove found true love with his devoted, effervescent wife Sonja, and he got lucky his new neighbor, Parvaneh, took to him for no good reason....

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