"Thinking ceases to be unifying or making a semblance familiar in the guise of a major principle," suggested the existentialist Albert Camus. "Thinking is learning all over again to see, to be attentive, to focus consciousness; it is turning every idea and every image, in the manner of Proust, into a privileged moment. What justifies thought is its extreme consciousness…. These paths lead to all sciences or to none. This amounts to saying that in this case the means are more important [...]
"Ironically, this week the Pajamas Media site ran a piece reporting that Egyptian Islamic scholar and self-proclaimed jihadist Abd al-Muti Bayum has condemned the 'Ground Zero mosque' as a devious 'Zionist conspiracy' to discredit Islam by linking it to the September 11 attacks. This was cited as an argument against the Cordoba Center. This is strange logic: the center shouldn't be built because radical Islamists will like it…. or because they will hate it." That's Reason's Cathy Young, whose colleague Radley Balko gave us such a good angle on the "NYC Terror Mosque" controversy last week.
My office was the living room closet in a huge one-bedroom in a 1920s East Hollywood apartment court, across the street from the big blue Scientology headquarters in the old Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. There were built-in bookshelves and just enough space for a chair and a laptop and an ashtray. The neighbor lady's rescued pit bulls romped outside in the overgrown garden, and that electric L.A. sunlight came filtered through the grimy old French windows to the hardwood floors. It was a very pleasant place to work, my friends lived within walking distance in other cheap apartments in Los Feliz, and I had a bad case of being in [...]
Seven or eight years ago, when I wasn’t yet old enough to feel embarrassed about it, I saw Conor Oberst play at a bar downtown. Before he went onstage—a stage that was really just a foot-high platform with a stool—he sat drinking in a booth with some friends. Having been drinking myself, I made my way to his table, where I stood as if I were a waiter, and, realizing too late that I ought never to have come over at all, I sputtered some combination of the words love and music and so much. He gave me a much friendlier look than I deserved, signed a scrap of [...]