Quaker Ranter (Martin Kelly)

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A Blog by Martin Kelley
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November Flashbacks

Sat, 11/04/2017 - 2:00pm

Once a month I’m doing flashbacks to past eras in my blog.

One Year Ago: November 2016

A year ago the shock to the system was Trump’s election. One reaction of mine was a promise to blog more; I set up the system but I’m still not as frictionless about it as I’d like.

Waking Up to President Trump: We do not get to choose our era or the chal­lenges it throws at us. Only some­one with his­tor­i­cal amne­sia would say this is unprece­dent­ed in our his­to­ry. The enslave­ment of mil­lions and the geno­cide of mil­lions more are dark stains indeli­bly soaked into the very found­ing of the nation. But much will change, par­tic­u­lar­ly our naiv­i­ty and false opti­mism in an inevitable for­ward progress of our nation­al sto­ry.

Five Years Ago: November 2012

Five years ago I wrote about how I had been blogging for fifteen years. Do the math: it’s now 20 frigging years since I started blogging.

Fifteen Years of Blogging: I keep double-checking the math but it keeps adding up. In Novem­ber 1997 I added a fea­ture to my two-year-old peace web­site. I called this new enti­ty Non­vi­o­lence Web Upfront and updat­ed it week­ly with orig­i­nal fea­tures and curat­ed links to the best online paci­fist writ­ing. I wrote a ret­ro­spec­tive of the “ear­ly blog­ging days” in 2005 that talks about how it came about and gives some con­text about the proto-blogs hap­pen­ing back in 1997.

Ten Years Ago: November 2007

Freelancing and working the overnight shift at Shoprite, I wondered if my Quakerness was hopelessly useless to my new circumstances.

Who are we part one (just what pamphlet do I give the tattooed ex-con?): I love the fel­low who gave the mes­sage and I appre­ci­at­ed his min­istry. But the whole time I won­dered how this would sound to peo­ple I know now, like the friend­ly but hot-tempered Puer­to Rican ex-con less than a year out of a eight-year stint in fed­er­al prison, now work­ing two eight hour shifts at almost-minimum wage jobs and try­ing to stay out of trou­ble. How does the the­o­ry of our the­ol­o­gy fit into a code of con­duct that doesn’t start off assum­ing mid­dle class norms.

Twenty Years Ago: November 1997

Four years before 9/11, I was asking how we could break the cycle of terrorism.

How Come the U.S. Trains All the Terrorists?: It would seem a sim­ple case of U.S. mil­i­tarism com­ing home to roost, but it is not so sim­ple and it is not uncom­mon. Fol­low most trails of ter­ror­ism and you’ll find Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment fund­ing some­where in the recent past.

Categories: Blogs

Expanding the Quaker writing pool

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 4:00pm

Shhh: there have been a few times lately when I wish we had more options when choosing articles forFriends Journal issues. Yes yes, we did notice that the feature article contributors for the October issue on “Conscience” were all older men and that the topics were perhaps a bit too familiar for Friends Journal (nonviolence, civil disobedience, conscientious objection). They were all great articles. And I think cliches can be important (see footnote below) for a publication like ours. But yeah.

I had hoped the idea of conscience would leap up to new writers, especially in our current political climate, and that the articles might serve as a bridge between 1960s Quaker activism and today. Sometimes our themes inspire writers and sometimes they don’t.

I’ve occasionally written Quakerranter blog posts about upcoming submission opportunities but I’d like to make it more official and post these every month from the Friends Journal website. We’re calling the feature “From the Editor’s Desk.”

I’d also like you all to share these with people you think should be writing for us, especially if they’re new writers coming from different perspectives. Diversities of all kind are always welcome.

I was a Quaker blogger (and thus writer) for many years and I worked for Friends Journal for part of that time but I only once sent in a submission before I became senior editor. Why? Was I waiting to be asked? Was I unsure what I might write about? Whatever the reason, we need to always be finding and encouraging new people. Some of the most interesting articles we’ve published started after one of our fans shared an upcoming issue topic with someone who was outside of our network. My goal with these posts is really to encourage you all to share these in emails and on your Facebook walls so we can keep expanding the Quaker writer universe.

Here’s the first one: a call for writers for the March 2018 issue on Quakers and the Holy Land.

Writing Opp: Quakers and the Holy Land

In March 2018 Friends Journal is publishing an issue on religion and politics in the Middle East. We could have…

Friends Journal

Footnote: Every once in a while we’ll get some article in and I’ll sigh because I can remember a previous article that covered the same ground. When I go to look it up I realize that the earlier article was published fifteen or more years ago. We have new readers every year and it’s okay to circle around to core themes every decade or so. We also need to remember the interesting people and incidents that happened long enough ago because our collective memory is always in the process of fading. I’m a peacenik longtime Quaker so I knew Dan Seeger was the named defendant in a major landmark Supreme Court decision in the 1960s, for example, but I don’t assume most Friends knew this. It’s still a cool story. It still inspires. It’s important to keep the story alive.

Categories: Blogs

Essential Mac Apps 2017

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:32pm

Oh dear: a few weeks ago Wess Daniels started a Twitter discussion about the new Mac app Cardhop. In the thread he asked me about other apps which apps I find essential. I thought I’d type up something in ten minutes but then the draft post kept growing. I’m sure I still missed some. I guess I didn’t realize how particular I am about my computing environment.

Categories: Blogs

October flashbacks: Turns of phrases, Quaker political influence, and of course Halloween

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 6:00am

Apparently I once had an idea of periodically sharing posts from earlier eras of my blogs: flashbacks to archival posts written one, five, and ten years earlier. Maybe I could manage this once a month.

1 Year Ago: October 2016

Bring people to Christ / Leave them there: One thing I love to do is track back on cultural Quaker turns of phrase. Here I looked at a phrase sometimes attributed to George Fox and find a largely forgotten British Friend who laid much of the groundwork for Quaker modernism and the uniting of American Quakers.

5 Years: October 2012

The secret decoder ring for Red and Blue states: Discussion of the Quaker cultural influence of American voting patterns based on David Hack­ett Fischer’s fascinating (if over-argued) book Albion’s Seed.

10 Years: October 2007

An Autumnal Halloween: A family post, pictures of kids posted to the web long before Instagram was founded.

Categories: Blogs

The lost A List

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 4:37pm

In #waitforyourlaugh (upcoming film on me) it covers my music being cut from Top Banana film because I wouldnt sleep w/ producer in 1950s.

— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) October 10, 2017

As A List Hollywood stars come out to tell their Harvey Weinstein couch harassment stories, I have to wonder about those who didn’t make it through after saying no—actresses who saw their roles evaporate and left acting. The New York Times headlines profiling Weinstein accusers touts Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie but also introduces us a woman who is now a psychology professor in Colorado. How many better actresses and strong-minded women would there be in Hollywood if so many hadn’t been forced out?

I thought of this after reading by a tweet from the actress Rose Marie. She’s best known as one of the jovial sidekicks from the 1960s’ Dick Van Dyke Show. Not to diminish the rest of the cast, but Rose Marie is one of the best reasons to watch the show, especially during those rare moments she’s allowed to step out from her character’s wisecracking spinster persona and sing or act. On Twitter, she shared that she lost a music contract in the 1950s because she wouldn’t sleep with a producer.

What if a talented actress like Rose Marie had been given more opportunities and wasn’t just known for a supporting part in a old sitcom? What if the psychology professor had gotten the Shakespeare in Love lead? (Imagine a world where Paltrow was only known to 800 or so Facebook friends for too-perfect family pics and memes from dubious health sites.)

Disclaimer: This is a minor point compared with any actresses who weren’t able to deal with the harassment and the industry silencing machinery. I’m sure there are tragedies that are more than just career pivots.

I’ve worked since I was 3, Im 94. W/ Weinstein, finally women are speaking up to power. I have suffered my whole life for that. Dont stop https://t.co/sad20SYn2V

— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) October 11, 2017

Categories: Blogs