Connected in Cultures of Conflict

1 11 2006

Lorraine at Liza’s Culture Kitchen sorrowfully aknowledges the passing of cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz, who almost 20 years ago observed:
“The next necessary thing…is neither the construction of a universal Esperanto-like culture…nor the invention of some vast technology of human management.

It is to enlarge the possibility of intelligible discourse between people quite different from one another in interest, outlook, wealth, and power, and yet contained in a world where tumbled as they are into endless connection, it is increasingly difficult to get out of each other’s way.

Loving Legos, Stuffed with Story for Holidays

1 11 2006

COOL Legos here to feast on, made for the love of it, and with love — of math.

My son loves Legos but not through love of math as much as power of story. The other day he freestyled a clever toothy crocodile, a red-feathered Peter Pan and huge-hatted Captain Hook from green, red, and white Legos, inspired after he stayed up all night to read “Peter Pan in Scarlet” which, if you haven’t heard, is the new authorized sequel to the Neverland story. In time for the holidays, when green, red and white can mean Christmas, not crocodiles. And as all those holiday feasts approach fraught with culture and tradition, here’s my own take on Legos power of story, made with love — of food!

“The Pasta God, Blind Faith in School and Juicy-Fruit Holiday Slobbers” starts with this:

Liza gave us little plastic bricks rather than edible eggs and peeps for Easter, but now the Pastafarians present (entirely in Legos) the amazing Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Thus edible faith has now been rendered in the true building blocks of the universe, Legos, which although not edible, do multiply miraculously like the symbolic foods of the faithful — Legos are limitless fishes and loaves in every room of OUR house, how about yours?”

and then it meanders through various morsels of meaning and palate “clarifiers” toward school reform as the out-of-season dessert most of us stay too stuffed with story to appreciate in any season:

“If I had a pomegranate for every time I’ve heard scornful schoolfolk and other literalists use “no, no, that’s comparing apples to oranges” as a new story or idea slap-down, I’d have . . . hmm . . . a veritable orchard of juicy ideas? . . .

Maybe we could look to those culture-clashing forebears of ours for a mid-story change in course that might lead to a happier ending?”