Stop the torture, stop the criminalization of mental illness: The Cost of Solitary Confinement: "Leroy Peoples, is a 30-year-old with a history of mental illness who was twice sentenced to solitary confinement. In 2005, he was sentenced to six months for “unauthorized possession of nutritional supplements” that were available for sale in the prison commissary. In 2009, he was sentenced to three years in isolation for having unauthorized legal materials. According to court documents, between 2007 and 2011, the state imposed 70,000 isolation sentences for offenses like having an “untidy cell or person,” or for “littering,” “unfastened long hair” or an “unreported illness.” On any given day, about 4,300 of the system’s inmates are locked down for 23 hours a day in tiny concrete cells, many of them destined to remain there for years. As additional punishment, prison officials can deny food, exercise, bedding or showers."
Like seemingly everyone else, I'm loving the Zadie Smith essay on Joy (damn it, I want my NYRB subscription back.) She starts off with a bang of a paragraph, and it only gets better from there: "It might be useful to distinguish between pleasure and joy. But maybe everybody does this very easily, all the time, and only I am confused. A lot of people seem to feel that joy is only the most intense version of pleasure, arrived at by the same road—you simply have to go a little further down the track. That has not been my experience. And if you asked me if I wanted more joyful experiences in my life, I wouldn’t be at all sure I did, exactly because it proves such a difficult emotion to manage. It’s not at all obvious to me how we should make an accommodation between joy and the rest of our everyday lives."
This article on Congo basically single-handedly destroyed me on Sunday. I don't know what else to say about it: The World’s Worst War.
During this Advent season: “For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning - not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.” - Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
And another from Buechner: “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”