Rae Sremmurd Joins Captain America

Is daring to posit a black character as the embodiment of patriotism and lawful-goodness in 2014 really an achievement worth taking a victory lap on? Because at the end of the day, what’s Sam Wilson? A ruggedly handsome adult with great references. He can wear the archetype without a lot of alterations. Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee are African-American men aged 19 and 20. This is not a demographic group with a heroic reputation in the popular consciousness; if anything, it’s one that many people learn to fear and distrust on general principles, sometimes with tragic results.

Grantland’s Alex Pappademas takes a deep dive on the latest evolution of Captain America, and it’s unexpected crossover with summer rap sensation Rae Sremmurd

If you’re on alert for examples of the theoretical encroachment upon our freedoms by something people are apparently still calling “political correctness” in 2014, the fact that there’s now a black Captain America — like the presence of a female God of Thunder in the pages of Thor, and a Pakistani American Ms. Marvel in Ms. Marvel, and a Spider-Man who’s half-black and half-Mexican in the alternate-universe title Ultimate Spider-Man, and the casting of Idris Elba as a Norse god in the Thor movies — is hell-in-a-handbasket stuff.

The United States of Captain America: Rae Sremmurd, the Falcon, and the Endless, Necessary Racial Revision of Marvel’s Icons [via Grantland]

The Way Of The Knife

The Way Of The Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti seemed like a good start. Imagine the craziest international spy novel you’ve ever read – except, everything is real. The people, the places, the events. Everything.

In the midst of talking about what I think about food and music so often, it’s time I read a book (or at least talk about one I’ve read.)

The Way Of The Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth by Mark Mazzetti seemed like a good start. Imagine the craziest international spy novel you’ve ever read – except, everything is real. The people, the places, the events. Everything.

This book does not answer all the questions but if you want a fundamental understand of how the CIA evolved from a risk-averse spy agency into America’s clandestine military apparatus, this account from Pulitzer winner Mark Mazzetti is a good place to start. I know most of you who read this blog know my politics, but I will do my best to spare you from them in this particular post – other than I advise everybody read this, and do so with an open mind.

I do not profess to be the greatest at reviewing books, so if you’re looking for more detail on why you should read this, here are reviews from NY Times, NPR, Goodreads, and the requisite Amazon page.

Borges and Buckley

Watch Jorge Luis Borges interviewed by William F. Buckley Jr. on this 1977 broadcast of Firing Line

We contrasted English and Spanish, and why he considered English a far finer language than Spanish—during which, I might add, he did a little cadenza in German, which he taught himself so he could read Schopenhauer in the original. Then I asked him if the fact that the Spanish language is less resourceful than the English language necessarily makes it less complete as poetry. He replied, “No. I think that when poetry is achieved, it can be achieved in any language. It’s more that a fine Spanish verse that could hardly be translated to another language would turn to something else. But when beauty happens, well, there it is.”

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