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Mackie Blanton Table




Mackie J.V. Blanton, a pro bono advisor and group leader to the Gestalt Psychotherapy Institute of New Orleans/New York, was an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Orleans, Department of English, and an Associate Dean of Student Life for Multicultural Affairs. Having written essays in linguistics, poetics, scientific and technical discourse, Louisiana dialects, and Sufi and Hasidic sacred language, his current research is in subtle body mysticism and in sacriture, i.e., the practice of and the study of sacred discourse and sacred study as categories of a psycho-hermeneutic phenomenology. Mackie has traveled extensively, since 1964, in North Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Europe, and Asia Minor. Presently (May 2007), Dr. Blanton is teaching in Turkey.

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Did I say that I still plan to go to Iznir? I was supposed to leave yesterday but I've postponed my departure to the 20th. I need time to buy some clothes, but also to continue clearing the land as much as I can. Linda and I think it makes a lot of sense for me to proceed as usual just because for us, fortunately, life will be somewhat as usual, even if it will again become so slowly.

UNO is setting up offices and courses at LSU; so she will be needed there. She will more than likely commute to Baton Rouge from Covington, or from her Cousin Patty's home in Houma, or from Patty's apartment in the French Quarter. There is very little that we can do but sit and wait for insurance agents. After they make their estimates, we can hire local crews to clear away fallen trees in Covington and, if it comes to that, to bulldoze our home in New Orleans. So life needs to go on. Eh La Bas

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I made it to my apartment, where I unburdened myself of my satchel and laptop and took the elevator back down to the ground floor and out once again onto the street. I took an academic journal from my study to read because I had decided to stroll over to Cinar (The Oak Tree), my new favorite coffeehouse.  Among people milling about aimlessly or rushing past one another with purposeful, determined, pinched faces, I sauntered my way through Grand Park just opposite my apartment building, toward its main entrance opening on to where Cinar was.  This was going to be my way of dealing with earthquakes, I thought.  I won’t panic against the worrying newness of all of this, I told myself.  I would just quietly find a table near a window where sunlight would be streaming through dusky off-white curtains and I would read, and concentrate intently on what I was reading, an essay on the center of Western Marxism of the 1930s, the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. 

I immediately ordered baklava with tea and bottled water.  In Turkey, when you order baklava, you don’t just get one piece as a single serving; you get five wonderfully syrupy squares.  I soon learned, weeks before earthquake time, to savor and to devour them all, slowly, especially while pouring over tracts of intellectual history and literary theory.  There I sat, until dinner time.  Later, I went off to a restaurant for an evening meal and returned afterwards for more of Cinar’s baklava, even though I had promised myself weeks before that I would have the pleasure of this great dessert only once a week, on Sundays.  But here I was, on the Monday of my first earthquake ever, having a single serving of five perfectly inviting pieces twice, as my way of contending with earthquakes and consoling myself!  After Katrina



After Katrina (An Intro)    

    Chapter I  (Neighbors and Invaders)

     Chapter 2 ( Earthquakes and Baklava) 

     Chapter 3   (The Lens in Plato’s Eye) 

Beers and Transformation

Eh, La Bas, Cherie! (letter)

Malcolm’s Landing

Ode #95   


Rudy I want to know

The Struggle Odes 

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Don Imus

The Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke

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Lies Truth and Unwaged Housework

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The Life And Times of John Henrik Clarke

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Payback for Bush 

Responses to Skip Gates

Review of Exhibition

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Rwanda Ten Years after the Genocide 

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Snapshots of the Old South

Speech by President Hugo Chávez 

State Of Black America

The State of Black Journalism  

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State of the Dream  

Texas Justice

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There Must Still Be Something Out of Kilter

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The Venezuela Connection

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zora smiles 

zora smiles 2 

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How could I be sure I was not simply projecting my own flitting, fretful internal reality on to these poor hungry street mongrels?  Plato was right after all, I realized.  We can’t ever really hope to capture the ideal moment, the ideal found object, in our artful amateur moments.  For through our senses all was nothing but mere imitation, never the real thing.  The single lens reflex of Plato’s mind had captured a truth greater than any subsequent teaching.  No teaching could ever hope to imitate it and any teaching that opposed it would lack an eternal, perspicuous rationality.  A photograph or slide was no true ideal form, but only an arbitrary, artificial structure ritualized endlessly by an academic or artful searching down here below; endlessly missing the mark, a mere approximation, a representation at least thrice removed from Heaven. 

Make pictures.  Take pictures.  What’s the difference?

Can you see what I am getting at?  Why should I take photos of people, places, and things; of faces, landscapes, and cats; of monuments, ruins, and a dead bird between a hound’s teeth – when, as Plato taught us, these photos will be merely mimetic, imitative of the real, when the real itself is only apparently real, since it also, being earthbound, is imitative of ideal forms veiled from the human eye and touch and taste and smell?  But then there is the more immediate question: Why should I take photos of anything in which I see only apparent beauty, a beauty that hurricanes and earthquakes will destroy, transforming them into another kind of mimetic, though sorrowful, apparent beauty?  It’s the mere apparentness of even the sorrowful that makes the sorrowful beautiful.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story

of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government

By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer

American democracy is informed by the 18th century’s most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. We’ve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economics—the cutting-edge ideas of today—generate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. It’s an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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update 24 May 2012