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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

The Witness of True Love and the Grace of Loss (Video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

The notion of contemplating mortality can be an abstract one for those of us not facing death. It can be waxed about in highly romanticized language, such as in a Wallace Stevens poem, or shown on television in the most inhuman ways, leaving us cold and unmoved.

While editing this week’s show on facing and contemplating reality, I suggested we ground our interview with Dr. Ira Byock, a leading figure in palliative and hospice care, with other people’s voices from StoryCorps. Annie and Danny PerasaTheir words, their stories, I hoped, would take Dr. Byock’s clinical experiences and complement the doctor’s ideas about dying well with the necessary pathos of those families facing death.

To close the hour, we included audio of Annie and Danny Perasa, a couple from Brooklyn, New York. They had been married for 27 years when Danny was diagnosed with a fast-spreading, painful form of terminal cancer. It’s a love story illustrating that the process of dying is not only a medical event, but a personal one in which “eloquence, grace, and poetry” can still be found. Danny passed away on February 24, 2006.

As a result, we’ve heard from so many listeners asking to hear this audio again. Here’s a wonderful animation extending the story you heard on the radio.

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Handala in East Jerusalem
by Mary Slosson, USC “Reporting on Israel” Journalism Student
Handala, the downtrodden cartoon symbol of Palestinian resistance, makes an appearance in the front yard of a house in East Jerusalem. The house was once owned and occupied by a Palestinian, but he and his family were evicted. Now an Israeli settler family lives in the house. IDF soldiers protect the handful of settler families that live in the neighborhood.
Naji Al-Ali, the artist who created Handala, describes his character:
"I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first, he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."
Editor’s note: Krista and the On Being team are in Israel this week and working with Diane Winston’s graduate students from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism. We’ll be sharing some of these students’ reports as  part of our collaboration and to add to the diversity of observations of this complex place.
Handala in East Jerusalem
by Mary Slosson, USC “Reporting on Israel” Journalism Student
Handala, the downtrodden cartoon symbol of Palestinian resistance, makes an appearance in the front yard of a house in East Jerusalem. The house was once owned and occupied by a Palestinian, but he and his family were evicted. Now an Israeli settler family lives in the house. IDF soldiers protect the handful of settler families that live in the neighborhood.
Naji Al-Ali, the artist who created Handala, describes his character:
"I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first, he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."
Editor’s note: Krista and the On Being team are in Israel this week and working with Diane Winston’s graduate students from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism. We’ll be sharing some of these students’ reports as  part of our collaboration and to add to the diversity of observations of this complex place.

Handala in East Jerusalem

by Mary Slosson, USC “Reporting on Israel” Journalism Student

Handala, the downtrodden cartoon symbol of Palestinian resistance, makes an appearance in the front yard of a house in East Jerusalem. The house was once owned and occupied by a Palestinian, but he and his family were evicted. Now an Israeli settler family lives in the house. IDF soldiers protect the handful of settler families that live in the neighborhood.

Naji Al-Ali, the artist who created Handala, describes his character:

"I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first, he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."

Editor’s note: Krista and the On Being team are in Israel this week and working with Diane Winston’s graduate students from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism. We’ll be sharing some of these students’ reports as part of our collaboration and to add to the diversity of observations of this complex place.

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Love is brightest in the dark.
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KataraKatara, a Waterbender, recites this inscription during "The Cave of Two Lovers" episode of The Last Airbender.

OK. I’ll admit it. My two sons have sucked me in to watching this absolutely riveting cartoon series from the Nickelodeon network. Netflix paired with AppleTV is a dangerous combination.

The writers embed lots of fun, humorous, and, yes, wise moments of truths and paradoxes. And I heard the quotation above quite differently because of something civil rights leader and theologian Vincent Harding said: that, rather than try to banish or ignore the darkness, we need to teach our children to be “sources of light” within that darkness.

I love this idea. It’s real and forces us to acknowledge our capacities for all the flaws we have as human beings, and our even greater inherent abilities to transcend them. Possibility.

And, if you’re wondering, here’s the Wiki description of the scene:

"After traveling for about three hours, Aang and Katara encounter a large tomb designed for the two lovers spoken of in lore. By reading script around the walls, they discover the true story of the two lovers: a man and a woman from feuding towns met at the top of a mountain. Although it was dangerous to meet, the loving couple found a way to continue their relationship in secret.

After learning Earthbending by observing the natural skills of badgermoles, they created a labyrinth which only they could navigate as a place to be together. However, one day the man did not come; he had been killed in the war between their two people. While the woman’s fury was initially expressed in a display of Earthbending prowess which could have potentially destroyed both of the warring towns, she instead declared the conflict at an end.

The two villages later created a city to honor the couple’s love, which eventually grew into the city of Omashu (the names of the lovers are revealed to be Oma and Shu, whose names were joined together). Aang and Katara then turn around and see a statue of the lovers, with a slogan in the middle stating: ‘love is brightest in the dark.’”

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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David Mamet’s Holiday Cartoon
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright adds some comedic expression to the holidays with this cartoon from Tablet.
[via Negev Rock City]
David Mamet’s Holiday Cartoon
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright adds some comedic expression to the holidays with this cartoon from Tablet.
[via Negev Rock City]

David Mamet’s Holiday Cartoon

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright adds some comedic expression to the holidays with this cartoon from Tablet.

[via Negev Rock City]

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Cartoon: Diversity on the Court?

Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson’s cartoon in the Houston Chronicle struck a chord with this kid from North Dakota who opted not to head east for college.

When Justice Stevens announced his retirement, we here at SOF read a good many articles about the many factors that play into the choosing of a Supreme Court nominee: religion, gender, ethnicity, race, political leanings, socio-economic upbringing, judicial philosophy, class, etc. And, law school education even came up.

Seeing the composition illustrated in this way is a glaring reminder for me and my responsibilities as a producer on this show — to look outside of the mainstream for surprising perspectives on topics; to think more deeply about the audiences we serve (I know this sounds a tad syrupy but I believe it!); to listen more intently for the little heard, sage voices that choose an alternative path, a different coast, a non-traditional landscape, an unpublished life.

Geographic identity matters. Styles of training count. Choices about where one chooses to raise one’s family and practice one’s vocation are part of the story. These decisions influence who we are and how we approach the complex questions that give meaning to our lives, that shape our humanity.

So, we’ll continue to look in all four directions — and to you for advice. Send them in.

Cartoon courtesy of EditorialCartoonists.com.

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Sometimes It Takes a Flood Trent Gilliss, online editor
We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.
The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”
(via nickgoestocopenhagen)
Sometimes It Takes a Flood Trent Gilliss, online editor
We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.
The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”
(via nickgoestocopenhagen)

Sometimes It Takes a Flood
Trent Gilliss, online editor

We’ve used Tumblr as our blogging platform for several years now. Along the way, we’ve followed some fantastic Tumblrs and gained some new followers who post news, data visualizations, photos, and other enlightening material we would probably never have known about.

The comic above was posted by one of our new followers, Nick Mueller from New South Wales, one of 23 Australian Youth Delegates to the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. He serves as an astute reminder that even as we stare down these serious challenges, we can face these issues with humor and a lighter heart “to support young people to make the change needed for our planet in a personally sustainable way.”

(via nickgoestocopenhagen)

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Calvin and Hobbes: Math Is a Religion

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Calvin and Hobbes: Math Is a ReligionSome good clean humor to start the day, direct from one of my favorite comic strips via a tweetmeme.

For those who can’t easily read the word bubbles, a transcript:

First frame
Calvin: You know, I don’t think math is a science. I think it’s a religion.
Hobbes: A religion?

Second frame
Calvin: Yeah. All these equations are like miracles. You take two numbers and when you add them, they magically become one new number! No one can say how it happens. You either believe it or you don’t.

Third frame
Calvin: This whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith! It’s a religion!

Fourth frame
Hobbes: And in the public schools no less. Call a lawyer.
Calvin: As a math atheist, I should be excused from this.

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