Z e t e o
Reading, Looking, Listening, . . . Questioning
Categories: Essay | 2 Comments
RealDoll prosthetic device, leg, being repaired

By Walter Cummins   Second in a series   Last time I wrote of the relationship of various prosthetic devices to the people who wear them. This time my topic is humanoids. At first glance, they may seem to be very different subjects. Prosthetics often and humanoids always, however, do share roots in robotics and […]

Essay
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By Walter Cummins   Robotics and artificial intelligence are now in the news almost every day, and at the movies and on TV. Some hi-techers believe we have entered into new relationships with our digital devices. The boundaries between Us and Them may be vanishing. If we are becoming “transhumans,” is it more threat than […]

Essay
Categories: ZiR | 1 Comment

A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another, and the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation. — John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) For […]

ZiR
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Review of Tomb(e) by Hélène Cixous, translated by Laurent Milesi (Seagull Books, 2014). Distributed by The University of Chicago Press. By Walter Cummins   What are we to make of prose like this? Never did I love so powerfully but for dreaming still and dreaming the Dream of Dreams, as if Love killed me in order […]

Review
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Bonobos

The Sources of Morality By Walter Cummins Review of The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans de Waal (W. W. Norton, 2013)   Primatologist Frans de Waal in his book The Atheist and the Bonobo (W. W. Norton, 2013) uses bonobos to take on God, or more precisely those people who are convinced moral standards would not exist without the […]

Review

Malignancy in an Imperfect World By Walter Cummins Click here for PDF version.   When the Stanford anthropologist S. Lochlain Jain received a diagnosis of breast cancer in her mid thirties, she did what many educated cancer victims do: she wrote a book, Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (University of California Press, 2013). In Jain’s […]

Essay
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The Groups We Belong To   By Walter Cummins   Review of The Big Picture: America in Panorama, from the collection of Josh Sapan (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2013) {Click for pdf wherein, inter alia, the pictures are larger}   The Big Picture: America in Panorama celebrates both the possibilities of the panoramic camera and […]

Review
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Photographing the Soul A review of The Iconic Photographs by Steve McCurry (Phaidon reprint edition, 2012; first published by Art and Architecture, 2011) By Walter Cummins [click for pdf] Two-thirds into Steve McCurry’s Iconic Photographs I thought I was encountering a group of happy men, their smiling faces lined in a row. Then I realized […]

Review
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Eating Intelligent Beings By Walter Cummins A review of: Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies by Margo DeMello (Columbia University Press, 2012) Animal Rights Without Liberation: Applied Ethics and Human Obligations by Alasdair Cochrane (Columbia University Press, 2012) Without Offending Humans: A Critique of Animal Rights by Élisabeth de Fontenay (University of Minnesota […]

Review
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The Worlds of the Ordinary By Walter Cummins Chris Arthur, in this new collection of essays, does not seek insights into himself or words that convey the essential drama of his life. Instead, the knowledge he pursues is a deeper understanding of the ordinary, of his quotidian experiences—a chestnut found in a coat pocket, a […]

Review
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A review of Polymorphous Domesticities: Pets, Bodies, and Desire in Four Modern Writers, by Juliana Schiesari (University of California Press, 2012) By Walter Cummins   My friend, the poet Renée Ashley, a consummate dog lover, displays a sticker on the back of her car with a canine paw print and the words, “Who Saved Who?” […]

Review

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Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

A review of Polymorphous Domesticities: Pets, Bodies, and Desire in Four Modern Writers, by Juliana Schiesari (University of California Press, 2012) By Walter Cummins   My friend, the poet Renée Ashley, a consummate dog lover, displays a sticker on the back of her car with a canine paw print and the words, “Who Saved Who?” […]

Essay

June 14, 2018

The time that takes place in stories compared to the time that we actually live is radically abbreviated. It briskly sweeps aside all the commonplace moments that make up the long stretch of toilsome time and focuses instead on the interesting and compelling. With a mere section break or a simple transitional phrase, days, months, and whole years are disposed of as if they had no significance at all. “Then time passed slowly until the day arrived when….” A lot of important living is hidden in such a phrase. From the moment-to-moment flow of time, the storyteller lifts out only those narr...

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Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

A review of Polymorphous Domesticities: Pets, Bodies, and Desire in Four Modern Writers, by Juliana Schiesari (University of California Press, 2012) By Walter Cummins   My friend, the poet Renée Ashley, a consummate dog lover, displays a sticker on the back of her car with a canine paw print and the words, “Who Saved Who?” […]

Essay

May 11, 2018

Using personal essay, literary reference, and journalistic voice, the article plants itself on our existential doorstep while illuminating Barnes' novel one more time. Very strong. Thanks.

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Categories: Essay | 1 Comment
Frank Kermode, August 2000, photo by Charlie MacDonald

A review of Polymorphous Domesticities: Pets, Bodies, and Desire in Four Modern Writers, by Juliana Schiesari (University of California Press, 2012) By Walter Cummins   My friend, the poet Renée Ashley, a consummate dog lover, displays a sticker on the back of her car with a canine paw print and the words, “Who Saved Who?” […]

Essay

May 10, 2018

"When these new memories suddenly came upon me … time had been placed in reverse. As if, for that moment, the river ran upstream." Stolen from Barnes's book for my poem "From the Vale for a Soul Making". Great book to write about.

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