ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

One Of These Days

I’ve been brewing some other posts here for a while, lengthy essays about structural oppression and narrative responsibility and perceptual bias and all that shit, but fuck it: it’s just one of those days where your friends get tear-gassed and you try to fall asleep to the surveilling thwap-thwap of police helicopters, and I’ve got a few words on the matter.   I’ve written before that living in Oakland has brought me in.. Read More

On Violence

Just a thought I had, watching video of the Occupy Wall Street protests – and accompanying police brutality – while also reading responses to the targeted killing of US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki:   These are connected.   I’ve lived in Oakland for two years now, and in nowhere else I’ve ever called home does police brutality have the presence it has here.  I’ve lived in many places but in Oakland, violence, crime, and.. Read More

Meditations

I haven’t been posting very much lately for lack of a personal computer, which should be remedied this weekend – at which point my regular lengthy, frequent posting can recommence.  Until then, though, a few things have been bubbling in my head; not particularly coherent or uplifting thoughts but rather a kind of submission to tragedy in the world.  The 9/11 jumpers.  Troy Davis – an injustice so grave it can only be.. Read More

Mother’s Little Helper

The New York Review of Books has the first of an incisive two-part look at antidepressants and the epidemic of mental illness in America, in which they review three books from the growing body of contrarian literature.  I’m always intrigued when normally skeptical, scientifically-minded folks blindly accept conventional medical wisdom: unlike, say, theoretical physics, medicine is a field defined by structural incentives far outside of the academy, as pharmaceutical profit margins hold a.. Read More

Also…

I would be remiss not to offer some thoughts on the Big Story Of The Day, but two people have already said everything that can be said, and more eloquently: 1.  Radley Balko reflects on the cost of killing one man; and 2.  Kai Wright discusses the warped logic that killing one man is a valid source of American exceptionalism.   In less-topical reads, The New Yorker offers a handy intellectual overview of.. Read More

Thoughts

Posting from South America will be rather slower than anticipated, unless the gods of chance bring my laptop back to me.  (It would also be helpful to have my comedy notebooks back.  What the hell is a thief in a Spanish-speaking country going to do with an English-keyboard, American-cabled, password-protected laptop and a bunch of jokes written in a foreign language and a barely decipherable hand?  Keep the cash, I don’t care, but.. Read More

Awesomeness: Two Primers

I post a lot here about my love of cities, and my concomitant distaste for sprawl.  For a concise and comprehensive overview of What’s Wrong With Sprawl – covering, in several succinct paragraphs, the economic and policy decisions and ramifications that come from our over-suburbanized nation – give this fantastic post a read.  Even the comments are worth checking out!   Another thing I love?  Libraries.  They are everything that is right in.. Read More

Fresh Views on Old Saws

A few things to mull over: 1.  Hey!  Maybe government assistance does trap people into poverty, but not for the reasons conservatives claim.  In fact, maybe the constant series of hoops that the poor are made to jump through and the bizarre incentives to “work” are, in fact, the problems! 2.  It’s only when the garbagemen stop coming that we can easily realize that we’ve got too much crap. 3.  Cars: less cool.. Read More

Mind Grapes

Tidbits of note from across the Interwebs: 1.  An interesting discussion about urban policy. 2.  Taking the long view on social media. 3.  Football as a lens on prejudice and humanity. Also, just an observation: amongst the various blogs I read today, I encountered federal calls for increased participation by bright young people in four particular occupations — doctor, engineer, teacher, and farmer.  What’s particularly striking in this post-crisis world is just how basic and tangible.. Read More

Potpourri!

A few interesting items from across the Interwebs: 1.  Gender essentialism in children’s toys is alive and well!  And while we’re on the topic of essentialism, one thing that’s hilarious about the attempts by the likes of evolutionary biologists to justify contemporary cultural perceptions of gender is that often its in complete ignorance of (relatively recent) social history.  To wit: it wasn’t until post-WWII that pink was designated a “girl color” and blue.. Read More