Posts Tagged 'writing'

Understanding the Gift Economy

Iconic Tiffany's Box with Question Mark

I received an interesting assignment a couple weeks ago: write an explanation of the gift economy. Since the request came from my dear friend Nipun Mehta, to whom I can refuse nothing, I agreed; but I knew from the outset how challenging this seemingly straightforward task would be. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously observed about pornography, some things are easy to recognize and yet quite difficult to define.

The essay, now completed, is included in a new online reference, The Dictionary of Ethical Politics, a joint project of Resurgence and openDemocracy.

Continue reading ‘Understanding the Gift Economy’


All’s Well in the Kosmos

Kosmos, Fall/Winter 2009

I may have been writing squat on my blog recently, but at least others have been publishing my wheezes. My short (damn 450 word limt!) profile of CharityFocus appears in the Fall/Winter edition of Kosmos, a journal of waviness, crunchiness, and all things in between.

Here’s a PDF of the piece, for those of you who don’t already know the wonders of CF.

Continue reading ‘All’s Well in the Kosmos’

Kuzhali Manickavel Is Just Like You and Me Except that Her Words Have Wings

When reading a wonderfully crafted story, we are sometimes tempted to say that the line between prose and poetry has been blurred. We don’t really mean it, of course. It is simply our hyperbolic way of acknowledging the writer’s stylistic gifts. We cannot read Michael Ondaajte, for example, without marveling at the precision and emotional fullness of his writing; but our brains do not really struggle to ascertain whether we are in the midst of his fiction or his poems. The confidence we bring to the distinction belies its arbitrariness – at least since poetry was liberated from its formal constraints at the opening of the twentieth century – but we are usually confident nonetheless.

This sure ground frequently threatens to fall away under the magical pen of Kuzhali Manickavel, whose new work of nearly intertwined short… ummm… pieces, Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings, has just been published by Blaft Publications in Chennai.

Kuzhali’s stories are like well-remembered dreams. They are frustratingly elliptical and playfully topsy-turvey in their abandonment of mundane reality, yet sufficiently vivid and subtle to provide that delicious moment of doubt about whether the experience was imagined or lived.

Continue reading ‘Kuzhali Manickavel Is Just Like You and Me Except that Her Words Have Wings’

Blasts from the Past

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.


... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.


... because everyday is Mother's Day.


... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.


... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.


... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.


... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.


... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?


... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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