Future, Present, & Past:

~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.

Oυδεὶς άμουσος εἰσίτω

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Between ruin and light, the work

On my post about how to address (insofar as I know anything) out national case of the DTs, I got a comment from a reader calling themselves "Wretched". I drafted my response but before I could post it, the comment was deleted. But since it pressed me to do some more thinking, I am posting some of it here -- without, however, quoting the words which the writer chose not to post. "Wretched" pointed out and voiced a legitimate fed-up-ness with trying to accommodate or understand racism or other forms of institutional or plain old personal hate, exploitation, and resentment. They were (acknowledgedly) angry; also eloquent, respectful, and -- though we didn't see things the same way -- certainly not wrong in any simple sense either. I sat for a while letting the discomfort and defensiveness pass. And upon thinking about it and continuing to read and think, I noted (what I ought to have predicted) that the account of the downtrodden white working-class coming out for DT is already being appropriated for the purposes of apologetics and normalizing. I want nothing to do with such trumpery. While I have seen all too clearly the unbecoming liberal disdain for and disconnect from what's being called "flyover America" (Seattle, where I live, is rife with it), I am wary of how this moment of breast-beating over this will be leveraged into a story that effectively minimalizes the real role that white fear has played and is likely going to continue to play in the next many years.

The exhaustion with "listening and understanding" is endemic, and small wonder. I'm at pains to distinguish (and I'm doing it clumsily) what I'm saying from calls to be patient, or put up with anything. The actual encounter I am speaking of would be something like Truth and Reconciliation, but it'll have to be far more informal; and as to whether it would even work -- well, I could be mistaken; we may "as a nation" be waaay beyond the time when any genuine listening was possible. Even if it is not too late, I do not believe that there is any way -- any good way -- to hurry anger, or frustration, or had-it-up-to-here disgust, off stage. It's got to be looked in the eye, both by those who have caused it and by those who feel it. I get, in a small way, why this is scary. I have a conflict-avoidant streak in me that I strive against. But I strive against it because it doesn't work.

This is a blog about philosophy, and philosophy, I hold, cannot be conflict-avoidant. Philosophy strives to apprehend the whole, and this means all attempts to keep emotions at a safe distance or under "laboratory conditions" are misguided. But it also means that philosophy cannot be run by emotions. Indignation is intoxicating, and that can make for a great high, and for a tremendous and seemingly unanswerable ferocity. To those on the receiving end it's sometimes upsetting, even terrifying, but it's awfully tempting, is it not, to ask: So what? Why should I care? Well, my own path doesn't have to be anyone else's. But I think there are reasons to care, that have nothing to do with protecting white fragility or accommodating injustice. I'm with Cornel West, who said with regard to HRC's characterization of DT's supporters as a "basket of deplorables":
I don’t like comments like that — that any person is thoroughly irredeemable. I mean, maybe it’s because I’ve got a Christian sensibility. We’ve all got gangster proclivities and all of us have the possibility of being transformed and changed, but I don’t like the idea of a huge slice of America just irredeemable. If they’re xenophobic, you call them xenophobic, but they can change. ...I don’t mind her saying that a significant slice of brother Donald Trump’s social base are deeply xenophobic and racist and misogynist because they are, but that’s just the truth. The truth is not static. It’s [not] stationary. People can change and be transformed, absolutely.
Now, one can ask whether it's reasonable to expect such a "change" as West decribes. One can ask whether it's even relevant to talk about this on the scale of voting blocs rather than individuals. (West's examples were all indivuduals: George Wallace, Lyndon Johnson, Malcolm X). Perhaps this is one difference between politics and philosophy, between playing the game and looking beyond the endgame. But I hold that the only battle that really matters is the one that transpires within "that individual" (as Kierkegaard named them). And it is an unending battle.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What I said for my brother's funeral

(These are the words that I read at the funeral of my brother a month ago. I'm posting today in acknowledgment of International Suicide Survivors' Day.

I have spent a great deal of my life thinking about death -- ever since fourth grade when a classmate and her family died in the crash of their small plane. When confronted by my brother's suicide, I felt as if all that thinking had made me not one whit more ready to navigate the soul-crushing rapids of grief, regret, anger, and incomprehension -- to say nothing of family psychodrama and physical exhaustion -- that I was plunged into. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe as a philosopher I've been doing special ninja training for dealing with death, and without it I'd have been a puddle on the floor. I'm not sure. I know that if it hadn't been for others' kindness and willingness to sit openly with my emotions, I would have been hopeless. When finally I was sitting in the airport on my way home after the funeral, it dawned on me: this is just beginning. And I am still, and continuously, grateful for that support.

This text is almost unedited, aside from a few details for clarification. It bears all the marks of the occasion on which it was delivered.

I know I'm a decent writer, and at least part of why I'm decent, and that my brother would have wanted me to speak. It was the most difficult writing I've ever done.)


I am going to talk about Clayton and myself as little boys; and I’m going to talk about what we – any of us – do next; but I need to start with where I am , which has been a very dark and difficult place. Some of what I say will also seem kind of high-altitude; that's what you get when you have a philosopher talk at a funeral.

When Clay was about 3, and I was about 9, we played a game. We played games all growing up, into my high school years, but this was the very first. It was called Whee, and it was played by him standing on the top stair and me a few stairs down, or him on the couch and me on the floor, ready to catch him. He'd yell Whee! and jump. I’d catch him. That was the game. He did it over and over. He had the abandon of a little boy and he just laughed and laughed. I have no idea how many times but in my memory it lasted for months, every day.

And then one day, one time, I didn't catch him.

I don’t know why I did it. I might have had some wrongheaded idea about getting him an early start in the school of hard knocks, or I might have thought the surprise would be funny and even fun. It might have been sheer perversity. Maybe I was getting tired of the game.

The moment it happened I knew it was not funny, and not fun. He was shocked and frightened. I knew I was wrong, that I wanted to play the game again, the way we had been. I wanted it to go back to how it was before.

It never did. We never played it again. He never jumped into my arms again.

Now that's only one story; I have a lot of stories about Clay, and stories were a huge part of how we grew up. We listened to records with stories, I made up stories, we had a whole repertoire of games as we got older that were based on stories we made up. When I was going through his things this week, I found a folder with stories I wrote for him and gave him as presents for birthdays or Christmas or just because. He'd kept them this whole time. They were really about him and me because the stories were based on our make-believe. All of those stories were also games; we didn’t stop playing. But that game from when he was three, was lost.

And I have stories about Clay from when I was there and from when I wasn't. How he lugged my bands’ heavy sound and light equipment to and from our shows. How he traveled around Europe with his friends and almost got swept off a ship during a storm. How as a kid he was transfixed by the animatronic musical bears at Disneyland. How he plied visiting friends or relatives with endless courses of sushi and refused to pocket the tip himself. Stories about how smart he was; how funny; how beautiful. About his music – I’ve been listening to his album while I work on these words, one track in particular over and over, and it reminds me that back in the day when I was playing a lot of live music, people would sometimes say, Isn’t your little brother also a musician? and I would always answer, My brother is the real musician.

Because of where we are, though, there's this story that seems especially pertinent. I was newly adrift from the religion of my youth when my grandmother, my father’s mother, died. At the funeral, I was suddenly, palpably struck by a kind of certainty in the service. Everyone seemed to know -- to really Know where my grandmother was "now" -- and I didn't. I thought I might be the only one in the room who didn't “know.” And this weird juxtaposition seemed so strange that I really couldn’t be quiet. Wow, I kept saying, befuddled, kind of under my breath. Wow, Oh wow. And Clay, who was sitting next to me, kept looking at me sideways and finally leaned over and whispered to me, there at my grandmothers funeral,
Dude, are you stoned?!

It’s a story about how succinctly he related to my sort of baffled bemusement in the world; and there are a lot of stories like that too, and I keep smiling and laughing at them, and then something brings me up short and I think -- But he's dead.

And everything shuts down, and there seems no point or possibility of smiling or laughing. And I can't help but wonder if somehow the real story, the story that culminated last week, was the story I started with, the one where he jumped, and I didn’t catch him. It frightens me. I feel a kind of bottomless shame.

And the point isn’t whether I should or shouldn’t feel this. But I think some of you also are asking yourself questions like this; Did I miss anything? Was there something I should have seen, was there something I did see/ What if something – what if that one thing – had gone differently?. Or maybe you wonder whether anything will ever seem right. You wonder if you can laugh again. You can even find it a weird kind of affront that there is laughing, smiling, business as usual. That anything should still go on at all.

The best expression I know of this helpless ruined-feeling is the poem my niece asked to have read today. It's by W.H. Auden, and some of you will know it; it’s been heard at more than one funeral. Clay wrote so many lyrics; he understood the power and force of poetry; and as I said to my niece, it can be helpful sometimes to have someone else express what you feel:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos, and with muffled drum
bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message, He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the necks of the public doves.
Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my north, my south, my east and west
My working week, my Sunday rest
My noon my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last forever. I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one.
Pack up the moon, dismantle the sun
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
If anyone here has been feeling this, feels this right now, or feels this tomorrow or next week or month or into the future, whenever it comes on you, I won't try to tell you to feel a different way. I think that the way to feel better is to let yourself feel as bad as you feel; and it can feel completely disorienting that the sun comes up still. The poem starts with plans for some social and civil indication of mourning but it ends with a kind of apocalypse; and I absolutely get it. It doesn’t just feel like a personal or private catastrophe. It seems like the Election coverage should be suspended, businesses close-- the world just stop. Why shouldn't the landscape be wiped away? The stars extinguished. The stars are not wanted now. Put out every one.

But I want to talk about why I chose a different lyric for the back of the keepsake bookmark you can each take. The front has a lyric from Clay. The back has a line from a song by Sting, which I have a special reason for including: partly because Clay loved it; and partly because I remember the time he first played it for me. Clayton and I were roommates for a while in the mid 90s with a lot of other musicians, and we'd often push music on each other, recommending things, but it was rare for us to say, You gotta listen to this, Now. But one day he told me, Let me play you this song. He put it in, he turned it up loud. I was surprised; it's almost a country song, and not stand-out remarkable in Sting's work, but there came a moment when I understood what Clay loved about it. The song is about a divorce, and I've omitted a few lines that refer specifically to that, but I'll tell you about the story in the song. In this verse, the singer goes out under the stars at night, hurting, missing his wife and kids, hurting over how she's found someone new. Then he looks up and he chooses a star for himself, one for his wife's lover, one for her, one for each child. Then comes the last part that I've chosen. It's when he's seen, or made, this new constellation that he says

"Something made me smile. Something seemed to ease the pain."
And then as I was listening, Clay looked with his uncanny eyes into mine, and his huge smile broke over his face as he sang along,
"Something about the universe, and how it's all connected...",
fully expecting me to just get it, and I did, I heard exactly why he loved this moment; the way the music opens up right there and shows you how sorrow and pain will flower into something broader and deeper and more mysterious, a context that goes on and on ....

But how can that be? How can it be both that the stars are not wanted, and that the stars can ease our pain?

It’s a huge and hard question, and Clay sometimes asked me about it -- not in those terms, but it’s what we talked about the very last time I saw him. I don’t know how, and I cannot give anybody a recipe for making it work. I think it doesn’t work like a recipe. I think sometimes one poem is true, and sometimes the other poem, and we just have to be with wherever we are.

We're bewildered and disoriented. We want it to make sense and it doesn’t. It can feel that somehow everything that happened before was always leading here; that it not only hurts by ending, but that it somehow recasts everything that came before; as though. Did we even know Clay?

I’m saying this out loud because I've asked it inside and I’ve heard others ask it. They are real questions and real feelings and you can’t ignore them. But they aren’t the only feelings. This is one moment in Clay's story. It's not the summing up, not the culmination; it’s not the "meaning" of it.

We didn’t know things about him. Some of us knew more, or differently, but none of us knew everything; and none of us knew what it was like to be him We do not know what it is like to be each other. That we are all connected doesn’t make us all the same. Our stories open onto each other, and Clay’s story opens onto each of ours.

If there's a biggest story of all, a story that makes final sense of it all I don't know much about it, and Clayton was suspicious of claims to know very much about it. I don’t know any more than I did at my grandmother’s funeral. I have a faith that somehow all things can rest in the final word of love, that All Manner of Thing Shall be Well -- but I don't have a picture of what that looks like; it’s not a matter for argument, it’s a matter for prayer – which is another kind of lyric, unless lyric is really a kind of prayer. This is what we talked about the last time I saw Clay. He had a lot of questions for me about my faith, such as it is; we kept talking til they closed the café, and then we stood in the parking lot and kept talking. It was December, and cold, but Clay kept pressing; he preferred an honest longing to any too-pat answer. When Clay prayed at my father’s funeral, he struggled to find the prayer he could pray with integrity, and he prayed: God, if it’s possible, if it works this way, let him know now how many people love him.

The last story here I want to tell isn’t really a story; it just this. As I said, I've been listening to Clayton's album of course while I worked on this talk, and one song in particular, over and over. It's mostly instrumental; with a few lyrics that I won't read -- I'll let you go find them. But I can tell you the name of the song. It's called, I'll Catch You.

I don't really have an expectation of a scenario that in a different world my little brother will jump into my arms. I don’t know if things work that way. But I am sure, absolutely sure, that his story isn't over. Because
our story is still ongoing. I'm sure, because I still love him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

After the snark, the ruin. After the ruin, the light?

There's a line from Annie Baker's play The Aliens:
The state of just having lost something is like the most enlightened state in the world.
By this measure, the American political left should now be on the brink of Nirvana. Somehow I think this is not the case. Why not? What's the difference between the smashing defeat that has just happened, and genuine realization?

Part of it must lie in reflection. We all suffer loss, and so we "know" that loss is endemic. But to parlay that knowing into a a sense of the always-incipient enlightenment of all sentient beings, one must catch oneself knowing it.

This question, or this distinction, arises in looking at the immediate past. Looking to the future, there is another distinction to be made. It is obvious that a great deal of watchfulness will be called for during the next four years (at least). This watchfulness can be primarily attentive and mindful, or it can be primarily suspicious; nepsis, or paranoia. Nepsis is a characteristic of the enlightened: clear-sighted, unjudging and unapologetic, the neptic adept can often answer questions you didn't know you had, but this is because they've troubled to be unflinchingly honest with themselves and with their own spiritual teachers. The paranoid, when you encounter them, churn up confusion and disorder and fear (unless you've got a really good filter, usually from training). Practice in nepsis is difficult and painful and whole-making; paranoia is easy and ruinous. And very tempting.

I don't say it is always easy to discern between them -- at least, not for me. Real spiritual masters can probably tell just by looking at you. It may be hard to fool them, but as Wittgenstein warns, it is perilously easy to fool oneself (Culture & Value p 34). Both forms of watchfulness imply a sort of vigilance. But whereas the one is ascetic, and primarily addressed first of all to oneself and one's own conduct, and is a honed attention to what is the case, the other is directed outward, is egoic, and finally delusional. Put that way, of course, they sound pretty different, but spend five minutes trying to work on the former, and you'll find yourself easily sliding into the latter. It's humbling. It hurts.

This brings us back to the first distinction, for "humble" is not how I would describe the left -- at least, let us say the "liberal" left -- either before the election, or afterwards. Before, the prevailing mood was clearly (with some exceptions) the confident anticipation of a very different outcome, to which it felt not only destined but entitled. Afterwards, there have been a few varieties of reactions. A panicked, rage-stricken, caught-in-the-headlights fury. Or, a benzodiazepine-flavored assurance that if, now, we agree to trust the system and maybe see each other as human we will all learn to get along. Or, analysis which (sometimes) stops just short of saying actually-we-saw-it-coming, because either (1) Racism, Homophobia, Sexism, or (2) idiots voting "against their own interests." As to the analyses, the only ones that are really worth listening to are the ones that acknowledge the near-complete disconnect between the culture of urban, liberal elites (even those who don't feel so very "elite", even those who work very hard) versus rural and small-town poor. (And yes, I am aware of good studies which show that voters for president-elect Delirium Tremens were not on average of lower income than those for HRC. I am talking about culture).

I don't have a general account of the election, or even of What To Do Next, aside from what one must always do: be at one's post. I share the alarm over our national case of the DTs, although I believe its causes are endemic and go back much further than our sequestering ourselves in social-media-bubbles, or the invention of political correctness, or the shameless exploitation of a hollowed-out evangelical "Christianity" by the GOP. I am aware that we may not get through this bottleneck. Yet we may.

Although real and bitter racism exists and is not to be yawned at, I do not believe that a half-century of sulking from white supremacists has been unleashed and swept the DTs into power (not all by itself, anyway). The causes of that are many, complex, stochastic, and all too easily still mis-read in hindsight; some of them may be mendacious or manipulative (restrictive voting laws); others are possibly random (weather, traffic, whether the home team won). It is certainly insufficient to blame voter indifference, or third parties (of whom we have too few, not too many). Those -- especially party leaders -- who want to blame third party voters should look to the beam in their own eye. The Democratic party nominated a candidate who was under criminal investigation for having been slapdash and cavalier with highly sensitive information, and by extension, with the lives of American citizens (to say nothing of others'). This was, how shall I put it, a choice whose prudence may be questioned, regardless of the merit of those charges. Moreover, her campaign clearly attempted to rig the primary against her challenger; and she was known to enjoy at best lukewarm support among many of the party's go-to supporters. This last point holds no matter what you attribute that lukewarm reception to -- voters' misogyny, the candidate's squirreliness, whatever. When voters tell you they hate the choice you are giving them, it is either disingenuous or tone deaf or both to be angry at them later for not voting the way you want them to. I do believe that a vote for HRC was a vote for the continued establishment (and I stand by my claim that she was not obviously the less hawk-ish candidate; she certainly was not in any way less tied to money). All of this indicates the way that the Democrats thought that in some sense their victory was in the bag. The polls! The numbers said so!

On the other hand, DT took the nomination after having snubbed every major interest in the GOP. Unless our unseen Bilderberdger-Illuminati-grey alien puppet-masters are playing a more cunning game than I gave them credit for, DT really does seem to have thrown the whole American political machine into disarray.

There is a genuine opportunity in this. To seize the moment, however, will take all of us working together -- or indeed, fighting together, and maybe with each other, but in genuine good faith. I hope we can remember what that felt like.

So yes, I am fairly squarely in the The-Left-Did-This-To-Itself camp. This only increases the nausea I feel, like a kick in the solar plexus, at the new license that bullying, barbarism, and hate have felt themselves granted. The anecdotes are plentiful and disturbing, and no, alt-right, they are not made up. Muslim women having their head scarves yanked off, brown children yelled at, gay couples being told with a sneer that soon their "fake marriage" will be annulled, graffiti clearly meant to intimidate -- all these tares have sprung up, almost overnight. An enemy hath done this. If the press does not ask President-elect Delirium Tremens, unrelentingly and at every opportunity, whether he disavows and condemns such actions, they are derelict of duty. But much more, it is the responsibility of every person of good faith to resolve to impede any such thing they see, and to live, by concrete action and confrontation especially of one's own residual biases, to make this new license wither. (This resolution may have to last a long, long time. It is important to remember that in the parable of the wheat and tares, the two crops grow up together.)

I want to remark upon just one aspect of this in a little more detail because it connects the watchfulness I commend to the opportunity for realization. Over and over I read of the astonishment felt over the fact that suddenly people "feel like they can say" things that had previously been taboo. The DTs' casualness with regards to demeaning language for women and his pandering to racism has given thirsted-for legitimacy to some of the worst and lowest behaviors and attitudes from the past century. This much is obvious and lamentable. But the language used to describe this new legitimacy is telling. "People feel like they can say these things now." This doesn't mean that these attitudes are being newly created; it means they are being given a new permission, a permission that had been withheld; that had hitherto been subject to sanction -- a sanction against which people chafed and strained, and that suddenly was lifted.

The source of this sanction, and the form under which it existed, is shame. What social liberals are discovering now -- what ought to have been obvious -- is that shame, and especially the shaming disapproval of others, is by itself woefully insufficient to eradicate these spasms of baseness. Shame can stifle, but it does not extinguish; it exacerbates. In their enforced silence, those who are shamed will nurse on a festering resentment. Shame was never going to be an adequate bulwark against wrong. To think it would be was naive, lazy, and indeed a symptom of (a word I choose carefully) privilege. Shame may be useful -- it's a universal emotion, and it could even be necessary; but it is not sufficient. To point this out is not to say anything about whose responsibility anyones shame is; I've no interest in guarding "white fragility," for instance, and I am aware that one reading of US history is that the disempowered have borne a hugely disproportionate share of collective shame for over two centuries. The question isn't whether shame can be deployed; no doubt it can. But it cannot be relied upon. It's too easy; and when it stops working, it stops with a vengeance.

One could have seen this fraying of the power of shame in the invention, a quarter-century or so ago, of political correctness, which tried to martial explicitly the social opprobrium that had always been the lever of shame. This sort of doubling-down should have been a clue. But I don't want to turn this post into an excavation into the past. Most importantly, for my purposes here: by liberalism's own values, which I broadly share, shaming is actually wrong. This is the crucial point in trying to think philosophically into the future about our politics.

Obviously I believe, at least on a good day, that a genuine leftist politics and a sort of small-c conservatism (Cornel West would prefer to say, "preservativism") can work together. I would even say, they have to -- if we're to have any chance at all of navigating this bottleneck (and I fear it may be very tight). Thinking forward will require a scathingly honest appraisal of the ways condescension and snark has poisoned us -- each of us*. This doesn't mean bleeding all discourse, or all political discourse, into a bland and inoffensive paste -- political correctness of a different (non)flavor. What I've said before of irony is true also of other little jabs, like sarcasm or caricature: they make a good spice, and a bad main course. (There is, you will have noticed, a sprinkling of them in this post.) Above all, it is -- to use a dangerous word -- a matter of authenticity. It has to be asked in the first person: do I need to say this this way? Do I have the relationship with this person that allows for this expression? We have ultimately no control over whether the other person agrees with us or not. But we have a great deal of control over whether we listen to them. And it turns out that listening actually does cultivate being heard.

I know this sounds very kumbaya. It's not. It will be every bit as tense and "confrontational" and conflicted as ever. But there is a difference between styles of combat. If the left, maybe even the radical left (if by "radical" we mean something like Sanders' new New Dealism) steels itself to "win next time," it may succeed -- next time. But if this is all that happens, it will have squandered the chance to catch itself knowing what can be known from loss. Of course, this is what will happen, on the large scale, for politics is not philosophy and "the left" does not exist as an entity that can "realize" in the same way that a Bodhisattva can. Nor, in any case, do I think it is the business of the political left, especially in the United States, to construe a metaphysics. But a few more gentle and more deep figures on the left would be a really, really good thing; and a broader shift in culture (what used to be called "a change in consciousness") can still develop, if we truly decide to eschew the vilification of each other and commit to seriously listen to those we find hard to understand, or to even want to understand. This is hard to get right, and we'll all fuck up, and need to start over. But rather than talking to ourselves about how obviously wrong the other is, we'll be talking to each other. Hearing, and seeing, not our preferences or our fears, but what is the case. Edging ever so slowly towards enlightenment.

I hope.

(Addendum: I got a comment from a reader (who later deleted it) which asked me some searching questions that I hope I dealt with honestly in this followup.)


* The best long take I've seen on this is this article by David Wong of Cracked. It's had approximately ten million hits by now so chances are good you've already seen it, but it really bears thinking about.

(Added later) Another take, from the always-smart Slate Star Codex here.

(Again added later) And how gratifying to see Slavoj Žižek vociferously arguing many of my same points.

(And still another), from The Archdruid.

(for contrast) This from Tablet, which underlines the fundamental moral seriousness of the situation. Despite my various caveats above, I think the basic circumstances are stark.

(again for contrast) The most sustained and well-put critiques of the poor-white-folk story I've seen have been from Kirsten West Savali, though I don't agree with her in every respect any more than I do with those I link to above.

(Still want more?) The unflinching and pacifist stance of Stan Goff.

(And last, for now) I agree, however, with Cornel West who described the choice between DT and HRC as that between neofascist catastrophe and neoliberal disaster (and has summed it up in the Guardian).

Some of these links were forwarded to me, some I found myself and some were added in response to feedback I got on this.