Earle Birney’s “El Greco: Espolio” and the Banality of Evil

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“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”

–Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem

Our actions often have unintended consequences. Things we create have the power to affect others in ways we couldn’t imagine. Canadian poet Earle Birney explores this idea in his moving poem “El Greco: Espolio”, which examines a famous incident in Western culture and takes a look at the often less thought about players in the scene.

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Hannah Arendt on Storytelling

I’d been reading some Hannah Arendt for an upcoming post I’ve been working on and found this quote I liked. One of the reasons I love fiction so much is it is able to tell us indirect truths, truths we get to figure out for ourselves. Sometimes when a lesson is explained through a story it is more emotionally involving and impactful than non-fiction material.

How has fiction affected you?

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