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Is Optimism a Progressive Stance?

Two of my very favorite people in the world, (one a senior citizen and one a millennial), both recently complained that there's more wrong with the world than right and, luckily for me, I was reading "Utopia for Realists" and "Humankind: A Hopeful History", two books by the optimistic Dutch writer Rutger Bregman. I did not have to foam at the mouth and blather in pained disagreement because I had the statistics at hand.

 

Here's why there is great reason for optimism:

  • "Where 44% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty in 1981, that percentage is under 10%.
  • The number of people suffering from malnutrition has shrunk by more than a third since 1990. This year of the world population that survives on fewer than 2000 calories a day has dropped from 51% in 1965 to 3% in 2005. Read More 
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The Map of Paloma’s World

My vision of Calexicobia, and the towns where women would cast off their oppression to travel to Tartatenango.

In inventing the world in Jaguar Paloma and the Caketown Bar, I wanted the names of the hometowns of women to recall the drudgery and limitations they left behind. Here's a map of the world surrounding Tartatenango:

  • To the south, Montemadre: Mother's Mountain, and El Cuadrillo: the bolt or lock.
  • Near Tartatenango: Caketown, is Escoba: broom and Hilado: yarn, as well as El Dolor: the pain
  • also, La Ceiba Grande refers to a common tree in Colombia
  • Villahermosa: Beautiful village
  • the Magdelana River, the Cienaga Grande de Santa Marta marsh, and the Cienaga del Tigre are all actual places in Colombia
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