How to Engage a Fanatic
Love for one’s enemies is, I think, one of the most valuable lessons offered by the world’s religions. David Brooks makes a good, secular argument for doing so in this column. “A person doesn’t have to be right to teach you some of the ways you are wrong. ... You don’t have to like someone to love him.”
A lot of our thinking is for bonding, not truth-seeking, so most of us are quite willing to think or say anything that will help us be liked by our group. We’re quite willing to disparage anyone when, as Marilynne Robinson once put it, “the reward is the pleasure of sharing an attitude one knows is socially approved.” And when we don’t really know a subject well enough, in T. S. Eliot’s words, “we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts,” and go with whatever idea makes us feel popular.
I wish this cited sources more clearly and just made the statistics for all its claims more apparent, but I have no doubt that giving smartphones to pre-teens and teens is having an outsized and mostly not understood influence on a generation of kids, and that we as parents are stumbling forward with culture-shifting decisions with almost no idea what the consequences will be.
I hope when my girls reach this age that society has either moved on from the more destructive elements of phone apps and social media or that I'll have the fortitude to be the "only" parent who doesn't let his teen have her own phone.
Huh. Putting aside what seems like a dubiously rose-tinted forecast of what would happen if the entire US population abruptly ceased all beef consumption (a global economic disruption), this does make a good case for cutting beef out of one's diet.
A powerful and very personal examination of our cultural attitudes toward body weight.
Weight isn’t neutral. A woman’s body isn’t neutral. A woman’s body is everyone’s business but her own. Even in our attempts to free one another, we were still trying to tell one another what to want and what to do. It is terrible to tell people to try to be thinner; it is also terrible to tell them that wanting to lose weight is hopeless and wrong.
I would add to this list: disable notifications for every app except messages and phone calls.
The people who depict the poor, in other words, are unlikely to have much proximity to poverty themselves. What poverty they do see is usually black or brown. And that makes them more likely to repeat stereotypes about the poor than to interrogate them.
A nice, short love letter to the books that take us forever to read.
It’s a measured meting out of a book, like nibbling one piece of chocolate each night in the same chair over a year. It’s a refusal to hurry up or to turn reading into a life hack; it’s the anti-summer reading, the anti-binge read. It’s site-specific, intensely slow reading, for no other reason than to bask in what’s good.
This is not--as I first thought--an actual how-to post. Worth reading even if you have no interest in becoming a tidier person.
The whole premise of that event is that the White House ought to make a credible show before reporters because reporters are a rough proxy for the unconvinced. But what if the people in power don’t care to convince the unconvinced?
Good tips. I didn't realize those "press 2 to be removed from our call list" options were bogus.
A very different story from the one I thought I knew.
Starts strong, but predictable, but then subtly builds into something unexpected and beautiful.
This is worth reading. I appreciate the call to "de-escalate national politics," and I agree we're all worse off when increasing self-sorting means we all think the other side is nothing but a bunch of heartless, corrupt dummies. But the "let California be California and let Texas be Texas," solution is hard to swallow when "let Texas be Texas," in some cases means "let Texas govern itself in a way that systematically strips certain subsets of its citizens of their federally guaranteed rights." (Not to pick on Texas. It's just the example in the essay.)
I'm not a historian, but I remember part of the legacy of the Civil War is a vindication of the the federal prerogative to protect all people from the tyranny of the majority and ensure the equal application of our baseline principles (the Constitution) no matter where one lives in the union. I'm not saying the federal government has ever been especially good at those things, but I wouldn't want to live in a country where my basic rights as a US citizen don't travel with me as I make my way across the country. I know that's already true for too many of our nations citizens.
Perhaps unintentionally, this piece makes a compelling case for eliminating the concept of "working class." Let's lose "middle class" while we're at it. If for no other reason than that the way most people think of those descriptors is a far cry from the original definition used by social scientists like this one.
When asked by friends and associates to describe the source of his influence over the president, Mr. Kushner has offered explanations rooted in loyalty, family and, above all, his acceptance that Mr. Trump is a 70-year-old man of fixed habits who cannot be easily diverted from a course of action.
If you haven't read this yet, it is truly worth your time.
My question to anybody who knows better than I do: bread existed and was part of a normal breakfast long before we invented cereal. Is bread bad for breakfast, too? Why is cereal so much worse?
What is happening right now is not salubrious skepticism but a kind of mass hysteria, millions of heads plunging with struthioniform insistence into the same sand, as though insisting that reality is something other than what it is, or merely averting our gaze, would somehow alter the truth.
Treat yourself to this profile, and smile big from beginning to end.
A Washington Post investigation into the organic food industry found a system rife with inconsistent testing practices and fraud.
One of those rare essays that causes you to see the world -- and your place in it -- in a new and strange light. Well worth your time.
Please subscribe to your local newspaper. #WorldPressFreedomDay
Some really important ideas in here. And a very well-composed essay. I hope someday to be able to think and write deeply again.
We live in a moment when our government has too little transparency and our own private lives have too much.
I have confused the availability of new information with the importance of it.
Quite a read.
If you're one of the many Americans who get all their news from Facebook, please consider branching out.
Ideally, people would be able to form robust online communities and engage in the public square without letting any single company build a comprehensive dossier on them.
Achieving the level of internet privacy most people assume they already have is actually pretty difficult and inconvenient.
Clear language and proper grammar usually go hand in hand, but when they conflict, always seek the clearest expression of your meaning.
Sorry for the delay! I put off answering your e-mail until I had an even more tedious task that I wanted to avoid. Thanks!
Democracy works only if those who have the money or the power to opt out of public things choose instead to opt in for the common good. It’s called a social contract, and we’ve seen what happens in cities where the social contract is broken: White residents vote against tax hikes to fund schools where they don’t send their children, parks go untended and libraries shutter because affluent people feel no obligation to help pay for things they don’t need.
Right now, then, it’s even more urgent that parents who rely on messages like “we’re all equal” or “we’re all the same underneath our skin” in the hope of teaching our children the values of inclusion, equality and difference significantly up our game. And let’s be frank, it’s parents of white children, like myself, who tend to rely on these sincere, but ineffective, strategies.
The key to getting people to pay to subscribe to things on the Internet, from what I've seen, is giving them a sense of being part of something bigger than themselves. A chance to buy in to something important or fun. Simply erecting a paywall in front of your product makes people feel like you're punishing them for liking what you make, and extorting them to continue using it. You need the carrot of the feeling of ownership and participation to go with the stick of the paywall to be effective.