What About “The Breakfast Club”?
How are we meant to feel about art that we both love and oppose? What if we are in the unusual position of having helped create it? Erasing history is a dangerous road when it comes to art—change is essential, but so, too, is remembering the past, in all of its transgression and barbarism, so that we may properly gauge how far we have come, and also how far we still need to go.
A lovely story of a long, complicated friendship.
There is no software that can force commenters to engage in respectful debate. There is no app to eliminate the immense conflicts of interest and perverse incentives of pay-per-view advertising sales. There is no subroutine to stop news organizations from competing in a race to the editorial bottom, seduced by clickbait and lusting for attention at any cost.
With all the talk of “peak TV” in the last few years, it’s worth asking whether we’re still looking right past an entire category of deep, provocative works (in television and other mediums) due to a failure to take female authors and subjects seriously.
Some good ideas.
“Doctors no longer minister to a distinctive person but concern themselves with fragmented, malfunctioning” body parts, Dr. Lown wrote in “The Lost Art of Healing.” Now, two decades later, he’d become a victim of exactly what he had warned against.
I have no such rose-tinted view of my lost capacity for deep reading. My personal history with the printed word is littered with bookmarked and dog-eared books long abandoned. But I am interested in the author’s point about the specific change in the way he reads now. The idea that we’re becoming “cynical readers” is compelling.
“The pernicious social dynamics of these online spaces hammer home the idea that anyone who disagrees with you on any controversial subject, even a little bit, is incorrigibly dumb or evil or suspect.”
How you feel about this Facebook change probably correlates strongly with which end of the publishing chain you’re on.
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.
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Some really important ideas in here. And a very well-composed essay. I hope someday to be able to think and write deeply again.