• Why Do Rich People Love Quiet? written by Xochitl Gonzalez
    • "It took me years to understand that, in demanding my friends and I quiet down, these students were implying that their comfort superseded our joy."
  • On Giving Up: Adam Phillips on Knowing What You Want, the Art of Self-Revision, and the Courage to Change Your Mind written by Maria Popova
    • "“I did not know that I could only get the most out of life by giving myself up to it,” the psychiatrist and artist Marion Milner wrote a century ago in her clarifying field guide to knowing what you really want — which is, in the end, the hardest thing in life, for our self-knowledge is cratered with blind spots, clouded by conditioning, and perennially incomplete."
    • "It is our ego-ideals — the stories we tell ourselves and the world about who we are and who we ought to be, fantasies of coherence and continuity mooring us to a static idealized self — that feed what Phillips calls the “tyranny of completion.” But human beings are rough drafts that continually mistake themselves for the final story, then gasp as the plot changes on the page of living. We do this largely because we are captives of comfort in our habits of thought and feeling, victims of certainty — that supreme narrowing of the mind — when it comes to our own desires. That we don’t fully know what we want because we are half-opaque to ourselves, that something we didn’t think we wanted may end up enlarging our lives in unimaginable ways, is a kind of uncertainty that unravels us. But if we can bear the frustration of the figuring, we may live into a larger and more authentic life."
  • Love and Socialism in Joyce's "A Painful Case": A Buberian Reading written by Christopher M. DeVault
  • The Cloud Under the Sea written by Josh Dzieza
  • “Throwing Yourself Into the Dark”: A Conversation with Anne Carson written by Kate Dwyer
    • "And once you can loosen, you can go on to think other things or wider things or the things underneath where you were. It’s just suddenly a different landscape. And that loosening, I think, is what wrongness allows in. / I could talk about wrongness tomorrow and say an entirely other thing. A person is a prism, you know, and concepts just flash from this to that from day to day."
    • "I don’t think anybody ever knows what another person means when they speak, frankly."
  • Sally Rooney: Killing in Gaza has been supported by Ireland’s ‘good friend’ in the White House written by Sally Rooney
    • "This way, our (Irish) Government can bask in the moral glow of condemning the bombers, while preserving a cosy relationship with those supplying the bombs."
    • "But what is happening in Gaza is not only Israel’s war: it is a US war, and it is most particularly Biden’s war. Israel simply could not afford to carry out this prolonged and resource-intensive assault on the Palestinian people without US money and weaponry."
    • "If Biden is refusing to leverage these same resources in order to make Israel comply with US policy, the only reasonable conclusion is that this war is already US policy."
  • Aesthetic Consumerism and the Violence of Photography: What Susan Sontag Teaches Us about Visual Culture and the Social Web written by Maria Popova
    • "But Sontag’s most piercing — and perhaps most heartbreaking — insight about leisure and photography touches on our cultural cult of productivity, which we worship at the expense of our ability to be truly present."
  • Aesthetics and the Manufacturing of a Curated Self written by Simone Bélanger
    • "How it (aesthetic) resonates with fraudulent, restrictive, calculated undertones. How it allures to fast fashion and consumerism and all the bullshit social media normalized, comforted us about, or made us insecure about, especially in relation to the self and its projection."
    • "It is common knowledge that aesthetics are conditional to the question Who am I? as displaying an aesthetic is projecting a chosen identity. But I believe aesthetics portray another interrogation better: What do I reduce myself to?"
    • "What is holy is spiritually appealing, and therefore beautiful."
    • "But as this crafted persona through a distinct style is often perceived as a mean for creativity, I believe it is self-expression’s murderer. After all, by making aesthetics mainstream and marketable, what else do we express but the consumerist box into which we fit? Not only do aesthetics define one’s consumption, but they also often lead to the erasure of the culture, history or values originally associated with that very style."
    • "From now on, allow yourself to be versatile, to be boring, to be eccentric, to wear the same outfit twice or a thousand times because it is a flex to reuse your old clothes and to be conscious that the fashion industry is a slaughterhouse on our cherished planet."
  • The Pendulum Swing of Black Liberation written by Bedour Alagraa
    • "Black peoples’ struggles have never been limited to ‘“inter” or “between” nations, but oftentimes rather against, and with total disregard for, the nation and the nation-state. “Black Internationalism” has also, as of late, been conflated with the movement of Black intellectuals and activists from the US to elsewhere, which in turn leaves possessive attachments to the US nation — and indeed others — unchallenged."
    • "“The real pandemic is capitalism,” “the real pandemic is racism,” “the real pandemic is isolation” — words we often hear from our comrades and co-conspirators in struggle. The word “real” does much heavy lifting, rendering COVID-19 and millions dead worldwide a backdrop against which the status quo works out its “real” problem."
    • "What I can see is this — Black people have always ridden the pendulum towards, and away from, liberation. This is what a lived dialectics looks like in my estimation — an understanding that the state will respond with additional force anytime movements gain speed, and, likewise, movements will push back."
    • "Eduardo Mondlane, founder of FRELIMO, which sustained a 10-year war of independence against Portuguese colonialism. In his book The Struggle for Mozambique he argues that the earliest signs of resistance were not in the factories or in the barracks, but found in the traditional songs of the Chope people of southern Mozambique. He argues further that revolutionary and national consciousness was sown first in the traditions of the Chope — including folk songs and poetry — followed by intellectuals, artists, painters, undoing the attachments to vanguardism that has since long dominated Marxian thinking."
  • What’s The Cost Of Commodifying Love On Social Media? written by Maggie Zhou
  • A Descendant’s Call for Whale Legal Personhood written by Mere Takoko
    • "Whales aren’t just resources to be exploited, but sentient beings and our ancestors."
    • "Protecting whales benefits everybody. Each great whale sequesters, on average, 33 tons of carbon, and they take that with them to the ocean floor, far away from our atmosphere, after they die. Their feces fertilize phytoplankton, which are the basis of all marine food webs and the source of oxygen for every other breath we take."
    • "The songs of the whales are more than just beguiling melodies; they are a barometer of the ocean’s health."
    • "We must move from a paradigm of exploitation to one of coexistence and kinship. This requires a global awakening, a recognition of our interconnectedness with all living beings."
  • In the Shadow of Oppenheimer written by Joshua Wheeler, Reto Sterchi
    • "In 1995 President Bill Clinton apologized for the plutonium injection experiments, saying they “failed both the test of our national values and the test of humanity. . . . Americans were kept in the dark about the effects of what was being done to them . . . not for a compelling reason of national security but for the simple fear of embarrassment, and that was wrong.""
    • The massive explosion that rocked their homes, filled the horizon with a mushroom cloud, and covered their land in “ashy snow” was dismissed in press releases the next day as nothing more than a small detonation at the munitions dump. There were no warnings issued. Despite the storm having scattered fallout unpredictably and the detection of excessive radiation in numerous communities, no evacuations were ordered. And so these families went on drinking from their irradiated cisterns, using water from their irradiated ponds and ditches for cooking and cleaning, and eating their irradiated crops and livestock because their government assured them there was no danger."
  • ‘Disappointed’: Indonesians reflect on legacy of departing Joko Widodo
  • The Blue Dot Effect
    • "The Blue Dot effect suggests that our mind is conditioned to look for threats and issues, regardless of how safe or comfortable our environment is. The better things get, the more we nitpick on even the smallest of issues. The size of the problem does not determine our emotional reactions to our problems. Instead, our minds simply amplify our problems to fit the degree of stress we expect to experience. Success and material progress do not necessarily relax us or make us feel better about our future."
    • "The Blue Dot Effect, in many ways, represents our predicament. Most of us are leading more comfortable lives than we ever did. Yet, we are constantly griping with a sense of dissatisfaction."
  • Can You Love the Art and Hate the Monster? by Melissa Febos
    • "Dederer sees every encounter with a work of art as a potential clash between two biographies: “the biography of the artist that might disrupt the viewing of the art” and “the biography of the audience member that might shape the viewing of the art.""
    • "Aren’t all artists, she asks, a little bit monstrous? “Maybe, as a female writer, you don’t kill yourself, or abandon your children,” she writes. “But you abandon something, some giving part of yourself. . . . The artist must be monster enough not just to start the work, but to complete it. And to commit all the little savageries that lie in between.” Acknowledging her own little savageries, such as “leaving behind the family, posting up in a borrowed cabin or a cheaply bought motel room,” and her own potential for monstrousness, leads her back to the men whose art she loves and whose acts she hates."
    • "It has been tempting at times to sanitize my behavior in my books, to protect the people who loved me from the ugliest details and to avoid the risk of being censured by my audience. But eliding my own or others’ faults does not erase or redeem them, only the real stakes of my stories. There is no sense of freedom in such narrative manipulation—no discovery and no forgiveness."
    • "Every critic has their own biases, their own blind spots, and ignoring them does not erase them. In criticism, as in memoir, the only way to work through these biases is to admit them—if not to others, at least to oneself."
    • "Dederer comes to accept her love for the art that has shaped her by facing the monstrous, its potential in herself, and the ways it can exist alongside beauty and pathos."
  • Rachel Cusk: The novelist on the “feminine non-state of non-being” written by Merve Emre
    • "The thing that’s easy enough to see in the book (Second Place) is how those female values just disappear. They’re invisible in the light of L, who is unrelentingly free and selfish."
    • "But the details of one’s female history, the diffi­culty of commemorating it, or it even remaining tangible, is coun­terweighted by the continuing existence of things like one’s child. The novel is trying to compare that continuing existence to paint­ing—to externalizing your intentions, externalizing something of yourself that can survive without you. You can walk away, and it’ll still be there, and it will do what it’s meant to do. Is painting in any way similar to reproduction, to having a child?"
    • "I think the question in the book is whether—this is, again, a question about character—one’s own character exists and whether what you’ve done your whole life has served this idea of character, of who you are, of what you want. Because the ebbing away of that entity, of the things that have motivated it and driven it, is a frightening feeling."
    • "If there is a desire for freedom, it is freedom from language. And that’s the thing I am already starting to think about: What potential does the body itself have as a non-language? As an object? (...) I’m sure there’s a whole other story that could be written, or has been written, about a woman wanting to be only her body and not a communicative entity at all."
  • The Plight of the Eldest Daughter written by Sarah Sloat
    • "To be clear, birth order doesn’t influence personality itself—but it can influence how your family sees you, Brent Roberts, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told me. Eldest kids, for example, aren’t necessarily more responsible than their siblings; instead, they tend to be given more responsibilities because they are older."
    • "Corinna Tucker, a professor emerita at the University of New Hampshire who studies sibling relationships, told me that parents frequently compare their children—“‘This is my athlete’; ‘this is my bookworm’; … ‘so-and-so is going to take care of me when I’m old’”—and kids internalize those statements. But your assigned part might not align with your disposition, Roberts said. People can grow frustrated with the traits expected of them—or of their siblings."
  • Shocking the Reader in James Joyce's "A Painful Case" written by Margot Norris
    • "There is a method to Joyce's careful contrivance of read er shock and discomfort, and I will suggest that it is to engage the reader not only in an ethical re-thinking but an ethical re-feeling of the two great Irish sex scandals of the late nineteenth century."
    • "Why would Joyce write "A Painful Case" as a story in which there is no adultery, in which it is the failure of adultery - not its commission - that putatively drives the woman to suicide, and in which her Liebestod, if that's what it is, is brutally stripped of all romance and transcendence?"
    • But what if this utterly private thought, intended to be shared with no other human being, is taken at face value: as a revelation that James Duffy cannot give himself to this woman because if he could love, he would love a man?"
    • "By opening the gap into a queer interpretation of the story, the reader's shock or surprise becomes an ethical boomerang, expos ing the strength of the heterosexual assumptions and their control of the generic conventions of romantic fiction that we have reflexively brought to the story. In treating Duffy as a promising heterosexual lover, the reader had treated him with Emily Sinico's own expecta tions."
    • "Once the possibility of homosexuality is considered, the reader must take ethi cal responsibility for now imagining the thoughts and feelings of the possibly homosexual man. If we remember that Duffy lives in a social world that punishes homosexuality even more harshly than it pun ishes adultery, Duffy's isolation, asceticism, aloofness, and misan thropy take on a wholly different character. (...) We can now understand differ ently why he cannot write his thought, why his most intimate emo tional expressions take impersonal and general form, and why a woman's romantic overture could have caused him surprised distress."
mar 3 2024 ∞
jun 17 2024 +