Guardian.UK: Study shows books can bring Republicans and Democrats together.
“ What we found was surprising: when both conservative and liberal readers talk about “bridge books” instead of their usual partisan books, they change their way of talking and thinking in significant ways. They use less negative or hateful language. They use more words related to cognitive insight, such as “admit” and “explain”. In short, what is special about these books is that they make readers who otherwise have strong political dispositions become less tribal.” Just in time for choosing Xmas presents for people ...
Vox: Republican elites’ Trump quandary is a long-term GOP problem.
“Assuming Clinton wins, Republican elite leaders basically have three options, all bad.
1. Unify the party around anti-Clinton rhetoric.
2. Capitulate to Trumpism
3. Abandon the Republican Party as a hopelessly devalued brand, and start a new party.”
The Atlantic: Mike Pence Pretends That Donald Trump Never Happened.
“Should the Trump candidacy fail, as now seems likely, those leaders stand ready to deny that the revolt ever happened. [snip] The solution for 2020? Bring back the professionals — and return to business as usual.” It’ll work only if the obverse doesn’t give the media more clickthroughs.
In These Times: The United States Isn’t an “Idiocracy.” It’s an Oligarchy.
“Life under Trump will look more like Mad Max than Idiocracy, and the only way to stop him might be to grow some empathy for the so-called idiots across the aisle and, together, punch up—not down.” A problem is, TV, cable and movies have been portraying dystopias as inevitable, even as attractive. Look at Burning Man; dystopia with services - and the elites’ status is maintained. All myth. Mad Max is pretty damned painful, if you lived it in reality.
OpenCulture: Robert Heinlein Lists 5 Essential Rules for Making a Living as a Writer.
“2. You must finish what you start.” Oh, ouch.
NY Mag: Republicans in Denial That Debate Exposed Trump As Unfit.
In a certain light, only the GOP may be able to stop this from happening. But they’ve lost control of their audience, by allowing easily-exploitable ignorance to blossom.
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Our Tiny Home is Revolutionizing How My Wife and I Fight.
“So is it worth all the money you saved? Well, let me put it this way… when I look into the eyes of my spouse as she does dishes in our bathroom-kitchen hybrid and I see the eternal look of resentment on her face, well, you can’t put a price tag on that.” Trouble in tiny paradises?
Catapult: Do you believe in true love?
“I believe in the romance of the moment. It is a fleeting moment – sometimes submerged in the minutiae of life, buried amidst the debris of our busyness and distractedness. But that one fleeting moment can keep that flame of magic and life burning.”
BBC: Why you feel busy all the time (when you’re actually not).
“We live frenetic lives, at least in part, because it makes us feel good about ourselves. To put it mildly, this makes no sense. Perhaps we’d pause long enough to realise that – if we weren’t so damn busy.”
DP Review/Opinion: Park vandals need to be stopped.
Do this in front of me. I’ll get angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.
pshares/blog: Online “Nymphet” Culture and the Reclaiming of Lolita.
This should be compared to the Harley Quinn phenom (Suicide Squad).
The Atlantic: Apeirophobia - The Fear of Eternity.
“When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then.” Finally, an article worth my time to read.
After a week away from all the daily news-gathering and social-media-posting, I can’t express how insane this all is. I highly recommend a ‘technology fast’ to restore one’s equanimity. You may think you’re coping well - I did. I wasn’t. Certainly not cured, but seeing things a whole lot more clearly now.
WaPo: 98 personal data points that Facebook uses to target ads to you.
Astonishing. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. What concerns me more is the creation of ... no term for this yet ... ‘economic vacuum chambers’. As we see Republicans and Dems split off to ideological vacuum chambers, these targeted ads are feeding us product and services in ‘perceived’ economic and interest categories. What if I don’t fit the profile, but I’d really like an aged steak? Will I be served endless ads for Wal-Mart ground beef? What does this do to a person’s overall character, not to mention aspirations? Not describing this well, but I hope you get my drift. Many of these ‘feed them what they routinely view’ algorithms encourage and vivify terrible habit formation.
Dazed: Teenage girls in the UK feel ‘worthless’ and ‘unhappy’.
“If all that wasn’t enough, a major new survey from the Department for Education has revealed that more than a third of teenage girls in the UK now suffer from depression and anxiety. According to stats obtained by the organisation, 37 per cent of female 14-year-olds feel unhappy, worthless, or unable to concentrate – which is double the amount compared to boys of the same age.” Begs the question, why?
Slate: NBC’s Olympics ratings were way down.
For some inexplicable reason, I had zero interest this year. I didn’t watch a single event. Don’t know why. Sports are not a big interest of mine, but I would usually show up for some gymnastics or swim meet footage. Perhaps all the negative lead-in about Rio. Maybe. I’ll have to think about it more. Phelps capped an amazing career, but my memory of Mark Spitz’ domination still means more. Maybe it’s my age/era.
NY Review of Books: ‘Hot’ Sex & Young Girls, by Zoë Heller.
“It would be a salutary thing to have some old-school feminist pugnacity injected back into the culture.” Amen. Though I suspect a bitter backlash when the current generation starts to age and realizes all they gave up.
The Fully Intended: Being afraid.
New Yorker: What Happens When We Decide Everyone Else Is a Narcissist.
“If ‘toxic self-absorption’ is indeed the new American disease, then it will be important to remember that no one has immunity.” There is nothing more damaging and wrong than involuntary psychoanalysis. Over each other. Even over politicians. Any psychologist will tell you decent analysis is a time consuming, intricate process. Generalizations are prone to bias. An individual with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology ruined my opportunity to be fluent for decades. ‘60’s. I admit I’m a bit unreasonable and immovable over this, given my own experiences. I don’t think I’m alone. Read James Hillman. Where is moving locations as a therapy in modern psychology? Exactly. Not everyone benefits from the modern SSRI -> endless talk therapy route.
FishbowlNY: NPR Is Closing Its Comments Section.
“Montgomery added that social media provides a much better platform for discussing NPR stories than the site’s comments section. He’s right, of course.” Um, Twitter just encourages snark. So I respectfully disagree.
NYT: Love. Labor. Lost.
Good God. Talk about overthinking things.
BillMoyers: How Trump Succeeds by Saying Out Loud What Many Voters Think.
“What we’re learning is that a lot of people have been biting their lips, but not changing their minds.” And perpetuating those beliefs to their children.
Mashable: Olympic runners finish race together after a heartbreaking fall.
Great moment. Face adversity with your head high.
People: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Reach Settlement In Divorce.
Can’t argue with a video, really. Let’s hope these two get the help they obviously need.
The New Yorker: The Appalling Last Act of Rudy Giuliani.
How the GOP mighty fall. Makes you wonder, it really does. The nefarious influence of echo chambers. The motivations of humanity.