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Week In Review

Another Week Ends: (More) Addiction, Infidelity and Death, and Music to Get You Through It All

Another Week Ends: (More) Addiction, Infidelity and Death, and Music to Get You Through It All

1. This week, The NY Times made the astute observation that the new buzzword, “moment,” reflects something significant about the human condition. You need only glance at headlines to see how the word is being used—as far as media coverage goes, a “moment” is usually something trending, anything that garners fifteen minutes of fame. It could be a celebrity or a musical group; there are election moments and hurricane moments and Kanye moments. The article explains:

No nexus of events is too large or heterogeneous — no geopolitical weather too swirlingly turbulent — to avoid being reduced to the…

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Another Week Ends: Amabots, Dismaland, Resurrected Souls, Evangelical Wizards, more Brene, and the Death of the Internet

Another Week Ends: Amabots, Dismaland, Resurrected Souls, Evangelical Wizards, more Brene, and the Death of the Internet

1. By this point, you’ve probably gandered at The NY Times’ “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace”, which describes the retail baron’s notorious pattern of “burn and churn” when it comes to its employees. If the report is to be believed, the closest reference point to their company ethos is that of the Prussian military, i.e. “Amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.” While reports about the mega-retailer’s internal culture have been circulating for quite some time now, this is the article that will cement Bezos et al at the top of the performancist foodchain. One of the ways they’ve…

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Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

Another Week Ends: Trigger Warnings, Performance Bias, More Tinder, More True Detective, Plus Donald Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandhi and Tolstoy

1. The Atlantic’s cover story this month comes from social science favorite Jonathan Haidt. His topic is the apprehension-du-jour, the ever-growing problem of P.C., especially in the realm of college classrooms and student learning. Haidt, a professor himself at NYU, sees the trend of “trigger warnings” and “vindictive protectiveness,” different from the political correctness interest of the 80s and 90s, mainly because this wave stems from emotional reasoning more than it does from objective reasoning. And he sees this as a danger to the learning of students, precisely because it prioritizes evasion of conflict rather than the confrontation of it.

Haidt…

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Another Week Ends: Unfunny Comedians, (More About) The End of the Tour, U2, Refugees, Migrants, and Local Symmetry

Another Week Ends: Unfunny Comedians, (More About) The End of the Tour, U2, Refugees, Migrants, and Local Symmetry

1) This week, the Atlantic posted an article entitled “That’s Not Funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke.” It seems that students who once had healthy desire not to step on controversial toes have seamlessly evolved into politcal-correctness police: The article’s author, Caitlin Flanagan, writes: “O, Utopia. Why must your sweet governance always turn so quickly from the Edenic to the Stalinist?” The article is ripe with provoking material on little-l laws and low anthropology.

Apparently it’s challenging for stand-up comedians to do live acts on college campuses, because it’s near-impossible to satisfy all the sensitivities the students…

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Another Week Ends: More Paglia, More Brooks, Plus Bullies, Hipsters, Tattoos, and To-Dos

Another Week Ends: More Paglia, More Brooks, Plus Bullies, Hipsters, Tattoos, and To-Dos

1) A provocative new study from The National Post sheds some new light on contemporary understandings of bullying in schools and beyond. The focus of the conversation stems from the (argued) misconception that bullies are socially maladapted, due to some underlying issues at home. The role of schools, then, is to combat these tendencies with positive and negative reinforcements upon their behavior—carrots and sticks.

The new study in Canada finds, to the contrary, that bullies are better adapted to their environment—more socially adept than their peers, less likely to be depressed, and more likely to have higher social status and self-esteem…

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Another Week Ends: John Henryism, Fargo, ISIS, The Modern Mind, and Halo Losers

Another Week Ends: John Henryism, Fargo, ISIS, The Modern Mind, and Halo Losers

1) A trio of articles surfaced recently about the psychological relationships between work ethic and mental health. It appears that anxiety is on the rise, especially for achievers. The first one of note, from The Atlantic, introduces the phenomenon of “John Henryism,” claiming that there is a paradoxical health risk to those who happen to work really hard to find success. A study was done with a group of underprivileged kids from low-income neighborhoods, who exhibited strong academic performance and self-control. While this self-control and determination led them to more opportunities beyond their circumstances, their health suffered because of it.

They…

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Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

Another Week Ends: Soren Love, Bad Sleep, Mindful Corporations, Pocket Knives, Captive Mothers and Mountain Goats

1. In a sea of inter-religious conflict and division, how beautiful it is to catch a glimpse of the opposite. Apparently a group of Muslims has raised close to $100K to help rebuild the black churches that were burned in the recent rash of arson. Amen to that, ht BB.

2. “I Still Love Kierkegaard” is the title of a wonderful article by Julian Baggini that appeared on Aeon. Favorite sections are the ones dealing with Soren’s Christianity:

What Kierkegaard showed was that the only serious alternative to atheism or agnosticism was not what generally passes for religion but a much deeper…

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Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Another Week Ends: FitBit Ennui, Screen Addictions, Zeitgeiste und Glueckschmertzen, Little Prince and Black Jesus

Alrighty, another truncated weekender as we head into the dog days. More of a list of links really:

1. This is exciting (fingers crossed): The Wall Street Journal has made the first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman available on their website!

2. As attention begins to turn toward the upcoming Technology Issue of our magazine, a few tech-related items have caught the eye, such as The Atlantic’s amusing, mid-year rejoinder to New Years resolutions, “The Ennui of the FitBit”:

One research firm, Endeavour Partners, estimates that roughly a third of trackers get abandoned after six months. A recent editorial in…

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Another Week Ends: Conditional Epidemics, Lasting Love Songs, Contextless Forgiveness, Enforced Happiness, Atheist Architecture and John Adams’ Lament

Another Week Ends: Conditional Epidemics, Lasting Love Songs, Contextless Forgiveness, Enforced Happiness, Atheist Architecture and John Adams’ Lament

1. Reporting from the Aspen Festival of Ideas, Connor Friedersdorf briefs us on “How Parents Make High-Achieving Kids Miserable” via a discussion that took place earlier this week between William Deresiewicz and David Brooks on the state/purpose of higher education. The first twelve minutes find Deresiewicz recounting the background of his new book, but once Brooks hits the stage (13 minute mark or so), it really heats up. For instance:

“I see my students burdened by this epidemic of conditional love, where their parents have honed them, and if they decide not to take the job they want, or the major…

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Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

Another Week Ends: More Thoughts on Charleston, Papal Sustainability, NPR Snobbery, Holy Metal, and Delinquent Ethicists

1. As a follow-up to the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan points out the extraordinary character of the community’s response:

[In the courtroom, victims’ family members] spoke of mercy. They offered forgiveness. They invited the suspect, who was linked in by video from jail, to please look for God.

There was no rage, no accusation—just broken hearts undefended and presented for the world to see. They sobbed as they spoke.

“I just wanted everybody to know, to you, I forgive you,” said the daughter of Ethel Lance, killed in the shooting. “You took something very precious…

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Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

Another Week Ends: Jung’s God, Smart Drummers, Game of Peanuts, Justified Magic, Disappointed Youth, and Inside Out

A mercifully truncated weekend column today, as we finish prepping for our week at Kanuga. (Probably goes without saying but next week will be light on content). Happy Father’s Day!

1. First off, an incredibly moving picture of collective grief in Charleston, via John Zahl, who was present at a citywide prayer service at Morris Brown AME Church. Our hope is truly built on nothing less:

2. The new issue of The Mockingbird is here! And copies shipped to subscribers yesterday afternoon. Order your copy, or subscription, here. By way of reminder, anyone who signs up for monthly support of Mbird not…

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Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

Another Week Ends: Aspirational Fallout, Political Hating, Lonely Calvin, Dissertation Tweets, Yuccies and Christopher Lee

1. A fierce editorial by George Monbiot appeared in The Guardian this past week about the fallout of Aspirational Parenting in the UK, “aspirational” being a loose euphemism for what we call “performancism”. The tagline makes no bones: “Surrender your freedom, avoid daylight, live to work, and you too could join a toxic, paranoid elite”. The statistics about mental health he cites are as alarming as they’re intended to be, though I dare say that most could be transposed to a yank context. (I’m familiar with “nursery consultants”, but this is the first I’m hearing of $450/hr playdate coaches). Monbiot’s…

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