Archive | About

Those of us invested in love can choose, must choose noncooperation. We buy less, we consume less, we take ourselves off the grid despite efforts to force us to remain on it, we politely decline the carrot of state-sanctioned marriage, we dedicate ourselves to friendship as our organizing, bedrock relationship; we study and talk about how to become, in fact, a society of friends. Our quiet, simple lives are invisible sabots tossed into the gears of capitalism.

And yet we want to test ourselves—we need to be tested, even as anyone with a minimal understanding of religion or philosophy understands the impermanence of all material things, especially those created by humans. So we seek our testing in the world of our imaginations; we make commitments; we take vows.

Fenton Johnson, “The Future of Queer”

It is worth remembering that [Jordan] Peterson can be more accurately described as a previously obscure Canadian academic who believed, erroneously, that he would soon be forced by law to use gender-neutral pronouns and who refused to bow to that hypothetical demand. The proposed human rights policy that made Mr. Peterson famous is now Canadian law, and no instance of “compelled speech” has occurred as a result of it or resulted in criminal charges, as Mr. Peterson feared. On the issue of legal requirements for pronoun use, things remain the way Mr. Peterson wanted them—the same.

Mr. Peterson was taking a stand not against power in that instance but on behalf of it.

Jesse Brown, “Only a Country Like Canada Could Produce a Guy Like Jordan Peterson”

What I know is that on the nights when I force myself to open a book, I feel like a person, an individual engaged in an activity at once secret and communal, rather than a receptacle of mass information.

Christine Smallwood, “Reading in the Dark”

That night, my sense of guilt—my shame at being someone deemed worthy of protection, and at the ways that protection might endanger others—effectively blocked my awareness of my own anger. It was as if my privilege outweighed my vulnerability, and that meant I wasn’t entitled to any anger at all. But if I struggled to feel entitled to anger that night in Nicaragua, I have since come to realize that the real entitlement has never been anger; it has always been its absence. The aversion to anger I had understood in terms of temperament or intention was, in all honesty, also a luxury. When the black feminist writer and activist Audre Lorde described her anger as a lifelong response to systemic racism, she insisted upon it as a product of the larger social landscape rather than private emotional ecology: “I have lived with that anger, on that anger, beneath that anger, on top of that anger … for most of my life.”

Leslie Jamison, “I Used to Insist I Didn’t Get Angry. Not Anymore.”

[T]he Silicon Valley ideology is more dangerous than the Islamic State, because, at a global level, it’s so much more powerful.

Angela Richter, in “Don’t Be Evil”

The goal [of the cryptocurrency movement] may be decentralization, but the money is extremely concentrated. Coinbase has more than 13 million accounts that own cryptocurrencies. Data suggests that about 94 percent of the Bitcoin wealth is held by men, and some estimate that 95 percent of the wealth is held by 4 percent of the owners.

Nellie Bowles, “Everyone Is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not”

The political strategy behind ride-sharing lies in pitting the figure of the consumer against the figure of the citizen. As the sociologist Wolfgang Streeck has argued, the explosion of consumer choices in the 1960s and ’70s didn’t only affect the kinds of products people owned. It affected the way those people regarded government services and public utilities, which began to seem shabby compared with the vibrant world of consumer goods. A public service like mass transit came to seem less like a community necessity and more like one choice among many. Dissatisfied with goods formerly subject to collective provision, such as buses, the affluent ceased to pay for them, supporting private options even when public ones remained.

The editors of n+1, “Disrupt the Citizen”

What [Sam] Stephenson recognizes is that [“Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath”] represents the culmination of the unifying principle driving [W. Eugene] Smith’s work. It is a principle that seems to me plainly evident in the World War II pictures, in his Life essays, in the Pittsburgh and Jazz Loft photographs. Smith, [John] Berger wrote, was “the most religious photographer in the history of the art. A seer in both the photographic and biblical senses of the term.” That unifying principle is human sympathy of a rare and difficult, almost destructive intensity—starkly expressive, forever unflinching, and never forgetful of the beauty of the visible world.

Vince Passaro, “Framing the Shadows”

Monasteries are not as otherworldly as you might imagine. If they appear secluded and removed from the mainstream of society’s activity, it is only because they attempt to create a climate that fosters an authentic engagement with life at its most profound and human level, something often lost amid the noise and distraction of today’s world. When we are quiet enough, freed from all our inner noise and chatter, we can see with new respect the natural beauty and wisdom of the world around us and appreciate our ties to it. Such perceptive silence opens up our lives to healthy reverence and awe for all things; it creates a capacity for acceptance that is both humanizing and life-giving.

The Monks of New Skete, The Art of Raising a Puppy