Category Archives: Articles of Note

Teju Cole

Everything I’ve read of his has stuck with me. This pair of questions from today’s paper is worth bringing to all sorts of art:

Every picture of suffering should elicit a question stronger than “Why is this happening?” The question should be “Why have I allowed this to happen?”

Cole, Teju. “When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism. (And When It Still Is.).” The New York Times, February 10, 2019, sec. Magazine.

Can’t run, walk.

Knee still in two pieces. Trying to take a “worthy” walk each day, which offers the chance to listen.

This week:
Monday: Start the Week How the world thinks
Tuesday: Richard White talking about his latest book
Wednesday: Bookworm with Tommy Orange.`
Friday: Bookworm, Joshua Cohen and BBC: In our Time: Hope

One thing I’ve noticed: about ten years ago a bunch of universities put these awesome courses on-line. For example, David Blight’s Yale course on the Civil War and Reconstruction, with a series of awesome lectures, is still there. But this practice seems to have stopped. Why?

One other thing I’ve noticed: It’s really hard to search the back content of podcasts. I’m having much better luck searching youtube for book talks, presentations, and speeches.

Anxiety: selling ourselves

Apart from this blog — 12 unique hits! This month! — I don’t do that much of this. Whippman’s points are solid, though, in a world where not everyone has the luxury of being an inner-city school teacher, a job with reasonable benefits and union protection from the worst vagaries of the market. She writes:

Kudos to whichever neoliberal masterminds came up with this system. They sell this infinitely seductive torture to us as “flexible working” or “being the C.E.O. of You!” and we jump at it, salivating, because on its best days, the freelance life really can be all of that.

But as long as we are happy to be paid for our labor in psychological rather than financial rewards, those at the top are delighted to comply. While we grub and scrabble and claw at one another chasing these tiny pellets of self-esteem, the bug-brooch barons still pocket the actual cash.

And I’d like to read this study and look at this “Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale.”

J. Haidt

I heard Jonathan Haidt on Start the Week and liked what he had to say.

Here’s a review of his most recent book, which I gather is based on a story in the Atlantic.

Here are the three points:

The Untruth of Fragility: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.

The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.

The Untruth of Us vs. Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people.

I tend to feel the first two while teaching university. The second is something I’ve spent my entire high-school teaching career railing against; kids and peers are undoubtedly sick of me saying “emotions aren’t evidence” alongside of “what’s your evidence for that claim.”