Devon Price: Laziness Does Not Exist (Human Parts)
If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.
Needing or benefiting from such things doesn’t make a person lazy. It just means they have needs. The more we embrace that, the more we can help people thrive.
If a person can’t get out of bed, something is making them exhausted. If a student isn’t writing papers, there’s some aspect of the assignment that they can’t do without help. If an employee misses deadlines constantly, something is making organization and deadline-meeting difficult. Even if a person is actively choosing to self-sabotage, there’s a reason for it — some fear they’re working through, some need not being met, a lack of self-esteem being expressed.
People do not choose to fail or disappoint. No one wants to feel incapable, apathetic, or ineffective. If you look at a person’s action (or inaction) and see only laziness, you are missing key details. There is always an explanation. There are always barriers. Just because you can’t see them, or don’t view them as legitimate, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Look harder.
We might pass over the fact that, other than to oppose the threat of violent white nationalists, masked antifa terrorists have shown up in America a total of zero times ever. We will try to ignore the fact that since 2014, white-pride fuckwits have killed 43 people in what can only be described as a murderous ultraracist frenzy, antifa again holding steady at zero. We will never forget the 2016 stabbings of antifascists by neo-Nazis in Sacramento—but Dan Donovan already has, botching the date in his fact sheet and misrepresenting the fact that only one side did the stabbing, with antifascists still at zero, stabbing-wise. We will gloss over the easily documented fact that alt-right losers love wearing masks, perhaps when they are openly advocating violence online, certainly when they congregate to do violence, or just when sitting around feeling frisky.
Regarding David Foster Wallace, who Maria argues simply dismissing as “problematic” is not quite the answer.
The artist of special gifts who is also a “hideous man” is a deeply valuable source of information for a society seeking to better itself.
This piece doesn’t do enough—it says simply dismissing DFW is unrealistic, but doesn’t offer any of its own ideas about how we’re expected to extract special value from reading the work of a serially abusive man, only that it’s possible and that his work is so good we can’t ignore it. We can learn from troubled people who weren’t abusive, so what makes David Foster Wallace so special?
It’s obvious enough that the intelligentsia of the United States finds itself reduced to literal servitude. Writers, professors, even the votaries of STEM, doctors, scientists and engineers, increasingly play the role of servants to the ruling class, who are systematically diminishing their roles, their numbers and their economic and decisionmaking power, concurrently and on all fronts.
The American intelligentsia is also in the process of being strangled in its own citadels with the aid of rampant both-sides-ism. In the New York Times alone, unqualified writers like Bret Stephens, Bari Weiss, David Brooks and Thomas Friedman are permitted to style themselves “public intellectuals” despite their permanent and boggling inability to form or defend an informed, cogent argument. This has the double effect of discrediting newspapers and the newspaper business, and devaluing the profession of journalism. And the independent voices that would once have challenged such poor work amid a mighty chorus must increasingly fight to make themselves heard.
Anne Helen Petersen: How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation (Buzzfeed)
The more I tried to figure out my errand paralysis, the more the actual parameters of burnout began to reveal themselves. Burnout and the behaviors and weight that accompany it aren’t, in fact, something we can cure by going on vacation. It’s not limited to workers in acutely high-stress environments. And it’s not a temporary affliction: It’s the millennial condition. It’s our base temperature. It’s our background music. It’s the way things are. It’s our lives.
That realization recast my recent struggles: Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it — explicitly and implicitly — since I was young. Life has always been hard, but many millennials are unequipped to deal with the particular ways in which it’s become hard for us.
Those expectations encapsulate the millennial rearing project, in which students internalize the need to find employment that reflects well on their parents (steady, decently paying, recognizable as a “good job”) that’s also impressive to their peers (at a “cool” company) and fulfills what they’ve been told has been the end goal of all of this childhood optimization: doing work that you’re passionate about. Whether that job is as a professional sports player, a Patagonia social media manager, a programmer at a startup, or a partner at a law firm seems to matter less than checking all of those boxes.
Or at least that’s the theory. So what happens when millennials start the actual search for that holy grail career — and start “adulting” — but it doesn’t feel at all like the dream that had been promised?
The crisis affected everyone in some way, but the way it affected millennials is foundational: It’s always defined our experience of the job market. More experienced workers and the newly laid-off filled applicant pools for lower- and entry-level jobs once largely reserved for recent graduates. We couldn’t find jobs, or could only find part-time jobs, jobs without benefits, or jobs that were actually multiple side hustles cobbled together into one job. As a result, we moved back home with our parents, we got roommates, we went back to school, we tried to make it work. We were problem solvers, after all — and taught that if we just worked harder, it would work out.
“Branding” is a fitting word for this work, as it underlines what the millennial self becomes: a product. And as in childhood, the work of optimizing that brand blurs whatever boundaries remained between work and play. There is no “off the clock” when at all hours you could be documenting your on-brand experiences or tweeting your on-brand observations. The rise of smartphones makes these behaviors frictionless and thus more pervasive, more standardized. In the early days of Facebook, you had to take pictures with your digital camera, upload them to your computer, and post them in albums. Now, your phone is a sophisticated camera, always ready to document every component of your life — in easily manipulated photos, in short video bursts, in constant updates to Instagram Stories — and to facilitate the labor of performing the self for public consumption.
But the phone is also, and just as essentially, a tether to the “real” workplace. Email and Slack make it so that employees are always accessible, always able to labor, even after they’ve left the physical workplace and the traditional 9-to-5 boundaries of paid labor. Attempts to discourage working “off the clock” misfire, as millennials read them not as permission to stop working, but a means to further distinguish themselves by being available anyway.
This is why the fundamental criticism of millennials — that we’re lazy and entitled — is so frustrating: We hustle so hard that we’ve figured out how to avoid wasting time eating meals and are called entitled for asking for fair compensation and benefits like working remotely (so we can live in affordable cities), adequate health care, or 401(k)s (so we can theoretically stop working at some point before the day we die). We’re called whiny for talking frankly about just how much we do work, or how exhausted we are by it. But because overworking for less money isn’t always visible — because job hunting now means trawling LinkedIn, because “overtime” now means replying to emails in bed — the extent of our labor is often ignored, or degraded.
“To adult” is to complete your to-do list — but everything goes on the list, and the list never ends.
That’s one of the most ineffable and frustrating expressions of burnout: It takes things that should be enjoyable and flattens them into a list of tasks, intermingled with other obligations that should either be easily or dutifully completed. The end result is that everything, from wedding celebrations to registering to vote, becomes tinged with resentment and anxiety and avoidance. Maybe my inability to get the knives sharpened is less about being lazy and more about being too good, for too long, at being a millennial.
But dumb, illogical decisions are a symptom of burnout. We engage in self-destructive behaviors or take refuge in avoidance as a way to get off the treadmill of our to-do list. Which helps explain one of the complaints about millennials’ work habits: They show up late, they miss shifts, they ghost on jobs. Some people who behave this way may, indeed, just not know how to put their heads down and work. But far more likely is that they’re bad at work because of just how much work they do — especially when it’s performed against a backdrop of financial precariousness.
The problem with holistic, all-consuming burnout is that there’s no solution to it. You can’t optimize it to make it end faster. You can’t see it coming like a cold and start taking the burnout-prevention version of Airborne. The best way to treat it is to first acknowledge it for what it is — not a passing ailment, but a chronic disease — and to understand its roots and its parameters.
Personal choices alone won’t keep the planet from dying, or get Facebook to quit violating our privacy. To do that, you need paradigm-shifting change. Which helps explain why so many millennials increasingly identify with democratic socialism and are embracing unions: We are beginning to understand what ails us, and it’s not something an oxygen facial or a treadmill desk can fix.
Until or in lieu of a revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system, how can we hope to lessen or prevent — instead of just temporarily stanch — burnout? Change might come from legislation, or collective action, or continued feminist advocacy, but it’s folly to imagine it will come from companies themselves. Our capacity to burn out and keep working is our greatest value.
Lawrence Diller: 100 Years Later—The Flexner Report Still Relevant (Psychology Today)
100 years ago doctors had little credibility. A education reformer's report remarkably reformed medical education and physicians' professionalism. In the last thirty years this credibility has been eroded by financial ties between doctors and the drug companies. Is it time for another Flexner Report.
It's not enough to have doctors' payments from drug companies listed on some website. In every waiting room, patients should be able to read clear signs indicating doctors' payments received from companies and the specific drugs and products involved. In the long term medical research and academia must find a better way to separate their work from their sponsors' money. A general research fund of drug company money directed by an independent board has been suggested but seems unlikely given the profit driven priorities of the drug industry.
Amy Westervelt: The Case for Climate Rage (Popula)
People in power have never willingly dismantled the systems that benefit them. Thus David Wallace-Wells earned an eye-popping advance for The Uninhabitable Earth, a book in which he makes some solid and necessary points, and then concludes, in the absence of credible evidence, that “we,” who are responsible for climate change, will solve it with geoengineering; Nathaniel Rich was given a whole issue of the New York Times Magazine in which to wax poetic about “our” failure to stop climate change, a story optioned almost instantly for a book and a film; Jonathan Safran Foer will soon join them with his own version of the “we are all to blame” narrative, We Are the Weather, in which he argues first, incorrectly, that human diets are the primary cause of climate change, and then that “we” need to tackle it by making the necessary lifestyle changes. There are more, believe. The system explicitly rewards these men for visualizing the future as a parallel system that leaves the patriarchal, capitalist pyramid intact. It’s all they know how to imagine, and all the rest of us are permitted to imagine: a future in which the right politicians, coupled with the right scientists and corporate executives, will turn climate change into an opportunity, not a crisis, with jobs and profits for all!
It’s an epic saga in which they are the heroes, an apocalyptic sci-fi video game or movie in which a few good men will just get rid of the bad guys in the third act. No need to dismantle patriarchy and white supremacy, envision a different and better way of living, re-think economic and societal structures, or remove power over the fate of humanity from the hands of a self-interested few.
There was also a lot of talk back then about natural gas stores and how to make them profitable, and eventually US companies developed the technology to do just that (via hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”), and exported it around the world. When other countries said no thanks to contaminating their water sources for the sake of natural gas, U.S. companies said no worries, we’ll frack here and export it. That’s one reason the U.S. became the world’s number-one energy supplier and why, at a time when scientists are saying we need to have started on a path toward zero emissions yesterday, global emissions are climbing.
How exactly was the general public supposed to stop that?
Rather than imagining an industrial or corporate-friendly response to the crisis, what it would look like to shut down fossil fuel production tomorrow? What if conversations about “adaptation” focused on acclimating to that new reality?
It matters because the same patriarchal elites have remained comfortably in power for so long that their imaginations are unequal to the task we face. Arguments for civility, for “forgiveness,” for “we’re all in this together”, for a preservation of the status quo with just a few tweaks, won’t keep us all from going over the cliff.
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Chad Nelsen, and Bren Smith: The big blue gap in the Green New Deal (Grist)
4 ways the ocean can play a key role in healing the climate and rebuilding the economy
While rising seas represent material threats to coastal communities, the ocean can, and should, be a big part of the solution — it can catapult us toward the Green New Deal’s vision of simultaneously improving our environment and economy, while reducing inequality.
The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed (Phys.org)
Governments and schools are not communicating the most effective ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints, according to new research.
Published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study from Lund University, found that the incremental changes advocated by governments may represent a missed opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beneath the levels needed to prevent 2°C of climate warming.
"We found there are four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual's carbon footprint: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car free, and having smaller families. For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.
"These actions, therefore, have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective)."
The researchers also found that neither Canadian school textbooks nor government resources from the EU, USA, Canada and Australia highlight these actions, instead focussing on incremental changes with much smaller potential to reduce emissions.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see that the blurring of the lines between nonprofit and for-profit activities is bound to create a blurring, also, of the traditional aims of philanthropy — namely, to provide disinterested help to the disadvantaged, as opposed to furthering the donor’s business or political goals.
In other words, what‘s needed most of all is a recognition that philanthropy must do more than provide charity, as Oscar Wilde suggested in 1891. Foundations still need to supply the desperately needed overcoat, as Wilde did, and do whatever they can to address the immediate needs of people in distress. But the real task is to come to grips with the reasons why so many people are left out in the cold in the first place.
The very form of song reminds me of my father. There is an alchemy that takes place in the meeting of words and music, one that elevates both. I see it as the closest thing to a miracle that mortals are capable of bringing into being. It was by seeing how much songs meant to my father, as a source of solace, or catharsis, or simply a kind of companionship, that I came to love them myself.
Jenny Zhang: They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don't Exist (Buzzfeed)
It may seem totally nuts now, but as far as who gets credit for simply being affected by black pain, it doesn’t seem very removed from our current world where we heap lavish praise on someone like Jon Stewart for announcing on the Daily Show that he was too heartbroken to make jokes after the Charleston church shooting, as if all throughout this country’s present and past, black people and people of color have not been so heartbroken and so violated that we were left humorless, or worse, dead. To praise Stewart as excessively as he was praised is to say to black people: Your pain is unexceptional and does not matter until a white man feels it too.
What I want is to get paid for my labor and be credited for my excellence. What I want is to not have to be made aware that because most publications only ever make room for one or two writers of color when those publications publish me it means another excellent writer of color does not get to have that spot, and yes, we internalize that scarcity and it makes us act wild and violent toward each other sometimes instead of kind.
Why are we so perversely interested in narratives of suffering when we read things by black and brown writers? Where are my carefree writers of color at? Seriously, where?
being able to see the in-between is a matter of collective survival. Western corporate-influenced individualism is at odds with the reality that everything is ecological, that nothing and no one can be reduced to its perceived essence, and that truly, no man is an island (not even a billionaire libertarian on an actual island). If we do not understand this now, the climate will soon show us; in fact, it already is.
The 71% of emissions that 100 companies are responsible for are producing?? They are mainly the result of extracting and refining fossil fuels that individuals are using for flying and driving and importing bottled water from glaciers and plastic bird feeders from China. Economic questions of supply and demand are far more salient to the matter of emissions than is any aspect of political will.
Human activity is interconnected. When the breakneck demand for these things ends–as indeed it must and will, either in time, or too late–there will no longer be a market for what the energy oligarchs are selling. From a purely logical economic perspective, it’s the only real way to stop them.
Let’s have a look at this remark of Lukacs’s again.
“Collectively taking on corporate power” is just exactly what will happen when millions of individuals stop flying on airplanes, which, again, is a thing that has to happen in order for the planet to survive. Whether through a global individual cap and trade program or simply because individual people collectively realize, together, that they are dooming the Earth and had better drive to their next holiday, is entirely immaterial. Though even a casual witness to the abject stupidity of the world’s politicians must surely suspect that the latter course has better chances.
In any case, the bigger problem with the anti-individualist stance to taking collective action is an even simpler one. There is no way to achieve collective action without individual action. Collective action doesn’t fall off a tree, it is made up of countless individual acts that turn into conversations, writings, meetings, plans. Individual actions are the only material from which collective action can be made, and to suggest that individuals are helpless and somehow just don’t matter now, in the current emergency, at a time of rising confusion, anger, hopelessness and dread, is nothing short of enraging.
I still believe that there are new forms of connectivity we could forge that aren’t Facebook and aren’t Twitter and that could maybe — maybe — let us see outside of our own filter bubbles. Perhaps we could find or create new kinds of avenues for organizing, or platforms for debate (for those who are level-headed enough to do so). The role of the internet, and of reimagining how we use the internet to talk, is as crucial as ever.
But it’s a thorny path. It wasn’t until now that I fully grasped the dangerous varieties of connectivity (like rapid sharing of fake news) and understood there are people who cannot be connected with in the way we would like (the Rooshes of the world). Maybe that just means I’ve grown up. I know less about “how to internet” than I did before. All I can say now is that doing it right will require a great deal of imagination, caution, and fortitude.
Jenny Odell: Excavating Calabazas Creek: An Inefficient Route Through Silicon Valley
Even in the midst of a slurb made of corporate franchises and walled tech gardens, it’s not possible to be nowhere, any more than it is for us to engineer away the water during a flood or stop cracks from appearing in pavement. Water moves and land moves. Nothing on earth ever stands still.
The social credit system being developed by China is more like America's tech-surveillance state than many would like to admit.
Recent scandals regarding Facebook, its ties with the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, and the question of user data ending up in private hands should prompt us to ask just how different the Chinese system is from what exists in the United States and other Western countries in terms of the surveillance state. Certainly, restrictions on freedom of movement and political expression remain far more extensive in China, but is China, in fact, “the future”?
Sensationalist reporting tends not to note that while the Chinese state may be working toward building the dystopian future, they aren’t there yet. And if we take into account the gap between that totalizing aspiration and the existing surveillance state, we find something that looks more like the United States, as it already is. “China” is still the future in China, as well.
Telling stories about the _future_ surveillance state with Chinese characteristics only obscures the uneven development of the Technoleviathan that has already arrived. After all, Western banks use an expansive (and unregulated) system of credit scores to evaluate the likelihood of an individual repaying a loan, while credit card companies have long rewarded loyalty with the same kind of kickbacks and other benefits offered through Sesame Credit.
Is it that we fear only attempts to encourage loyalty to the state? Encouraging loyalty to multinational corporations doesn’t seem as threatening to Americans. Given such disregard for corporate actions, it may not be surprising that outrage against longstanding practices by Facebook exploded only in the wake of the controversy regarding accusations of Russian state interference in American elections.
While commentators sometimes attribute Chinese economic growth to uniquely Chinese cultural characteristics, they made similar claims regarding the supposedly uniquely Japanese cultural characteristics undergirding the “Japanese economic miracle” (and more broadly pointed to “Asian values” as propelling the rise of the four “East Asian Tigers”). But just as China has long been a latecomer to modernization, and often looks to the West as a model, its economic “rise” could as be seen as its convergence with the already industrialized West. The same is true with technology.
That the bleeding edge of both surveillance states starts with minority populations that the government deems potential threats only demonstrates the extent to which China continues to take its cues from the US. China has adopted American military rhetoric in order to justify crackdowns on the incipient independence movement in Xinjiang; the claim that China is combating Muslim extremists draws on a discourse of rising global Islamophobia that is largely advanced by America to justify its War on Terror. China similarly appeals to the precedent of American global interventionism, justifying foreign interventions on the basis of defending the international community, much as America has done for decades.
Western tech companies are not immune to American anxiety about China. But the main difference between Silicon Valley companies and their Chinese counterparts is their illusions about their relation to the state: China has no pretensions about the relation of the state to its powerful Chinese tech companies. If Silicon Valley will not look in the mirror—and if the Western press can see only their own distorted projections—it is possible to see, in China, how free competition between tech companies today will enable the rise of twinned corporatist states. Powerful tech companies supplying the technologies for the state to surveil the lives of citizens in return for being allowed by the state to operate and to profit.
Andy Beta: Stevie Wonder: Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants (Pitchfork)
Rather than attempt to carry on with Key of Life’s trajectory and his own heritage, Stevie had the rare cache to wander down every path, in effect making Motown his own private press label. No longer rooted to the traditions of soul, gospel or the sound of Motown that he built his legacy upon, Wonder literally branched out, reaching upward towards an undetermined new destination, exploring intuitively and fearlessly in a manner that few artists have ever managed to do in the history of pop music.
Holy shit this is a great, tough piece.
Why do nonprofits exist?
The generous answer is that society is imperfect: people have needs that the government cannot meet (and that corporations refuse to meet). But the cynical answer is that there’s money to be made in nonprofits. Not for the people actually working at them, of course; they make very little. But for their extremely wealthy patrons, the rich people who want to protect their capital from being taxed and expropriated by the government, nonprofits are not only lucrative—they’re an effective way to provide legitimacy to the ruling class.
Meeting the needs of millionaires is not easy. When their needs are vague and undefined—or poorly thought through and unsuited to the needs of local communities—it requires labor and stress (and ulcers) to keep them satisfied. It also requires a great deal of exploitation: the people working the hardest at nonprofits often make the least. People will work themselves to literal sickness chasing vague grant imperatives and using their dedication to The Work as a justification for their physical and mental burnout.
The treatment of workers in the nonprofit industry is perhaps its most disturbing feature, and it often goes unnoticed by larger society. There is a confusion, a frustration, that arises when you don’t see society changing at the scale or speed with which you’d like it to, especially when that “change”—however vaguely defined—is your literal job. But as long as nonprofits exist, it will be this way. This is because nonprofits exist to manage the contradictions of capitalism. When you find yourself unable to do that—or unable to deal with everyone around you blindly accepting that the contradictions can only be managed, rather than changed—you simply lose your mind, or the lining of your stomach.
In the absence of concrete results—and in my experience, the absence of concrete results begins to look more like the norm than the exception—you start to see the concrete function of the nonprofit sector differently. For all the good intentions it’s paved with, philanthropy is an illusion, a mirage. And it tricks you into accepting (or even embracing) the underlying fact of philanthropic giving: that rich people have a lot of surplus capital, from exploiting and immiserating thousands of lives, and they need somewhere to put it. It doesn’t matter if the millionaire is a Koch brother or an eco-friendly crusader. Vast profits, often the direct spoils of exploitation—the rightfully earned wages denied to workers, or the profits made from poisoning people’s water—are plowed right back into a system that, by design, can never alter the balance of power.
A memoir of campaigning for Barack Obama and how it feels ten years later.Each failure of accountability, each time Obama contented himself with the form of probity, rather than its difficult and painful exercise, brought us here.
Maria Bustillos: The Center Held Just Fine (Popula)
Joan Didion, First Lady of Neoliberalism
Didion’s work is an unrelenting exercise in class superiority, and it will soon be as unendurable as a minstrel show. It is the calf-bound, gilt-edged bible of neoliberal meritocracy. The weirdest thing about it is that this dyed-in-the-wool conservative woman (she started her career at the National Review) somehow became the irreproachable darling of New York media and stayed that way for decades, all on the strength of a dry, self-regarding prose style and a “glamor shot” with a Corvette. The toast of Broadway and the face of Céline, decorated by Barack Obama himself, Didion is the mascot of the 20th century’s ruling class (both “liberal” and “conservative”)—that is, people who “went to a good school” and know how to ski and what kind of wine to order, and thus believe themselves entitled to be in charge of your life and mine, and just… planet Earth.
For all their hanging out among the counterculturalists and jazz musicians and rock stars and hippies and desperately trying to be cool, I don’t think Joan Didion, or Capote, Updike, Wolfe, et al., ever wanted an egalitarian society. American writers like to pretend that their work is apolitical; it’s hard to imagine what the American equivalent of Marquez or Václav Havel might be. But no writing is apolitical. Didion and her cohort wanted a society where people like themselves could keep comfortably chronicling the interesting inferiorities of those in the classes below their own.
Didion and co. produced fake cultural leadership for the comfort and protection of the well-heeled and powerful. Better people, better writers, would have connected with the youth movement and the working class to protect and expand democracy—say, by putting their bodies upon the gears, and upon the wheels of the machine. Instead, they kept it running.
Gregg Segal tells us what it was like to take these absolutely bananas photos.
You know, the ones of the soulless hateful scumbag Paul Ryan in workout clothes and a backwards hat looking like a goofball?
Mike Rogoway: Tech industry’s diversity push pleases white workers, survey finds, but not others (The Oregonian)
A new survey of nearly 5,300 tech workers by Portland Women in Technology points to one possible explanation for the enduring disparities: Most white people in the industry said their companies take diversity seriously and would recommend someone from an underrepresented group work at their company.
But among people from other racial and ethnic groups, and transgender people, fewer than a third agree.
“I feel like people like to hire people they know and they get along with,” said Dawn Mott, 37, an African-American software developer in Portland.
At a developer conference earlier this year, a panel discussion Mott attended had no women panelists. Afterwards, Mott said she asked two of the panelists why. She said they asserted here were no women leaders in development and doubted she was a developer.
Lucy Dacus: Woodstock, a Utopia? Not for Every Generation (NYT)
But an anniversary is a call to action — to remember, and celebrate if possible. Remembrance is one of the most powerful tools we have. Revisiting the past, intentionally, allows us to excavate more of the truth each time we look back. Without this effort, our memories will be gradually, carelessly buried under the debris of our lives, the sharpness of our good intentions dulled under the weight of time passed.
Whatever Woodstock was, I can’t speak to. What it is today feels like a husk of a dream. And yet we are still drawn in by the lore, like we know the vision has yet to be fully realized, like the story isn’t over.
Lori Teresa Yearwood: How We Hate the Homeless (Hmm Daily)
“Research shows that people are afraid of being contaminated—by germs or stigma—and they are afraid of bottomless need that they can’t fix,” said Susan Fiske, who is a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, and is known for her work on social cognition, stereotypes, and prejudice.
Across the world, people see those without a fixed address as untrustworthy and incompetent, Fiske said. This stereotype blankets everyone from the homeless to refugees and undocumented migrants to Bedouin nomads.
“Maybe lacking an address makes people seem unaccountable and unreliable because they can’t be found,” Fiske said. “Maybe not paying for housing implies lacking conventional success. People stereotyped as incompetent and untrustworthy seem less human because ‘they’ allegedly lack basic human qualities.”
Underlying it all is, perhaps, people’s fear that the systems they themselves rely on might not be fair or dependable, Fiske said: “People want to believe that they have control. If homelessness can happen to anyone, then it’s out of control.”
Korede Akinsete: Call Us by Our Name: Stop Using "Afrobeats" (Okay Africa)
These replacement names have yet to stick and even more troubling, the ever-present "afro-" prefix still follows the tradition of portraying Africa in monolithic terms. A much simpler and respectful solution, is to refer to what is currently known as Afrobeats as pop music from a specific country (i.e. Ghanaian Pop Music) and to other established musical styles by their local names—"highlife," "fuji," "gqom," "bongo flava" and so forth, equipping new listeners with the right vocabulary to experience the varying cultures.
In the rat race for crossover success, Africa's biggest pop stars and their backers have been preoccupied with creating a palatable brand for US and UK consumers while losing sight of the long game—retaining ownership of culture. For African pop music to command the level of respect that is reflective of its influence, artists must divorce themselves from the idea that crossing over to Western markets is the highest privilege.
"Afrobeats" centers western audiences in the very language used to describe the soundtrack to the lives of university kids partying on the beaches of Accra and the Lagos workers who set out at 5am to beat traffic. This is simply unfair. African art and by extension Black art should be allowed to exist without the constant burden of performance under a Western gaze.
Molly Harbarger: Multnomah County sees 20% more people sleeping outside in latest homeless count (The Oregonian)
People of color disproportionately experience homelessness on each Point in Time survey. That remains true this year -- and gets slightly worse. While people of color make up less than 30% of the county’s total population, nearly 40% of homeless people in 2019 are not white.
Native American people remain the most disproportionately homeless group in Multnomah County.
They also are the most likely to be chronically homeless, which is defined as experiencing homelessness for more than a year and having an addiction, mental health condition or physical disability that makes getting and staying in housing difficult.
The entire chronically homeless population grew in 2019, though. The county found 1,769 who fit the definition -- 37% higher than in 2017.