Jess Zimmerman: "Where's My Cut?": On Unpaid Emotional Labor (The Toast)
Housework is not work. Sex work is not work. Emotional work is not work. Why? Because they don’t take effort? No, because women are supposed to provide them uncompensated, out of the goodness of our hearts.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: There Is No Ferguson Effect (The Atlantic)
As my colleague Brentin Mock points out, to observe that homicides began increasing in St. Louis before the protests is not to make a subjective interpretation, but to offer a knowable and verifiable fact. If the “Ferguson Effect” is real, how can it be that it started before the Ferguson protests?
Neglecting this question is neither dispassionate nor high-minded. It is the sort of insidious “false equivalence” that so rightly irks my colleague James Fallows. “False equivalence” runs contrary to the mission to journalism—it obscures where journalists are charged with clarifying. A reasonable person could read the Times’ story and conclude that there is as much proof for the idea that protests against police brutality caused crime to rise, as there is against it. That is the path away from journalism and toward noncommittal stenography: Some people think climate change is real, some do not. Some people believe in UFOs, others doubt their existence. Some think brain cancer can be cured with roots and berries, but others say proof has yet to emerge.
Mark Leibovich: The Politics of Distraction (NYTimes)
In other words, the press colludes with politicians in this culture of distraction-mongering. Meanwhile, a new class of political figures has built careers almost entirely on shiny-object status. It’s more fun than writing policy treatises and much easier than actual governing — and it pays better too.
Adam Gopnik: Denali and the Names of the Past (The New Yorker)
The truth is that the obsession with word magic and names is a primitive one, inherently irrational. Names are notional. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet—or as rancid, depending; a mountain by its older name is just as tall. Yet the desire to remedy the wrongs of the past by righting our nomenclature is a deep one, and it burns on. Word magic it may be, and no more than that, but we believe in magic, and we think in words.
There is, in general, an easy resolution to this problem of when we should adjust the past to the present, one neither “relativist” nor unduly pietist. We need ask merely, What was the most humane view being widely urged at the time, and does the name or people we honor celebrate that?
Martin Douglas: On Kanye West and Black Humility (Pitchfork)
Confident black men are constantly held under by society, frequently told to not say much and accept what society (i.e. the whims of white men in power) gives us. This is a tactic to hold us “in place,” to make sure we don’t “overstep our boundaries” (i.e. gain a level of influence as to overthrow the people in power, which, again, are a bunch of white dudes). We as black men are treated as secondary, even though our efforts have created some of the greatest art forms our society has been given. And when we hold onto our dignity by believing in ourselves, we are conditioned to hold it at a distance so as not to upset those nebulous powers that be.
Courtney E. Smith: The Magic Bullet Behind The World’s Most Popular Songs (Pitchfork)
Bands who don’t license their music, like Pearl Jam and R.E.M., have zero songs on this list of timeless music. What was a choice driven by integrity at the time couldn’t possibly have anticipated how much we now allow our media consumption to drive our music preferences. Some of the most important bands in music history will be lost in favor of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”, which is the most timeless song of the 1980s at this point, because a high school kid on an MTV reality show wanted Journey to be playing when he met his girlfriend.
When white people educate themselves and begin to get an understanding of just how bad things still are, it can feel like a crushing weight. They might feel guilty, sad, overwhelmed. What are you supposed to do with this information? It seems unfixable and like there’s nothing you can do.
I can’t give you any comforting words about this stage. This is the stage I spend my life in, to some degree. The difference is that now you understand that as a white person, you have the choice, the privilege of choosing not to think about it–because that’s one of the luxuries of fitting in to the dominant group. Now you know the answer to the question, “Why is she always talking about race?”
R.S. Benedict: Sorry, Sad Puppies: Science Fiction Has Always Been Political (Unicorn Booty)
The Golden Age of sci-fi was just as politically-charged as today. The only difference is that the writers’ opinions aligned more closely to yours—or, maybe you didn’t pick up on the political messages the first time you read them because you were just a kid.
It’s great that you want to educate other white folks about racism. That is exactly what we need you to be doing. But THINK before you go dragging the nearest Black person into your fight, about whether you’re doing more harm than good.
Good names are difficult to come up with. And if you’ve found one: have you considered what your potential name might mean in another language? What if it’s something obscene? WordSafety.com checks your word against swear words and unwanted associations in 19 languages. We also do phonetic matching, so you can catch pronounciations that might be problematic.
Fredrik deBoer: racism is asphalt, racism is a bullet
We have police aggression against black people because the white moneyed classes of this country have demanded aggressive policing and the moneyed control our policy. We have police aggression because the War on Drugs provokes it and we still have a War on Drugs because the War on Drugs puts vast amounts of tax dollars in the hands of police departments and a voracious prison industrial complex. We have police aggression against black people because centuries of gerrymandering and political manipulation have been undertaken with the explicit purpose of empowering some people and disenfranchising others. None of that can be solved through having pure hearts and pure minds. Racism is not a problem of mind. Racism cannot be combated by individuals not being racist. A pure heart makes no difference. In response to systemic injustice, you’ve got to change the systems themselves. It’s the only thing that will ever work.
Chris Higgins: Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? (Mental Floss)
When I was a kid with a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), sometimes my games wouldn't load. But I, like all kids, knew the secret: take out the game cartridge, blow on the contacts, and put it back in. And it seemed to work. (When it failed, I'd just keep trying until it worked.) But looking back, did blowing into the cartridge really help? I've talked to the experts, reviewed a study on this very topic, and have the answer.
Peniel Joseph: The Passion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Newsweek)
King’s political courage at the end of his life found him on the wrong side of sitting American presidents, mainstream liberal thought leaders and the national racial status quo. Remarkably, King tapped into what he characterized as “those great wells of democracy” to reveal the depth and breadth of racial and economic injustice despite America’s insistence that civil rights laws had ushered in a new age of citizenship and justice.
In an age where we interact primarily with branded and marketed web content, Cameron’s World is a tribute to the lost days of unrefined self-expression on the Internet. This project recalls the visual aesthetics from an era when it was expected that personal spaces would always be under construction.
Brian Feldman: Instagram Created The Fat Jew (The Awl)
The Fat Jew and his ilk—Fuck Jerry, Beige Cardigan, Betches and other shitpic peddlers—have no doubt kept a lot of users coming back to Instagram, likely even a substantial portion of the three hundred million monthly active users that the site boasts. For years now, Instagram has served up sponsored posts to those users, bringing in revenue for itself and its parent company, Facebook, while taking little action in response to how users actually behave on its service. It believes that if it deprives users of certain tools, users will change their behavior to fit Instagram’s narrow view of how the service should work. It simply does not account for those that don’t. The Fat Jew might be hiding behind Instagram’s lack of functionality and profiting because of it, but he’s not the only one. Instagram is too.
Amelia Greenhall: What to do if a woman is funny on Twitter
Hello! You have just been sent this link because you explained a woman's joke to her on Twitter! Or maybe you made her own joke back to her, except not as funny, or derailed her joke by talking about something else, or something similarly well-intentioned but cringeworthy. Whatever the case, we must regretfully inform you that you have almost certainly made her feel insulted, bored, annoyed and/or angry. This is probably not what you wanted.
My girlfriend is an opera singer and performance studies expert who has spent years working on breathing, so I asked her what to do next time. “[Breathlessness] is very normal and brought on by nerves,” she said. “And there's a simple exercise that fixes it.” For you, and for all those who might search Google for “running out of breath,” “breathing control,” and “reading for the radio,” I offer her opera-tested 4-step routine.
Andy Adams: Finding and Fixing Slow WordPress Database Queries (CSS Tricks)
Slow SQL queries can crush your WordPress site's performance. Sometimes, slow queries are a result of poorly-formed SQL that never should have been done that way. And sometimes, slow queries were actually fast queries at one point—but as the site grew older, the query got slower and slower, unable to keep up with the expanding database.
Caitlin Winner: How We Changed the Facebook Friends Icon
As a result of this project, I’m on high alert for symbolism. I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar. For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?