Reading Material – June 5, 2023

Following Christ in the Machine Age: A Conversation with Paul Kingsnorth:

We “are all uprooted now,” Kingsnorth writes[2]:

The rebellion against God manifested itself in a rebellion against creation, against all nature, human and wild. We would remake Earth, down to the last nanoparticle, to suit our desires, which we now called “needs.” Our new world would be globalized, uniform, interconnected, digitized, hyper-real, monitored, always-on. We were building a machine to replace God. …

Out in the world, the rebellion against God has become a rebellion against everything: roots, culture, community, families, biology itself. Machine progress — the triumph of the Nietzschean will—­dissolves the glue that once held us.[3]

I’ve been reading Kingsnorth for a while – probably about a decade now.  He converted to Orthodox Christianity a few years ago.  It was a choice that I didn’t anticipate.  I read him now both because I’m interested in what he has to say and to better understand what led him to take the path that he has.

Thought for the Day – June 2, 2023

Jonathan Last:

There are some things worth considering on the question of “manhood.”

(1) Putting aside the language of “crisis,” it’s entirely possible that both men and women are facing serious, but different, challenges created by economic, technological, and social change. In fact, it’s more than possible—it’s likely.

Further, it’s likely that men and women are pretty much always facing serious, but different challenges because life is suffering and change is constant. Here is a universal truth: No matter who you are, it is hard to find your place in the world.

(2) To recognize that men (and women) face (separate and different) challenges is not to say that it is a crisis that can be “solved.”

Because the challenges we face today will be different from the challenges our children face 20 years from now.

(3) What we should do—all we can do—is try to understand clearly the nature of the current challenges and try to course-correct where possible, to make it marginally easier for people in their struggle to find their place in the world.

And you accomplish this through honesty and kindness.

Reading Material – May 7, 2023

Jennifer Ludden, Marisa Peñaloza, Would you live next to co-workers for the right price? This company is betting yes:  [Ed.: Signs of a housing crisis #147]:

When Cook [Medical] announced a year ago that it would build hundreds of homes to sell to employees at below-market prices, [Tommie] Jones was among the first to sign up… Cook’s move isn’t purely philanthropic. As rents and home prices across the U.S. have skyrocketed, more companies are finding it harder to recruit and retain middle-income workers. Record-high job openings and low unemployment have made the competition worse, fueling staff shortages.  So a growing number of employers around the country have decided to build their own housing for workers, mostly for them to rent but sometimes to buy…. Cook is offering these homes to employees at below-market prices. It’s an incredible opportunity for Jones, who has been with the company nearly four years and — with extra pay for the swing shift and her work as a trainer — makes just over $20 an hour.

Continue reading

Thought for the Day – May 5, 2023

The first part goes without saying.  The second part feels more accurate than I wish were the case:

The right has solutions to public safety problems but they’re stupid and evil, the left has no solutions but will call you stupid and evil for suggesting there are public safety problems.

– Armand Domalewski

Two thoughts:

  1. Jordan Neely should be alive today.  The man who killed him needs to be held accountable.
  2. Did Neely yelling and acting erratically on the subway trigger a PTSD response in the man who choked him? Not an excuse* even if it did but it’s worth investigating if it was a contributing factor. (*Could be a reason but not an excuse.  If you kill someone who didn’t attack you, that’s all on you. Manslaughter isn’t murder but that doesn’t do the dead person any good.)

Reading Material – April 23, 2023

Kenneth Chang, New Mars Map Lets You ‘See the Whole Planet at Once’:

A new global map of Mars offers a fresh perspective on the planet.

The map, released earlier this month, was pieced together from 3,000 pictures taken by the United Arab Emirates’ Hope spacecraft, and it shows the red planet in its true light.

Greg Jaffe and  Patrick Marley, In a thriving Michigan county, a community goes to war with itself:

The eight new members of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners had run for office promising to “thwart tyranny” in their lakeside Michigan community of 300,000 people.  In this case the oppressive force they aimed to thwart was the county government they now ran…. The new commissioners… swore their oaths of office on family Bibles. And then the firings began. Gone was the lawyer who had represented Ottawa County for 40 years. Gone was the county administrator who oversaw a staff of 1,800. To run the health department, they voted to install a service manager from a local HVAC company who had gained prominence as a critic of mask mandates….

Derek Thompson, America Fails the Civilization Test: Continue reading

Reading Material – April 17, 2023

Jamelle Bouie, Harlan Crow, Clarence Thomas’s Benefactor, Is Not Just Another Billionaire:

When we want to memorialize an atrocity or a crime – when we want to remember the consequences and costs of evil – we focus on the victims… You won’t find a statue of Osama bin Laden at ground zero…

I don’t know what is in Crow’s heart. But he is a wealthy man. He is a powerful man. And power is attracted to power… Does Crow secretly admire these figures of his fascination? Probably not. But he doesn’t seem to understand them, either. He doesn’t respect the weight and meaning of the histories in question.  What Crow has done is trivialize them. He has made them objects of curiosity. He has stripped them of specificity; they are meant to represent evil at its most generic and abstract…

To gaze at your collection of tokenized evil is to separate yourself from the perpetrators and their victims. It is to tell yourself — consciously or, more likely, subconsciously — that there’s nothing you could do to ever be like them.

Or so you hope.

Susan Neiman, There Are No Nostalgic Nazi Memorials: Continue reading