My now page, updated for the new year.
This post from @austinkleon on the history of “Midnight Train to Georgia” made my night. Totally worth the time. 🎵
This piece on the rise and fall of RSS is fascinating. Sadly, the promise of the open web from the early days of blogging and podcasting seems have faded completely. Can it be regained in the mainstream?
I really appreciated this helpful discussion on Exponent of the recent Apple revenue guidance and their situation in China. It’s a good illustration of how intertwined the global economy really is due to multinational mega corporations.
“Conservatism” has lost its way. The fact that mainstream conservatives are almost universally uncritical of mega-corporations and their power is mind-boggling. That is not at all in line with traditional conservative thinking. As Roger Scruton puts it, we are all far too comfortable with corporate predation:
“In short, global capitalism is in some respects less an exercise in free market economics, in which cost is assumed for the sake of benefit, than a kind of brigandage, in which costs are transferred to future generations for the sake of rewards here and now. … Even socialists steer away from any criticism of the real corporate predation, which is the predation on future generations in which we too are involved. Like the elites of New Labour and the German Social Democrat Party, they live in the same way as the CEOs with whom they frequently associate, transferring the costs of their policies to future governments, in just the way that the corporations transfer the costs of their economic success to the unborn.” -Roger Scruton, How to be a Conservative
Sage advice in this post commenting on an essay about “millennial burnout” from @ayjay: “Maybe those rules for auricular confession and self-examination apply also to participating in social media: Be brief, be blunt, be gone.”
There will always be differences–important and sometimes irreconcilable ones–between those who hold strong principles. But if we want the American experiment (and it is certainly still an experiment) to succeed we must find a way to listen and hear people who disagree with us.
What is happening today in the GOP is not conservative. An actual conservative is interested in preserving valuable institutions, promoting human flourishing, and working in the best interests of communities. Not enriching individuals at the expense of those around them.
The truth of Christmas, that God became man in the flesh, is not only humbling, but gives me courage. He knows what our lives are like, the highs, the lows, the sufferings, and the joys. And He still gave Himself up for us.
“Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:17–18
I’m thankful for this ongoing series from Nicholas Kristof in the New Times: Professor, Was Jesus Really Born to a Virgin? I hope they get a wide readership.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38–39
Something like this will never happen to me, because I don’t “fit the description”. But it happens all too often to men who do not look like me. And that should break our hearts.
@manton oh! That makes sense. Thank you!
The more I have thought about it the more convinced I have become that Americans elected as their President the single most comprehensively disqualified public figure for the job: a man disqualified by temperament, by character, by inexperience, by vulnerability to blackmail — and by sheer ignorance.
And it’s that last point that makes me want to call the current regime by a different name: it is, I think, an agnoiocracy — rule by the ignorant. Rule by know-nothings. Most of the people who voted for Trump are not as crassly venal as he is, but they tend to be equally ignorant. It was their ignorance (or denial — it amounts to the same thing) of the facts of our political order that made them think that Trump could be a successful president, and their ignorance of Trump’s non-televised history that made them think that he could be trusted to keep any promise that is not in his direct interest to keep.
It’s not just the Trump administration and those who voted for him. The lack of basic knowledge about our system of government is widespread on all parts of the political spectrum. The first step towards fixing our problem may just be reforming our educational approach to history and civics.
“Reward systems in social media were influencing my decisions while art making. I would think about what people would think based off of likes and comments,” [artist Andrea Crespo] told me via email. Because its reception came so fast, and came loaded with so many social and biochemical cues, Crespo began to consider social media activity as an evaluating metric “really bad for art.” You begin making art not for yourself, but for the dopamine rush that comes as each double-tap lights up your phone.
It can be bad for art, but it can also be bad for artists. Crespo says Instagram was negatively affecting his spirituality and mental health. The reward systems are addictive. Artist Jake Borndal quit posting to Instagram when he quit smoking. A drug analogy might seem a bit played out, but biologically a “hit” of likes isn’t all that different from a hit of nicotine. When you check your phone, a rush of dopamine floods your brain and that instant gratification can drive compulsive behavior. Social media addiction isn’t a problem for artists alone, but if the role of the artist is to create, share, and contribute beyond existing boundaries, then the question of whether Instagram offers a new way to think or just produces new limits or anxieties is especially critical.
The beauty of Advent is the hopeful expectation from a promise fulfilled.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool."
My second daughter came into the world yesterday. My heart is immeasurably full.