A collection of interesting reads to provoke thought and provide fodder for conversation.
Remembering Frank Little–Instead, Little passionately preached the IWW message. During a speech at Finlander Hall, Little referred to U.S. soldiers as “uniformed thugs” and stressed his opposition to the draft and the war. Why, he asked, would workers choose to fight for their capitalist masters, when instead they could end the war by turning on their masters and overthrowing the capitalist system? mthistoryrevealed.blogspot.com
Being rich wrecks your soul. We used to know that.–After all, one incredibly wealthy soul currently holds our country in his hands. According to an apocryphal exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, the only difference between the rich and the rest of us is that they have more money. But is that the only difference?
We didn’t used to think so. We used to think that having vast sums of money was bad and in particular bad for you — that it harmed your character, warping your behavior and corrupting your soul. We thought the rich were different, and different for the worse. www.washingtonpost.com
The Limits of Tolerance–Among other things, the core Old-Left liberal value of religious tolerance has now come into confrontation with the identity politics of the New Left. Indeed, one central strand of New Left thinking regards all talk of (liberal) ‘religious tolerance’ as mere camouflage concealing deep and systematic disrespect and unequal treatment of religious minorities. From this perspective, what needs priority is not so much the right of individuals to choose their religion as they see fit and without interference, but the rights of religious groups to secure and preserve their standing and identity in a society that would otherwise marginalise them. aeon.co
The Missing Progressive Infrastructure–One problem that emerged from last year’s election was the stark realization that the progressive infrastructure—the congeries of think tanks, advocacy organizations, grassroots groups, training centers, and the rest that constitute the real working parts of liberalism—wasn’t quite the well-oiled machine some had thought. Democracy Journal
Picasso and Tragedy–These are questions that viewers have often put, perhaps even with Kent’s and Edgar’s bewildered anguish, to Picasso’s Guernica; and the evidence suggests that they continue to be asked of the painting, in spite of the world’s enormous changes, by those three or four generations who have lived since the mural’s unveiling eighty years ago. For some reason – no doubt for many reasons, some of them accidental or external to the work itself – Picasso’s painting has become an essential, or anyway recurring, point of reference for human beings in fear for their lives. Guernica has become our culture’s Tragic Scene. www.lrb.co.uk
The Queen of England Enjoys Four Cocktails Every Day–Just before lunch Queen Elizabeth reportedly has her first cocktail of the day, a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice, according to Darren McGrady, a former royal chef.Then, during lunch, McGrady revealed to The Telegraph that the Queen will pair her simple lunch of vegetables and fish with a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate. Food & Wine
Turning Away Refugees is an American Tradition–They learned to surrender themselves for regular medical inspections, passed their health record books to the nurses and doctors to initial without thought for privacy, their lives now a running count of coughs and infections, lung spots and fevers. On the days of the mass inoculations—hundreds of the camp’s children injected at once, the nurses punching the flesh of one twitching buttock after another—the mothers helped skin heir babies from their chunky wool tights. Rabbit pants, the Latvians called them. Literary Hub
The Story Behind Jared Kushner’s Curious Acceptance into Harvard–My book exposed a grubby secret of American higher education: that the rich buy their under-achieving children’s way into elite universities with massive, tax-deductible donations. It reported that New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. At the time, Harvard accepted about one of every nine applicants. (Nowadays, it only takes one out of twenty.) www.propublica.org
My name is Joseph Boyden–I understand now more than I ever have, that a family’s history is sacred. I’m trying my best to learn the lessons of this rite of passage, this gift that has been given to me in the past year. One understanding I’m now able to begin vocalizing is that a family’s history, a family’s stories, belong to the family. www.macleans.ca
The Three Paradoxes Disrupting American Politics–The antidote to bad information used to be more information. Not anymore. What good is more information if people don't trust it—or if the traditional methods of sorting the good information from the bad (including the weighty brands of certain news organizations) don't work anymore? The marketplace of ideas is experiencing market failure. When information proliferates and credibility shrinks, reasoned argument suffers and democratic society decays. www.theatlantic.com
The Policies of White Resentment–White resentment put Donald Trump in the White House. And there is every indication that it will keep him there, especially as he continues to transform that seething, irrational fear about an increasingly diverse America into policies that feed his supporters’ worst racial anxieties. www.nytimes.com
Why Farm-to-Institution Sourcing is the Sleeping Giant of Local Food–You see, public and private institutions spend billions of dollars each year on food. Schools, universities, hospitals, prisons, corporate cafeterias, and senior care facilities share one thing in common—they prepare, cook, and serve thousands of meals every day. Now, a rising national movement wants to persuade these institutions to source a higher percentage of food from regional producers—with an emphasis on farms, fishermen, and and ranches that follow ecologically sound, socially just, and humane practices. It’s called institutional food procurement, and, while it might not have quite as much romance as some other elements of today’s Good Food Movement, some say this follow-the-money strategy could hold the key to transforming the American food system.
The Arsonist Was Like a Ghost–In the middle of the night on December 15, 2012, Lois Gomez sat up in bed. She thought she heard something. She listened. Nothing. Maybe she was wrong, maybe she hadn’t heard anything. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water. It was two or three in the morning, only a few hours before her shift at Perdue and her husband’s shift at Tyson. Now she definitely heard something. A banging on her front door — which in itself was odd; friends and family knew they always used the side entrance — and someone yelling: “Your garage is on fire! I’ve already called 911!” longreads.com