an essay on NY essays…
Originally posted on Flavorwire:
It’s fair to say that the “New York essay” is having a moment. Or maybe it’s always having a moment. But with Sari Botton’s two anthologies about loving and leaving and just having a great time in New York (last year’s Goodbye to All That and this month’s Never Can Say Goodbye), and former Granta editor John Freeman’s upcoming Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst Times in Today’s New York, one thing is sure: in 2014, the New York City essay is bountiful.
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Remember back in 1999, when “irony” was our biggest enemy/ailment? I remember thinking there was almost no limit to the places that young people could travel, which was amazing after growing up when the USSR and the Iron Curtain was a given and our biggest threat: nuclear war, mutually assured destruction. In 1999, our ailment was the threat of cynicism, apathy, left-over Gen X-style sarcasm. Although, I do remember when I learned that there were “rules” of war. I was perplexed as to why all the adults I knew and/or heard on political TV talk shows assumed that these “rules of war” were, of course, always followed. It seemed to me that if we could be respectful and orderly enough to obey “rules of war” with other human beings around the world, then we didn’t need to fight any. But, back then, it also seemed that the majority of world citizens were mostly in agreement as to what reality was — and (with many exceptions, of course, but fewer than today) what people said was more in sync with what they did. If not, then someone would call out the posers and most people would again align in agreement over reality versus the outliers, who obfuscated it. Then something happened during the years Clinton and George W. were in office–the rise and acceptance of reality spun into tales of what leaders wanted reality to be, despite blatant evidence to the contrary. For some reason, the public let them get away with it. Then they adopted is a a common m.o. too. Perhaps that’s why we couldn’t imagine the world crumbling into chaos. It’s much more comfortable for us humans to not acknowledge the seeds of disturbing realities growing or put it off until some day in the future. It seems that sad future is now. So far, we’ve dealt with it by assuming the worst in people and then verifying assumptions with infinite bits of surveillance media, spliced together neatly to confirm our worst fears and assumptions–erroneous or not.
Originally posted on Quartz:
It’s been a week from hell.
In 15 years of covering conflict around the world, I can’t recall another seven-day period when there were as many acts of war and terrorism, in as many places, as we’ve seen this week.
The mayhem in Gaza may be hogging the headlines, and that won’t change with the announcement of a 72-hour ceasefire, but other tales of violent conflict have pushed their way into the front pages, for instance the continued depredations of ISIS in Iraq and the internecine fighting in Libya. If you can look past that terrible trifecta, there’s the war in eastern Ukraine, where the government in Kiev has launched a new offensive against Russia’s proxy militias. In truth, that conflict may have faded from view if it wasn’t for the downing of MH17 by the rebels.
But you’d have to be paying especially close attention to notice…
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It’s a wonder us mere human beings are even able to figure this out: Apparently, dogs have had us all figured out for eons–and they still love us; That’s real love. Think of what they tolerate (especially my border collie ; ). It seems, they know us even better than we know ourselves. However, I’m not surprised. What surprises me is how patient and tolerant and dedicated they continue to be despite how much us humans are capable of annoying them–while we go around assuming the opposite. I think it’s because while we spend hours worrying about them when we leave them home alone, they are actually meditating–hours and hours of mindfulness meditation. Maybe dogs are really furry little buddhas.
via Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)
from Pacific*Standard: The Science of Society, today’s email newsletter subject line:
“Ebola, Uncomfortable Silence, and Art Therapy”
–Who’s not gonna open that one? [Rhetorical Q]