Posts in: Praxis

What hath Jon Stewart wrought?

In a recent post, Robert Rackley riffs on an article by Jon Askonas at the New Atlantis arguing that Jon Stewart paved the way—however unintentionally—for Tucker Carlson. I haven’t yet read the piece (I will over the weekend) but I have to say that I agree with the premise. The Iraq War, the War on Terror, the Bush presidency generally were formative times for me. Voting for Bush in 2000 was the last time I voted for a Republican for president.

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Choose reality

Alan Jacobs: I think we’re looking at not one but two futures — a fork in the road for humans in Technopoly. … A few will get frustrated by the fakery, minimize their time on the internet, and move back towards the real. They’ll be buying codex books, learning to throw pots or grow flowers, and meeting one another in person. The greater number will gradually be absorbed into some kind of Metaverse in which they really see Joe Biden transformed into Dark Brandon or hear Q whisper sweet nothings into their ears.

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Wendell Berry, “Family Work”:

Children, no matter how nurtured at home, must be risked to the world. And parenthood is not an exact science, but a vexed privilege and a blessed trial, absolutely necessary, and not altogether possible.

Hypocritical asceticism

Jack Leahy makes a a defense of hypocritical asceticism. Basically, we have to start somewhere. Even small efforts have an effect. In the process of living out a hypocritical asceticism a funny thing happens–we are changed. … In practicing hypocritical asceticism I am carving out a little zone of freedom within myself. This is similar to what I said in this post, that a better goal than purity is the avoidance of servitude.

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A personal calendar

The way we organize our year is a reflection of our values—that is a commonly observed truism. My family and I share many of the usual holidays with the wider American culture. We also decline to observe a few of them for various reasons. In some cases, we weight the days differently than usual, or attach differing significance. The seasonal change we’re experiencing here in Indiana has me thinking about all of this.

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The problem is our solutions

Jack Leahy: The entire canyon had become blanketed in by fog. No, not fog. Up here it isn’t fog. Up here we are in the clouds. The evening sky had been crystal clear the evening before so this caught me by surprise. There was only the slight hiss of misting rain. A bit of wind. The nocturnal song of insects now hushed. I could hardly even make out the other buildings a few hundred feet beyond me.

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Life within limits

Oliver Burkeman: A life fully lived just is painfully bittersweet, the joy inextricably intertwined with loss. The major chapters of life, such as your children’s childhoods, just will feel like they’re over too fast, pretty much whatever you do. I am forty-five years old and I’m still trying to accept this, even after years spent reading in wisdom traditions that teach this very thing. It is as if there is a small part of me that knows it is true while everything else within me fights it.

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I believe the amount of anger in the world could be reduced if everyone had the freedom to take short naps as needed. And yeah that’s funny but I’m also serious.

Harry Marks:

And let’s not forget what everyone brings up when they talk about why “return to office” is so important. “Oh, it’s about collaboration! We have such a great office culture!” What “office culture?” Fluorescent lighting and no privacy? A pizza party in lieu of a proper raise?

Let’s not mince words when it comes to discussing the return to the office and what it’s really about: capitalism. The banks have threatened to devalue office properties if the companies leasing them don’t use them. Apple spent billions on a brand new campus and it’ll be damned if people aren’t going to walk its sterile, glass hallways each day.

Spot on. You should be suspicious whenever certain buzzwords–like “culture”–start getting repeated. That’s a sure sign of ideology and the first thing to ask when you’ve found an ideology is “who does this benefit?” In this case, it benefits those who stand to lose asset value on their balance sheets due to property value markdowns.