Matt Taibbi: On “White Fragility”

At a time of catastrophe and national despair, when conservative nationalism is on the rise and violent confrontation on the streets is becoming commonplace, it’s extremely suspicious that the books politicians, the press, university administrators, and corporate consultants alike are asking us to read are urging us to put race even more at the center of our identities, and fetishize the unbridgeable nature of our differences.

Matt Taibbi, on White Fragility and its popularity

On Thinking for Self – Leonard E. Reed

When thinking for self is declining, more charlatans and fewer statesmen will vie for office.  Look at the political horizon to learn what the thinking is, just as you look at a thermometer to learn what the temperature is.  So blame not the political opportunists for the state of the nation.  Our failure to think for ourselves put them there-indeed, brought them into being. For we are the market; they are but the reflections!

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A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age by Alan Jacobs

These perceptive moral essays crackle with wit, intelligence, and a wide range of knowledge. A cultural hawk eye delivers relevant, down-to-earth meditations on the way we live now. “A Visit to Vanity Fair” blends personal reflection with cultural criticism to address such topics as reading with children, sitting with a dying friend, and watching TV documentaries.

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Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee

Once I got into it, I enjoyed the way she laid out the case against workaholism and the way we constantly say we are too busy when in fact what we are mostly doing is failing to make time for what is important, what makes us human and what brings us joy and connection. There is a deep kernel of truth here that is very much understanding and allowing it to change the way we think. Far too many in the middle and upper-middle class have brought the mindset and culture of work into their lives in harmful ways. Obsessed with productivity and time they add unnecessary stress to their lives, lose time spent with family and friends, and miss out on human connection.

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The Failure of Satire – The Cockroach by Ian McEwan

My lack of understanding of British politics might be a factor but I was unimpressed by this supposed masterpiece of satire. The concept-a reverse Kafka if you will-is intriguing, hence my picking it up at the library, and in many ways well done. But I think the problem is that if you don’t believe that Brexit is an on its face stupid, disastrous policy then the satire comes off not as comic genius but as another example of the mindset that leads to populist revolts.

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