“ A Cornell study makes the case that social rejection is not actually bad for the creative process—and can even facilitate it. The study shows that if you have the sneaking suspicion you might not belong, the act of being rejected confirms your interpretation. The effect can liberate creative people from the need to fit in and allow them to pursue their interests.”
File this under “things I wish my sixteen-year-old self had known”.
“ Putin could disperse crowds on Manezhnaya square in Moscow because the opposition demonstrators did not represent mainstream views in Russia. Force can be used to stifle dissent only if a significant group of citizens believes that the state’s monopoly on the use of force is legitimate. In countries such as Lybia, Egypt, Tunisia, and others where popular revolutions have toppled entrenched governments, the people simply rejected the legitimacy of their rulers. In Kyiv at least, it is difficult to find someone who recognizes the legitimacy of Yanukovych.”
I hope people outside of Europe are paying attention to what’s happening in Ukraine right now, because it’s vital not just for the former Soviet Bloc but the entire EU and thus the Western world.
- You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be
- old. And then you’ll be dead. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it.
If you were still seething from the eruption of the 1960s, and thought that Reagan had ended all that, then the resilience of a pluralistic, multi-racial, fast-miscegenating, post-gay America, whose president looks like the future, not the past, you would indeed, at this point, be in a world-class, meshugganah, cultural panic.
When you add in the fact that the American dream stopped working for most working-class folks at some point in the mid 1970s, and when you see the national debt soaring from the Reagan years onward, made much worse by the Bush-Cheney years, and then exploded by the recession Bush bequeathed, you have a combustible mixture. It’s very easy to lump all this together into a paranoid fantasy of an American apocalypse that must somehow be stopped at all cost. In trying to understand the far-right mindset – which accounts for around a quarter of the country – I think you have to zoom out and see all of this in context.
Are you proud to be an American?
No. I have a deep appreciation for the privileges my citizenship affords me, but I am highly suspect of the tribal nature of the human condition and I consider nationalistic pride to be a particularly ugly and regressive emotion reserved for simpletons and the charlatans who hope to take advantage of them.
If I could agree with this more than 100%, I would. I also wish I could say it to most people I meet when I’m back in Texas without getting shot.
“ Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this aisle because I’m not rich enough to have dietary restrictions. Ever notice that you don’t meet poor people with special diet needs? A gluten intolerant house cleaner? A cab driver with Candida? Candida is what I call a rich, white person problem. You know you’ve really made it in this world when you get Candida. My personal theory is that Candida is something you get from too much hot yoga. All I’m saying is if I were a yeast, I would want to live in your yoga pants.”
Damn, this is brilliant.