Clippings and half-formed thoughts on nature, conservation, technology, history, architecture, & other nerdery. Lovingly selected for you by Hannah Waters. Follow me on twitter @hannahjwaters and read my blog Culturing Science.
Too often wealthy people born on third base blithely criticize the poor for failing to hit home runs. The advantaged sometimes perceive empathy as a sign of muddle-headed weakness, rather than as a marker of civilization.
Source: The New York Times
People don’t like Sansa because she is feminine. It annoys me that people only like the feminine characters when they act like male characters. And they always go on about feminism. Like, you’re rooting for the people who look like boys, who act like boys, who fight like boys. Root for the girls who wear dresses and are intellectually very strong.
— Sophie Turner (who plays Sansa in Game of Thrones) calls out Sansa-haters. Game of Thrones 8 Books Sophie Turner Defends Sansa’s Femininity | The Mary Sue
Reading delivers on the promise that sex raises but hardly ever can fulfill — getting larger cause you’re entering another person’s language, cadence, heart and mind.
— Chris Kraus (“I Love Dick”)
One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us. We were not there when Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I, but we are still paying out the pensions. If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’s body. If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge.
Read this essay this weekend. Memorial Day for the veterans of slavery.
Source: The Atlantic
I can’t be the only scientist who feels like a fraud. But we don’t talk about it. No one volunteers to proclaim their inadequacies. In fact, scientists go to great lengths to disguise how little we know, how uncertain we feel, and how much we worry that everyone deserves to be here but us. The result is a laboratory full of colleagues who look so impossibly darn confident. They’re the real scientists, we tell ourselves. They can follow the entire seminar. They read journals for pleasure. Their mistakes only lead them in more interesting directions. They remember all of organic chemistry. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Maybe the idea of science is easier to love than the minutiae of science. Or maybe the veneer of professionalism is important to protect the integrity and authority of scientists. Or maybe that’s a cop-out.
Feeling uncomfortable because race or racism is mentioned in your presence just doesn’t compare to the economic, psychological, and spiritual consequences of structured racial inequality. Surely this means that we need to find better, more productive ways of talking about race, not fewer.
“Earlier generations of educated women,” she writes, “worked largely in schools, or volunteered in the community, because little else was on offer.” They were the social and political activists. Now paid employment has largely displaced volunteering in the community. Moreover, many ambitious women no longer become teachers, except at the college level, because the pay and prestige are greater in other professions. Wolf quotes from an interview with sociologist and political scientist Theda Skocpol: “Women were the ones who stood up for welfare, and made the case for the public good, for everyone. Now it’s all so narrow.”
Obviously, we can’t and shouldn’t return to a time when women were expected to tend to the needs and welfare of the community gratis because they had no other options and no one else would do it. But we do need to modify the cult of overwork, in child rearing as well as in careers, to make room for highly educated women and their husbands to be more active citizens. In particular, I wish upper-middle-class women were stronger advocates for the rights of less privileged women, both in their own country and abroad.
The subtext of Reiner’s piece, though, is more complicated than contemporary relationships stink. It’s a comparison of then and now, an elegy for the supposed age of human feeling that flourished before Facebook killed romance. And that is where it grates the most. Because when Reiner talks about kids needing to rediscover “emotional vulnerability,” he is really referring to women. College guys have always played the field, sloughed off attachment, spread their seed; what’s changed in the past 50 years or so is that women have begun to treat relationships with the same casualness as their male peers. So what is the solution to the (possibly imaginary) epidemic of affective irresponsibility? Should we retreat from our moment of declining domestic violence rates and female breadwinners? Should we aspire to the open, painful vulnerability of the prefeminism years, where women couldn’t afford to take their dating lives lightly, because their entire futures hung in the balance?