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The Promise of Misery, Becca Rothfeld – The Baffler
It’s not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with calm, or with washing the dishes, or with the meditation techniques and modes of positive self-address that so many people (most of them male) have recommended (mostly without prompting of any kind). And it’s not that I begrudge anyone any curative measure that works, whether or not it’s a nostrum. It’s just that the cultists of therapy and self-help impose uneven obligations, demanding the most conspicuous happiness from people with the greatest reason to be unhappy and the fewest resources for becoming happier. The feel-good mantras and fuzzy exhortations to optimism that are rapidly becoming ubiquitous shift the burden of reform away from society, away from a whole culture of men smirking and asking if you’re angry, away from the civility chorus smugly intoning Calm Down! in the face of every human pang, and onto those too uncalm to alchemize their anger into cool glass balls.


Perhaps the purpose of this whole song and dance is to convince the marginalized that they are to blame for their own marginalization—to prevent ill-treated female caretakers (and of course the bulk of caretakers are female and many of them are ill-treated) from comparing notes. Or perhaps self-help is supposed to insulate men from the unseemly display of female frustration. “It is often a requirement upon oppressed people that we smile and be cheerful,” writes philosopher Marilyn Frye. “Anything but the sunniest countenance exposes us to being perceived as mean, bitter, angry, or dangerous.” Whether it is designed to sabotage sad women or console uncomfortable men, the happiness industry has gone a long way toward stigmatizing public admissions of suffering. The self isn’t even the one that self-help is helping: it merits its name only insofar as it perpetuates the illusion that social problems are located at the level of the individual—only insofar as it isolates the marginalized, sealing them off from the social body.


That unhappiness is never public is the mechanism of its pathologization, for isolation is discrediting.
feminism  solidarity  inequality 
14 minutes ago by timmarkatos
Climate Apocalypticism | Political Theology Network
This account, of an inescapable and violent world in which climate change is a symptom of an endless cycle of unjust relations, might be described as pessimistic. And, as the example of Wallace-Wells shows, pessimism is not well received within discussions of climate change. The rejection of pessimism is in one sense understandable. Rebecca Solnit offers a particularly clear critique: “Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. [Hope is] the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, how and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand.” (xiv).


This form of climate apocalypticism is not an argument for inaction. You can hope in the end of the world and still recycle, drive cars less often or support policies that will slow climate change. After all, the consequences of climate change, like the consequences of most slow violence, will fall upon those who always bear the weight of injustice. Preventing this violence and ensuring a just distribution of the suffering that climate change will bring are important tasks. But this work will not save the world. And that’s ok.
environment  activism  solidarity  Rebecca.Solnit  inequality 
17 hours ago by timmarkatos
James Bridle on New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future - YouTube
"As the world around us increases in technological complexity, our understanding of it diminishes. Underlying this trend is a single idea: the belief that our existence is understandable through computation, and more data is enough to help us build a better world.

In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle surveys the history of art, technology, and information systems, and reveals the dark clouds that gather over our dreams of the digital sublime."
quantification  computationalthinking  systems  modeling  bigdata  data  jamesbridle  2018  technology  software  systemsthinking  bias  ai  artificialintelligent  objectivity  inequality  equality  enlightenment  science  complexity  democracy  information  unschooling  deschooling  art  computation  computing  machinelearning  internet  email  web  online  colonialism  decolonization  infrastructure  power  imperialism  deportation  migration  chemtrails  folkliterature  storytelling  conspiracytheories  narrative  populism  politics  confusion  simplification  globalization  global  process  facts  problemsolving  violence  trust  authority  control  newdarkage  darkage  understanding  thinking  howwethink  collapse 
17 hours ago by robertogreco
OT111: Ophion Thread | Slate Star Codex
> I get really annoyed when anti-NIMBYists smugly pretend to have economics on their side (as if economics was some kind of rigorously quantitative field, as opposed to ‘astrology for dudes’). Again, more supply only reduces average rents *with the same level of demand*. But if the Bay Area is the most attractive place in the US to live for young techbros, more apartments simply means more people can live there- completely negating any type of pricing advantage.

2. I want anti-NIMBYists to think carefully about the overall future of the US- not just their favorite city. Having all of our financial, technological, and cultural elites living in like 4 cities is *the* recipe for massive regional inequality- I’m pretty sure that’s like the literal plot of the Hunger Games. What becomes of the 99% of the country that’s not the Bay Area/NYC/LA? Why can’t we achieve our affordable housing goals by spreading white collar employers into Phoenix and Charlotte, Miami and Denver, Houston and Chicago…. I’m confused by liberal types who are nominally horrified by wealth inequality, yet want all of our nation’s wealth and social/technical capital to be concentrated in 1% of our physical geography.
inequality  economics  US  2018  cities 
19 hours ago by porejide
L’internet des familles modestes : les usages sont-ils les mêmes du haut au bas de l’échelle sociale ? |
Les familles modestes n'utilisent pas Internet de façon différente des autres. Quelques spécificités cependant :

* rejet du mail (hors achat et formalités administratives), qui ne collent pas avec les valeurs et les pratiques (écrit, formel, asynchrone)

* obligation de transparence des pratiques entre les membres de la famille (mail partagé, surveillance de l'activité des autres)

* utilksé pour apprendre des compétences, mais pas du tout pour s'informer sur l'actualité

* pas du tout utilisé pour être créatif ou pour élargir son cercle social. On n'ose pas prendre la parole et on reste auprès de ses proches physiques.
internet  inequality  france  study  poor  usage 
yesterday by gui11aume
Some Methodological Problems in the Study of Multigenerational Mobility | European Sociological Review | Oxford Academic
"A number of recent studies by sociologists have sought to discover whether a person’s status (typically their social class, education, or socio-economic status) is directly affected by the status of their grandparents, once the effects of parents’ status are controlled. The results have been ambiguous, with some studies finding a direct effect of grandparents on their grandchildren, while others find no effect. I use causal graphical methods to demonstrate some of the methodological problems that occur in trying to identify this direct effect, and I offer some suggestions as to how they might be addressed."
to:NB  sociology  causal_inference  inequality  transmission_of_inequality  graphical_models  via:? 
yesterday by cshalizi
Is grade inflation just another way for privileged kids to get ahead? — Quartz
"He found the median grade point average (GPA) rose in all schools. But it rose by 0.27 points in affluent schools, compared to just 0.17 points in less affluent ones. On average, students who scored higher on the end-of-course exams also earned higher grades. But plenty of kids with good grades did poorly on the exam; more than one-third of the students who received B’s from their teachers in Algebra 1 failed to get a “proficient” score on the end-of-term exam.

Gershenson can’t say for sure why this has happened but he suspects that it’s because parents of privilege are not afraid to wield it. “Wealthier parents have more time and more confidence to be pushy and to challenge teachers, either proactively or reactively,” he said. They might argue to get a B turned into an A, or teachers may sense the threat of overbearing parents and be more lenient to avoid confrontation.

One possible explanation for this phenomenon could be that students at better-resourced schools become more engaged, and thus improve their performance and get higher grades. But Gershenson controlled for attendance levels, often used as a proxy for engagement, and found the same outcomes. That suggests a boost for those better off, which may in turn influence their college acceptances and future careers."

"So what should be done about the troubling relationship between grade inflation and wealth? For one thing, Gershenson recommends that schools keep using both grades and test scores to assess students, since they measure such different things. In addition, he says it’s important to let teachers, principals, and colleges know that poorer kids’ grades may not have not been as inflated as their richer peers. One idea? A grade deflator tool, similar to a GDP deflator, to account for the discrepancy. “That might help students and parents and colleges make better decisions,” he says."
gradeinflation  2018  wealth  inequality  education  schools  grades  grading  sethgershenson 
2 days ago by robertogreco

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