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The Harm in Hustle Culture
“Techies should read Zola. They may actually believe hustle culture is the road to happiness rather than a clever ploy to extract more work. They should recall, however, that the 40-hour week was a hard-won concession, a victory for humanity over the barbaric 19th-century work conditions and relentless hours of early industrial capitalism.

The pursuit of happiness does not equal the embrace of 80-hour weeks. Take some time. Read a newspaper. It’s a revolutionary act.”
politics  hustle  tech  culture  how_we_work  how_we_live  social_media  millennials  work_culture  trump 
14 days ago by alexpriest
Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms - The Washington Post
“Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms — a drug that insinuates itself into our vulnerabilities only to leave us toothless and disgraced.

What are these vulnerabilities? For one, many journalists are surprisingly shy. We chose a trade that involves watching and witnessing rather than risking and daring. For many of us, the most difficult part of the job is ringing the doorbell of a bereaved family, or prying into the opinions of unwelcoming strangers. Twitter has created a seductive universe in which the reactions of a virtual community are served up in neatly quotable bits without need for uncomfortable personal interactions.

For another, many journalists are these days under intense pressure to produce quick “takes” on the news to drive website traffic. Twitter offers the amphetamine hit that makes such pressure survivable. No reporter can go to the scene of a dozen events per day, observe what happens, interview those affected, sort the meaning from the dross and file a story. But Twitter offers an endless stream of faux events: fleeting sensations, momentary outrages, ersatz insights and provocative distortions. “News” nuggets roll by like the chocolates on Lucy’s conveyor belt.”
twitter_backlash  politics  journalism  culture  twitter  media  social_media  media_twitter 
19 days ago by alexpriest
The End of Economics? – Foreign Policy
“Recent events have hammered still more nails into the coffin of traditional economics. If the great divide of 20th-century politics was over free markets, the key splits that have emerged in the past few years involve immigration, race, religion, gender, and a whole set of related cultural and identity issues. Where in the past one could predict a voter’s choice based on his or her economic standing, today voters are driven more by concerns about social status or cultural coherence than by economic self-interest.”
politics  economics  culture  behavioral_economics 
19 days ago by alexpriest
The Suffocation of Democracy | by Christopher R. Browning | The New York Review of Books
Horrifying.

“If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.”
ww2  nazis  mitch_mcconnell  culture  mcconnell  america  trump  fascism  democracy  history  authoritarianism  government  politics  war 
26 days ago by alexpriest
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
Christ this is SO good.

“In their writing on homelessness, social psychologist Devon Price has said that “laziness,” at least in the way most of us generally conceive of it, simply does not exist. “If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you,” they write, “it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.” My behavior didn’t make sense to me because I was missing part of my context: burnout. I was too ashamed to admit I was experiencing it. I fancied myself too strong to succumb to it. I had narrowed my definition of burnout to exclude my own behaviors and symptoms. But I was wrong.”
millennials  how_we_live  productivity  work  career  media  how_we_work  creativity  social_media  sociology  psychology  tech  life  burnout  america  science  culture  health 
5 weeks ago by alexpriest
No time for despair
“Whenever I hear this I immediately think of George Orwell: “The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.” And Margaret Atwood: “You’re supposed to do one thing. If you do more than that, people get confused.””
art  policy  culture  creativity  politics  inspiration  political_action 
november 2018 by alexpriest
Gloom (and doom) | Seth's Blog
Doom is inevitable.

Gloom is optional.

Gloom has no positive effects on ameliorating doom.

Doom happens. Gloom is a choice.
doom  gloom  politics  news  how_we_think  culture  how_we_live 
november 2018 by alexpriest
An Alternative History of Silicon Valley Disruption | WIRED
“They promised the open web, we got walled gardens. They promised individual liberty, then broke democracy—and now they’ve appointed themselves the right men to fix it.”
tech_backlash  tech  startups  politics  culture  business  how_we_work 
november 2018 by alexpriest
Silicon Valley’s Keystone Problem: ‘A Monoculture of Thought’ - The New York Times
"Ms. Powell smartly recognizes a truth that many in the industry elide: A lack of diversity is not just one of several issues for Silicon Valley to fix, but is instead the keystone problem — the source of much else that ails tech, from its recklessly expansionist zeal to the ways its brightest companies keep stepping in problems of their own making.

In short, Silicon Valley’s problem is sameness, stupid — and in Ms. Powell’s telling, we are not going to get a better, more responsible tech industry until we get a more intellectually diverse one.

“I don’t think that everyone has an equal voice,” Ms. Powell said in an interview. “Even putting aside broader issues around gender diversity, ethnic diversity or class diversity, there’s also an issue around people’s educational backgrounds. If you have a hierarchy where engineers are at the very top and the people who are interfacing with the outside world are a couple rungs below that, you really miss something when those people don’t have an equal voice at the table.”

She added: “It’s a monoculture of thought, and that’s a real problem.”"
culture  tech  how_we_work  silicon_valley  technology  startups  diversity  learning  thinking  leadership 
october 2018 by alexpriest
Opinion | In Praise of Mediocrity - The New York Times
Good god, yes.

“Yet here in the United States, the wealthiest country in history, we seem to have forgotten the importance of doing things solely because we enjoy them.

Yes, I know: We are all so very busy. Between work and family and social obligations, where are we supposed to find the time?

But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time. Our “hobbies,” if that’s even the word for them anymore, have become too serious, too demanding, too much an occasion to become anxious about whether you are really the person you claim to be.”
success  how_we_work  perfection  hobbies  how_we_live  history  america  culture 
october 2018 by alexpriest
How the ‘brainy’ book became a publishing phenomenon | Books | The Guardian
Oooh. "These are febrile, unpredictable times, with society facing new challenges and quandaries each day, from the rise of populist politics to the migrant crisis to climate change. Mark Richards, publisher at John Murray Press, sees the return to serious works of nonfiction as a response to the spirit of the age. “We’re living in a world that suddenly seems less certain than it did even two years ago, and the natural reaction is for people to try and find out as much about it as possible,” he says. “People have a hunger both for information and facts, and for nuanced exploration of issues, of a sort that books are in a prime position to provide.”"
books  how_we_live  culture  politics  business  trends  history 
october 2018 by alexpriest
America is terrible at summer vacation
"Americans forfeit vacation time not because they can't bear the thought of being away from the workplace, but because of fear: fear of being fired, fear of falling behind at work, or fear of the financial blow. America's at-will system of employment and the modern economy's often precarious job situation — whether it's workers making their money on contract or via the notoriously unstable gig economy — means workers are scared that if they're away from the job, they'll be seen as replaceable. Often, too, their wages are simply too low or unpredictable for them to comfortably spend dollars on getting out of town.

Employers don't do enough to dissuade workers from having these perceptions, despite the widespread evidence that regular vacations make workers happier and more productive. Vacations also cut down on a host of other costs associated with higher turnover and miserable employees; it's way more expensive to regularly train new employees or try to drag more work out of unhappy ones than it is to keep your existing workforce content. Businesses should be in the business of encouraging time away from the office for entirely selfish reasons alone."
america  culture  how_we_live  how_we_work  vacation  time_off 
october 2018 by alexpriest
Listening for Silence With the Headphones Off | Pitchfork
Nice.

"The leap from jamming songs in the car to truly all-enveloping mobile sound—possibly first introduced by Pavel in ’72, popularized when the Walkman exploded in the early 1980s—was earth shattering. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the portable stereo, featuring headphones with enough isolation so that you heard only the music and not what was happening nearby, changed human consciousness. The sight/sound split it made commonplace has generated untold pleasure and, later, perhaps a certain amount of misery."

###

"As much as I love this activity—and man do I love it—I’m also aware that I might be losing something by living inside of my headphones. The feeling of wholeness, of a fully integrated sense of self, taking in my immediate surroundings with all of my senses simultaneously, truly feeling the present. For most of human history, truly feeling the present was the only way to live, there was no choice. But in the past 50 years, such integration has become optional, at least part of the time. Music can both drown out the noise of living and fill an uncomfortable absence."
attention  audio  music  psychology  sound  culture  how_we_life  technology 
october 2018 by alexpriest
Before you can be with others, first learn to be alone | Aeon Ideas
So good.

“... Alone but not lonely, the philosopher becomes attuned to her inner self and the world. In solitude, the soundless dialogue ‘which the soul holds with herself’ finally becomes audible.

Echoing Plato, Arendt observed: ‘Thinking, existentially speaking, is a solitary but not a lonely business; solitude is that human situation in which I keep myself company. Loneliness comes about … when I am one and without company’ but desire it and cannot find it. In solitude, Arendt never longed for companionship or craved camaraderie because she was never truly alone. Her inner self was a friend with whom she could carry on a conversation, that silent voice who posed the vital Socratic question: ‘What do you mean when you say …?’ The self, Arendt declared, ‘is the only one from whom you can never get away – except by ceasing to think.’

Arendt’s warning is well worth remembering in our own time. In our hyper-connected world, a world in which we can communicate constantly and instantly over the internet, we rarely remember to carve out spaces for solitary contemplation. We check our email hundreds of times per day; we shoot off thousands of text messages per month; we obsessively thumb through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, aching to connect at all hours with close and casual acquaintances alike. We search for friends of friends, ex-lovers, people we barely know, people we have no business knowing. We crave constant companionship.

But, Arendt reminds us, if we lose our capacity for solitude, our ability to be alone with ourselves, then we lose our very ability to think. We risk getting caught up in the crowd. We risk being ‘swept away’, as she put it, ‘by what everybody else does and believes in’ – no longer able, in the cage of thoughtless conformity, to distinguish ‘right from wrong, beautiful from ugly’. Solitude is not only a state of mind essential to the development of an individual’s consciousness – and conscience – but also a practice that prepares one for participation in social and political life. Before we can keep company with others, we must learn to keep company with ourselves.”
culture  self  loneliness  philosophy  solitude  arendt  thought  social_media 
october 2018 by alexpriest
Spotify’s $30 billion playlist for global domination
Quite good.

###

"“That honesty is an important part of our culture,” which is one topic that particularly animates Ek. “One thing that I hate,” he says, is “when people worry, ‘How do we keep our culture?’ It’s horseshit. The culture will change. With every person who leaves, every person who joins, there’s change. The question is, what change do we like and what change do we not? What are the things we will embrace?”"

###

"“There’s never a moment in a meeting with Daniel [Ek] when he says some genius shit and your brain explodes,” D.A. Wallach says, comparing Ek with his other tech-titan friends. “Sean Parker [the Napster founder] is a crazy big-picture intellectual. Elon Musk is essentially an engineer; he views everything from finance to marketing as an engineering problem. Daniel has a similarity to [Mark] Zuckerberg, disposition-wise, but he doesn’t have the same world-historical aspirations. He’s succeeded in the [music] business because he’s extremely patient and not high on his own supply, meaning he has not been susceptible to the vices that ruin people in entertainment.”"
spotify  future  tech  technology  music  daniel_ek  leadership  culture  inspiration 
august 2018 by alexpriest
Yuval Noah Harari extract: ‘Humans have always lived in the age of post-truth. We’re a post-truth species’ | Culture | The Guardian
Wowwww. "A cursory look at history reveals that propaganda and disinformation are nothing new, and even the habit of denying entire nations and creating fake countries has a long pedigree. In 1931 the Japanese army staged mock attacks on itself to justify its invasion of China, and then created the fake country of Manchukuo to legitimise its conquests. China itself has long denied that Tibet ever existed as an independent country. British settlement in Australia was justified by the legal doctrine of terra nullius (“nobody’s land”), which effectively erased 50,000 years of Aboriginal history. In the early 20th century, a favourite Zionist slogan spoke of the return of “a people without a land [the Jews] to a land without a people [Palestine]”. The existence of the local Arab population was conveniently ignored."
news  religion  fake_news  sociology  history  how_we_learn  how_we_live  culture  politics  government  propaganda 
august 2018 by alexpriest
Sex Ed, for Grown-Ups - The New York Times
So upsetting. "According to a recent fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit devoted to reproductive health, in 2014 fewer than half of American high schools and only 20 percent of middle schools taught students all 16 topics that the CDC considers “essential” to sexual health education. Between 2011 and 2013, the vast majority of teenagers 15-19 reported discussing at least one sex education topic with a parent. But those conversations vary notoriously in quality."
sex  sex_ed  education  sexual_health  health  culture  sexuality  politics 
august 2018 by alexpriest
The World of Rated People: Inside the Dystopian Future of Social Credit Scores | GQ
So, so good. And funny. And real.

“As the world of peer-to-peer rating grows and our reputation increasingly becomes our currency, I worry that we'll enter a new era in which empty niceties and brutal judgments reign—and where any pissed-off person can torpedo your social value. But if the future consists of walking on digital eggshells, maybe the guard against that is to be more vulnerable with the people we do know. The benefits of opening ourselves up to criticism could offset the very ways in which technology is making us more superficial. I'd like to think that if this survey did anything—outside of improving my therapist's job security—it helped me be a better human, even if just marginally so.”
culture  uber  funny  how_we_learn  reputation  gq  rating  how_we_live 
july 2018 by alexpriest
How ‘Fortnite’ Became the Most Popular Video Game on Earth
Fantastic. "If you’re good enough at Instagram, you can find a modeling career. If you’re popular enough on Twitter, you can find a job writing professionally. If you excel at Fortnite, you can find yourself chilling online with A-listers like Drake. All you need is a mouse and keyboard, and enough determination."
video_games  fortnite  games  instagram  social_media  culture  how_we_live 
july 2018 by alexpriest
Research suggests there's a case for the 3-hour workday | Business Insider
THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.

"Over the course of an eight-hour workday, the average employee works for about three hours — two hours and 53 minutes, to be more precise.

The rest of the time, according to a 2016 survey of 1,989 UK office workers, people spend on a combination of reading the news, browsing social media, eating food, socialising about non-work topics, taking smoke breaks, and searching for new jobs (presumably, to pick up the same habits in a different office)."
work  how_we_work  balance  culture  work_week  productivity 
july 2018 by alexpriest
A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result - The New York Times
THIS THIS THIS THIS. "In Perpetual Guardian’s case, workers said the change motivated them to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office. Meetings were reduced from two hours to 30 minutes, and employees created signals for their colleagues that they needed time to work without distraction."
work  how_we_work  how_we_live  culture  balance  work_week  business 
july 2018 by alexpriest
Ask Yourself This: What Burdens Is That Other Person Carrying? - The New York Times
Wow this is good. “As I turned away and stared at the Pacific Ocean through the little window from my seat on the plane, I was left with a bunch of grief and two big questions.

What burdens are all the people on this plane carrying? And how would I treat them differently if I knew?”
empathy  how_we_live  anxiety  burdens  grief  culture  love_kindness  mental_health 
july 2018 by alexpriest
In Praise of Being Washed | GQ
Nice one. “They were all immortals at one point, and now they're not. I find it inspiring, honestly, especially in this moment so otherwise thoroughly defined by our current president and his near daily talk of winning. Have you ever seen a more unhappy person in your entire life? There is humility, the graceful acceptance that even the highest office in the land is some small, modest part of a much bigger project. And then there is Donald Trump, so obsessed with victory—with avoiding humiliation—that he seems to spend his days seeking out and punishing those with less power than himself, just to prove that he can. He's an example, too, if only of how not to be. His fear of losing is palpable, corrosive. Wouldn't the world be a better place if more of us admitted...not defeat, necessarily, but the possibility of defeat? If more of us were washed? And in doing so allowed ourselves to find what pleasure, or peace, might await on the other side?”
washed  culture  anxiety  masculinity  life  lifestyle  ambition 
july 2018 by alexpriest
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