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briansholis : theguardian   7

Teju Cole, "Smell the ink and drift away," The Guardian
"Investigative reports are important, but in our intimate moments it is sensibility that best restores us to our human selves."

"They are expensive to make and rarely recoup their costs. In this way, they are a quixotic affront to the calculations of the market. The evidence of a few bestsellers notwithstanding, the most common fate of photobooks is oblivion. But it is precisely this labour-intensive and financially unsound character that allows them to sit patiently on our shelves like oracles. Then one day, someone takes one of them off the shelf and is mesmerised by the silent and unanticipated intensity."
TejuCole  TheGuardian  2020  2020-02  Photography  photobooks 
9 days ago by briansholis
Mark O'Connell, "Splendid isolation," The Guardian
"My relationship with time had always been characterised by a certain baleful anxiety, but as I approached the start of the decade in which I would have no choice but to think of myself as middle-aged, this anxiety intensified. I was always in the middle of some calculation or quantification with respect to time, and such thoughts were always predicated on an understanding of it as a precious and limited resource. What time was it right now? How much time was left for me to do the thing I was doing, and when would I have to stop doing it to do the next thing?

This resource being as limited as it was, should I not be doing something better with it, something more urgent or interesting or authentic? At some point in my late 30s, I recognised the paradoxical source of this anxiety: that every single thing in life took much longer than I expected it to, except for life itself, which went much faster, and would be over before I knew where I was.

Much of this had to do with being a parent. Having two young children had radically altered my relationship with the days and hours of my life. Almost every moment was accounted for in a way that it had never been before. But it was also the sheer velocity of change, the state of growth and flux in which my children existed, and the constant small adjustments that were necessary to accommodate these changes."

"And with this new phase of parenthood, I began to think how strange it was, given how precious those early years now seemed to me, that I spent so little time thinking about my own childhood, the lost civilisation on which my adult self now stood."

"A word he used a lot in talking about his work, and in describing the experience and value of the nature solo, was 're-enchantment.'"

"When you’re actually in it, the reality of the solo is, at least at first, one of total boredom. I cannot stress enough how little there is to do when you have confined yourself to the inside of a small circle of stones and sticks in a forest. But it is an instructive kind of boredom, insofar as boredom is the raw and unmediated experience of time."

"Then it occurred to me that there was something about the not knowing that was somehow right. Not having a human name to give the tree, a category in which to put it, made the tree more real and present to me than it otherwise would have, or so I allowed myself to believe."

"In these moments, I find myself thinking of the place itself as somehow conscious of my presence. To be alone in a forest, and to be thinking of the forest as somehow aware of you: I will acknowledge that this sounds like the very substance of nightmare, but, in fact, it is a strangely beautiful and quietly moving experience, and I think it must be what people mean when they talk about intuiting the presence of God."

"And I thought with a pang of how I was always hurrying him – to get dressed, to get out the door for school, to finish his dinner, to get ready for bed – and of how heedlessly I was inflicting upon him my own anxious awareness of time as an oppressive force."
MarkOConnell  TheGuardian  isolation  time  nature  NatureWriting  solitude  parenting  2020  2020-01  2020Faves 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Murray Whyte, "'My Parkdale is gone,'" The Guardian
"But the lively streetscape here masks a threat to what could very well be the last island of diversity in a city swamped by the flood waters of global capital. Huge international real estate investment firms have embedded themselves in Parkdale’s urban fabric, buying dozens of apartment towers and thousands of rental units."

"In the late 1990s, Parkdale could be chilling: group homes housed hundreds battling mental health and addiction issues; the less fortunate were left to the precarious realm of government rent subsidies and dilapidated, poorly-maintained rooming houses – or, just as often, the street. Along a deadened streetscape of mostly empty storefronts, drug deals happened in broad daylight, addicts raged and twitched, and Parkdale earned another name, Crackdale, day by day."

"It was built in the late 19th century as a summer refuge for the city’s wealthy, with opulent brick mansions on a small bluff overlooking the water. Six kilometres from the smoky and bustling downtown, it was close enough for those with means to easily reach – and to keep those without away."

"Gentrification, on the surface, seemed less of a threat than an impossibility. As the rest of Toronto surged upward in the early 2000s, Parkdale was forever “up and coming” – real estate code for a litany of social ills – and a target for only the heartiest of speculators. Some did come, sprucing up half a block here, a cluster of houses there, but Toronto’s real estate boom left Parkdale’s intractable poverty largely intact."

"The people who did come were new immigrants and refugees, heading to the last inner-city refuge of low rent. The tower units were squalid but cheap. And slowly, the tide of crime and drugs began to recede. Thanks to a long-standing federal policy, Tibetan refugees fleeing persecution in China took particularly strong root through the 2000s and 2010s, opening restaurants and grocery stores along Queen Street."

"In less than two decades, housing prices in Toronto doubled, then trebled, then quadrupled: the average price of a single-family home went from $251,267 in January 2000 to $1,044,527 in late 2018."

"By 2016, the last time the Canadian government collected census data, on paper, Parkdale had changed little: Almost 90% of its residents were renters, versus less than half for the city as a whole, making its 35,000 people more vulnerable to rental market swings than anywhere else. More than a third lived below the poverty line, 50% more than the broader city. While the immigrant population had grown to almost 50%, the data still showed that Parkdale was very much what it had always been: A haven for the vulnerable, reliant on the density of social services that had long clustered there. Nearly half of Parkdale’s residents were seniors, living alone, often in the rooming houses now under threat of reinvestment and renovation."
2020  2020-01  Parkdale  Toronto  MurrayWhyte  TheGuardian  gentrification  neighborhoods  immigration  RealEstate 
6 weeks ago by briansholis
Kyle Chayka, "The empty promises of Marie Kondo and the craze for minimalism," The Guardian
"Dissatisfaction with materialism and the usual rewards of society is not new, but minimalism is not an idea with a straightforward chronological history. It is more like a feeling that repeats in different times and places around the world. It is defined by the sense that the surrounding civilisation is excessive, and has thus lost some kind of original authenticity, which must be regained. The material world holds less meaning in these moments, and so accumulating more stuff loses its appeal."
KyleChayka  TheGuardian  minimalism  MarieKondo  design  2020  2020-01 
12 weeks ago by briansholis
Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand | News | The Guardian
How an extreme libertarian tract predicting the collapse of liberal democracies – written by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s father – inspired the likes of Peter Thiel to buy up property across the Pacific
MarkOConnell  TheGuardian  2018Faves  technology  doomsday  2018  2018-02 
february 2019 by briansholis
Jacob Mikanowski, "Behemoth, bully, thief: how the English language is taking over the planet," The Guardian
"At some point between the end of the second world war and the start of the new millenium, English made a jump in primacy that no amount of talk about it as a “lingua franca” or “global language” truly captures. It transformed from a dominant language to what the Dutch sociologist Abram de Swaan calls a “hypercentral” one."
JacobMikanowski  English  languages  globalization  TheGuardian  2018  2018-07 
january 2019 by briansholis
Pankaj Mishra, "Welcome to the age of anger," The Guardian
"With so many of our landmarks in ruins, we can barely see where we are headed, let alone chart a path. But even to get our basic bearings we need, above all, greater precision in matters of the soul. The stunning events of our age of anger, and our perplexity before them, make it imperative that we anchor thought in the sphere of emotions; these upheavals demand nothing less than a radically enlarged understanding of what it means for human beings to pursue the contradictory ideals of freedom, equality and prosperity."
PankajMishra  politics  populism  nationalism  TheGuardian  2016Faves  2016  2016-12 
january 2019 by briansholis

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