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kme : society   70

How does plastic get in the ocean? 5 questions we need to answer to fix plastic pollution - Vox | https://www.vox.com/
In other words, making environmentalism a social norm is one of the best ways to get people to be more aware of their behavior. Using the plastic straw ban as an example, he explained, “if everybody else in the restaurant is using them, and the context condones their use (e.g. straws on tables or put into drinks when served), then this increases the likelihood that an individual will act in accordance.”
oceans  pollution  plastic  pacificgarbagepatch  recycling  society  change 
july 2018 by kme
In the 1950s everybody cool was a little alienated. What changed? | Aeon Essays | https://aeon.co/
In his so-called Paris Manuscripts, written in 1844 but only discovered between the two world wars, Marx developed a three-pronged critique of the alienation of labour – the source, he claimed, of all other alienations in the capitalist world. In Marx’s taxonomy of alienation, first came the worker’s loss of control over the product of his or her labour, which was sold as a commodity in the marketplace for the profit of the capitalist. Second was his or her estrangement from the creative process of labouring itself; before the radical division of labour and inhumane efficiency of the assembly line, work was not a mere means of survival, but something in which pre-capitalist artisans found intrinsic reward. The third and final kind of alienation involves quashing the collective solidarity of the community, what Marx called human’s ‘species being’, and which was lost with the rise of competitive individualism.
alienation  society 
march 2018 by kme
What I Learned From Dating Women Who Have Been Raped [https://medium.com/]
The idea that, if someone knew I didn’t want to do something sexual that they shouldn’t do it, was completely alien to me, and yet made total sense. Would I continue with an activity if my partner clearly didn’t want me to? Is that the way you would treat a person you cared about? We talk a lot now about affirmative consent and whatnot, but unfortunately we can’t legislate the actual change that needs to be made. Men need to care when they are making women suffer. People need to care when they make each other suffer.

I think my experience fighting back contrasts with another memory when a female friend got hit by a male friend in the face except she didn’t retaliate. I remember her getting ice for her face and needing a lot of comfort from her friends even though I’m not sure the punch was that hard, and it seemed strange then. Now, however, I think what happened was that she was trying to heal an emotional hurt. She was forced to absorb male anger without being allowed to express any anger herself, and something about that is deeply fucked in a way that’s hard to articulate.

More than any explicit action, this societal expectation for me to provide nurturance to the very people who resent me has poisoned me. It requires my complete effacement, for me to deny the value of my own experience. It has required a betrayal of the most personal kind, and to recover from it necessitates re-learning one of the most basic human instincts.

My own suffering matters.
rapeculture  society  consent  brokenness  selfdefense  agency 
march 2018 by kme
Does the Breakdown of the American Marriage Signal Something More Sinister? [https://medium.com/]
But, startups aren’t the interesting part of this. The interesting part is, why did I spend so long giving up things I loved to keep working a job I hated? And, we can say options! or big payout! and that was part of it, for sure. I was hoping for the big payout. But it went deeper than that; I believed my worth was connected with how much I produced. I believed that being an engineer made me valuable in a way that being someone’s girlfriend or being a mother wouldn’t. Suffice it to say, I now believe I was deeply misguided, but it’s what I thought. Part of me believed I was “better” than women who were “just” homemakers or moms, and I lost a decade of my life to that belief.

And I’m not the only one. How do we motivate people to do miserable things they don’t want to do? How do we convince people to pour decades of their work into things that are not helping them achieve the goals that would bring them deep happiness? We tell them that they’re better in some non-definable way. We humiliate people who don’t play by the rules, aka, people who don’t earn enough money. Money has become more than just having the means for life; it has become a way of demonstrating your superiority to those around you. This is why people with millions of dollars work their ass off to make millions more; not because they need more things, but because they think twice as much money will make them twice as good. Twice as valuable.

Somehow, people working 70 hour weeks and sacrificing their happiness and personal life for the goals of their employers believe they are free. They believe they are the luckiest people in the USA, because they have the most money, and not because they need the money, but because they feel like having money increases their innate worth. If I was going to rewrite the slogans for the tech industry, I might come up with this:

Slavery is Freedom. Money is Virtue. Suffering is Joy.

And, I think marriage is the canary in the coal mine. Fewer people are getting married than ever before, and there are a bunch of divorces, and etc. I personally don’t really believe in marriage, so I never really had a problem with that, but I think that most Americans do believe in marriage. I think most Americans want to get married, and they don’t want their marriages to end in divorce. This trend toward less productive marriages, I believe, is indicative of a cultural shift where people are less able to get what they want in their personal lives because of the demands of their professional lives. Most of the male engineers I’ve worked with, for instance, tended toward being single because they worked too long to date. And, even if they did date, sometimes they came across as “weird” because they had cultivated a social self that was suited towards being an ideal employee and not an ideal mate.

This trend towards the “self” developing as an “ideal employee” intensifies over your life as work becomes the major social force for a grownup. And, if you think about it, the ideal employee wouldn’t have a personal life. The ideal employee is probably a single, childfree workaholic and *what do you know* that’s exactly the type of person our society is producing more and more of. Ideally, they wouldn’t have too many distracting friends either, hey, check it out — the number of close friends people have is shrinking over time. The decline in marriage is, I believe, both a symptom of this, but also a cause of its acceleration.

While community, and spouses, do tend to cramp down on people’s emotional freedom, a large employer is likely worse for your freedom than either. This is because, often the people making decisions about your wellbeing do not have to interact with you in person. They do not have to witness your sadness, or have any knowledge of your personal goals, so the constraints of exploitation normally imposed by human sentimentality break down. Your employer is free to demand what it wants from you, absent any mitigating checks and balances. So, to maintain the emotional support provided by your company, you are likely to have to work harder at less pleasant tasks than you would to get support from your spouse or community, because bearing witness to your suffering is something your employer will not do.
startupculture  marriage  thefamily  society  worklifebalance  loneliness 
march 2018 by kme
Americans, Have You Ever Considered That You Are the Abnormal Ones?
In other words, the US is finally in step with the rest of the world when it comes to how we live. The idea that family units should break into tiny “nuclear families” of parents and children who live far from elder generations was a weird experiment conducted mostly by white people in the US during the mid-twentieth century. And as I said earlier, it was an aberration. People hadn’t done it historically in the US, despite the Franklin ideal. And they certainly weren’t doing it in other countries.


Gems from the comments:
Plus living with my parents keeps people from asking me when I’m going to get married or have kids because they assume if I live with my parents I can’t possibly have my shit together.
family  millenials  america  society 
february 2017 by kme
Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone - The Atlantic
This assumption is reinforced at school, where children take turns cleaning and serving lunch instead of relying on staff to perform such duties. This “distributes labor across various shoulders and rotates expectations, while also teaching everyone what it takes to clean a toilet, for instance,” Dixon says.

By giving them this freedom, parents are placing significant trust not only in their kids, but in the whole community. “Plenty of kids across the world are self-sufficient,” Dixon observes. “But the thing that I suspect Westerners are intrigued by [in Japan] is the sense of trust and cooperation that occurs, often unspoken or unsolicited.”
kids  society  trust  japan  teamwork 
september 2016 by kme
Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person - The New York Times
Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.
We make mistakes, too, because we are so lonely. No one can be in an optimal frame of mind to choose a partner when remaining single feels unbearable. We have to be wholly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to be appropriately picky; otherwise, we risk loving no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us that fate.
The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

See also: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/outintheopen/out-in-the-open-on-july-16-2016-weddings-1.3674050/wedding-ceremony-needs-redesign-says-philosopher-alain-de-botton-1.3674362
society  marriage  relationships  connection  advice 
july 2016 by kme
Wedding ceremony needs redesign, says philosopher Alain de Botton - Home | Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay | CBC Radio
How are you mad? How are you crazy? Who are you? Who are you, emotionally? What are the walls (warps?), distortions, and fragility(ies) in your emotional nature that are going to make you hard to live with?
marriage  society  connection  advice  livingtogether  podcast 
july 2016 by kme
The idea that gender is a spectrum is a new gender prison | Aeon Essays
Many people justifiably assume that the word ‘transgender’ is synonymous with ‘transsexual’, and means something like: having dysphoria and distress about your sexed body, and having a desire to alter that body to make it more closely resemble the body of the opposite sex. But according to the current terminology of gender identity politics, being transgender has nothing to do with a desire to change your sexed body. What it means to be transgender is that your innate gender identity does not match the gender you were assigned at birth. This might be the case even if you are perfectly happy and content in the body you possess. You are transgender simply if you identify as one gender, but socially have been perceived as another.
gender  queer  feminism  society  genderidentiy  genderexpression 
july 2016 by kme
The Psychology of the Brexit: Hillary Clinton May Face Similar Results in Facing Donald Trump - The Atlantic
People are what behavioral economists call strong reciprocators and altruistic punishers. Humans are wired for reciprocal cooperation: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine, etc. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in small groups, for whom cooperation was essential for survival. A key step in human development was when people expanded this circle of cooperation from close kin to strangers through trade, customs, religions, alliances in warfare, and eventually through laws and institutions. Modern society is a vast intricate web of cooperation.

But cooperation also creates the potential for cheaters, for those who don’t reciprocate and keep their end of the bargain. Humans are thus also wired to be altruistic punishers—not altruistic in a nice sense, but altruistic in the sense that they will punish people, even to their own harm, to enforce fairness. Behavioral economists show this through a well-known experiment called the Ultimatum Game, in which one person is given some money (say $100) and asked to offer a share of it to another person (say $20). If the second person accepts the offer, both keep the money, but if he or she rejects it, both get nothing. The rational solution is to accept any offer except $0, as even $1 is better than nothing. But experiments on thousands of subjects around the world show that offers below around 30 percent are typically rejected, thus harming both individuals.

But for the majority of Leave voters, the immigration issue was perceived as one of reciprocity and a loss of control. Rightly or wrongly, many voters felt immigrants have been getting a better deal in terms of jobs, benefits, and public services than they were. They felt immigrants were unfairly “jumping the queue.” And they felt the country had lost control of its borders.
humans  psychology  society 
june 2016 by kme
Nasty, brutish and short - meaning and origin.
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
humanity  society  quotes 
june 2016 by kme
Donald Trump & Barack Obama: Tribalism & Hobbesian Politics | National Review
The Founders were scholars of both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Hobbes argued that the state of nature — primitive society — revolved around a war of “every man against every man.” In such a state, life was awful: “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” The only solution to such chaos, said Hobbes, was the Leviathan: the state, which is “but an artificial man; though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defense it was intended; and in which, the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body.”

But in Western societies, such tyranny cannot last. After generations of tyranny — after tribalism gives way to Judeo-Christian teachings enforced through government — citizens begin to question why a tyrant is necessary. They begin to ask John Locke’s question: In a state of nature, we had rights from one another; what gives the tyrant power to invade those rights? Is prevention of violence a rationale for full government control, or were governments created to protect our rights? Our Founders came down on the side of Locke; as they stated in the Declaration of Independence, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Donald Trump is the counter-reaction. But he is not a Reaganesque or even Bill Clinton-esque counter-reaction. He, like Obama, is tribal. His tribalism is the tribalism of Pat Buchanan, who suggested in 2011 what appears to be Donald Trump’s electoral strategy: “to increase the GOP share of the white Christian vote and increase the turnout of that vote by specific appeals to social, cultural, and moral issues, and for equal justice for the emerging white minority.”
politics  tyranny  society  humanity 
june 2016 by kme
Shadi Hamid's 'Islamic Exceptionalism' and the Meaningless Politics of Liberal Democracies - The Atlantic
But Hamid also thinks there’s something lacking in Western democracies, that there’s a sense of overarching meaninglessness in political and cultural life in these countries that can help explain why a young Muslim who grew up in the U.K. might feel drawn to martyrdom, for example. This is not a dismissal of democracy, nor does it comprehensively explain the phenomenon of jihadism. Rather, it’s a note of skepticism about the promise of secular democracy—and the wisdom of pushing that model on other cultures and regions.

On a basic level, violence offers meaning. And that’s what makes it scary. In the broader sweep of history, mass violence and mass killing is actually the norm. It’s only in recent centuries that states and institutions have tried to persuade people to avoid such practices.

That also reminds us that when institutions and social norms are weakened, those base sentiments can rise up again quite easily. And that’s what I saw.
islam  society  government  liberalism 
june 2016 by kme
What's the Point of College? A Reader Debate. - The Atlantic
On the other hand, this next reader, Leland Davis, gets much more specific with his answer:

The point of college? Class sorting.

A college degree is the stamp of the modern American middle class, the necessary badge of worthiness that one must have before any other consideration will be made. This helps keep the children of the middle class on the proper road in life—away from the trades and small-business, which might encourage unfortunate degrees of independence and inter-class solidarity, and towards the professions, whose professional standings and ethos encourage a proper deference to their betters.

I teach high school, so I see it happening. I went to grad school, and it happened to me.
class  education  society  america  middleclass 
may 2016 by kme
Donald Trump and the Twilight of White America - The Atlantic
In November 2015, in the middle of Trump’s ascent, Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case discovered that only one age-and-ethnic group is dying at higher rates than they were 15 years ago: middle-aged American whites without a college education.

In November 2015, in the middle of Trump’s ascent, Princeton economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case discovered that only one age-and-ethnic group is dying at higher rates than they were 15 years ago: middle-aged American whites without a college education.
america  whiteamerica  society  economy 
may 2016 by kme
Unconscious racism is pervasive, starts early and can be deadly | Aeon Essays
And that, in a nutshell, might be the most damaging part of the racial empathy gap – we bury it deep in the subconscious in layers of denial to protect our social reputation. We might explicitly deny our internal reactions, but implicitly we follow their whispered mandates right down the line.
racism  bias  psychology  culture  society 
march 2016 by kme
Swearing Off the Modern Man - NYTimes.com
My Instagram feed had become a vehicle for acquaintances to announce their engagements and celebrate their partners with hashtags like “#engagedlife.” Sitting across from Byron at a nearby bakery, eating cookies and drinking milk, I couldn’t help but think they were trying too hard. How much time can you be spending together if so much of it is spent taking pictures and writing captions?
modernman  socialmedia  society 
may 2015 by kme
'Yoga Pants are Ruining Women' and Other Style Advice From Fran Lebowitz
My jeans go in the washing machine, my shirts go out (they're starched), and my clothes that need to be dry-cleaned go to the most expensive dry-cleaner. I dry-clean as infrequently as possible—not only because it's psychotically expensive, but also because who knows what it does to the clothes? Dry…clean. These words don't go together. Wet clean—that is how you clean. I can't even imagine the things they do at the drycleaner. I don't want to know.

To me, the main difference between young people now and the people I was young with isn't so much style, it's the relationships they have with their parents. Their parents like them much more than ours liked us. Our parents weren't our friends. They disapproved of us. All our parents cared about was how we behaved, not how we felt, not what we wanted. But now I see my friends on the phones with their, what, 30-year-old kids? And they're talking about feelings. You would think this kind of relationship would make this adult children more relaxed, but instead they're more concerned. Parent-child relationships have become so collegiate. And so when these grown children go into the world, they expect a certain amount of attention. And they're very disappointed.

I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young. There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I'd just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It's disgusting. To have to sit next to grown men on the subway in the summer, and they're wearing shorts? It's repulsive. They look ridiculous, like children, and I can't take them seriously.

It's like any other sort of revealing clothing, in that the people you'd most like to see them on aren't wearing them. And if they are, it's probably their job to wear them. My fashion advice, particularly to men wearing shorts: Ask yourself, 'Could I make a living modeling these shorts?' If the answer is no, then change your clothes. Put on a pair of pants.

You know when George Plimpton died, someone told me, 'He was so eccentric. He used to ride his bike in a suit and tie!' and it drove me crazy. I said, 'What's eccentric is the bicycle. Everyone here used to wear suits and it was lovely! But only children rode bicycles.' The trademark of New York City fashion used to be that we dressed more seriously here. More formally. Now people need special costumes to ride bicycles. I mean, a helmet, what, are you an astronaut??
style  fashion  yogapants  society  commentary  youngfolksthesedays 
march 2015 by kme
The Shut-In Economy — Matter — Medium
That’s the other side of this, the gender one. The errands being served up by the on-demand economy — cooking, cleaning, laundry, groceries, runs to the post office — all were all once, and in many places still are, the jobs of stay-at-home mothers. Even now, when women outnumber men in the formal workplace, they continue to bear the brunt of that invisible domestic work, often for many, many hours a week. So women — those who can afford it, at least — have the most to win from passing that load on to somebody else.
culture  internet  society  family  gender  household  commentary 
march 2015 by kme
How the Quiet Car Explains the World - The Atlantic - http://www.theatlantic.com/
I think what we have here is a working definition of an asshole -- a person who demands that all social interaction happen on their terms. Assholes fill our various worlds. But the banhammer only works in one of them.
culture  society  assholes 
february 2015 by kme
Why the public apology is a tool of the powerful – Nick Smith – Aeon
Which leaves us with the central question about apologies and public well-being: if I grow richer from harming you, if I never have to accept personal blame, and if liability insurance covers the costs associated with apologetic redress, what lesson have I – and my fellow executives – learnt?
ethics  society  justice  apology 
november 2014 by kme
Evgeny Morozov: How much for your data?
“Their only task is to build tools for solving problems as they come,” not by foresight & analysis of social ills.
Since established taxi and hotel industries are detested, the public debate has been framed as a brave innovator taking on sluggish, monopolistic incumbents. Such skewed presentation, while not inaccurate in all cases, glosses over the fact that the start-ups of the “sharing economy” operate on the pre-welfare model: social protections for workers are minimal, they have to take on risks previously assumed by their employers, and there are almost no possibilities for collective bargaining.

The digitisation of everyday life and the rapaciousness of financialisation risk turning everything — genome to bedroom — into a productive asset. As Esther Dyson, a board member of 23andme, the leader in personalised genomics, said the company is “like the ATM that gives you access to the wealth locked within your genes” (7). This is the future that Silicon Valley expects us to embrace: given enough sensors and net connections, our entire life becomes a giant ATM. Those refusing this would have only themselves to blame. Opting out from the “sharing economy” would come to be seen as economic sabotage and wasteful squandering of precious resources that could accelerate growth. Eventually, the refusal to “share” becomes tinged with as much guilt as the refusal to save or work or pay debts, with a veneer of morality covering up — once again — exploitation.

In this, Silicon Valley is like any other industry: unless there’s profit in it, corporations won’t call for radical social change. However, the rhetorical reservoir available to Uber, Google or Airbnb is much deeper than that of Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan. If you complain about them, you will be described as a hater of capitalism or Wall Street or the bailouts — a socially acceptable, if somewhat tiresome, critique. To criticise Silicon Valley, however, is to invite accusations of technophobia and nostalgia. A political and economic critique of technology companies — and their cosy relationship with the neoliberal agenda — is recast as a cultural critique of modernity. Critics are presented as retrogrades, staring in disgust at soul-crushing dams.
sharingeconomy  economy  ehr  personalgenomics  patientdata  society  theinternet  siliconvalley 
august 2014 by kme
Some Basic Racist Ideas and some Rebuttals, & Why We Exist | Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture
Let’s take me as a case study.

In my everyday life, I am often the only person of colour in the room. While this can be stressful and upsetting, I also have to ask why it is me, of all the people of colour, who gets to be in the room. Part of it may be because I worked hard. But I also need to acknowledge that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I grew up middle class (even though my parents were immigrants); that have a great deal of educational privilege and that is clear as soon as I open my mouth; and that my mother is white and she taught me by example to be entitled (even though she herself grew up very poor)…In other words, I experience both barriers and privileges, and denying that only means that I will have a dishonest relationship to the world around me.

The fact that I have white/educational/class privilege does not go away because I am a woman of colour. Sure the privilege is mediated through the racism (and other things) that I experience (and on a bad day where I feel like the room is completely ignorant and just doesn’t give two poops about my experience, I often want to escape the room) but neither the oppression I experience nor the privileges I have cancel each other out. It’s more complicated than that.

I also was born on Native land, in Canada, and continue to live on Native land in Texas. Without a doubt none of my ancestors had a direct hand in the colonisation of the Americas; my parents were each the first members of their families to set foot on Turtle Island, and they arrived in the mid 70′s. But by the fact that I live on the land, I benefit from the genocide visited on the people who originally lived here. Do I like the fact that I benefit from something so horrendous and on-going? No. But would I be living here and having my nice life on the land if the genocide hadn’t happened? No. If I can’t admit that I benefit from it – no matter how I feel about that benefit – I have a dishonest relationship to the world around me.

Is the genocide my fault? No. As someone who lives on the land, is it my responsibility to do something about its fallout? Yes. That doesn’t mean relocating everyone who now lives on the land*, but it does mean (to me) educating myself about what happened, showing solidarity, and taking an active interest in indigenous efforts to preserve their culture and gain access to basic human rights. As a Canadian, this is a part of my history, and a part of my business.

The onslaught of pushback that anti-racism receives from folks who simply have no interest in engaging with their own privilege can be silencing, especially if you don’t have your own community of colour who has your back. Which brings me to my final point.\

To anyone who ever asks why Racialicious is run solely by people of colour, or keeps such a death grip on the comments section, or runs content almost solely by people of colour – well, your answer is in the sample comments above, which in their own way are all saying: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Even if they were written by well-intentioned people who did not intend to shut Jessica up, that is what they ultimately communicate.
race  rebuttal  society  popculture  forumcomments 
march 2014 by kme

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