/Tag: culture

Truth from power.

I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of, I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart.

Michelle Obama on power.

2019-01-07T13:55:38+10:0020th May, 2019|Tags: culture|

Generation Revolt.

Maybe it’s not because Millennials have rejected the American dream, but rather because the economy has not only blocked their path to attaining it but punished them for trying to.

Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history to date. They bought into a social contract that said: Everything will work out, if first you go to college. But as the cost of college increased, millions of young people took on student loans to complete their degree. Graduates under 35 are almost 50 percent more likely than members of Gen X to have student loans, and their median balance is about 40 percent higher than that of the previous generation.

And what has all that debt gotten them? “Lower earnings, fewer assets, and less wealth,” according to the Federal Reserve paper’s conclusion. Student debt has made it harder for millions of young people to buy a home, since “holding debt is associated with a lower rate of homeownership, irrespective of degree type,” as Fed economists wrote in a previous study. In other words, young people took on debt to pursue a college degree, only to discover that the cost of college would push the American dream further from their grasp.

Is it any wonder that Millennials are eager to overthrow a system that has duped them into a story of permanent progress, thrown them into debt, depressed their wages, separated them from the trappings of adulthood, and then, for good measure, blamed them for ruining canned tuna?

Derek Thompson on killing Millennials.

2019-01-07T08:28:58+10:0018th May, 2019|Tags: culture, economics, politics|

Turing complete(ish).

Interesting look at whether CSS can be considered Turing complete and thus, despite all conventional wisdom, an actual programming language.

Apparently in the last decade or so when I wasn’t really paying attention, it became Cool™ to shit on CSS. Which, as someone who grew up doing things like radically transforming my profile page in Gaia Online with the power of CSS alone, I find really—

Okay, I was going to say “odd” here but it’s not “odd” at all, is it? It’s frustrating. Because people shit in CSS because it’s, a) associated with girls doing things like modifying their Gaia Online profiles, and thus b) feminized and scorned.

Same as it ever was, I guess…

2019-01-07T08:24:59+10:0017th May, 2019|Tags: css, culture, tech|

Problem solved.

Real learning is hard. It’s a slow, confusing process where you sometimes have to read long books with dreadful covers, and look at footnotes and shit. It requires us to recognize and then overcome our biases as best we can. It can take years to learn what we really think and why, and then if we get a lingering feeling we might be wrong, it can take years to un-learn and start all over.

Debate, in contrast, offers an easy way out. Some dudes spouting their favorite buzzwords in each other’s vicinity makes us feel smart and engaged, like we’re in that fresco of the Greek men they put on all the philosophy textbooks. (Small aside — have you ever noticed how in this image, all the female figures look thoroughly sick of these guys?) However, the format of debate, which is supposed to represent the height of intellectual tradition, encourages us instead to applaud the candidate who is best at using simple rhetoric, looking suave, and machine-gunning irrelevant lines at their browbeaten interlocutor. These are all things that real intellectual inquiry is supposed to look beyond.

Aisling McCrea debates debate.

Speaking of frescoes of Greek men, the whole point of rhetoric in its original Greek formulation was that, because what we’d now consider empirical sciences and the scientific method hadn’t been fully invented yet, people didn’t have anything other than force of argument to persuade people about stuff…

2019-01-04T16:03:04+10:0012th May, 2019|Tags: culture|


On the somewhat startling realization that basically all modern clothing is some variant of athletic wear.

The obvious exception here, asides from business and formal attire, is probably jeans… but even they were originally designed for laborers and factory workers, before being repurposed into everyday wear.

2019-01-04T15:53:07+10:0011th May, 2019|Tags: culture, fashion|

Unexpected future in the bagging area.

I have this half-assed theory that Americans hate self-checkouts so much because status in their weird classist society is built entirely around how many people you can coerce into doing obsequious minimum wage labor on your behalf, and self-checkouts (and their refusal to buckle under threats, shouting, or bribery) break that.

Also… this whole thing about “‘ware the self-checkout because it’s robots coming for your JOBS!!!!” is like… yes. Yes, that’s good. Automate humans out of work! Kill the bullshit notion of “full employment”! I want my post-capitalist automated leisure society and, yeah, that’s gonna take work to make and it’s not going to come naturally, but pretending it’s not coming at all is just a recipe for leaving people destitute when it inevitably does, rather than preempting it by putting in strong social policies to deal with a post-work society. Which we really, really need to get onto, pronto.

Also also… I just like self-checkouts. Go figure.

2019-01-04T09:42:35+10:0010th May, 2019|Tags: culture, tech|

White yoga.

Nearly 37 million U.S. adults practice yoga. More than 70 percent are women and 85 percent identify as white. But it’s not just that yoga is an incredibly homogenous white female culture; it’s also an astoundingly upper-class culture. As of 2017, more than 40 percent of yoga practitioners earned over $75,000 a year, and 25 percent over $100,000 annually. In other words, yoga studios are the new country clubs. As the 21st-century version of exclusive and elitist recreational spaces, these studios are often located next to a coffee shop, health food store, juice bar or a lifestyle boutique that sells Orientalist curios.

Beyond their visibility as conspicuous and racialized wellness/leisure consumption, yoga studios have emerged in the United States as homogenous white spaces, which are in turn positioned as “safe spaces” for white women. Such ideas of safety, built around patriarchal notions of white women’s vulnerability and purity, rely on entrenched racialized ideas of what separates the public from the private, and often further marginalize women of color since we are rarely seen as worthy of safety or saving.

Rumya S. Putcha on safe spaces.

I like yoga but oh dear sweet gods do I hate yoga classes. This is one of many reasons…

2019-01-04T09:31:44+10:009th May, 2019|Tags: culture|


As someone who has both a deaf husband and a deaf father, over-loud restaurants are 100% an accessibility issue1 and the fact that sound-amplifying designs intentionally propagate because they’re aesthetically “trendy” is Ableism In Action 101.

  1. In fact, my husband realized he was deaf when we were having a conversation in a very loud restaurant and he couldn’t follow it. It became the triggering incident that caused him to get tested. []
2019-01-03T10:53:16+10:008th May, 2019|Tags: culture, design|