/Tag: culture

One to five.

How did consumers get the idea that pleasing service is a matter of justice? There is no fundamental human right to a short wait time, a smile, or a perfect evening out. “Good service” doesn’t have a universally agreed-upon definition, and yet customer service representatives are expected to meet every customer’s expectations as a matter of principle. Customers come to take any service that doesn’t give them the feelings they want as a personal insult. When the customer’s money doesn’t produce the hoped-for experience, this starts to provoke shock and moral outrage rather than simple disappointment. In displaying the language patterns of victims, reviewers illustrate how access to this form of expression can feel good — even healing — while drastically mischaracterizing who is harming whom.

Linda Besner on service.

2019-01-07T15:58:44+10:0026th May, 2019|Tags: culture|

Fake paid.

You remember when, Back In The Day, people used to try and hide when they were doing things like posting content online that’d been sponsored by brands? Because being seen to be a capitalist shill was unfashionable? Gods, sometimes those days feel so very far away

2019-01-07T15:20:58+10:0025th May, 2019|Tags: culture, internet|

Self care/systemic care.

I also find it depressing that we need to use the term #selfcare to justify regular behaviors at all. I’ve seen people on social media call taking a walk outside during their lunch break #selfcare. Or drinking your morning coffee without checking your email, calling a friend you haven’t talked to in a while: All of it is #selfcare.

When we expect self-care to substitute for our larger systemic flaws in our healthcare, we also over-endow activities that should be basic privileges. Instead of finding faults with the more frivolous forms of self-care, and their pollution of the more “serious” self-care, maybe we should instead feel indignant about how every little moment in our lives needs to be productive and meaningful and presented to the world as such.

Shayla Love on #selfcare.

This is from a longer article that’s well-worth reading (for those of you VICE decides to helpfully redirect away to your “local” content landing page, here’s a Google cache version), but essentially argues that, while #selfcare isn’t inherently worthless, it does need to be critically examined to ensure that it’s neither, a) co-opted and commodified by market capitalist forces, nor b) used as an individualist excuse for systemic failures (e.g. inaccessible mental health services).

2019-01-07T14:58:48+10:0023rd May, 2019|Tags: culture, cw: mental illness|

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|