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July 6, 2018

Good morning, grey skies and a little relief from the heat wave! What a strange week with a day off smack dab in the middle, but I kind of enjoyed the bouncy, momentum-less rhythm of this week – like summer days of childhood where there’s absolutely nothing that needs doing.

  1. The Bullshit-Job Boom, New Yorker. Interesting book review that doesn’t totally cosign the book. “Graeber thinks that a sense of uselessness gnaws at everything that makes them human. This observation leads him to define bullshit work as “a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.”
  2. Gossip is Good, The Atlantic. This is kinda wild, the positive social effects of gossip: “Despite gossip’s dodgy reputation, a surprisingly small share of it—as little as 3 to 4 percent—is actually malicious”
  3. The Way We Talk About Bodies, Lindy West for Self. “We’re supposed to be hot in all the old ways while appearing liberated in the new ones. We’re expected to devote ourselves to weight loss as much as our mothers and grandmothers did, while at the same time orchestrating an elaborate cover-up: this modern weight loss is always a coincidence, a byproduct of our “wellness practice,” an incidental surprise.“

    Lindy West is one of my heroes. “You don’t have to do this perfectly. But I hope you will afford yourself the same generosity and unconditional love that you so effortlessly extend to your friends and siblings and children. If you need to maintain a certain body size in order to feel like yourself, do it with kindness and self-reflection. Fight to remember that you are living inside of a cruel, toxic system, and when you hate yourself for gaining five pounds it’s because a billion-dollar industry conditioned you to feel that way for profit. Do everything you can to break that cycle for the next generation. Work to make the world a warmer, safer, and more accommodating place for bodies more marginalized than yours. Believe that you will be okay even if you get fat. Remember that is not better to be thin than to be fat: not morally, not aesthetically. Think about that until you really believe it.” Be right back, just crying over here.

  4. #1120: The Creepy Guy In The Friend Group, Revisited: Four More Geek Social Fallacies, Captain Awkward. Captain Awkward is always so good, but especially when she looks at how the dynamics in a group of friends can go awry, why no one wants to address it head on, and how you can start to fix it for yourself. “What if we could learn expensive and uncomfortable lessons much earlier, by saying “I believe you, let me see what I can do” to the victim of the bad behavior and “Hey, I like you a lot, can you knock off doing that gross thing so I can keep liking you”
    to the perpetrator? If someone you like is behaving badly, you probably
    couldn’t have prevented it, but could you at least not become their
    flying monkey after the fact? Could we reverse the current of social pressure that teaches victims
    not to speak up so that awkwardness flows toward perpetrators?”
  5. Letter of Recommendation: ‘Live Like a French Woman’ Books, NYT. “In recent years, the genre has grown to include hygge (how to be Danish) and lagom (how to be Swedish), and guides on being Greek and Italian too. The crazier things get here at home, it seems, the more certain readers long to escape into a culturally homogeneous fantasy Europe where everyone shares the same values, works a 30-hour week and is nourished by deep roots and routines that are also, somehow, supposed to be welcoming and inclusive — learnable by the likes of you and me. As a friend once pointed out, the implied subtitle of all these books is: If we only had a system!

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