Archive for culture

Business Couple

New West, BC.

Various online directories list the bail-services company as a “talent agency” as well. Lots happening!

Cyclops

I subscribe to very few newsletters (preferring my news feeds and news alerts), but I am really enjoying one recently recommended by my friend Clarissa. It is called Prufrock: Books, Arts & Ideas. Prepared by Micah Mattix, the daily newsletter has an erudite, literary-philosophical bent, with a paleoconservative disposition. It’s well-written. From this morning:

I’ve finished the final lectures on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. The final two treat friendship and action. Friendship according to Aristotle is the “most necessary” virtue. I won’t go into Aristotle’s types of friendship (those founded on utility, pleasure, and virtue), but I appreciated his view that friendship is one of the foundations of civilization. It is what binds a city together. We see this idea in classical and modern literature, too. Friendship and hospitality (which is welcoming a stranger as a friend) are quintessentially human attributes in The Odyssey, for example, which are not shared by the gods or the sub-human cyclops. These two ideas—that friendship is the basis of civilization and a touchstone of humanity—are also found in Francis Bacon’s short essay “Of Friendship,” which is obviously drawn from classical sources. Whatever “delights in solitude,” Bacon writes, “is either a wild beast or a god. For it is most true, that a natural and secret hatred, and aversation towards society, in any man, hath somewhat of the savage beast.” It’s not that solitude is bad or unnecessary. It is that to live only in solitude is to live a sub-human life. Without friends, Bacon continues, the “world is but a wilderness.”

It seems to me that we’ve lost this high view of friendship as an aspect of human identity, which we now regularly confuse with personality or view as a discrete construction of the autonomous will rather than as something that is composed of universal attributes. So, it is no surprise that our lives increasingly look like those of the cyclops. We live in caves, in fenced-in back yards, and “consume” each other—on television, in movies, on Facebook and Twitter. And because our lives (I’m speaking generally here about American culture) are ordered around maximizing physical pleasure, not virtue, they must end in suicide when the body’s capacity for physical pleasure wanes. The opioid crisis starts with this low view of human nature and won’t end until a grander view is recaptured, which I don’t see happening any time soon.

I have worked hard at friendship all of my life, and have found that honest attentiveness can overcome awkwardness and the various stupidities, if not one’s friends’ arresting memories of these. My friends and I usually can see one another.

Responsibility Project/ Father’s Day

This is an updated link to one of the greatest short videos I have ever seen. Love and pain and memory and family. Beautiful.

The video won the Silver Lion at Cannes. Ernie Schenk writes, “I did the story and co-wrote the screenplay with director Laurence Dunmore. Shot this in 2 days in Devore, California. Does anyone have any idea how cold it can get in the San Bernadino Mountains. My toes are still numb.” Here is more of Schenk’s fine work.

Pigeon Park Sentences

dtes

You should know that in the drug kingdom …

To serve and house the homeless …

Seattle’s “technology community” is here to help.

Tech companies such as Amazon opposed Seattle’s short-lived head tax on large businesses to pay for homeless services and housing, but Mayor Jenny Durkan now says they can assist the city in other ways.

Rather than tap the companies’ bank accounts, she wants Seattle to tap their know-how. For example, they could help the city design apps for social services, Durkan says.

Sweet!

The mayor has convened an Innovation Advisory Council to seek advice on challenges such as homelessness and transportation. … She described the panel as a “new collaboration with Seattle’s technology community that will better highlight technology solutions.”

Besides Amazon, participants at this point include Microsoft, along with Zillow, Expedia and Tableau, whose leaders spoke out this year against the idea of a head tax. …

A Durkan executive order creating the council includes no concrete pledges of time or money by the companies.

“What we’ve heard from company to company as I’m talking to them is, ‘Tap us for our know-how … We have some of the most talented people on the globe right here in Seattle,’ ” the mayor said.

Her order says the group will identify issues, make policy recommendations and implement projects related to “data analytics, dashboards, applications and software for the city.”

Dashboards!

(This is so fucked up.)

h/t @atrios

“Individuals” – a critique

An ongoing one from our friend Clarissa.

Review

The New York Review of Books has always been very generous in providing current and past articles online. In celebration of the publication’s 50th anniversary its editors are “digging into the magazine’s archives and featuring one article from each year of publication.” They start with 1972 – 1974:

  • Robert Wall’s “Special Agent for the FBI” will remind us that the current United States President’s complaints against that agency are righteous as well as self-serving. (Hard sentence to write.)
  • Peter Singer’s essay on “Animal Liberation” helped launched a movement that truly enlightened “Western Culture.” (Hard to swallow how mundane it was for us to gratuitously, lazily cause pain to animals.)
  • And Gore Vidal reviews Robert Caro’s annihilation of Robert Moses, who wanted to run a highway through Manhattan’s Washington Square Park (“The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York“). (A titan acclaiming a colossus gutting a Goliath.)

I happily spend days reading the NY Review, which lost its fabled editor and co-founder, Robert Silvers, last year but which has remained “irreplaceable” (a cliché, I realize, but it is completely the case).