I usually like to start these newsletter/blog posts off with some of my own thoughts but I haven’t got any for today. Instead, here’s the song “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
What I’ve Been Reading
- The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy by Rachel Cusk: A memoir that is beautifully written but somehow hollow. My internet friends have loved it; I’m ambivalent. The NY Times was similarly not-awed, and it earned some pretty scathing reviews in the UK press as well, despite its cut-glass prose. Interestingly, one of the people portrayed in it sued for libel.
- A 20-year-old man moved away from home. His mother started a manhunt, claiming he had been abducted by transgender organ traffickers and tried to have him declared incompetent. She’s probably writing to an advice column right now wondering why he doesn’t want to come home for Christmas.
- Speaking of which, “Why Are Kids So Sad?” It seems to be less smartphones and social media, and more lack of self-directed play and time with friends.
- Also related: Satanic Panic is back!
- Also related: Once again, Teen Vogue publishes a strikingly good analysis of the sociopolitical moment, and points out how the NY Times and The Atlantic got things so badly wrong.
- A Canadian physician writes about the ambiguity and occasional excesses of end-of-life care.
- From 2020, but super relevant today, the story of “Reverse Freedom Rides.” (Ron DeSantis evidently looked at the history of the civil rights movement and decided to imitate the worst of it).
- Noah Smith’s newsletter covers the Nobel Prize for Economics and why this one in particular is a big deal.
- Why do chain restaurants correlate with votes for Trump? Possibly spurious, but possibly connected to car-based commutes.
- A Boston Globe profile of housing scarcity: A family of 6 rents a single room in a 3-bedroom apartment with 6 other roommates. They all get evicted. (See also, the case for updating our fire codes to allow for the construction of single-stair apartment buildings).
Interesting Articles From Sources I Don’t Entirely Trust
- The conservative journal National Affairs covers some data suggesting that many social service programs just don’t seem to help men very much.
- The Chinese-government-owned Sixth Tone covers how Chinese students navigate race and nationality in the context of increasing China/US tensions.