Shit, it’s July 21 already? Time just slips through my fingers. Here’s some links I liked or found engaging in the past few weeks.
I felt extremely called out by If work dominated your every moment would life be worth living? by Andrew Taggart at Aeon.com. Some of these considerations have been at the back of my mind for several years, but leave it to a philosopher to word them clearly and devastatingly.
As an indication of how far down this path I am: at around the time of the Sad Puppy thing in the SF subculture, I realized that I had almost completely stopped reading novels. I joined Worldcon as a supporting member assigned myself the Hugo-nominated works minus the ones that were obviously and purely nominated as a result of fascist entryism, and got my reading up for a bit. That was fun, but it meant I got back into the reading habit was by turning it into work. And ever since, the only way I can keep my novel-reading at a level where I remember how to read novels and don’t feel like I’m neglecting a vital part of myself is by assigning myself novels to read and adding them to my to-do list. I wish I could just go back to goofing off and reading novels just because I feel like it, but even as I type this line, at the back of my mind there’s always the thought that ‘I should goof off and read novels because it would make me feel relaxed and be good for me’. Which is another way of turning it into work. That’s how engrained this habit is in me.
I think everyone should do a reasonable amount of work, for different purposes: to help keep society going, to keep themselves engaged in society, to make things for themselves and for others. For the past ten years, I’ve been doing much more than is reasonable, at the expense of the not-work part of my life.
Anil Prasad has a lengthy interview with Jakko Jakszyk on Innerviews, full of anecdotes about his long and winding career in music.
No, Mastodon is not riddled with Nazis now, no matter how much they crow about just that.
The Cult of optimism got us into this mess. It’s time to embrace pessimism (David Olusoga at the Observer). Americans believe optimism is a moral value. It is not; it is a curse and we should do away with it.
Until recently, I’ve been ‘meh’ about the idea of boycotting Amazon, in part because it’s become the only game in town for many things. About a third of the modern internet runs on its cloud servers, for example. However, hearing that Amazon Germany employed neo-Nazis to control immigrant workers in its warehouses makes me want to give this a go. Don’t buy from Amazon if you can at all help it, and especially avoid Amazon Germany, which the parent company has been pushing very hard in countries on the European continent.
As a memory aid for use if you ever get sealioned about this, here’s a review of Trump’s long history of racism. Racism is pretty much the only thing that the Tangerine Tantrum believes in that is bigger than himself, and this has been painfully obvious for decades, as obvious as his incompetence at pretty much anything other than grift.
Also, I used to work in US intelligence advising presidents on risk. The biggest threat to our country today is the Republican Party, writes Paul Nailer (a pseudonym). “Donald Trump and his coterie of criminals have done more in two years to weaken the United States than the Soviet Union was able to achieve in decades.”
To wash down the taste of Trump, have a Keralan aubergine curry courtesy of Jack Monroe. Do multiply the spices by at least a factor two, and the garlic by five.