For the reading

Meant to post this about a week ago, but what’r ya gonna do? The piece we were all waiting for narrating the creative and charismatic tension between Jay and Kanye through the Watch the Throne tour as a redemption story.

The Up series should be in the core 9th-grade humanities curriculum. Even if it meant bumping, like, Lord of the Flies (which I loved), I’d still think so. It’s fucking LIFE! Wish I’d seen it at 14. (What it is is it’s a documentary series that has been revisiting the same cross-class group of individuals from age 7, every 7 years, and ongoing– the next one’s 56-Up — testing the “give me the child until he is seven and I will show you the man” iea). Here’s an interview with one of the subjects (the one who kindof jumped class to became a scientists at UW@Madison) (ty, Kottke!). Teaser:

While committed to the project, he says confessing all in front of the camera has never been easy. “It’s always very disturbing. It’s the fact that they don’t show you the way you want to be shown – but that’s not the main thing. They ask you some really disturbing questions. They stick a camera under your nose and ask – ‘Why did you choose your wife?’ – and then it’s shown to gazillions of people. I’ve learnt that the stupider the thing I say, the more likely it is to get in. You’re asked to discuss every intimate part of your life. You feel like you’re just a specimen pinned on the board. It’s totally dehumanising.”

This excerpt from a speech to J-Street by former Palestinian politician and non-violent activist Mustafa Barghouti about nails the problem of the West Bank for Israel:

What is apartheid? Apartheid is a system where you have two laws, two different laws, for two people living in the same area. If you don’t like the word apartheid, give me an alternative to a situation where a Palestinian citizen is allowed to use no more than 50 cubic meters of water per capital year, while an Israeli illegal settler from the West Bank is allowed to use 2400. How would you classify a situation where the Israeli gdp per capita is about $30,000 while a Palestinian’s gdp per capita is less than $1400?

Yet we are obliged to pay the same prices for products as Israelis do. More than that: We are obliged to pay double the price for electricity and water that Israelis do though they make 30 times more than we do.

Segregation of roads is another issue. This is the last place on earth, actually the first place on earth where people have been segregated with roads. I’m talking about roads in the West Bank, major roads are exclusive to Israeli settlers or army or Israeli citizens.

I cannot describe to you to the level of violation of human rights.. we’ve left to see Israeli army using dogs against our nonviolent settlers in the most vicious way. Which reminds us of what happened during the Segregation system here in the United States.

So the problem is very clear. Of course it is either two states or one state. But the reality is, What we are witnessing today with the passage of time is that people will be [left] with one or two alternatives. Either it’s a segregation apartheid system, or one democratic state system,. This is the choice we will all face unless some kind of a miracle happens and I don’t know what that miracle is.

Psychology may be about to debase its credibility as a scientific discipline. Some dude at the University of Virginia’s about to try to replicate every study published in three major psychology journals back in 2008. The popcorn’s in the microwave. Opening salvo:

“Ultimately it’s a waste of everyone’s time if I can’t replicate the effects,” he says. “Otherwise, what are we working on?

I feel like everyone’s been <3ing this TNC post on the opposition to racism as a rhetorical pose versus as an actual value (DeLong, Sullivan, LG&M among others), and it’s for good reason. Read it. And at least watch James Baldwin’s section of the video that kicks it off (starts at about 13 minutes in, and runs about 20, if I remember). Right now it seems to me to be the most powerful speech I’ve ever heard.

This NYT piece about the real-time socio-cultural dynamics resulting from the commodification of African tribal practices is provocative in what’s probably a good way. Even if not, it’s interesting and the writing is vivid. Teaser:

In the West we have a particular definition of authenticity and a mania for it as a standard for art, especially art that we envision as elemental, unmodern, unspoiled. We gauge genuineness in terms of age, rarity, uniqueness, history of use, motives for creation. But in Africa, as often as not, authentic is simply what works, socially and spiritually: for example, the way each Dogon tourist dance keeps a larger dance, and Dogon identity, alive.

What accounts for the more ambiguous outcomes of decriminalizing prostitution versus the unambiguously positive outcomes of decriminalizing drugs? In the case of prostitution, the legitimated commodity can suddenly demand expensive rights, supported by the power of the state, driving up the price of doing business compared to the still illegitimate competing commodities trafficked in illegally from abroad. At the same time, if you can decouple the sale from the identifiable-as-legit-or-not body of the prostitute (using the Internet), you’re a lot safer as a trafficker in the decriminalized jurisdiction — police investigators are disempowered as they need to procure some substantive reason that a given operation isn’t legit in an information void. This makes the decriminalized market an attractive hub for illegal traffickers with whose wears the legit, empowered, and fairly-paid prostitutes have to compete and often can’t. Here’s an NYT discussion of the topic.

Still, I think it’s a progressive step in a system in flux. Thoughts?

That’s all I got for now.

Happy friday, everyone!


PS – Maybe the Red Sox just aren’t very good? (H-t Matt Eckel)