When You Don't 'Have It'
A small hiatus.
Admittedly I’ve been feeling a bit off the past couple of weeks and I’m not entirely sure why. Last weekend, I was in the midst of working on a piece about ‘American Pyramids’, specifically monuments and shopping malls and my relationship to both and I couldn’t quite get it to be what I wanted it to be. I figured I would finish it this weekend, but didn’t.
So, it continues to sit in its half-completed state on my desktop. Maybe this week. I’ve been feeling like I might be sick (not Covid) — not sick enough to stay home and rest, but sick enough to know that I’m not ‘all there’.
Because I’m determined not to be that person who starts a newsletter only to quickly abandon it (as though anyone is really keeping tabs), this week will be more of an aggregation of other news and short thoughts.
Last week, Kevin Roose’s NY Times piece, Welcome to the YOLO Economy felt pretty spot on. I certainly know people who have no intention of going back to work ‘as it was before’. I’m also suspicious of a lot of folks who are citing ‘safety’ as the reason why they might not be ready to go back to the office when in reality it’s not as much about safety as simply not wanting to, often for good reason.
A couple weeks ago, I called out Scott Galloway for not including obesity in his discussion about how the wealthy have comparatively been spared from the worst of Covid and shortly after, he dedicated a third of his weekly newsletter to the obesity epidemic.
If our government doesn’t tackle the obesity epidemic with the same urgency as it would any other public health crisis — starting with open, non-politicized conversation — we are destined to become a nation lacking the strength and vitality that has for so long cemented us as leaders on the global stage. The U.S. is increasingly alone, broke, and overweight.
— Scott Galloway, Threats
Like everyone else, I didn’t even consider tuning into the Academy Awards. But I did watch Terms of Endearment, which won best picture in 1983 and I had never seen before. It largely left me feeling like ‘they don’t make movies like they used to’. All of the lead actors’ performances are outstanding. Jack Nicholson is perfectly cast as a washed-up astronaut. This scene.
If you missed Sean Illing’s interview of James Carville in Vox last week, it’s worth a read. I’ve long had a soft spot for the ‘Ragin Cajun’ (which maybe isn’t something one should say these days) — but this gets to the title: “Wokeness is a problem and we all know it.”
We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures. So let’s not have an argument about whether or not we’re off-key in our messaging. We are. And we’re off because there’s too much jargon and there’s too much esoterica and it turns people off.
— James Carville, Vox
I know a lot of you might not subscribe to the Financial Times, but consider it. It’s become a favorite, not only for ‘serious news’, but for op-eds and ‘How To Spend It’. This piece about the downward economic mobility of the middle class feels important. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, as the opportunity to be a part of a healthy middle class is becoming more and more of a myth. I think it’s too easy to poke fun at the shortcomings of young people without acknowledging the glaring problem of the middle class disappearing. And we wonder why so many people are depressed…
That’s especially true for younger people. Many millennials have made the terrible discovery that a bachelors degree is the new high-school diploma. Fifty years ago, a bank manager or teacher or lawyer was a big shot guaranteed a big house. Nowadays people in those jobs can find themselves living in their childhood bedrooms, struggling to please lesser-educated parents who control the pot of gold.
— Simon Kuper, FT
Lastly — can someone start a company that sells reasonably priced unlacquered brass kitchen and bath fixtures? I’ve been working on a renovation project and outside of getting lucky on Etsy or Ebay, searching for unlacquered brass has become a bit of a holy grail. If any of you reading this have tips, I’m ready for them. Thanks :-)
Here’s to getting back at it by next Monday.
Have a great week!