6.19.2017 Daily Links


  A Thought for the Day   

Just as one cannot control or even direct, and certainly will never be able to choose, even one’s closest family—parents and children, their manifestation in the world an obvious aggregate of one’s own and more or less random partners’ potentialities—so too might occasions occur when one can only estrange these intimate relatives from one’s inner circle and cast one’s lot with relative strangers whose proclivities, goals, and values more closely match what one imagines as both productive and sustainable, central and necessary, in one’s own evolving existence.

  Quote of the Day  
“I have been in many countries and I have found there people examining their own love of life, sense of peril, their own common sense.  The one thing they cannot understand is why that same love of life, sense of peril and above all common sense, is not invariably shared among their leaders and rulers.
Then let me use what I suppose is my last minute of worldwide attention to speak not as one of a nation but as one of mankind.  I use it to reach all men and women of power.  Go back.  Step back now.  Agreement between you does not need cleverness, elaboration, manoeuvres.  It needs common sense, and above all, a daring generosity.  Give, give, give!
It would succeed because it would meet with worldwide relief, acclaim and rejoicing: and unborn generations will bless your name.”  William Golding; Nobel Acceptance Speech, excerpt

 This Day in History

Today is World Sickle Cell Day and, in an entirely different vein, World Sauntering Day, as well as being, in the United States, ‘Juneteenth,’ celebrating the acknowledgement of slavery’s end in Texas, in 1865; in France seven hundred forty-eight years ago, a ninth King Louis ordered that any Jew who failed to wear a yellow identification badge would be liable to a ten livres fine, payable in silver; four hundred and thirty-one years prior to today, British colonists on Roanoke Island, trying to stave off complete annihilation, left their homes for parts unknown; one hundred and ninety-six years in advance of this moment in time, Ottoman forces temporarily consolidated their control of Hungarian regions by crushing the Filiki Eteria at Drågåsani; MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. William Golding, 1983.
2. David Thorburn, 1995.
3. Julian Assange, 1997.
4. Robert McChesney, 1998.
Numero Uno“Those of you who have some knowledge of your present speaker as revealed by the loftier-minded section of the British Press will be resigning yourselves to a half hour of unrelieved gloom.  Indeed, your first view of me, white bearded and ancient, may have turned that gloom into profound dark; dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, irrecoverably dark, total eclipse.  But the case is not as hard as that.  I am among the older of the Nobel Laureates and therefore might well be excused a touch of–let me whisper the word–frivolity.  Pray do not misunderstand me.  I have no dancing girls, alas.  I shall not sing to you or juggle or clown–or shall I juggle?  I wonder!  How can a man who has been defined as a pessimist indulge in anything as frivolous as juggling? MORE HERE

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Interesting People Places Things of Note

Hobsbawm Review Essay

A Jacobin article that highlights the work of a fascinating and impactful historian: “A founding member of the legendary British Communist Party Historians’ Group that fashioned “history from below,” Hobsbawm was a titanic figure among the twentieth-century intelligentsia. Prodigiously active as an intellectual, scholar, and, as he put it, “participant observer” in political life, he was, ironically, defined by the time of his death by what he did not do: he was the one who did not leave the Communist Party.

Writers Tools Issues 

Salvaging University Education

A Public Books post that looks at the plight and possible solutions to the crisis in public university education: “It should be worrisome that university bosses and their viziers are applying lessons an idiot could glean from a 1980s movie about the auto industry. Not because it’s unoriginal, but because it is not at all clear that it works. A public university does not sell cars, or phones, or frozen pizzas. Teaching and learning, like performing a string quartet or doing detective work, require real-time virtuosity. They resist automation in this regard, and moreover they offer no real commodity to cheapen. Despite what some mavens of the new economy might spout at a dinner party, the university does not make graduates, or degrees, or knowledge. At best, public universities prepare people to be better commodity-makers after graduation, just as top-tier private schools replicate class privilege. But the productivity fix won’t help make that process more cost-efficient.”

General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues

Creating Podcasting ‘Careers’

A Nieman Lab post that looks at ways that podcasting can still be a lucrative venture: “Which brings us to an interesting question: Just how much does S-Town’s success actually tell us about the opportunities of the space as a whole? Or is it just a story that only tells us about the strength of This American Life and Serial Productions?”

Recent Events

Continuing Renters Gougefest

A City Lab posting that looks at the current rental markets that never recovered: “Ten years out from the start of the Great Recession, the housing market in the U.S. has finally returned to normal. Home prices in 2016 eclipsed the pre-crisis highs from about a decade ago. The number of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages continues to plummet. Homeowners are making back some (but not all) of the wealth they lost to the mortgage foreclosure crisis.

The nation may be free of one housing crisis, but it’s still deeply mired in another one. That’s one jarring conclusion from the State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2017. Produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the report highlights a rental affordability crisis that shows little sign of abating.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Ian Welsh on Trump, Hope

Another thoughtful offering from Ian Welsh that contextualizes current reality in a useful way: “After the election of Donald Trump I had an interview with Jay Ackroyd, and he said that as long as he’d known me I’d been more pessimistic than others, but now I was optimistic, and what gives?

Simple, the trends had turned.

Sanders had happened and he had done better than any self-avowed socialist in America in my lifetime. He came very close to winning the nomination, despite the Democratic party fixing it against him.

Corbyn had already happened, in that he had won the leadership of the Labour party and then seen off a coup attept.”

The trends had changed.