Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekend Reading: The Interesting Times Edition

We're living in interesting times, aren't we? It has never been so clear to me why that is considered a curse.

I don't have any great insight on the Brexit situation. I am hoping for the best for my friends in the UK and the EU, and for all of us, really.

My reaction is pretty similar to what Josh Marshall wrote on the subject.

And hey! We've got some wild things happening in our politics here, too. I really liked this essay from Nancy LeTourneau about how the situation in Washington right now isn't like a poker game, it is like a bad divorce, and why we shouldn't be hoping the Democrats learn to play the game like the Republicans are doing right now. I could try to quote the important bits, but it is a short piece, so just go read it.

OK, I'll include one quote:

"At some point, voters have to decide if it is in their interest to elect politicians who are simply using them as their pawns in a power game. I know that as a family therapist, when I saw that a divorce wars situation was intractable, I would eventually go to the kids to begin the process of empowering them to make good choices (luckily in my practice they were adolescents)."

We've vilified politics, but politics are how things get resolved without bloodshed. It isn't pretty, and the compromises you end up reaching can sometimes look really bad to history (hello, three-fifths compromise!) but in a large, diverse country, different people will want different things and if we're not going to resolve these differences with politics, we're going to be left with angry groups who feel disenfranchised... and I fear we'll eventually end up with bloodshed.

Jamelle Bouie writes about this, and also gun control. This is another really good essay I hope you'll go read. Here's a good quote:

"The United States is an impossibly large country of people with competing, contradictory, and often antagonistic views and priorities. Ideas and policies that seem popular often aren’t once you drill down to the details, or once they come in conflict with the values, ideals, and identities of an individual, of a family, of a community. The only way to make a country like this work, as a democracy at least, is to accommodate pluralism, encourage compromise, and limit the system’s capacity for rapid change."

This is a really good post by Debbie Cameron about the way treating women like posessions intertwines with racist, xenophobic behavior like that of the man who killed MP Jo Cox.

And this is a gut-wrenching post from Jen Gunter about doing abortions after 20 weeks. You should read it, but be warned: it made me full out cry.

Some economists studied the impact of gender neutral policies that stop the tenure clock for new parents, and found that they help men and hurt women. We really struggle with the idea that sometimes the fair policy is not the one that is strictly equal, don't we? Pregnancy and childbirth aren't gender neutral, so the policies that try to mitigate their impact on women's careers can't be gender neutral.

I know that many men are very involved fathers and try to make things as equal as they can on the home front (I'm married to one such man), but... pregnancy has an impact. All those doctor's appointments have an impact. Childbirth and the recovery from it has an impact. Breastfeeding (as much as I loved it) has an impact. The fact that everyone in our society defaults to contacting the mom has an impact.

And some men aren't so involved, but will take the extra time, anyway. They won't feel bad about it at all, and society will give them a free pass and not expect anything more from them.

Also, no one gives a damn what they do with their hair after their kids are born, but apparently the New York Times has felt the need to weigh in on what I should do with mine.

Do you know why women opt for "mom bobs"? BECAUSE THEY SAVE TIME. And we need that time to focus on the things that are more important to us than what random people think about our hair. (For the record, I think my hair is still too long to be considered a "mom bob" but that might change...)

Tressie McMillan Cottom wrote a great piece about "time bind tech," why dads love Alexa, and what that says about time use.

Basically, I want to just listen to this ringtone on repeat.

So... we need something lighter to end on, don't we?

I like this piece by Bonnie Tsui about drinking, and how much is too much, and periodic abstinence as a way to "reset."

And the Hairography is pretty awesome.

This map of musical genres is addictive. (h/t @xzqx)

This is weird:

And, saving the best for last: The Lilies of Dawn cover reveal! Click through and see the gorgeous cover.

Happy weekend, everyone! I'm going to be on a short hiatus. Posting over the next couple of weeks is uncertain, and there may not even be any links. Sorry! You can browse the archives... there's good stuff in there. Also some dreck, but that's how it goes. I'll see you when I get back.


  1. Maybe the ponytail that I see all my colleagues with kids wearing (including me) is "working mom hair" and the style that reporter is talking about is for women with time to get a haircut more than twice a year.

    Re interesting times: crisis can be opportunity, but we have to act to make sure it's an opportunity for good instead of evil.

  2. One of the benefits of being 47 is that I just don't care what the New York Times thinks of my hair.


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