dirtystylus + whatnow   111

Taylor Swift’s New Song Is a Pure Piece of Trump-Era Pop Art
Just as we reached the final, dregs-and-leftovers phase of summer, the first pure, truly emblematic, undeniable piece of pop art of the Trump era landed right in our laps. Two nights before the fight, Taylor Swift unloaded her new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” and although Trump still seems wedded to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” as his signature rally-closer, he really should consider an update. Swift’s tour de force of deflective petulance is amazing: It’s essentially a catalogue of every public feud she’s had that, without naming them, manages to extend, mock, and, most important, commodify them. (Side note: Do you know anyone in real life who has “feuds” who isn’t utterly insufferable?) “Look What You Made Me Do” — it’s right there in the title — is an anthem that turns the abrogation of personal responsibility into a posturing statement of empowerment. With its tense “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? … ’Cause she’s dead!” it embraces the possibility of calling “Do over!” as a form of self-realization, and imagines a world in which a clean slate means never having to say you’re sorry because every conceivable way you lash out must be someone else’s fault. Is Taylor Swift to blame for anything? How can any of us know? There was violence on many sides, many sides.
culture  whatnow  donaldtrump  unitedstates  taylorswift 
september 2017 by dirtystylus
Jelani Cobb on the Charlottesville white supremacists, Trump's response, and Nazis.
Yeah, I think that Nazi is the only unqualified evil, or at least has been the only [one] unqualified, because we have had a very mealy-mouthed ambivalence about the Confederacy, and we have tried to nuance it and make all those contextual claims to complicate the story of an alliance that was fighting for the preservation of slavery. And so when we say “Nazi,” we summon the idea of the United States’ moral victories, and military ones. We are not personally implicated. This country doesn’t feel personally implicated in the evils of Nazism. We are able to denounce it with a clear conscience.
politics  nazism  whatnow  neoconfederate  racism  charlottesville  donaldtrump  unitedstates 
august 2017 by dirtystylus
Will the Trump administration ever be held accountable for its abuses? Here’s one way it might. - The Washington Post
Government Accountability Office

“GAO is an extraordinarily valuable tool for provoking oversight — it gives the minority a key tool,” Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at George Washington University, told me today. “If taxpayer dollars are being used to sabotage the law, that’s a constitutional problem.”
politics  healthcare  republicanparty  democraticparty  government  unitedstates  whatnow  GAO 
july 2017 by dirtystylus
Creative Thought in Times of Trouble
Whether your tragedy happens in private or on the live streams from Washington DC, your ability to think creatively degrades in times of trouble. Here's how you get it back.
I haven't had many ideas about software the past few weeks. Not even small ones (of which, it feels like, the big ones are eventually made).
I'm probably not alone in feeling that lately, my work has lately been pushed down my priority list by some new, never-before-seen entries.
I never thought I'd be in a situation where my top priorities included "resist fascism" & "prevent the holocaust." But here we are.
At the same time, I'm a single parent who has to pay rent & keep the fridge stocked. I need to continue to be able to work.
That means I need to recover some capacity for abstract thought, even though resistance looks like it'll be a marathon rather than a sprint.
I need to start having small ideas about software again, despite all the everything that's going on.
That's what gives me the energy to keep working at all. And tbh at this point in my career, that's what people pay me for.
So here's my creative work survival guide for 2017:
1. Prioritize mental health. Talk therapy, exercise, CBT, meds, spa days, whatever helps you - do it all. The stress has to go somewhere.
2. Practice detachment. Meditate, or pray. Make a small, temporary space in your mind that stress can't get to. It gets more perm over time.
3. Talk about work. Find friends who share your horror, but will still talk work with you. Do it sometimes even when you don't feel like it.
This morning I asked @chriseppstein to discuss code abstractions with me, although all the new tire fires were way more noisy in my mind.
My brain was reluctant. Everything I said sounded clumsy. But it felt like the writer's advice to write a page a day, even if it's bad.
All 3 things are just practice. They're just making space. I don't expect to get ideas from them directly.
Collectively, though, it feels like they're making enough space for the small ideas to start coming back. And maybe some day, the big ones.
I'm kind of embarrassed to share this. There are many folks in very dire situations who don't have the luxury of cultivating detachment.
And I am not at all advocating keep your head down & work & completely ignore everything that's happening.
But if like me you're in a situation where work is a necessity...I'm finding I have to be actively trying to make that possible these days.
whatnow  meditation  stress  creativity  by:sarahmei 
may 2017 by dirtystylus
An Answer to Fear - [ relay ]
The larger the Bible looms in your imagination, the more skeptical you become of the spirit of the age, the less prone you are to assume that whatever seems true to the people around you must, in fact, be true.
whatnow  bible  christianity  religion  reading  worldview  jmarkbertrand 
december 2016 by dirtystylus
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