News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As a British journalist living abroad, I get asked many questions, from the role of the queen to the peculiarities of Parliament. But one theme comes up again and again: poshness. What does it really mean? What’s posh, and what isn’t? Outsiders think they know the term, but they don’t understand it viscerally. And they often miss that when the British deploy the term, it comes with an edge whetted on the stone of class.

Understanding poshness matters, especially since it is in the air again: Like the damp in an old country house, it never truly goes away. And it’s back now with the current British prime minister, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, an alumni of Eton College, the University of Oxford, and the Bullingdon Club. It can be seen plainly in the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a man whose aristocratic self-fashioning is so risibly parodic he’s been labeled the “honorable member for the 18th century.”

Read the rest of this article at: Foreign Policy

News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On 30 March 1929, the German philosophers Rudolf Carnap and Martin Heidegger took a stroll together around the chilly heights of Davos in Switzerland. Heidegger was 39 and ascending to the peak of his fame. Two years earlier, he’d published Being and Time, a book that tried to say something about what it means for something ‘to be’, and therefore about the nature and necessary conditions of being human. It also gained near-instant notoriety for its indigestible prose and bewildering neologisms. (His most notorious: ‘ahead-of-itself-already-being-in [a world] as Being-alongside [entities encountered within-the-world]’; mercifully, he shortened this concept to ‘care’). Whatever its flaws, the book unquestionably revolutionised philosophy.

Carnap, a year and a half younger than Heidegger, was respectful to his more accomplished compatriot. He hadn’t yet read Being and Time, although he did the following year, bragging that his friends ‘were astonished that I was capable of interpreting Heidegger’. Carnap even wrote of Heidegger that he is ‘as a person very attractive’, which doesn’t appear to be a widely shared impression. By all accounts, Heidegger was arrogant, humourless, ugly and disloyal. His affectations made contemporaries groan: he occasionally dressed like the peasant he wasn’t, or else showed up to lectures wearing his skiing outfit.

The Alpine conversation turned to the ‘question of existence’ and the ‘need for a solution’, two enduring obsessions of Heidegger’s. But Carnap was determined to claim intellectual territory of his own, having recently taken his own first steps up the mountain of philosophical recognition. The year before, he’d published his first important work, The Logical Structure of the World (1928), and helped to write a manifesto for his cohort of thinkers, the Vienna Circle. These texts announced a philosophical revolution in which a new methodology based on logical analysis would finally put philosophy on firm footing.

Davos was perhaps the last moment in which the two men were thinking together, figuratively or literally, on the same plane. In 1932, Carnap unleashed a cutting attack against Heidegger, denouncing him as a ‘musician without musical ability’ – a stinging insult for someone who considered himself to be investigating the most profound philosophical questions imaginable. Then in 1933, Heidegger enthusiastically joined the Nazi Party. At times, he even seemed to imagine himself as some kind of philosopher-kaiser, and he never recanted. Carnap, a declared socialist, ultimately fled fascism and found refuge in the United States.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

Seven years ago, if you were an ambitious young white woman seeking to break through the glass ceiling at work, Sheryl Sandberg was your mentor. Her bestselling 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead was your guide to overcoming the type-A personality defects — perfectionism, people-pleasing, fear of criticism, self-doubt — holding you back from the C-suite.

Lean In offered a game plan for success in the corporate workplace through the lens of self-improvement. Sandberg never set out to dismantle the system, but to excel inside it. (Which she has: As the COO of Facebook, her net worth is estimated to be $1.7 billion.) If women just leaned in, could we change the system through our own self-motivated behavioral choices? Institutional barriers versus internal barriers is the “ultimate chicken-and-egg situation,” she writes. But “rather than engage in philosophical arguments over which comes first, let’s agree to wage battles on both fronts.”

By presenting gender disparities in the workplace as a war to be fought on a personal level, Sandberg allowed women to feel like they were activists whenever they advocated for themselves. It’s inspiring to feel like you’re on the right side of a good cause, like you’re a part of history in the making. Sandberg invited readers to ask themselves “How can I make the system work better for me?” instead of “Who is the system designed to work for?” She gave women permission to define feminism on their own terms, ushering in the cotton-candy pink epoch of the girlboss, c. 2013–2020.

Read the rest of this article at: Gen

News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

COVID-19 is an infectious disease of the respiratory tract. Its typical incubation period is around five days. When symptoms develop, they are unremarkable: fever, fatigue, a dry cough. Around 20 percent of those who develop symptoms become seriously unwell. Its mortality rate is hard to assess, but the World Health Organization estimates that around 3 percent of those with symptoms go on to die.

So much for the facts. Within months of its entry into our lexicon, COVID-19 has become the stuff of metaphor. Like many diseases, COVID-19 has been cast as the enemy in a difficult war. This time, though, the enemy is a vengeful nature, the lex talionis due for wet markets and pangolin meat. The disease is a spotlight: with Trump, inequality and global supply chains all caught in its unforgiving beam. It’s an X-ray too, a harsh medicament trained on society’s ills; it yields a shadowed picture of its hidden, broken parts. And COVID-19, writes Arundhati Roy, is a “portal”: by inducing mass migration, economic devastation and authoritarian surveillance, it gives us a vision of the future.

COVID-19 may be new; metaphors of illness are not. In 1978, Susan Sontag published three essays in the New York Review of Books; six months later, they appeared, lightly edited, as a book: Illness as Metaphor. Sontag’s focus is wider than the name might suggest: “metaphor” acts as a metonymic placeholder for a range of symbolic figurations. In Illness, Sontag traces both the imprint left by tuberculosis on the literary imagination of the long nineteenth century and the fantasies imposed on cancer by the twentieth. The book’s twin ideals are truth and health; metaphor is their joint enemy. To purge oneself of metaphoric thinking, Sontag writes, is both the most truthful way of regarding illness and the healthiest way to suffer it.

Although tuberculosis is contagious, its symbolic career was not like that of other epidemic diseases. By becoming rhetorically figured as a disease that refined the sensibility, tuberculosis served to articulate a romantic ideal of selfhood. Cholera, typhoid and bubonic plague infected individuals as members of infected communities; tuberculosis, by contrast, was understood as a disease of isolation and exile. This was no accident. As the nineteenth century saw the emergence of sanatoria and travel—to Rome, to the mountains, to the Pacific—as tuberculosis treatments, a diagnosis often meant being prized from one’s home and community. Material isolation of the sick body, so suggestive of cloistering, was understood as the physical expression of an interior difference.

Read the rest of this article at: The Point

News 06.24.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Imagine young Ahmaud “Maud” Arbery, a junior varsity scatback turned undersized varsity linebacker on a practice field of the Brunswick High Pirates. The head coach has divided the squad into offense and defense and has his offense running the plays of their next opponent. The coach, as is his habit, has been taunting his defense. “Y’all ain’t ready,” he says. “You can’t stop us,” he says. “What y’all gone do?” The next play, Maud, all 5 feet 10 inches and 165 pounds of him, bursts between blockers and—BOOM!—lays a hit that makes the sound of cars crashing, that echoes across the field and into the stands, that just might reach the locker room. It’s a feat that teenage Maud also intends as a message to his coaches, his teammates, and all else that ain’t hitherto hipped: Don’t test my heart. Some of those teammates smash their fist to their mouth and oooh. Others slap one another’s pads and point. An assistant coach winces and runs to the aid of the tackled teammate. And the head coach, well, he trumpets his whistle. “Why’d you hit him like that?” he hollers. “Save that for Friday. Let’s see you do that on Friday.”

That Friday, in Glynn County Stadium (one of the largest high school stadiums in all of gridiron-loving Georgia) the Pirates, clad in their home white jerseys with blue and gold trim, huddle in the locker room. Maud, who wears high shoulder pads, a 2×4 face mask, and number 21 in honor of his brother, Buck, and his idol, famed Redskins safety Sean Taylor, swaggers into the center of his teammates and begins the chant he’s christened into a pre-game ritual.

“Y’all ready!” he shouts.

“Hell yeah!” they shout.

“Y’all ready!” he shouts.

“Hell yeah!” they shout.

“Y’all ain’t ready?!” he shouts.

“Sheeeeeit!” they shout.

To applause that could be thunder, the team stampedes out of the fog-filled mouth of a blow-up tunnel onto the field. The school band plays the fight song and cheerleaders shake pom-poms from a row in front of the band. There’s a raucous sea of blue and gold in the stands, including plenty of Maud’s people. Game time, the opposing team calls the play that Maud put the fierce kaput on in practice, and beneath a metal-halide glare that’s also a gauntlet, Maud barrels towards the running back and—BOOM!—lays a hit that sounds like trucks colliding. It’s a noise that resounds across the field and into the stands, that just might ring all over Brunswick. The fans send up a roar but Maud trots to the sidelines almost insouciant. Jason Vaughn, an assistant coach who also coached Maud on JV, grabs him by his face mask. “Now that’s how you hit,” he says, tamping astonishment that a boy his size could hit that hard.

But that’s young Maud, undersized in the physical sense, super-sized in heart.

Read the rest of this article at: Runners World

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