July Links

Summer becomes eclectic as July slides into August and nobody seems to know what’s going on. Normal summer activities like going to the lake and hiking in the Shawnee feel strangely inaccessible. Could it be the $5.15/gallon price of gasoline that keeps me close to home? Perhaps it’s the monster heat that makes even normal erranding feel like an excursion into some sweaty hellishness teeming with Other People who all drive much too aggressively in their absurdly large vehicles.

Also: I’ve become squeamish about ticks.

I did find a new local bar to hang out in (that’s it in the picture up there), though I’m not sure I’m ready to start doing that again. Maybe if I only go when it’s as empty as in that picture.

Anyway.

Here are a few things besides the heat and the price of gasoline that captured my attention this month.

Indi Samarajiva writes about the commons, and the wreck of it, by a culture and an economy that privileges cars over public transportation. (You may need to give up your email address to read it. Worth it.)

Also: how caregiving is — or ought to be — a kind of commons: Anne Helen Petersen interviews Angela Garbes on why raising children is not an individual responsibility, but a social one.

And: in light of the current chaos that is abortion care in the U.S., it’s worth revisiting Jenny Brown’s 2018 argument that birthing is an economic activity, and women are fed up with doing the unpaid labor.

In other health-related news, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. We’re not talking about it anymore, but Dave Pollard is keeping score: “Not only are vaccinations losing their power, infection is almost useless as a means of protecting yourself against future infection.”

And: in case you need reminding, industry whistleblower Wendell Potter continues to reveal how health insurance in the U.S. is an abomination of wealth extraction and spin.

Speaking of wealth extraction, music critic Ted Gioia writes about the absurdity of navigating “fair use” for music videos that seek to educate an audience. “I have zero interest in breaking the law, or finding out how much I can bend it. But it would help if someone could tell me what the law actually says.”

A welcome escape from the ordinary: Robin Sloan’s newsletter. Read to the end for an exploration into one facet of the oddly-now-quotidian 21st century media algorithm.

The extraordinary TikTok videos of Azuma Makoto. Trust me.

More music: I spent a recent 90 minutes enrapt in the re-mastered 1981 Simon & Garfunkel Concert in Central Park. As the old folks say, it’s good for what ails you.

I’m so grateful to live in the same world as Nick Cave and The Red Hand Files. “I want to facilitate, in some small way, a mutual journey toward meaning; to decrease the dimensions of our emptiness and draw us closer to love and to beauty. I understand that these sound like grandiose claims, but they are not. This common project – to improve matters – is available to all of us.”

Onward.


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