A long-ago friend told me “You can’t build on shifting sands,” and so it is perhaps not the time to build, when the sands are everywhere in motion. You can almost hear the Earth turning, like a restless body on a hot summer night, the god of natural acts kicks away the tangled bedsheets and brings our whole house down. How little it takes!
I didn’t mean to go a month without writing. I got involved in a few home improvement projects and one thing led to another, and now it’s almost Labor Day. Well, so. August is an inadvertent month; as someone* once said on the eve of some war** or another, “You don’t introduce new products in August.”
We can do some links, though. Just a few, because, August. Also, my internet was out for a bit and I liked being without it more than I thought I would, once I got over it being gone. Which probably explains all the home improvement projects.
Tim Kreider has a new newsletter: People react to powerlessness under stress in a variety of ways. They avoid; they deny; they self-anesthetize. Personally, sitting at my mother’s deathbed, I decided that unqualified sobriety was no longer a tenable policy for me.
Lyz Lenz has my number: “Doing a Little Word Puzzle as the World Burns.”
As does Oliver Burkeman: If you want to write, you need a schedule.
Indi Samarajiva dismantles the propaganda organ otherwise known as The Economist.
Ours is not the only shell government in the world that ignores public services in favor of serving the interests of the wealthy. As George Monbiot writes of life in the UK, “The only public services not facing a major shortfall are defence (whose budget Truss intends greatly to raise) and roads. There’s a reason why the government spends so much on roads while strangling the rest of the public sector: they are among the few public services used by the very rich.“
FDR’s Labor Secretary held the office for 12 years, a record for that position. She was also the first woman U.S. Cabinet member. If you like Social Security, you can thank Frances Perkins.
National Whiskey Sour Day has come and gone. I celebrated.
Favorite read of the month that wasn’t on the internet: The Factory, by Hiroko Oyamada. Asking the question to which we would all appreciate an answer: “What am I doing here?”
I wanted to say, Um, no. But then… maybe? The Cheese & Pickle Sandwich.
Here’s to all of your own inadvertencies, and to the last day of August, and everything after.
*Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff for George W. Bush, remarking on the post-Labor Day timing of the big media push in 2002 to set the stage for…
**…the invasion of Iraq the following spring. It was one of those rare early moments of saying the quiet part out loud, back before such a thing became commonplace: that the media blitz wasn’t comparable to marketing, it was marketing. The product was the war, and they didn’t want to begin the process of selling it to us before we were ready to pay attention.
We pay attention in September. It’s axiomatic.