Rural Kansas, Moby-Dick, and Online “Community”

Photo by George W. Ackerman

The Tweeting of the Lambs: A Day in the Life of a Modern Shepherd.” Sam Knight profiles James Rebanks, a shepherd in England’s Lake District and the author of The Shepherd’s Life.

Rural Kansas is Dying. I Drove 1,800 Miles to Find Out Why.” Corie Brown narrates a rather depressing trip. Turns out industrial agriculture does a good job of eradicating people.

As far as I could see, there was an utter lack of people. The only other sign of human life was a farm truck roaring down a string-straight road toward the edge of the earth. That’s the thing about rural Kansas: No one lives there, not anymore.

Maybe someone should write a book about The Unsettling of America.

Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People.” Jim Robbins writes about the incalculable value of local knowledge.

Full Spectrum Christian: An Interview with Stan Goff.” Over at Solidarity Hall, Mark Gordon interviews a former soldier, who was involved in multiple special operations, about why he became committed to nonviolence. It’s a pretty fascinating philosophical and theological journey.

Reading Moby-Dick with Marilynne Robinson.” Drew Bratcher describes what sounds like a remarkable class.

Community.” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” Michael Sacasas tells Zuckerberg. In a follow-up post, Sacasas suggests this metaphor for understanding the relationship between social media and community:

I’m going to close by venturing a rather fraught and, as they say, problematic analogy. In relationship to the problem of loneliness, maybe we should think of social media as a painkiller. It’s fairly effective, at least initially, at treating the symptoms. But the underlying condition is never touched. It persists. You find over time that you’re getting diminishing returns, so you turn to it more frequently. Eventually, you might even find that you’re taking the painkiller compulsively and, on the whole, it’s left you feeling worse. Not only has the root condition remained, now you have two problems rather than one.

‘Log Off’ or Pray: Christian Disagreement & Dislike Online.” B. D. McClay writes about how to engage online conversations: “Speaking honestly, humbly, and charitably doesn’t start with others; it starts with you.”

In a couple of weeks, FPR will be running a series of reflections on whether localists should use social media, and if so, how. Stay tuned.

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