Plough Quarterly: Vocation. The new issue of Plough has several good pieces on the meaning and value of work. One of my favorites is the interview with Mike Rowe.

Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore.” Judith Shulevitz demonstrates that as our working hours become “desynchronized,” we are losing the ability to celebrate and socialize together: “Whereas we once shared the same temporal rhythms—five days on, two days off, federal holidays, thank-God-it’s-Fridays—our weeks are now shaped by the unpredictable dictates of our employers.” This might seem to be merely a minor inconvenience, but as she points out, “It’s a cliché among political philosophers that if you want to create the conditions for tyranny, you sever the bonds of intimate relationships and local community.”

Middling: On Hamlin Garland’s Main-Travelled Roads.” Alex Zweber Leslie reviews a newly re-issued version of Garland’s classic and argues that “Main-Travelled Roads flouted genteel convention by not only including poor farmers in the purview of “serious” literature but making them protagonists and narrators.”

Living with Bacteria, Dying to Self: My Life with Crohn’s.” In an essay for Christianity Today, Lucas Mix describes how being sick brought home to him the theological stakes of embodiment: “Communal embodiment is not only real, but necessary. The locus of self and will for a biologist must be an interdependent community. In everything I do, “I” am both Homo sapiens and E. coli and other species collaborating in a single consciousness. I am legion.”

The Quieter Side of Cardinal Sarah.” Scott Beauchamp considers the life and work of Cardinal Robert Sarah and argues that his pronouncements flow from a profound and counter-cultural silence.

Ranchers Denounce Corporate Control over Cattle Markets.” Claire Kelloway reports on the dynamics in the beef market: “Last month, packers made an unprecedented $415 per head, up from around $150 before the fire [in a Tyson packing plant], while cattle producers lost on average $200.”

To Decarbonize We Must Decomputerize: Why We Need a Luddite Revolution.” Ben Tarnoff surveys the growing might of big data and makes a novel proposal: “We should reject the assumption that our built environment must become one big computer.”

On the Road with Wendell Berry.” Jon M. Sweeney describes a visit he made to the Berry’s farm 32 years ago and reviews the new Library of America collection of Berry’s essays.

The Odd Immortality of John Crowe Ransom.” James Matthew Wilson recommends John Crow Ransom’s poetry.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. Well, you could read lunacy from the guardian about how we should abolish computers or something or you could read about the real world:
    THE HAGUE — Thousands of tractors rumbled into The Hague on Wednesday as farmers protested a clampdown on nitrogen emissions that could wreak havoc on their businesses.

    “Over the past 20 years, the agricultural sector has moved back and forth along with the rules imposed by politicians,” said Eddy van Wezel, a farmer from Huijbergen, a village close to the Belgian border, who drove by tractor to the Dutch legislative capital with his young son. “Now farmers are forced to bear the brunt of emergency measures to combat nitrogen emissions.”

    As I’ve said before, anti-carbon extremists need to explain how they’re going to reconcile their plans with remaining a democracy, given how unpopular they always are in practice.
    I’m not an expert in Dutch politics, but I’d say you may expect more localists everywhere to adopt the strategy of becoming ungovernable in order to counter policies designed explicitly to destroy them, imposed by entirely nonrepresentative governments.

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