Once it Comes Time.” Michael Adno narrates the life and work of the photographer William Christenberry: “The thread of memory applied to all his work in sculpture, painting, and photography. But more clearly, he made visible the connective tissue between what places once were and what they were becoming. Walker Percy described Christenberry’s work as ‘a poetic evocation of a haunted countryside.’” (Recommended by Jesse Hake and Rob Grano.)

Is Our Approach to Poverty All Wrong?” Thomas S. Hibbs wonders “whether we can combine attention to the faces and lived experiences of the poor with an attention to what research tells us what actually works to move people out of poverty.” (Recommended by Scott Moore.)

The Concession to Climate Change I Will Not Make.” In a beautifully-written essay for the Atlantic, Jedediah Britton-Purdy writes of his hopes for his young son: “Nothing he learns to love will be undamaged. Love for half-broken things and places is what he will have to practice, like all of us.”

For Tech-Weary Midwest Farmers, 40-Year-Old Tractors Now a Hot Commodity.” Adam Belz explains why newer isn’t always better.

Rupi Kaur Is the Writer of the Decade.” I dearly hope that Rumaan Alam is wrong when he speculates that in the coming decades, we’ll “be reading as Rupi Kaur taught us to.”

On Virtue Politics.” Nathaniel Peters interviews James Hankins about his new book, Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and Statecraft in Renaissance Italy, and they discuss what Renaissance humanists might have to say about our contemporary society and politics.

The Dark Psychology of Social Networks.” Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell argue that social media changes the way factions form and operate, and they suggest steps that might ameliorate the damage it causes.

The Social-Media Decade. Christine Rosen writes about the wild ride that social media has taken us on over the past decade:

What happened to our love affair with social media? Contrary to much of what has been written, the story of the last decade of social media isn’t a tale of Russian-driven misinformation but of a misunderstanding of human nature. We have not taken the full measure of the kinds of problematic behaviors we know these platforms reward. We are confused about how to respond to their power to amplify and accelerate scandals and call-out culture. And we are at a loss about how to address their parlous effects not only on citizens but on the politicians we expect to lead us.

What it Takes to Keep Independent Grocery Stores Open in Rural Communities.” Stephanie Parker writes about two small towns in North Dakota that are finding ways to save their grocery stores.

The Future of the Pro-Life Democrat.” John Murdock surveys the history of abortion politics in America and wonders if any Democratic leaders will step forward to represent the sizable portion of their party that still favors restrictions on abortion.

No, George Will, Individual Freedom Is Bigger Than Market Choice.” Senator Josh Hawley takes aim at a recent George Will column:

Will’s fulminations are typical of a certain set of Clinton and Bush-era commentators who call themselves “conservative” but sound more like a cartoon version of libertarianism. Will shrugs at the decline of the working class and the loss of the communities that sustain them. He celebrates instead the “spontaneous order of a market society,” by which he apparently means woke capital, offshoring, and the growing corporatist alliance between big government and big business.

Strange Gods: Idolatry in the Twenty-First Century.” Bill Cavanaugh doesn’t mention McCarraher’s Enchantments of Mammon in this essay, but he’s making a parallel argument.

Against Tribal America.” Joel Kotkin traces an odd progression: “At one time, liberals saw integration and assimilation as critical to achieving a just society. Now, they too often embrace a worldview that defines individuals by race.” (Recommended by Jeff Polet.)

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  1. Here’s a MUCH better article from a real pro-life Democrat: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/steelmagnificat/2020/01/11754/

    For now, the organized anti-abortion movement is entirely about punishing women and forcing us back into 57th class domestic slavery. Show me your support for women having independent jobs and a role in society that does not require groveling to males and then we can discuss restrictions on abortion.

  2. ~~I dearly hope that Rumaan Alam is wrong when he speculates that in the coming decades, we’ll “be reading as Rupi Kaur taught us to.”~~

    In picking out a couple “quality” Christmas cards this year, one for my daughter and one for a friend, I noticed that of the probably two dozen or so I looked at not one had text that either scanned or rhymed. It was all this same sort of confessional touchy-feely free verse.

    Now there’s no doubt that greeting card poetry often didn’t rise above the level of doggerel. Remember Laurel and Hardy’s Mother’s Day card?:

    Hello, Mother.
    Hi there, Ma!
    Hey Mommy, Mommy
    And a ha-cha-cha!

    Thus there’s long been an often well earned association of greeting cards and bad poetry. But it struck me as telling that the poetry has managed to get even worse by jettisoning rhyme and rhythm:

    “The other day I heard some bells


    and I thought about how much fun it would be
    to ride in a sleigh with you.

    an open one — no roof, drawn by a horse…
    We’d speed across the fields
    through the snow
    laughing the whole time.”

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