“Is Self-Help Advice Doomed to Be Conservative?” Rebecca Onion interviews Pete Davis about his new book, and Pete articulates the goods that come with being rooted.
“Plough Quarterly No. 28: Creatures: The Nature Issue.” Plough’s new issue is out, and it looks to be a rich one. My hard copy arrived last week, and I’ve been savoring it.
“A Barber in the House.” Bill Kauffman describes his friendship with Barber Conable and the process of editing his journals. The book is coming out soon from the UP of Kansas: The Congressional Journal of Barber B. Conable Jr. As Kauffman concludes, “his journal, like the sterling example of his life, is evidence that character and wisdom are not necessarily incompatible with service in Congress.”
“The Wealth of an Intimate History: On Wendell Berry’s Stand By Me.” John-Paul Heil reviews a UK edition of some of Berry’s short stories and reflects on the vision of community that unfolds in these narratives: “A strong local community produces humans as well as humus, forming the next generation in the practices of the past and instilling in them a respect for and connection to their local land.”
“What Oxford Taught Me about Posh People.” James Rebanks writes about the failures of the educational system: “For years university worked because we believed it worked. It turned out ‘clever’ people for ‘clever’ jobs with good salaries, and sent the rest down the mine, to the factory or the farm.”
“Do You Have What it Takes to ‘Walk A Mile In My News?’” Monica Guzman describes a project led by Braver Angels to help people in separate news bubbles converse with one another regarding the issues they care about.
“A Younger Maclean Returns to Where the River Still Runs .” Lloyd Green reviews John Norman Maclean’s new book: “Home Waters repeatedly reminds us that fly fishing provides a wonderful score to the drama of life.”
“Meat Plant Shutdowns Are Spreading After a Cyberattack on JBS.” Marcy Nicholson, Fabiana Batista, and Sybilla Gross report on a series of meat processing facility closures caused by hackers. Concentrated industries—JBS butchers almost 25% of US beef–are fragile and vulnerable, but who knows how bad such a disruption would have to be to result in fundamental economic shifts. H. Claire Brown and Jessica Fu add more background in their article.
“On the Disappearing Rural Cemetery.” Anthony Hennen writes in praise of a set of places that are in danger of being forgotten: “The disappearance of small burial grounds and almost-forgotten cemeteries is a deep shame. Cemeteries hold the last connection to our past. They hold roots. They offer a space for commemoration, love, humility, religion—they serve as a physical memory of a final, inescapable end.”
“The Media’s Memory-Hole Privilege.” Michael Brendan Dougherty describes the double-standards for how digital memory functions: “Individuals will be held accountable for all their sins, while the ruling institutions will just print notices about ‘updates’ that serve as vague reminders that they, unlike you, have a license to be wrong, precisely because you have a duty to believe them, and they have the right to be believed.”
“The Outsourcing of America’s Food.” Austin Frerick calls for unwinding the subsidies and free trade agreements that have benefited large corporations and contributed to outsourcing American food production: “The transformation in Iowa of a diverse agricultural economy into one narrowly focused on a pair of commodity crops is the product of a bigger trend that is taking place throughout our country. A new set of incentives imposed on farmers has mixed with an embrace of unrestricted free trade with countries like China and Mexico to create a dangerous situation: the outsourcing of the American food system.”
“Betraying Tyndale: Notes Against Propaganda.” Jake Meador takes stock of the state of political and theological discourse and asks some tough questions: “Is there another game in town besides the rampant dissemination of propaganda in service of political ideology? Is there some movement that cares about edifying the American mind rather than contributing to its further decay?”
“Conspiracies in the Classroom.” Elizabeth Stice suggests that the liberal arts disciplines can form students to seek truth even in a society where conspiracy theories seem to be gaining new traction.
“Local News Coverage Is Declining—And That Could Be Bad For American Politics.” Joshua Darr describes studies that demonstrate a link between national news and polarization: “when people read news about their neighborhoods, schools and municipal services, they think like locals. When they read about national political conflict, they think like partisans.”
“The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins.” Katherine Eban’s extensive investigation indicates “that conflicts of interest, stemming in part from large government grants supporting controversial virology research, hampered the U.S. investigation into COVID-19’s origin at every step. In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.”
“Arion Press Enters New Era.” Hunter Oatman-Stanford describes the way books are made at a very unusual letterpress facility.