Our Draymond Green Problem.” Elizabeth Stice draws on Draymond Green and Hannah Arendt to consider what responsibilities we might have for our allies: “What we need then is not exactly less politics, it is more “civic virtue,” which will involve a kind of politics. We actually have to care more about the world beyond our doorstep, but we have to care differently than most of what we are witnessing.”

Tech, Talk, and TikTok.” My colleague Brian Dellinger takes stock of the TikTok divestment bill: “TikTok cannot avoid privacy charges merely because its speech claims are valid. Imagine a news reporter who moonlighted as a spy; whether his editorials were protected speech should be utterly irrelevant to his arrest.”

A Rich Vocation that Might Not Pay Well.” David Demaree describes the depressing frequency with which one’s value as a person is equated with one’s earning potential: “it is only by maintaining an imagination of flourishing that I have eyes to see that the best of my labor comes from the work I am not paid for in the place that I live among the people that I love.” (Recommended by Greg Roper.)

Die Before You Die.” Paul Kingsnorth describes how the community participated in honoring his neighbor’s life and tending his body after his death: “Digging a grave, and then shovelling the hard clods back onto the coffin lid the next day, has a tendency to make a man stare his life, and the end of it, in the face.”

The Teens Making Friends with AI Chatbots.” Jessica Lucas reports on the disturbing popularity of AI “therapists” and AI “friends”: “Aaron is one of millions of young people, many of whom are teenagers, who make up the bulk of Character.AI’s user base. More than a million of them gather regularly online on platforms like Reddit to discuss their interactions with the chatbots, where competitions over who has racked up the most screen time are just as popular as posts about hating reality, finding it easier to speak to bots than to speak to real people, and even preferring chatbots over other human beings. Some users say they’ve logged 12 hours a day on Character.AI, and posts about addiction to the platform are common.”

The Ache for Home.” Mary Grace Mangano draws on Wendell Berry, Flannery O’Connor, and others to probe the challenges and possibilities of homemaking: “even more than a ‘sense of meaning,’ all people desire a place to belong, a place where they are known and valued. Maya Angelou writes that ‘the ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.’ She’s right about that ache. We long for a place, or a community, that lets us be ourselves.”

Not Lost in a Book.” Dan Kois explores the various reasons that children report reading less after they turn nine: “Experts I spoke to pointed to any number of causes for middle-graders’ lost love of reading. Yes, screen time is an issue. . . . But others also pointed to the way reading is being taught to young children in an educational environment that gets more and more test-focused all the time. . . . Reading in the classroom has moved away from encouraging students to dive into a whole book and moved toward students reading excerpts and responding to them.”

The (Home) School of Democracy.” Nadya Williams draws on Monica Swanson’s Becoming Homeschoolers to explore the ways that homeschooling can cultivate the common good: “Where is the school of democracy in America today? For a growing minority of American families, it’s where the Athenians would expect: the household, the oikos, as that most foundational democratic institution.”

The Department of Agriculture Rubber-Stamped Tyson’s “Climate Friendly” Beef, but No One Has Seen the Data Behind the Company’s Claim.” Georgina Gustin reports on why you should take labels on Tyson beef with a few grains of salt: “This lack of transparency from the agency worries environmental and legal advocacy groups, especially now that billions of dollars in taxpayer funds are available for agricultural practices deemed to have benefits for the climate. The Biden administration’s signature climate legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, appropriated nearly $20 billion for these practices; another $3.1 billion is available through a Biden-era program called the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities.”

Behind the Ivy Intifada.” Musa al-Gharbi isn’t impressed with either students or administrators at Columbia: “Attention is finite. Energy is finite. Time is finite. Resources are finite. Save your concern and your efforts for the crisis in Gaza. Don’t let the farce at Columbia obscure the tragedy that the protests were supposed to call attention to in the first place.”

What’s So Bad About Asking Where Humans Came From?” William Deresiewicz delightfully eviscerates the assumptions Stefanos Geroulanos makes in The Invention of Prehistory: Empire, Violence, and Our Obsession With Human Origins: “Doesn’t it matter if this or that theory is true: about where human beings first evolved, or our historical and genetic relationship to Neanderthals, or the degree of violence in ancient hunter-gatherer societies, or how patriarchy emerged? Apparently, it doesn’t. ‘I do not much care if particular theories are true,’ Geroulanos writes. ‘I ask what work they do.’ It isn’t clear, in fact, if he thinks that there is such a thing as truth.”

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


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