It’s been a tough week. All this happened in the last seven days:
- Pipe bombs were sent to over a dozen critics of the Trump administration. Thankfully, none of them reached their target.
- A man in Louisville KY killed two people in a Kroger after failing to enter a predominantly black church.
- In Pittsburgh, a man shouting anti-Semitic language killed 11 people in a synagogue.
I’ve been making more blog posts/newsletter entries because I wanted to be disciplined about giving updates on my life and sharing some considered thoughts on film and pop culture. But on a week like this one, all that ephemera can seem completely insignificant compared to the tragedies we are now weekly faced with. if you’re like me, it can be difficult to know how to balance the desire to stay engaged with the need for self-care. I wish you all the best in finding the right balance for yourselves.
In the meantime, I did want to share this article by Tayari Jones for Time entitled, “There’s Nothing Virtuous About Finding Common Ground”:
I find myself annoyed by the hand-wringing about how we need to find common ground. People ask how might we “meet in the middle,” as though this represents a safe, neutral and civilized space. This American fetishization of the moral middle is a misguided and dangerous cultural impulse. The middle is a point equidistant from two poles. That’s it. There is nothing inherently virtuous about being neither here nor there. Buried in this is a false equivalency of ideas, what you might call the “good people on both sides” phenomenon. When we revisit our shameful past, ask yourself, Where was the middle? Rather than chattel slavery, perhaps we could agree on a nice program of indentured servitude? Instead of subjecting Japanese-American citizens to indefinite detention during WW II, what if we had agreed to give them actual sentences and perhaps provided a receipt for them to reclaim their things when they were released? What is halfway between moral and immoral?
Jones concludes by saying, “Compromise is not valuable in its own right, and justice seldom dwells in the middle.” I hope these are words we can all keep in mind as the U.S. mid-term elections are 9 days away and rapidly approaching.
Vote. Do what you can to create a future you believe in. And remember that there’s nothing inherently valuable about making sure everyone agrees with you.
A few things I read and appreciated this week:
- Charlie Warzel at Buzzfeed considers how online extremism seems to be spilling out into the real world with increasing and disturbing frequency.
- Red Dead Redemption 2, one of the most anticipated games of all time, was released this week. Several stories have been published detailing the challenging conditions workers faced as they created this ambitious gaming Western. I’d recommend the ones by Eurogamer and Kotaku.
- Mike Ryan explains how Bohemian Rhapsody dishonors Freddie Mercury’s legacy.
- Anna Silman at Vulture has an interview with Laverne Cox about how she’s handling her moment in the spotlight.
- Heather Havrilesky describes what it’s like when Library Twitter comes after you.