Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The Age of Social Media Is Ending by Ian Bogost: “It’s over. Facebook is in decline, Twitter in chaos. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value and laid off 11,000 people, with its ad business in peril and its metaverse fantasy in irons. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has caused advertisers to pull spending and power users to shun the platform (or at least to tweet a lot about doing so). It’s never felt more plausible that the age of social media might end—and soon. Now that we’ve washed up on this unexpected shore, we can look back at the shipwreck that left us here with fresh eyes. Perhaps we can find some relief: Social media was never a natural way to work, play, and socialize, though it did become second nature.”

3 issues Catholics should follow after midterm elections by MSW: “Three aspects of the election stand out as especially significant for Roman Catholics: the issue of abortion and the throwaway culture; the demographic reality of Latino voters continuing to shift to the GOP; and participation in, and preservation of, our democracy.”

How Twitter Shapes What You Know, Even If You’ve Never Used It by Yair Rosenberg: “From American politics to COVID-19, the site fosters a chattering-class consensus that isn’t always correct, but reverberates far beyond.”

A ‘right to sex’ is not the cure for what ails so many men by Christine Emba: “Proposing that a “right to sex” will cure mens’ ills wrongly assumes that the depression, nihilism and economic dislocation that Hunt correctly identifies as serious problems will be eliminated by a higher number of sexual encounters. In interviews for my own book on what ails our sexual culture, one psychotherapist described to me how many of her young male patients pursued sex compulsively (and often succeeded in getting it) but still found themselves unsatisfied. In many cases, their underlying desire wasn’t for the act itself but for the chance to be with someone — to feel intimacy and closeness, to wake up next to someone else. They weren’t struggling from a lack of sexual entitlement, the therapist explained; they were lonely and atomized.”

The Problem With Letting Therapy-Speak Invade Everything by Tara Isabella Burton: “It’s not just that this Instagram therapy gives its adherents a convenient excuse to bail on dinner parties or silence our phones when friends text us in tears. Rather, it’s that according to this newly prevalent gospel of self-actualization, the pursuit of private happiness has increasingly become culturally celebrated as the ultimate goal. The “authentic” self — to use another common buzzword — is characterized by personal desires and individual longings. Conversely, obligations, including obligations to imperfect and often downright difficult people, are often framed as mere unpleasant circumstance, inimical to the solitary pursuit of our best life. Feelings have become the authoritative guide to what we ought to do, at the expense of our sense of communal obligations.”

Are We More Addicted to Shopping Than We Think? by Tish Harrison Warren: “The problem with consumerism is that it’s not often clear when it’s actually a problem. It doesn’t seem to have as bright an ethical line as, say, theft or adultery. After all, human beings need food, clothing and shelter. I need floors in my house! In a real sense, our life depends on consuming things. Yet consumerism is not simply consumption. It’s attaching our heart to the acquisition of new and better things. It’s our preoccupation with novel goods or experiences. It’s the (usually) silent, buried belief that if we can buy enough or travel enough or have the right experiences or the most interesting friends, we can make ourselves whole.”

Black, Christian and Transcending the Political Binary by Tish Harrison Warren: “Justin Giboney is a lawyer and political strategist in Atlanta who grew up in the Black church. He says his theological foundation came from his grandfather, who was a bishop in a Black Pentecostal denomination. Giboney is also the president and a co-founder of the AND Campaign, a Christian civic organization meant to represent people of faith who do not fit neatly into either political party. I’ve written before about how I’m intrigued by people and movements that defy our prescribed ideological categories. The AND Campaign, which is based in Atlanta and has 15 chapters across the United States, is one of those. Led almost entirely by young professionals, artists, pastors and community leaders of color, the group advocates voting rights and police reform, leads what it calls a “whole life project” dedicated to reducing abortion and supporting mothers, endorses a “livable wage” and champions other issues that break left and right, in turn.”

Conservative policies linked to higher mortality among working-age people, except when it comes to marijuana by NBC News: “Conservative state policies regarding the environment, gun safety, labor, taxes and tobacco have been associated with higher mortality rates among working-age people relative to liberal policies, new research found. The one exception to the pattern was conservative marijuana policies….One surprising finding, Montez said, was that conservative labor policies — such as a low minimum wage or lack of paid sick leave — were associated with higher rates of death from alcohol consumption. The reasons for that aren’t known, but Martez said one theory is that people facing work-related hardships may turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress. The link between liberal marijuana policies — such as legalization and access to medical cannabis — and higher mortality was also unexpected, Montez said.”

What Moneyball-for-Everything Has Done to American Culture by Derek Thompson: “Cultural Moneyballism, in this light, sacrifices exuberance for the sake of formulaic symmetry. It sacrifices diversity for the sake of familiarity. It solves finite games at the expense of infinite games. Its genius dulls the rough edges of entertainment. I think that’s worth caring about. It is definitely worth asking the question: In a world that will only become more influenced by mathematical intelligence, can we ruin culture through our attempts to perfect it?”

Confucius Envy by Mason L. Wong: “Much has been written lately about the American Right’s embrace of Hungary, which is said to reveal both the increasingly authoritarian tack of America’s conservatives and one possible outcome for America’s future. I would argue that the American Right’s fascination with China should be seen the same way—as telling us more about post-liberals than about China. When the new reactionaries write about China, their admiration involves a good deal of projection.”

This Is What Happens When Race Is Everything by David Brooks: “But while all this complex pluralism is happening on the ground, many politicians and conflict entrepreneurs like Tucker Carlson revert to crude racial binaries in order to justify their status and gain power. Sadly, history shows us how ridiculously easy it is for people to whip up in-group versus out-group hostilities, especially if they can spread a worldview that asserts that life is essentially about a zero-sum war of group against group.”