Jan 8, 2021

the rattle: 1/8/20

Gonna try out doing Friday posts called “The Rattle”—for the things that I’ve been reading that are still rattling around in my brain and heart since first encountering them. I’ve always loved the big proviso over at reading.am that the things you share aren’t the things you obediently agree with or “fav,” but just things that have staying power for whatever reason. They’re still rattling around when you’re in the shower, on a run, cooking dinner. It should go without saying, since “RTs are not endorsements” has been around forever, but still: it seems to be worth saying that the things we read and stay with us are not because of our lockstep agreement. They have a rattle of power because it was important for us to encounter the ideas.


Streets Before Trust. This one comes from Matt Yglesias’s good thoughts on the conundrum of social trust in general.

Havel: Unfinished Revolution: “Havel’s great insight was that communism and capitalism shared more in common than we might care to admit. Leaders of both systems were obsessed with what could be measured, counted, and quantified. In the Leninist-Stalinist vision of the world, society is a rather simple machine whose levers can be manipulated by anyone who has undergone the right ideological education. In Havel’s view, communism was simply a “convex mirror” that magnified the dehumanizing relationships we have with one another and with the mechanized world around us.”

—And speaking of simple machines, Andrew Janjigian pointed me to Ben Berman’s Good Pizza Philadelphia, donating pizza in exchange for charitable contributions, lowered from his apartment via pulley.

—Alice McDermott on her brilliant book, The Ninth Hour, and on teaching fiction writing to students: “Don’t let your story be too much about what it’s about.”

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