Weekend Required Reading

1. The US is building a bike trail that runs coast-to-coast across 12 states.*

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2. The pandemic is speeding up the mass disappearance of men from college. 

3. Europeans “get” station wagons in ways U.S. drivers do not. Could this begin to change that?

4. Trump Was the Swamp. Persuasively argued, but come on, no credit for pardoning Lil Wayne?

5. Biden Gave Trump’s Union Busters a Taste of Their Own Medicine. Elections have consequences.

6. Mina Kimes Eats All-22 Tape for Breakfast. Love me some Mina, but her brain and communication skills seem better suited to weightier subjects.

* thanks DDTM

The Problem With ‘Self Care’

Self care is a concept, a lucrative subset of a 4 trillion dollar wellness industry, and a red-hot social fad that doesn’t do anything to address the underlying issues of why so many people are burned out at work and seriously anxious about an ever-growing list of things.

Because of the money now associated with self care, the purveyors of it have a vested interest in NOT helping resolve the underlying issue of frantic busyness that defines so many people’s daily lives. Granted, some of that frantic busyness is explained by people trying to eke out a living with too few jobs that pay a livable wage, but a lot of it is the result of social contagion. I run on the treadmill of life because you do.

We will mute the clarion call for self care when people will themselves to get sufficient sleep, eat healthy food, and be physically active.

My university is a classic case study in the ridiculousness of self care. All of a sudden, despite my colleagues’ tendencies to overwork, the leadership is talking about the importance of self care. We are like seriously overweight people who think we’ve found the miracle diet, but in this case, we’ll be fine if we just make time for a warm bubble bath at the end of our frantic days. And don’t forget the candle.

I predict all of the self care talk will have no medium or long-term effect on how faculty live their lives. But on the plus side, more bubble bath and candles will be sold.

“Trump’s” Farewell Address

I’m here to save you 20 minutes of your life.

The Address is not really his. At minimum, the first half was written by people with no feel for his syntax and rhetoric. I suspect this announcement was made in the White House. “Would any remaining staff please report to the conference room to help write the President’s Farewell Address. Thank you.”

Just a few of the examples where the authors’ insult our intelligence.

To his children:

“You fill my world with light and with joy.”

On the advice of his attorneys, after passively watching the insurrection go down on television and not commenting on it for two days:

“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol.”

From the President of Red America:

“Now more than ever, we must unify around our shared values and rise above the partisan rancor. . .”

From the Narcissist-in-Chief:

“America had given me so much, and I wanted to give something back.”

From the person who repeatedly tried to wish Covid-19 away:

“We grieve for every life lost, and we pledge in their memory to wipe out this horrible pandemic once and for all.”

From the person who continually protested against protesters and fought the principle that every citizen is entitled to equal dignity, equal treatment, and equal rights:

“We fought for the principle that every citizen is entitled to equal dignity, equal treatment, and equal rights because we are all made equal by God. Everyone is entitled to be treated with respect, to have their voice heard, and to have their government listen.”

Half way in, there’s a dramatic shift in tone. These two boasts sound very, very much like Ex-President Trump:

“Incomes soared, wages boomed, the American Dream was restored, and millions were lifted from poverty in just a few short years. It was a miracle. The stock market set one record after another, with 148 stock market highs during this short period of time, and boosted the retirements and pensions of hardworking citizens all across our nation. 401(k)s are at a level they’ve never been at before. We’ve never seen numbers like we’ve seen, and that’s before the pandemic and after the pandemic.”

And:

“Another administration would have taken 3, 4, 5, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.”

Finally, at the very end, a return to creative writing. From the most angry President of my lifetime.

“I go from this majestic place with a. . . joyful heart.”

LOL.

Monday Required Reading

1A. QAnon’s ‘Meme Queen’ Marches On. Loneliness is a scourge.

“What attracts Ms. Gilbert and many other people to QAnon isn’t just the content of the conspiracy theory itself. It’s the community and sense of mission it provides. New QAnon believers are invited to chat rooms and group texts, and their posts are showered with likes and retweets. They make friends, and are told that they are not lonely Facebook addicts squinting at zoomed-in paparazzi photos, but patriots gathering “intel” for a righteous revolution.

This social element also means that QAnon followers aren’t likely to be persuaded out of their beliefs with logic and reason alone.”

1B. The Unlikely Connection Between Wellness Influencers and the Pro-Trump Rioters. Sigh.

2. Why Chamberlain Built a $3,000 Automatic Garage Door For Your Dog.

3. The Golf World Hardly Deserves Praise for “Breaking” With Trump. News Alert: Not everyone is impressed by my newly woke sport.

4. He Just Wanted To Play Catch. La ultima feel good story.

“I think people want to reconnect a little bit right now.”

5. Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet – and Often Your Budget, Too.

“The federal government offers a tax credit for some new electric vehicle purchases, but that does nothing to reduce the initial purchase price and does not apply to used cars. That means it disproportionately benefits wealthier Americans. Some states, like California, offer additional incentives. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has pledged to offer rebates that help consumers swap inefficient, old cars for cleaner new ones, and to create 500,000 more electric vehicle charging stations, too.”

All of today’s QAnon reading necessitated at least one President-elect Biden reference. I don’t want any PressingPausers losing touch with reality.

Orwell On ‘Solid Reality’

The perfect addendum to Brook’s essay*. Absent this reminder, liberals may read Brooks and conclude, “Wow, my team is so completely grounded in reality,” thereby succumbing to group narcissism themselves.

“The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

*credit to John Gruber

Paragraphs to Ponder

From David Brooks, moderate Republican, “Trump Ignites a War Within the Church“.*

“The split we are seeing is not theological or philosophical. It’s a division between those who have become detached from reality and those who, however right wing, are still in the real world.

Hence, it’s not an argument. You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts. You can’t have an argument with people who are deranged by the euphoric rage of what Erich Fromm called group narcissism — the thoughtless roar of those who believe their superior group is being polluted by alien groups.”

My new mantra, “You can’t argue with people who have their own separate made-up set of facts.”

*A reminder, you don’t have to subscribe to The New York Times to read my NYT links, but you do have to register.

Meet Kidd G

My morning reading included this New York Times profile of Kidd G., a 17-year-old from a small Georgia town who built an audience as a rapper on TikTok and SoundCloud before pivoting to country music.

Still processing these sentences:

“Before committing himself to making music, most of Kidd G’s attention was devoted to sports, particularly baseball and fishing. (He received two college scholarship offers for fishing.)” 

Wut?

 

The Main Challenge For the Brooklyn Nets’ New Big Three

Jesse Washington says its character.

“In all fairness, there’s more to Harden’s and Irving’s character than basketball. Irving is a generous and passionate advocate for social justice. Harden helped buy food for 5,000 Houston families during the pandemic. But when it comes to their profession, they seem entitled. Which makes it hard for any partnership to work.”