We hope you’re looking for some interesting longreads this week, because we have a few recommendations in mind. And as always, we’re interested in what you’re reading, too. Drop a line in the comments and tell us what you’ve been enjoying lately, and what you’d love to see more of here!
Secretary Clinton is catching considerable flack for her comment about Trump’s
basket of deplorables,’ but was it really such an unfair thing to say? She’s simply stating what many people are thinking, and it’s the truth.
It is important for Clinton — and others — to speak clearly about the danger posed by the ugliness unleashed by Trump, because no matter what happens in November, we all will have to deal with the fallout. Not to do so would be to become party to the mainstreaming of bigotry.
‘Discrimination by Design‘ (Pacific Standard)
Discriminatory design, also sometimes termed hostile design, is such a ubiquitous part of our built and social environment that many people don’t consciously notice it — though the people it targets are usually painfully aware of its presence. How do we attune ourselves to it, and more importantly, how do we stop it?
Discriminatory design and decision-making affects all aspects of our lives: from the quality of our health care and education to where we live to what scientific questions we choose to ask. It would be impossible to cover them all, so we’ll focus on the more tangible and visual design that humans interact with every day.
‘‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’‘ (Politico)
This long read is an absolutely fascinating oral history of what happened on board Air Force One on 11 September, 2001. Don’t be intimidated by the length — it’s completely worth it, a fascinating glimpse into the chaos, confusion, and challenging decisionmaking that happened on what should have been an ordinary day.
Ari Fleischer: We didn’t have satellite TV on the plane. The news would frustratingly come in and go out. So I was not aware of the punishing coverage that the president was receiving for not returning to Washington. The anchors were all asking, “Where’s Bush?” They instantly criticized him.
‘Why Christians, including Tim Kaine, are conflicted about execution‘ (The Economist)
Why do self-avowed Christians support capital punishment? This is a question with more than academic implications when the majority of US politicians, including those in a position to extend clemency, are Christian.
And regardless of their own beliefs, Christian respondents seemed convinced that the founder of their faith was an opponent of punishing people with death: only one in 20 says Jesus of Nazareth would be a supporter of judicial killing. All that suggests that there must be a lot of Christians who believe in the death penalty themselves but accept that Jesus Christ, who after all suffered that penalty himself, would be on the other side of the argument. Perhaps that’s not so surprising. Some would say it’s part of human nature to subscribe, at one level, to the loftiest ideals and at the same time, make massive compromises with life’s harsh realities.
‘No such thing as free data‘ (Le Monde)
The conversation about who profits from Silicon Valley grows more timely every year, but it also grows more snarled. Should consumers be organising to share in the profits they’re generating?
The unpaid work of converting the world into data is termed ‘digital labor’. Silicon Valley prospers from this original online sin. In 1867 Marx wrote in Capital: ‘What does the primitive accumulation of capital, ie, its historical genesis, resolve itself into? … the expropriation of the immediate producers.’ Capital used ‘conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder … force’, to enclose common land, put starving peasants to work for a wage, and colonise the South. Today it also uses ‘lolcat’ videos.
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Photo: Hans Splinter/Creative Commons