“But to demand that a work be “relatable” expresses a different expectation: that the work itself be somehow accommodating to, or reflective of, the experience of the reader or viewer. The reader or viewer remains passive in the face of the book or movie or play: she expects the work to be done for her. If the concept of identification suggested that an individual experiences a work as a mirror in which he might recognize himself, the notion of relatability implies that the work in question serves like a selfie: a flattering confirmation of an individual’s solipsism.”
“Of course, one of the time-tested mechanisms of preventing wage discrimination, unionization, has been in steady decline for decades. Jake Rosenfeld, associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington, has studied unions and is now researching the relationship between pay secrecy and wage discrimination. He told me that although there is not enough data to draw a direct causal line between pay secrecy and unfair wages, we do know that in the public sector, where wage transparency is far more common, pay tends to be more equal and benefits are more evenly distributed.”

None of this is taken for granted. People here have thought for centuries about what makes a book industry vibrant, and are watching developments in Britain and America as cautionary tales. “We don’t sell potatoes,” says Mr. Moni. “There are also ideas in books. That’s what’s dangerous. Because the day that you have a large seller that sells 80 percent of books, he’s the one who will decide what’s published, or what won’t be published. That’s what scares me.”

The French aren’t being pretentious or fetishizing bookstores. They’re giving voice to something we know in America, too. “When your computer dies, you throw it away,” says Mr. Montagne of the publishers’ association. “But you’ll remember a book 20 years later. You’ve deeply entered into a story that’s not your own. It’s forged who you are. You’ll only see later how much it has affected you. You don’t keep all books, but it’s not a market like others. The contents of a bookcase can define who you are.”

“Culture is not about the furniture in your office. It is not about how much time you have to spend on feel-good projects. It is not about catered food, expensive social outings, internal chat tools, your ability to travel all over the world, or your never-ending self-congratulation.

Culture is about power dynamics, unspoken priorities and beliefs, mythologies, conflicts, enforcement of social norms, creation of in/out groups and distribution of wealth and control inside companies. Culture is usually ugly. It is as much about the inevitable brokenness and dysfunction of teams as it is about their accomplishments. Culture is exceedingly difficult to talk about honestly. …”
Shanley Kane: What Your Culture Really Says, as part of the recent GitHub discord. (via tiffehr)

(via tiffehr)

“There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing.”

George Saunders (via nevver)



Textual Analysis
“Among the significant problems that aren’t getting resolved is the site’s skewed coverage: its entries on Pokemon and female porn stars are comprehensive, but its pages on female novelists or places in sub-Saharan Africa are sketchy.”

The Decline of Wikipedia: Even As More People Than Ever Rely on It, Fewer People Create It | MIT Technology Review (via iamdanw)

So Wikipedia has the same biases as old media. I swallowed the saccharine pill of cyber utopianism, and did not see this coming.

“I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.”
Teju Cole  (via feminizt)

(via s-i-r-a-c-h-a)

Tim Cook’s open letter to Congress in support of the Employee Nondiscrimination Act:

As we see it, embracing people’s individuality is a matter of basic human dignity and civil rights. It also turns out to be great for the creativity that drives our business. We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives.

Suicide rate climbs by 30 percent in Kansas:

“There has been an uptick in suicides in middle-class, white professional men. … We do likely attribute that incidence as being related to the economy, for men particularly. So much of their identity is tied up in their job, and they lose their moorings.”

The world is a cold and lonely place when your identity is narrowly defined by your ability to accumulate money, privilege, and power, and the only net that could have caught you has been slowly dismantled to alleviate its burden on business and the privileged class that you long to join.

It is tragic that the popular male political movements like the Tea Party (predominantly older, white, and male) and the Men’s Rights Movement aren’t moving to correct for these values that have damaged the male psyche and oppressed the under-privileged for centuries, but have instead doubled down.

People who subscribe to rugged individualism bear extraordinary opportunity costs. Those who lose, lose twice. They lose what they invested, and they lose what might have become of the investment in the basic human needs of their community, which include their own. Those who win still lose the opportunity to invest in the lot of their community, to risk creating prosperity beyond just the bottom line.