August bits and bobs
I was away for a large portion of August, with my phone deliberately turned off. I was in the Isle of Skye and saw amazing things, like the sunset above. As such, I don’t have much this month, but there are a few things I enjoyed:
- I wrote about Free Speech a little while ago, so was interested to read about the group who try and promote it as a big issue. The only problem is, they seem to be achieving the opposite:
The anti-PC brigade aren’t angry that they can’t say what they want; they’re angry that when they do say what they want, other people sometimes disagree with them
The article suffers a little from the usual Vice cynicism and fashion critique, but it’s an interesting exploration of a new subculture nonetheless. It’s interesting that a debate that has weighed down internet forums for years is now becoming real gatherings. Also interesting is that the majority of people appear to be white men, among the most privileged in society. Just because people disagree with their views does not remove their right to free speech, it just means people are able to argue with them.
- Metaphors can directly affect our thoughts or so this article argues. It’s an interesting exploration of how language affects our view of the world. The analogies we draw all the time are not harmless, they directly impact our thoughts and our ability to understand problems. Words have power, basically.
- The always excellent Lynda Barry on writing by hand:
- I’m a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan. His ability to distill complex ideas into elegantly crafted sentences is a marvel. His love and fear of humanity is evident throughout his work. I read a long volume of his non fiction some time ago and was floored by it. However, i’d never come accross this prescient letter to the future, written in 1988:
I hope you have stopped choosing abysmally ignorant optimists for positions of leadership. They were useful only so long as nobody had a clue as to what was really going on—during the past seven million years or so
The letter is despairing of the power of nature and our inability to confront the problems it will cause. It’s especially relevant now with the ravages of climate change happening all around us.
- Finally, this article on keeping a planner and diary is fascinating. What happens when tragedy strikes? How to record those issues? There’s no answer, but this article explores it well.
That’s it for now. Have a good month.