On what Political Philosophy can do to respond to the migration crisis:
This conceptual point matters, because it affects how we see the flood of people crossing the sea and attempting to make their way across land borders to the richer European states. Their situation inevitably makes them look like an undifferentiated mass, desperate people in need of help. But in fact this tide of people is what immigration experts call a ‘mixed flow’. It contains people who count as refugees under the narrow Geneva Convention definition of the term, people who are escaping the threat of persecution. It will also include survival migrants coming directly from places that are unfixable in the medium term, and who therefore should be counted as refugees on the wider definition that I favour. And finally, there will be others who are moving in search of a decent life, but who do not qualify as refugees on either count − for example those who have decided to quit refugee camps where they were protected but opportunities to work were inadequate.
Oxycontin is being marketed and prescribed as providing pain relief for 12 hours - but in most patients, it wears off much earlier. A prescription from hell.
The irony of Trump’s apparent victory in the Republican nominating contest is that, at the very moment when movement conservatives appeared to have gained total dominance over the GOP, a reality show host with no record of public service and only a passing interest in the Republican Party’s particular flavor of conservatism came along — and he singlehandedly stripped the conservative movement of their party’s top prize.
Think Progress: Donald Trump Won Because Republicans Have Bad Ideas And People Hate Those Ideas, May 4, 2016
The failings of MakerBot and the 3D printing revolution:
Not many technologies have so thoroughly infiltrated the public imagination, on the back of so little demonstrable functionality, as the 3D printer. MakerBot sought to “open source” material production through private enterprise, and Pettis’s vision failed precisely because of that contradiction—it was an attempt to graft a collectivist approach on top of an aggressively private one. “Private production will be completely equitable,” again goes the logic, “if only we can find a way to make everything labor-free.”
The Awl: 3D Printing The Void, May 5, 2016
First of, I want to highly recommend Shannon M. Houston's essays on Underground over at Paste Magazine - this is some of the most thoughtful and enlightening writing about television (or culture in general) that I've had the pleasure to come across recently. Also this ambituous (in terms of structure, storytelling, symbolism etc.) show has just finished its first season.
Zawe Ashton as Jacques in As You Like It. Also, The Hollow Crown and some really great casting decisions are back. And an Interview Magazine portrait of Sophie Okonedo, who in addition to Undercover and Hollow Crown is doing a Broadway production of The Crucible that goes on my list of things I wish I could watch.
A new production of Sarah Kane's final play, 4.48 Psychosis.
Autostraddle on the book that became Carol.
Carrie Brownstein at bookforum on Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.
The Good Wife is over and I have not watched a single episode since Kalinda Sharma green-screened away (and I still have my fingers crossed for the next Archie Panjabi project where is it).
I really liked this The Point essay on Beyond Cool:
Hannah Arendt once wrote that “conscience is unpolitical.” Crucially, she did not mean that it was unimportant. In essays like “Personal Responsibility under Dictatorship,” Arendt worried at great length about how our individual moral characters might help or hinder us in resisting political injustice. But she also insisted that having a pure conscience was not itself a political accomplishment. Any politics deserving of the name could not be satisfied with its own ethical perfection, but must aim to produce real effects in the name of a broader collective. Her essay on “Civil Disobedience,” for instance, criticizes Henry David Thoreau for focusing on his own non-complicity in the system of slavery rather than the fact that slavery continued to exist even without his personal involvement. Thoreau, she argues, was interested in protecting his own moral purity and not in addressing “the world where the wrong is committed or … the consequences of the wrong for the future course of the world.”
Since I first read it several years ago, I have often found Arendt’s critique helpful for considering movements focused on reducing the complicity of our own consumption patterns (choosing, for example, sweatshop-free, or vegetarian, or low carbon-footprint options). While certainly better than nothing, these can sometimes do more to assuage our own consciences than to effect real political change. At the risk of following Arendt into polemic or hyperbole, I wonder if we could say that character, like conscience, is unpolitical. It may inform our choices in crucial ways, but we must be cautious that our efforts to attain a perfectly balanced post-ironic disposition do not eclipse our attention to the political struggles that exists beyond us.