With so much heat and very little light being emitted by the trans rights debate it's good to check in with Judith Butler, who arguably started it all with her revolutionary gender theory work. This interview cleared up a few misconceptions and misunderstandings I had and introduces her concept of "radical equality", understanding "ourselves as living in a world in which we are fundamentally dependent on others, on institutions, on the Earth." A good egg. (New Statesman)
We're often told that money is a social construct, a system based on a promise, but it feels like a natural law to most people, presumably because we've been living under a financial monoculture that denies any alternatives. Thankfully we're starting to see a few challengers to capitalism's crown and Modern Monetary Theory is a new one to me. In short, debt is good, inflation is bad and growth is unnecessary. Which seems insane, but so does capitalism from afar. (Jason Hickel)
As I was carrying a garden chair to the local park to meet someone from Loaf to talk shop, I joked to a neighbour that the park has become my co-working space. Last week I did tech-support on a friend's Macbook sitting in the sun. I used to meet in cafes and bars. Now I meet people under specific trees and am getting to know the local dogs. So I totally enjoyed this lovely survey of a park in Leeds and the wide variety of ways people have used it this summer. (Guardian)
An important piece by Helen Lewis (who is blossoming in her new position at the Atlantic) on the complacency of late-2000s internet culture not picking up on nascent forms of the extremist bullshit we're suffering through today. I was quite invested in that era's LOL culture and while my lot might have been mostly in the light, we were certainly only a few degrees from some nasty shit. I was a mostly-lurker, occasional poster on FilePile, which was no 4chan, but y'know, in hindsight I wonder if any of those guys are now mens-rights incels or shitposting nazis. Algo-social networks might have amplified internet culture into mainstream culture but we built the foundations on levels of irony so deep it's no wonder no-one knows what's going on. (Atlantic)
Nick Heer's take on Netflix's social-media-is-bad documentary, which he calls "a mediocre movie about a difficult topic", is a nice accompaniment to my initial thoughts as he's a ardent critic of surveillance advertising who is hooked in to the culture of developer that work in the the attention economy, so is able to present both sides. That's not to say the sides are balanced, he at least provides a window. (Pixel Envy)
Lots of talk currently about Trump not accepting defeat in November and literally breaking the bits of the American democratic project that depend on not being an asshole in the process. This is the sobering breakdown of how that might play out, should you have a morbid disposition. (Atlantic)
Today's video essay is from Grace Lee and is about the problems with the Hamilton musical (now available at home for non-musical-theatre people to see what the fuss was all about) from a leftist perspective. Which you might find odd as Hamilton is as progressive as all fuck, no? Well… it's complicated… See also Lindsay Ellis' Musicalsplaining podcast episode.