This same quietly suffocating phrase, “no way out”—a Kafkan fragment in itself—appears in another text, a dialogue between an unnamed interlocutor and a chimpanzee named Red Peter who has been seized from his jungle home by humans and eventually learns to behave like one. The ape is also the narrator of “A Report to an Academy,” one of the few stories Kafka finished and published in his lifetime. In the full story, Red Peter expresses his desire for a “way out” and devotes some time to glossing the meaning of the phrase: “I fear that perhaps you do not quite understand what I mean by ‘way out,’” he tells his audience in Willa and Edwin Muir’s translation. “I use the expression in its fullest and most popular sense. I deliberately do not use the word ‘freedom.’ I do not mean the spacious feeling of freedom on all sides”—leaving us to deduce what sort of comparatively inhibited liberty he seeks instead. In the version in The Lost Writings, a dejected Red Peter recounts the story of his capture, before which, he says, he “hadn’t known what that means: to have no way out.” He goes on to explain that he was contained not in “a four-sided cage with bars”; rather, “there were only three walls, and they were made fast to a chest, the chest constituted the fourth wall.” Everything hinges, it seems, on this fourth wall. In the Kafkan cosmology, three walls are presumed. The frightening tragedy is the way one’s own existence constitutes the final barrier.
My own view is that this conservative anxiety risks three mistakes. The first is an exaggeration of the consequences of any given election: Losing the presidency for four years and the Senate for two will not immediately make Republicans irrelevant to the calculations of Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, and a movement that’s poised to make a very Catholic mother of seven the sixth conservative on the Supreme Court retains considerably more resources than, say, dissident movements under Communism.
Good advice for both sides. Every election is the 'most important of our lives'. But no defeat or victory is permanent. It's not worth the level of vitriol and intensity we often see. Four years of Trump have brought many bad policies - and we should write, talk, and expound on what those are and why they should change; but we haven't become a totalitarian state etc.
The more over the top our critiques - the easier they are to dismiss. The same is true on the other side. Eight years of Obama didn't end America. There were plenty of poor policies there too (Obama himself has pointed out many things he thinks he should've done differently). And yet, America didn't become godless, or destroy its borders, or healthcare system/economy. Clear, concise, and calm criticisms hit the mark.
If you don't like the current direction of government, wait a few years - it'll change.
This is a great shift. It's hard to admit you've been wrong so big props to her and her organization. I spent several years in education fighting for this shift, but it's hard to convince a teacher that has spent his/her career teaching a disproven method that it doesn't work. It would mean admitting they fell short, which isn't really their fault at all - but it is super hard to disassociate that feedback from ourselves.
“Mating in Captivity” (2006), the book that brought her to public notice, was a sprightly disquisition on the anaphrodisiac effects of married life, in which she argued that the excessive value placed on communication and transparency in modern relationships tends to foster conjugal coziness at the expense of erotic vitality. Her suggestion that couples seeking to sustain their élan vital would do well to cultivate a little distance and mystery was not original, or particularly radical, but it inspired wariness and even hostility among some of her colleagues, who felt that she approached the solemn project of saving American marriages with insufficient reverence.
Trump secured the Republican nomination by speaking directly to those voters who had the least experience with democratic institutions. In April 2016, when the Republican field had narrowed from 17 candidates to three, a PRRI/The Atlantic survey found Trump enjoying a narrow lead over second-place Ted Cruz among Republican-leaning voters, 37 to 31 percent. But among those who seldom or never participated in community activities such as sports teams, book clubs, parent-teacher associations, or neighborhood associations, Trump led 50 to 24 percent. In fact, such civically disengaged voters accounted for a majority of his support.
As the sociologist Theda Skocpol has noted, more and more American organizations—from charities to trade associations—are run by salaried professionals and supported by dues-paying members who seldom if ever attend a meeting. Some 95 percent of AARP members are uninvolved in their local chapters; the AAA card in your wallet will secure you roadside assistance, but no longer is it a passport to monthly gatherings at a clubhouse or weekend “sociability” rides.
I enjoyed this article but a few points are worth quibbling with:
The explanation of consumerism isn't that we would need more workers to build more things to consume (which would lead to more jobs in those areas), it is that we would keep working more than we need for our basic needs because we want more stuff. That is why you work 50 hours at a BS job instead of 15 hours. I need 35 hours of BS work a week to buy a new TV, smart phone, bigger house, and eat out, travel, go to the movies etc. This may not explain the full discrepancy, but it isn't so easily dismissed by saying that the new jobs aren't in the sectors that create products.
The other item worth reviewing is the difference between a not-fun or frowned-upon job and a Bull Shit job. Telemarketing is not a bull shit job. I don't like telemarketers and I wouldn't want to be one, but they have a real task that is valuable to their company. They sell product. Each call they make is adding value to the company. The telemarketing manager who spends 10% of her time evaluating, compiling stats, and training -but 90% of her time looking busy, creating projects to justify her job, and browsing the internet probably does have a bullshit job.
I think they may be weighing the voting record too much. Voting for long time GOP goals isn't the same as voting with Trump. Ie, lots of people criticized GOP Senators who spoke against Trump for voting for his judicial nominees. But why wouldn't they vote for nominees that they like? If Biden had nominated Gorsuch for the court they would've voted for him. All that is to say that I think the voting record may not be the best indication of the person's stance on Trump.
But I think the rest of it is really cool. The tracking of responses to scandals.
I would later realize that these shows were my first glimpse into a world that wasn’t mine. These shows were intended for a middle-class audience, with plot points steeped in middle-class values. In “Class: A Guide Through the American Status System,” Paul Fussell argues that the criteria we use to define the tiers of the social hierarchy are in fact indicative of our social class. For people near the bottom, social class is defined by money — in this regard, I was right in line with my peers when I was growing up. The middle class, though, doesn’t just value money; equally important is education.
My initial thought was WTF! But then reading the article it seems like they were targeting their own voters to ensure they get those counted. But what is to stop them from discarding any non GOP ballots dropped there?
In Washington, like many other places, restaurants and bars are open even as the schools are closed. This bizarre combination reflects the balance of political pressure, not any logical interpretation of public health. Business owners want to reopen because it is in their interest to do so. Teachers want to remain closed for the same reason. Both groups have perfectly compelling and sympathetic reasons. It’s not easy to tell somebody who spent years building a business to let it fail, or to force a teacher to run even the small risk of contracting a terrifying illness for the benefit of somebody else’s child.
Parents are struggling as well, not just children. Cities have recognized the need for child care for parents who cannot afford to quit their jobs to supervise their kids, but this has led to a haphazard network of options. Houston, for example, has opened some schools as learning centers. L.A. has learning centers set up for low-income students in alternative locations. These spur the questions: If school isn’t safe for everyone, why is it safe for low-income students? And if school is safe for low-income students, why isn’t it safe for everyone?