1. (The end of Ben/Jen) - Why Do We Care So Much About Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's Divorce? (link via Cup of Jo) Because I really care. As in really really really care.
"Whereas most celebrities choose to paint a picture of domestic bliss in interviews and profiles, Ben and Jen didn’t shy away from confessing that maintaining a long-term relationship doesn’t always come easy. Affleck famously acknowledged that their marriage was a product of hard work during his acceptance speech at the 2013 Oscars when Argo won for Best Picture. “I want to thank you for working on our marriage for ten Christmases. It’s good. It is work but the best kind of work and there’s no one I’d rather work with.” They both even poked fun of the mass speculation his speech sparked during an SNL opening monologue skit, leading us all to mistakenly believe that a couple who makes fun of each other together, stays together."
2. (Kalief Browder) - Kalief Browder, Rachel Dolezal, and Race in America in the Atlantic. If Kalief's Browder's story doesn't make you angry, then I don't know what will.
"By some cosmic coincidence we are confronted with the death of Kalief Browder at exactly the moment American media is obsessing over the life of Rachel Dolezal. Coincidental as it may be, it is also instructive. Through duplicitous means, Dolezal was able to masquerade as a member of the black race. Such masquerades are neither novel nor original. What fuels the fascination is the way in which it taps into one of America’s greatest and most essential crimes—the centuries of plunder which birthed the hierarchy which we now euphemistically call “race.”
Kalief Browder died, like Renisha McBride died, like Tamir Rice died, because they were born and boxed into the lowest cavity of that hierarchy. If not for those deaths, if not for the taking of young boys off the streets of New York, and the pinning of young girls on the lawns of McKinney, Texas, the debate over Rachel Dolezal’s masquerade would wither and blow away, because it would have no real import nor meaning. It is the killing of John Crawford III and the beating of Marlene Pinnock which elevates this charade beyond what Jeb Bush calls himself or what Elizabeth Warren called herself.
“I think race is oppression,” writes Richard Seymour, “and nothing else.” Indeed. It is the oppression that matters. In that sense, I care not one iota what Rachel Dolezal does nor what she needs to label herself. I care solely, totally, and completely about what this society does to my son, because of its need to label him."
3. (Advertising) - Stop Trying to Convince Me I'm Beautiful (link via Cup of Jo).
It’s insulting because it assume beauty is something I mourn for and desire. Honestly, it’s something I give very little thought. And when I see it constantly referred to, it makes me feel bored and ask if my sex really seems that one-dimensional. Advertising to men plays on the desires to be powerful, admired, respected, and even feared. For us girls, it stops at small pores and doe eyes.
. . . .
I don’t like it when adverts attempt to enter my life and my mind. To pretend they know me and my insecurities. I don’t want them to pose as a knowing friend who loves me, but also want to correct me and tell me I’m wrong all the time. To blindly insist a woman is beautiful when she isn’t isn’t comforting, it’s creepy. If a person walked up to me and congratulated me on my conversational Korean I would think they’re crazy (FYI I’m regrettably very unilingual)—so why should I embrace them when they congratulate me on another quality I don’t have."
4. (How Doctors Die) - NPR published a short piece on how doctors choose to die.
"It was about 10 years ago, after a colleague had died swiftly and peacefully, that Dr. Ken Murray first noticed doctors die differently than the rest of us.
"He had died at home, and it occurred to me that I couldn't remember any of our colleagues who had actually died in the hospital," Murray says. "That struck me as quite odd, because I know that most people do die in hospitals."
Murray then began talking about it with other doctors.
"And I said, 'Have you noticed this phenomenon?' They thought about it, and they said, 'You know? You're right.' "
5. (Early Memories) - Where Do Children's Earliest Memories Go? on Aeon. We shred them? Isn't that terrible? Just like Bing Bong in Inside Out.
"Frail as they are, children’s memories are then susceptible to a process called shredding. In our early years, we create a storm of new neurons in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus and continue to form them throughout the rest of our lives, although not at nearly the same rate. A recent study by the neuroscientists Paul Frankland and Sheena Josselyn of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto suggests that this process, called neurogenesis, can actually create forgetting by disrupting the circuits for existing memories.
. . .
Memories are less vulnerable to shredding and disruptions as the child grows up. Most of the solid memories that we carry into the rest of our lives are formed during what’s called ‘the reminiscence bump’, from ages 15 to 30, when we invest a lot of energy in examining everything to try to figure out who we are. The events, culture and people of that time remain with us and can even overshadow the features of our ageing present, according to Bauer. The movies were the best back then, and so was the music, and the fashion, and the political leaders, and the friendships, and the romances. And so on.
6. (The Life of a Refugee) - Finally, last but not least, Clemantine Wamariya's essay in Matter - "Everything is Your's, Everything is Not Your's" is the most powerful piece of non-fiction I've read lately. Wow, just wow.
"One day, in a philosophy seminar, I sat around a table with my fellow students, the boys in sports jackets, the girls in sweaters. It was a beautiful, crisp fall day. The professor gave us a thought experiment: You’re a ferry captain with two passengers. Your boat is sinking. One passenger is old and one is young. Who do you save?
With this, my veneer of decorum started to crack. Before I arrived on campus I asked the headmaster not to share my history. Nobody knew who I was. “Do you want to know what’s that really like?” I blurted out. “This is an abstract question to you?” Everybody stared."