“Do what you love” disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is a privilege, a sign of socioeconomic class. Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and co-sign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can bestow DWYL as career advice upon those covetous of her success.
If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing.
“House of Cards is a terrible show. It’s cynical in all the wrong ways and it shows a “dark underside” of insider Washington that doesn’t exist. There are no “puppetmasters” like Kevin Spacey’s character in real life—the government is not one hyper-competent manipulative person surrounded by the few hundred least competent and most naïve people on planet Earth. He is a cartoon. There are no Democrats from rural South Carolina, either. The show seems to have no idea how schlocky its melodrama and constant fourth-wall breaking can be. The writers seem to delight in setting records for shark-jumping once or twice per season with unforeseen murder and threesomes. There are too many plot lines that don’t work. All of which is to say that I watched all thirteen episodes of season two within thirty-six hours of its Netflix release, just as I did last year, and there’s nothing I would rather do right now than binge-watch another thirteen episodes. No: another hundred episodes. All I want to do is watch House of Cards, alone, all day, forever. Gimme gimme gimme, now now now.”—House of Cards Is a Dark Fantasy of Effective Government (via azspot)
Research shows that many problem drinkers — those who repeatedly drink more than they intend, sometimes have physical or psychological consequences from overdrinking, and may have difficulty controlling themselves — could benefit from brief interventions and practical advice about how to set better limits and change their drinking by cutting back.
I believe within my life time we will treat addictions with harm reduction methods, not just ‘cold turkey’ but managed alcohol and/or limit setting.
“We have a saying, my people. “Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.””—Wonder Woman (#25, December ‘08)
The nation’s poverty rate was cut in half, from 22.2 percent in 1960 to an all time low of 11.1 percent by 1973. Most dramatic was the decline of poverty among the elderly, from 35.2 percent in 1959 to 14.6 percent in 1974, thanks to enactment of Medicare in 1965 and cost-of-living increases for Social Security. The poverty rate among African Americans fell from 55.1 percent in 1959 (when most blacks still lived in the rural South) to 41.8 percent in 1966 (when blacks were an increasingly urban group) to 30.3 percent by 1974.
The nation’s poverty rate has never returned to the level Harrington described in The Other America. But progress was stalled in the 1970s. Today, almost 50 million Americans — over 15 percent of the population — live below the nation’s official poverty threshold. Almost as many poor people live in the suburbs as in cities — a phenomenon that was unthinkable 50 years ago. About one-quarter (22 percent) of America’s children now live in poverty. The poverty rate is much higher for Blacks (27 percent) and Latinos (26 percent) than for whites (10 percent). A significant proportion of America’s poverty population are the working poor, who earn poverty-level wages.
Even more startling is the fact that 100 million people comprise what the U.S. Census calls the poor and the “near poor,” based on a new definition of poverty that measures living standards, not just income. Almost one-third of the nation, in other words, can barely make ends meet.
Although America’s poverty rate has fluctuated over the years, it has persistently been two or three times higher than poverty rates in most European societies, which have much more generous social welfare policies and stronger labor unions. Even Canada — which has a similar economy and distribution of wealth as the United States — has a much lower poverty rate and does not permit the level of sheer destitution and misery found in the United States, including hunger, slums, and the growing army of homeless people sleeping on park benches and in vacant buildings.
“These days crime is way down, so is teenage pregnancy, and so on; society did not collapse. What collapsed instead is economic opportunity. If progress against poverty has been disappointing over the past half century, the reason is not the decline of the family but the rise of extreme inequality. We’re a much richer nation than we were in 1964, but little if any of that increased wealth has trickled down to workers in the bottom half of the income distribution. The trouble is that the American right is still living in the 1970s, or actually a Reaganite fantasy of the 1970s; its notion of an anti-poverty agenda is still all about getting those layabouts to go to work and stop living off welfare. The reality that lower-end jobs, even if you can get one, don’t pay enough to lift you out of poverty just hasn’t sunk in. And the idea of helping the poor by actually helping them remains anathema.”—On Fighting the Last War (On Poverty)
“We live in a culture in which material poverty and moral poverty are frequently assumed to go together. We readily believe that a lack of outward success reveals internal failures. By the same token, material success grants an automatic aura of respectability. The Bible offers a much more complex portrait of poverty. It recognizes that individuals often rise or fall on the strength of their qualities of character. But it does not — not once, not ever — take the poor as a social group to task for their poverty. On the contrary, the scriptures are overflowing with warnings and admonitions against the rich and the powerful.”—How a Failure to Understand Poverty Shows We Don’t Understand the Gospel
“I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”—Blessed Mother Teresa (via restlesshippo)
"For those who are well-off, it may be easier to castigate the irresponsibility of the poor than to recognize that success in life is a reflection not only of enterprise and willpower, but also of random chance and early upbringing.
Low-income earners, who actually encounter the needy in daily life, understand this complexity and respond with empathy. Researchers say that’s why the poorest 20 percent of Americans donate more to charity, as a fraction of their incomes, than the richest 20 percent. Meet those who need help, especially children, and you become less judgmental and more compassionate.
And compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but a mark of civilization.”