All the growth in the music business now comes from old songs—how did we get here, and is there a way back?

But in the case of righteousness, such a belief is almost always mistaken. Most of us, whether we be timid or bold, liberal, conservative, or (especially) some version of radical, are prone to imbibing heady infusions of the stuff. Viewing ourselves as “good,” in fact we become grievously toxic, literally intoxicated. In this poisonous state of mind we are able to write off others — often literally billions of others — without hesitation or remorse, because they are “bad.” It’s on the news every day: people addicted to righteousness are wreaking havoc, at home and abroad. And as I view this madness, I feel myself swell up with — what? You guessed it — righteous indignation! As usual, addiction becomes a closed system, feeding on itself.

Fortunately, millions of sober addicts have shown us the recipe for sobriety. Whether we’re addicted to heroin or hallucinogens, romance or righteousness, our addictions are resolved as we seek, in fellowship with others, to abandon our control-based mentality, and to develop our capacities for personal humility, indiscriminate compassion, and responsible participation in the many layers of community in which we are nested. Any Self-Righteous Anonymous groups out there? Maybe we should start some.

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Dec 19, 2021

For a moment in early 2020, it seemed like we might get a break from capitalism.

A novel coronavirus was sweeping the globe, and leaders and experts recommended that the US pay millions of people to stay home until the immediate crisis was over. These people wouldn’t work. They’d hunker down, take care of their families, and isolate themselves to keep everyone safe. With almost the whole economy on pause, the virus would stop spreading, and Americans could soon go back to normalcy with relatively little loss of life.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

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Dec 19, 2021

In texts, both fictional and non-fictional and in English and Spanish, thinking words relating to technology and social organization (experiment, gravity, weigh, cost, contract) become more common between 1850 and approximately 1977 (beginning of the great stagnation) but since then thinking words have declined markedly and feeling words relating to belief, spirituality, sapience, and intuition (e.g. forgiveness, heal, feel) have become more common.

Aug 29, 2021

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.

Aug 18, 2021

Cities are hubs of human activity, supercharging the exchange of ideas and interactions. Scaling theory has established that, as cities grow larger, they tend to produce more of pretty much everything from pollution and crime to patents and wealth. On average, people in larger cities are better off economically. But a new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface builds on previous research that says, that’s not necessarily true for the individual city-dweller. It turns out, bigger cities also produce more income inequality. 

“Previous literature has looked at [urban scaling] through a lens of homogeneity,” says SFI Omidyar Fellow Vicky Chuqiao Yang, an author on the study. These studies have shown a per-capita increase in wealth as cities grow. “But we know from other literature, especially in economics, that many societies are unequal and economic outputs are not distributed evenly.”

Using data from municipal areas across the U.S., the authors took another look at urban wealth through a lens of heterogeneity. Breaking the income in their dataset into deciles, the team found that, as cities grow larger, the top ten percent of income earners gain an increasingly large portion of the wealth. 

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Jul 11, 2021

While the sexual weathermen have predicted an exceptionally steamy post-covid summer, those hoping to mark the end of their long confinement with an old-school office romance may want to keep their masks (and pants) on: According to a recent headline from HR News, workplace canoodling is not back on the list of approved activities. A new survey of 1,000 American workers by a telecommunications firm found that 93 percent of women consider workplace flirting inappropriate, compared to 27 percent of men who consider it at least sometimes acceptable.

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Jul 10, 2021

The return of censorship, speech codes and taboos suggests society returning to normal…

Jul 6, 2021

At this point, I feel exhausted by movies. I don’t enjoy them anymore. Every couple of days I curl up on the couch at 10pm, scroll through Amazon Prime video, and pick something to see. It’s almost always a disappointment. This has been going on for months. I feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. The mere thought of sitting through another blockbuster for two hours fills me with dread, and a pre-emptive boredom so overwhelming that I’d rather go do the dishes.

I compare that to when I was a kid, and even movies that objectively weren’t very good would have me totally immersed. Those films of childhood were special – they’d fill me with wonder and ideas, inspiration for scenes to then recreate in The Sims or Lego. These days, sometimes I’m lucky and find that feeling of immersion and awe again. But it happens so rarely that it no longer feels worth the effort to rake for diamonds in the muck.

What happened? I have a couple of ideas, but no firm conclusions…

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Jul 1, 2021

New regulations in Norway are pushing back against unrealistic beauty standards on social media platforms in an effort to curb body dysmorphia in the country. Amendments to the 2009 Marketing Act make it illegal for influencers to share retouched photos of their body in promotional posts on social media, without acknowledging the image has been edited. To many, the law is a welcome step in the right direction, but as platforms such as Instagram and TikTok continue to grow in users and become increasingly commercialised, is it enough? 

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Jun 25, 2021

There’s a thing in the ethics of psychology called the Goldwater Rule. It states, in essence, that mental health professionals should not diagnose people from afar. It arose in the 1964 US presidential election, after the magazine Fact published an article quoting various psychiatrists saying that Barry Goldwater, the Republican candidate, was “psychologically unfit” to be president.

Reasonably and inevitably enough, Goldwater then sued the heck out of Fact. The American Psychiatric Association then made it a principle of their code of ethics that “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorisation for such a statement”. In the UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists “strongly supports” the rule.

I’m not a mental health professional. Nonetheless I think it’s a broadly useful principle to live by, especially if — as I do — you write a lot about mental health. Suggesting that some political opponent or other is mentally ill is often easier than wondering why a sane person in command of their faculties might believe something you disagree with.

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Jun 15, 2021

Over the past several decades, we have witnessed the essential collapse of Christianity in Western civilization; not a collapse in an official sense, but in the sense that Christianity no longer has social force or tenancy in people’s minds; as an idea it has become unfashionable and discredited, and as a religion it is, in the West, in terminal decline.

Those who, like me, believe in a secular, rationalist society founded upon Enlightenment values, have naturally welcomed this development, especially the retreat of the social orthodoxies, moral censoriousness, and denial of scientific realities such as evolution it instituted. For the secular rationalist the direction of Western civilization therefore looked briefly optimistic.

However, it is now clear, to me at least, that this optimism is entirely unfounded. Where Christianity has left a moral and religious vacuum in the wake of its collapse, we are now seeing the construction of a new social and moral orthodoxy to fill this void — in short, a new religion.

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Jun 13, 2021

As religious faith has declined, ideological intensity has risen. Will the quest for secular redemption through politics doom the American idea?

Jun 11, 2021

The supposedly liberal ‘wokeness’ and cancel culture have little to do with awakening to what’s going on in the world and trying to change it – it’s just noise for the sake of noise, while the status-quo is carefully preserved.

May 31, 2021

Just over a year ago, the music streaming giant Spotify announced a new addition to its services: an innovation called Artist Fundraising Pick, which would allow people to send musicians the online equivalent of a tip. The move came just as controversy began to snowball about the often pitiful returns from streaming, something that reached a peak in April this year, when such big-name musicians as Paul McCartney, Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks signed a letter calling on the UK government to finally get to grips with the issue.

At around the same time, there was rising speculation about the Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek – whose net worth is put at £3.3bn – leading a consortium that wanted to buy Arsenal football club. In the context of that potentially vast deal, what Spotify had launched highlighted the tendency of big business to offer its detractors and complainants mere crumbs, but there it was: an acknowledgment that many musicians needed some extra financial help, coupled with an apparent attempt to shift the onus on to their fans.

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May 29, 2021

In addition to being well-versed in the art of monetizing her personal brand, Fadeev is a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces, and much of her page is devoted to pro-Israeli military content. Earlier this month, she posted a video of Israeli soldiers playing soccer with Palestinian children; in another, she dances and preens at the camera while the caption, “when they tried to destroy your nation but you ended up having one of the most powerful armies” flashes on-screen. In the context of the most recent turmoil in Gaza, which has left 13 Israelis and over 240 Palestinians dead, many criticized Fadeev’s content for making light of the Israeli military’s actions and attempting to put a sexy face on the conflict.

Fadeev has a long history of using her platform to spread what is essentially nationalist propaganda. She’s a member of the Alpha Gun Angels, an Israeli gun-modeling and social media marketing agency featuring buxom former and current IDF soldiers brandishing heavy military artillery while wearing crop tops and camo pants. And Fadeev, who did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment, is not the only hot IDF soldier who’s gone viral for blatant pro-Israeli military cheerleading: last week, Yael Deri, who describes herself in her bio as a member of the Ta’oz battalion in the IDF, garnered controversy when a TikTok of her lip-synching to Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad saying, “What was that? I should kill everyone and escape?” while brandishing her gun and preening adorably at the camera went viral. Such content is interspersed with videos of her filming at what appear to be military checkpoints.

It’s not clear what the IDF’s official stance on such content is: though the military ostensibly has guidelines restricting “unbecoming online content,” Deri herself has been featured on the official IDF TikTok page, and her page is still active. (The IDF did not respond to a request for comment.) But it’s fair to say that IDF soldier thirst traps are part and parcel with the official IDF’s general strategy to use social media to win hearts and minds across the globe.

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May 17, 2021

If Instagram could speak its algorithms would say: ‘you are important, and you could — yes, you! — solve the crisis in the Middle East’. Of course, it might seem a little dangerous to jump into these debates head-first — you don’t want to accidentally side yourself with the wrong people. Well, not to worry, whispers the algorithm. You have a myriad of ready-made hot takes to select from at your leisure.

If you’ve maintained any kind of social media presence over the last few years, you’ve probably come across an ‘infographic’. These perfectly-sharable little images are jam-packed with dubiously sourced factoids addressing the hot-button issues of the current moment.

Often presented in soothing pastel colours, these infographics are extremely easy to make — and extremely popular. The demand for Instagram infographics is enormous, with major accounts sporting millennial-friendly handles like ‘shityoushouldcareabout’ (2.9m followers) and ‘intersectionalenvironmentalist’ (345,000 followers). Often accompanied with a ‘what you can do to help’ header, these posts implore the viewer to boost the message further by re-sharing.

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Culture

Discuss culture and change.

Created on Nov 23, 2020
By @gurlic