The Catalogue: No. 29

Sunday, April 21, 2019


Hello, yes, it's me, LC on the verge of another spectacular supernova of sheer exhaustion and overwhelming gratitude that my life is so full.

I wish I could shake the version of me that was just a few months younger and smugly blogging about "creating" pockets of time to achieve lofty goals like read a billion books and meditate before bed and keep abreast of current affairs and gas prices and political scandals. Such are your twenties. Each newly released version of yourself makes the previous iteration - functional, well-received, even - look like shit.

So anyways, I've been traveling and complaining and honestly just looking forward to being left alone, but here's what I've managed to read while brushing my teeth in the mornings:

Five Lies Our Culture Tells | David Brooks for The New York Times
The truth is, success spares you from the shame you might experience if you feel yourself a failure, but career success alone does not provide positive peace or fulfillment. If you build your life around it, your ambitions will always race out in front of what you’ve achieved, leaving you anxious and dissatisfied.
I can make myself happy. This is the lie of self-sufficiency. This is the lie that happiness is an individual accomplishment. If I can have just one more victory, lose 15 pounds or get better at meditation, then I will be happy.
The Taiwanese Populist Advancing China’s Interests | Chris Horton for The Atlantic
Han being elected Taiwan’s president, many here fear, could destabilize the island’s uneasy relationship with China, erode Taiwan’s hard-earned democracy, and draw into question the loyalty of a strategically located American ally.
(Okay, so I couldn't find a good pull quote for this, but Taiwan's current political state is fucking wild and honestly worth following if you want to root for the underdog, be massively disappointed 99.9% of the time, and experience a plot that is both dystopian and deja vu).

A Journey — if You Dare — Into the Minds of Silicon Valley Programmers | Nellie Bowles for The New York Times
The backdrop to this book is that something is broken about Silicon Valley. To understand what isn’t working for so many people it’s necessary to scrutinize the coders themselves, their personalities and biases. The very particular culture they’ve created infuses everything they produce for the rest of us. Because deeply introverted people were drawn to coding, they did not prioritize positive human interactions. A community that indulges thoughts of anarchy was wary of adding any guardrails to the programs and products it produced.
Throwing Weight Into Sound: Kaveh Akbar on Poetry and Power | Kevin Young for The New Yorker
Poems are rarely on the side of power. What would a poem in praise of the political status quo look like? A brochure? White text on a red baseball cap? The Kurdish poet Abdulla Pashew writes: “If a word / can’t become . . . winged bread / to fly from trench to trench, / then it might as well / become a brush to polish the invader’s boots.” This isn’t an ideological stance; it’s a craft issue. The status quo is so certain of its righteousness, so convinced of its own goodness—like the old king early in the poem—its speech becomes a closed loop. 
How China Turned A City Into A Prison | Chris Buckley, Paul Mozar, and Austin Ramzy for The New York Times
Interactive, so no pull quote, but worth spending time with. What's happening to Uighurs in China is overwhelmingly awful.

Bok Choy Isn’t ‘Exotic’ | Cathy Erway for Eater
Prior to the turn of the 20th century, Chinese immigrants transformed California’s Sacramento River Delta into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. Many of the early Chinese immigrants were from the Pearl River Delta region of China, near the city of Taishan, and brought a deep agricultural knowledge and advanced irrigation techniques to the West Coast. They also had a lasting impact on the cuisine. “A lot of green vegetables were part of their cuisine,” says Ichikawa. “Things would have been different if it were a different group.”
I am so tired and want to take a very long nap in a very clean, dim room and then perhaps read a few collections of poetry. Or even write my own. Until such luxuries manifest,
LC

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