The Catalogue: No. 35

Thursday, July 18, 2019 San Francisco, CA, USA

Things that lived in my mind this week: 
An interesting read at the intersection of literally everything - the public and private, the privileged and not, technology and tradition: 
The Messy Reality of Personalized Learning: Untangling the mixed record of the latest big-fix educational trend promoted by Silicon Valley | E. Tammy Kim for The New Yorker
But skeptics warn that underneath the language of “student-centered” pedagogy is a tech-intensive model that undermines communal values, accelerates privatization, and turns public schools into big-data siphons. Rhode Island’s experiment with personalized learning reveals a still more complicated picture: of overworked, undervalued public-school teachers who embrace reforms in order to get what they need.
My favorite source of tension as someone with no-money is that between old-money and new-money and this is everything I wanted and more in a juicy expos√©: 
The Battle of Grace Church What happened when Brooklyn’s oldest nursery school decided to become less old-fashioned? A riot among the one percent. | Jessica Pressler for New York Magazine
But not this Brooklyn. “Real Brooklyn,” as Morgano would put it. She’d been born on the border of Canarsie and Flatbush, a world away from Brooklyn Heights, which in its contemporary iteration felt, to Morgano, almost like a parody of an upper-crust enclave. The women on the board — and it was almost all women — reminded her of some of the women she’d encountered at Bank Street, who had taught for a year, then gotten married. The “diamond-ring crowd,” she’d called them. They had names like Courtney and Blake and Hatsy, and their families sounded like they’d come straight off the Mayflower. Among them were Ashley Phyfe, married to a descendant of furniture-maker Duncan Phyfe; Vicky Schippers, whose family had been in the area since land was going for wampum; Christie Coolidge-Totman. As in President Coolidge.
On the hyphenated narratives:
The Stories We Tell, and Don’t Tell, About Asian-American Lives | Hua Hsu for The New Yorker
One isn’t melancholy simply because of the experience of racism, Cheng suggests; melancholy, and its dynamics of loss and recovery, are the foundations for racial identity.
These terms descend, in part, from Freud, who described mourning as a conscious process in which we deal with the grief of losing someone or something we can identify. Melancholy, for Freud, involves a kind of grieving, too, only we are at pains to identify what we have lost. Our inability to comprehend the reason for our melancholia pushes us further into our subconscious depths, and manifests as a kind of permanent mourning. To Eng and Han, this phenomenon seemed akin to the “interminable sadness” of many of their students. Perhaps the dislocations of immigration and assimilation had something to do with their inability to identify what they had lost.
A perfect segue into the next section on podcasts, the most obnoxious and ubiquitous of aspirational class signals: 
Friends of the Pod | n+1 Magazine
The more culture we consume and process alone, on our computers and phones, the more we appreciate the company of others who, in dishing about our common interests, can approximate the collectivity we crave.
Did we actually learn anything useful from these people, or just suffer through for a moment of company? Did we stay for that little high of accruing knowledge, however thin? At least now we’re armed with a collection of blithe anecdotes, prepped for retelling. At the next party we can all just talk about what we heard on this week’s podcasts. It doesn’t matter if we remember what they say, or if it’s all nonsense. This is friendship.
More nerdiness about self-improvement: 
To Be Better at Planning, Get to Know Your Future Self | Lesley Alderman
One strategy involves a visualization trick: Take a moment to imagine yourself 10 and 20 years from now. (The studies involved computer-aged renderings of participants’ faces, but your imagination works, too.) Make that image vivid, positive, and specific: What does this person like? Love? What drives then? What brings them joy?
Try writing a letter to the future you. Tell your new pen pal a bit about yourself now and who you hope to become, and imagine what they might write back.
Practice regularly, and eventually, you’ll start to feel a kinship to that person in your mind. The more you feel connected to that future you, the better able you will be to anticipate what that person will need and desire.
These exercises may feel silly, but they make the hypothetical more concrete. They give you an endpoint, a goal to work toward, a connection to grab onto: Here is the person you will become, and you want to make sure that person is happy when they finally materialize. Suddenly, the ripple effect of your decisions is clear.
It begins with "I'm a self-improvement junkie." Girl, same: 
Surrounding Yourself With Positive People Isn’t Always the Best Choice | Jamie Anderson for Human Parts
At a time when everyone is so hyper-focused on self-improvement (myself included), have we become so preoccupied with helping ourselves that we’re turning away from the people who need us the most, merely because they don’t provide us with any benefits?
Yes, it is obviously important to want to be happier and more successful, and we all deserve to be happier and more successful. But if we’re only surrounding ourselves with happy, positive, smart, thin, successful, beautiful people, where do the rest of us go? What about those of us who need a bit of a boost sometimes? What about those who need a boost from us?

This is not democracy - spreading lies in darkness. It's subversion. And it is not about left or right, or leave or remain, or Trump or not. It's about whether it's actually possible to have a free and fair election ever again. As it stands, I don't think it is. 
C A R O L E  C A D W A L L A D R x T E D 

Digital Manipulation | TED Radio Hour
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use.
The hardest thing for people is to give themselves permission to believe that there is no right answer to who they are and who they want to be; but there are many good answers.  
D A V E  E V A N S x T H E  G O O P  P O D C A S T

How to Prototype Your Life | The goop Podcast
Across the board, people tend to be terrible at answering the question “What do I want to do with my life?” Dave Evans, a coauthor of Designing Your Life, is one of the two masterminds behind the popular Stanford program that teaches students how to figure this out. With Bill Burnett, he’s created a playbook that anyone can follow to design a life that’s meaningful to them. Evans reminds us that there isn’t one best version of our life—there are a lot of good versions. He shows us how to prototype and pick from these different realities, and he convinces us not to bother with predictions. He tells us why the current career model is broken, why we sometimes get stuck in jobs we don’t like, and how we can more effectively navigate the hiring process. Get curious, talk to people, try stuff, tell your story, Evans says. And whatever you do: Start where you are.
We're repeating these behaviors despite adverse consequences; and often, we're not even aware of it. It's insidious. 
J U D S ON  B R E W E R x T H E  G O O P  P O D C A S T

Why We Crave | The good Podcast
We’re all addicts, according to Judson Brewer, author of The Craving Mind, director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center, and associate professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University. Consider our everyday habits—scrolling through Instagram, stress-eating, sugar, more sugar. Our habits, Brewer says, run our lives. And we get fooled into thinking we need just a little more willpower to make a change, quit smoking, drop an addiction. But willpower is finite and often not enough. Which is why Brewer is using research-based mindfulness techniques to help people understand and overcome their cravings. Part of this work is learning to bring curiosity to the roots of your cravings—and compassion to yourself.

I know that joy is a revolutionary act because it is how I survive.
B R I T T A N Y  P A C K N E T T x T H E  C U T  O N  T U E S D A Y S 

Brittany Packnett on Speaking the Truth | The Cut on Tuesdays
On this week’s How I Get It Done podcast episode, Stella Bugbee talks to Brittany Packnett, the prominent activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero, a policy platform to stop police violence. Brittany became a leader in the fight against police brutality in 2014, following the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and was appointed to the Task Force on 21st Century Policing by President Obama, who once said that her voice “is going to make a difference for years to come.” Stella and Brittany discussed the first protest she ever attended, how she deals mentally and physically with death threats, and what role grief has played in her life and work.

I'm trying really hard to focus my OCL posts on personal development/intellectual and spiritual growth and avoid the terrible blogger philosophy of rampant consumerism, buuut here are things on my radar: 

This 15-piece collection of teeny-tiny brushes for teeny-tiny details. You'll see why soon. Maybe. 

This Frederick Douglass print from Obvious State. I intend to cover my firstborn's nursery with their literary art prints (no such child exists or is in the pipeline at all, FYI). 


Imagine every day you wake up to wild commitment. Wild as in not the same place, but the moving place, playing place, changing place. When I write through my happiness, I commit to it again: I commit to feeling, deeply, not what happiness I have but how I came to orbit around it, attract it, cherish it. I fall asleep and wake up. If there's a thing I want to teach me, it's how I live my light. 
Yanyi, The Year of Blue Water

With love always,

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