The Catalogue: No. 37

Friday, July 26, 2019 San Francisco, CA, USA


I've been pumping out a lot of content lately, and though literally nobody has asked me why (or to do it at all),  it's because I've been on this wild productivity streak lately (that may involve neglecting some of my less interesting responsibilities, namely my social life and umm, some non-profit work -- oh, I've also eliminated TV/YouTube entirely), but anyways, here we are: 

Articles
HAHAHAHA. So absurd and sympathetic I sent this to multiple people and demanded live coverage of their reactions. I haven't been this wildly impressed since the story of Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin broke:
1. The Most Gullible Man in Cambridge: A Harvard Law professor who teaches a class on judgment wouldn’t seem like an obvious mark, would he? | Kera Bolonik for New York Magazine
Zacks told Hay it was highly unlikely that he could have gotten Shuman pregnant without ejaculating. (According to a study by Human Fertility, pre-ejaculate can contain enough residual motile sperm from a previous ejaculation to make its way to an egg, but it’s extremely rare.) “Jennifer suggested I was ignoring the evidence because I wanted to believe the child was mine,” Hay says. “Perhaps she was right.” Zacks pushed Hay to ask for a paternity test, but Hay wouldn’t have it. Not only did he trust Shuman, he felt it would have been insulting for a heterosexual cisgender man to question a professed lesbian as to whether she’d had sex with other men. He believed her when she said her sexual relationship with him was an exception.
This week's Ask Polly column that gave my gullible, searching little self permission to resent and swear off dating apps for the time being because despite being a genuine lover of people, I really, really do not like to meet them, on or offline:
2. Ask Polly: "I Hate Dating Apps So Much!" | The Cut
One of the most radical acts of growth you can achieve is noticing what makes you different without blaming yourself for it. Even when you embrace who you are and cultivate compassion for others, you will still feel stubbornly resistant to certain activities, experiences, people, places, and things. You can have a great attitude, and it still happens. Something in your cells, something buried inside your belief system, tells you: This is wrong. I don’t like this. I don’t understand why anyone puts up with this, because I hate it. I think it’s bad for you. I think it’s bad for me. I won’t find love this way. I will lose myself this way.
Overachievers often have trouble reading and trusting their own feelings when it comes to big challenges. They want to power through it, forge ahead, keep trying very hard even when they’re miserable. But that can amount to self-punishment.  
This clear-eyed Perspectives piece that makes me want to write more: 
3. A Fat Girl in France | Sarah Shemkus for Human Parts
My husband objects when I describe myself as fat, though there is no way he has failed to notice my ample midsection. When he tells me I am not fat, what he means is that I am not stupid or lazy, not ugly or unlovable, because that is usually what the word means in the conventions of American English. There’s an implicit social rule in the United States that says a certain quantity of adipose tissue constitutes a moral failing. It is a position so utterly lacking in logic or empathy that it evokes something stubborn in me. I decline to be ashamed of being fat.
The productivity hack article that peddles the same regurgitated advice over and over again, but "how to be a better person faster" is the clickbait that gets me every time, without fail:
4. This Morning Routine will Save You 20+ Hours Per Week | Benjamin Hardy, PhD for Better Humans
If you want to operate at your highest level, you need to take a holistic approach to life. You are a system. When you change a part of any system, you simultaneously change the whole. Improve one area of your life, all other areas improve in a virtuous cycle. This is the butterfly effect in action and the basis of the book, The Power of Habit, which shows that by integrating one “keystone habit,” like exercise or reading, that the positivity of that one habits ripples into all other areas of your life, eventually transforming your whole life.
As someone raised on the intelligence vs. beauty dichotomy (and encouraged to choose intelligence, every time), this is something I grapple with; if beauty was never particularly valued by the people I admired and respected most, why is it still so important to me?:
5. When Beautiful Is the Only Thing Worth Being | June Beaux for Human Parts
I once heard someone on a podcast describe perfectionism as a tool for the neglected child. I wasn’t neglected in a literal sense, but I was always made to feel that I was on my own, that I should know everything already, and that doing things imperfectly was unacceptable. This combination is untenable.
This statement I drafted for TaiwaneseAmerican.org in solidarity with those protecting Mauna Kea:
6. TaiwaneseAmerican.org Statement on Solidarity with Mauna Kea Protectors | Leona Chen 
Solidarity, I think, looks like this: using our own histories and stories to inform our compassion for those of others. In our language, we call this 概念 (gai nian / kai liam): how we conceptualize another’s suffering by finding its likeness within ourselves. Can Taiwan, the long-lost Oceania sister, summon the due familial courage to show up for Hawai’i?

Lingering

Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You can create yourself out of those values. 
R A L P H  E L L I S O N

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