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Rolling Stone just published a big, “Snowfall”-y piece on factory meat farms:


  You’re a typical milk cow in America, and this is your life. You are raised, like pigs, on a concrete slab in a stall barely bigger than your body. There, you never touch grass or see sun till the day you’re herded to slaughter. A cocktail of drugs, combined with breeding decisions, has grossly distended the size of your udder such that you’d trip over it if allowed to graze, which of course you’re not. Your hooves have rotted black from standing in your own shit, your teats are scarred, swollen and leaking pus – infected by mastitis – and you’re sick to the verge of total collapse from giving nearly 22,000 pounds of milk a year. (That’s more than double what your forebears produced just 40 years ago.) By the time they’ve used you up (typically at four years of age), your bones are so brittle that they often snap beneath you and leave you unable to get off the ground on your own power.


🐄🐄🐄 😩😭

Rolling Stone just published a big, “Snowfall”-y piece on factory meat farms:

You’re a typical milk cow in America, and this is your life. You are raised, like pigs, on a concrete slab in a stall barely bigger than your body. There, you never touch grass or see sun till the day you’re herded to slaughter. A cocktail of drugs, combined with breeding decisions, has grossly distended the size of your udder such that you’d trip over it if allowed to graze, which of course you’re not. Your hooves have rotted black from standing in your own shit, your teats are scarred, swollen and leaking pus – infected by mastitis – and you’re sick to the verge of total collapse from giving nearly 22,000 pounds of milk a year. (That’s more than double what your forebears produced just 40 years ago.) By the time they’ve used you up (typically at four years of age), your bones are so brittle that they often snap beneath you and leave you unable to get off the ground on your own power.

🐄🐄🐄 😩😭

Not that I’m not largely a fan of The Electric Typewriter… but their “War” reading list was written entirely by men.

thepoliticalnotebook:

In the interest of making sure that folks know that not only have women written longform journalism about war, but they’ve done it well — here are some possible additions to the list in an attempt to add some gender balance. (Here is TETW’s original list, which indeed includes long-form articles highly worth reading…)

Looks worthwhile.

Don’t Let Thoughts Into Your Head: On Podcasts

I stopped listening to podcasts, and I’ve written two essays and a record review since then. Correlation or causation? Who knows, but I feel great about it! Here is why.

superworse:

They list. And in the porches of their ears I pour.

—The soul has been before stricken mortally, a poison poured in the porch of a sleeping ear. But those who are done to death in sleep cannot know the manner of their quell unless their Creator endow their souls with that knowledge in the life to come. The poisoning and the beast with two backs that urged it king Hamlet’s ghost could not know of were he not endowed with knowledge by his creator. That is why the speech (his lean unlovely English) is always turned elsewhere, backward. Ravisher and ravished, what he would but would not, go with him from Lucrece’s bluecircled ivory globes to Imogen’s breast, bare, with its mole cinquespotted.

I wrote out this little epiphany as a warning to myself, though now that it’s somewhat too late.

It started on the north end of Astoria Park yesterday afternoon around 3pm. Well, it started toward the south-middle part of the park, right in the park’s sweet spot, where I was crossing a particularly green part of the field walking my dogs during which time I was listening to “Latest in Paleo” S02E02. The host, Angelo Coppola, made some claim I disagreed with, and he wasn’t there for me go over it with him. But I thought he was quite wrong.

To wit, his selectiveness (cherrypicking) in emphasizing certain idiosyncratic and heterogenous scientific findings form no better or logical system of nutrition than the state-mandated, corporate-funded one. Or the (entirely wrongheaded) homeopathic agenda. Or the entirely innocent, “noble savage” style of dining most Americans are accustomed to growing up on. The fact is, you are what you eat on a few literal levels, and the one I’m most interested in is how people make their decisions. As in, you’re basically free to eat whatever you want, so by thinking about what you do choose to eat, you can diagnose a lot of your life’s problems (economic, social, epistemological) and also discover many of its perhaps unnoticed benefits (economic, social, epistemological). That’s interesting to think about, I think. But, further, though, given that there literally one million contradictory studies on the health benefits (or deficiencies) of the great North American Granny Smith apple alone, I find it 100% preposterous that you could come up with a diet vetted and validated by science or medical professionals. A notion you, Angelo Coppola, bear out in episode after episode (well, for at least the two episodes I listened to) by running segments debunking studies and medical findings. So what is the point, at all, of citing any studies in your own favor, in support of your chosen lifestyle? Shouldn’t that practice make the truly learned and astute listener of your podcast suspect your own podcast? If not from an authoritative standpoint, which I should think you’d concede, then on the basis of common sense or logic? I mean, you end up sounded either quite stupid or as if you think your audience is quite stupid when you select this ground-less fact over another and assert its quality based on no quality other than your own discern.

I had all those thoughts, but not until well after I turned off the podcast, which occurred in between my having those thoughts and my having this little epiphany that lead me to turn off the podcast.

See, as I walked from the sweet spot of the south-middle field in Astoria Park to the bread heel end-like north end of Astoria Park, I grew more and more cross at Angelo Coppola until I decided to turn of his podcast. A few other factors contributed to my turning off his podcast.

It was really very nice outside. If you’ll follow me on Instagram, you could see photographic evidence of that.

I was entirely bummed out about not listening to music right then. I think I form really strong sense memories about places, but only in conjunction with smells, sounds, or like events. I’ll smell a smell and automatically recall some room or feeling I had in a room or something, and the same way it is with music. And since it was such a great day, weather-wise, and I was having such a nice time, feelings-wise what with walking my dogs and feeling physically much better compared to earlier, I was really unhappy about how I probably would instantly forget all about this feeling since I didn’t really have anything to anchor it on, except for maybe an increasing disinterest in the paleo diet. I mean, I was basically marrying this great moment in my life to listening to some (in my mind, at that point) utterly repugnant charlatan who probably smells like rotten cheese making dirty love to spoiled eggs inside a charnel house. So I decided to turn off the podcast, and within a few moments, maybe forty steps back round the end of the park following the southern, unpaved rise in the hill underneath Hellgate Bridge, I decided to stop listening to podcasts altogether for at least a while but hopefully ever.

Here’s an incomplete list of podcasts I’ve listened to lately.

  • Mike and Tom Eat Snacks (every single weekly episode, at least four times)
  • Pod F Tompkast (every single roughly monthly episode, at least five times)
  • ESPN Fantasy Focus Football (every single daily episode, for the last three years)
  • ESPN Football Today (every single roughly daily episode, for the last two years)
  • You Look Nice Today (every single roughly monthly episode, at least seven times)
  • Professor Blastoff (every single roughly monthly episode, at least twice)
  • The Talk Show With John Gruber (every single roughly weekly episode, for at least two years)
  • Back To Work (every single roughly weekly episode, for a year)
  • Jordan Jesse Go (every single weekly episode, many at least twice, for at least three years)
  • The B.S. Report (every single episode, for at least five years)
  • Stop Podcasting Yourself (every weekly episode, for at least three years)

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On Keeping A Liary: Anais Nin, Autobiography, and the Lady Narcissism Debate

A mysterious new weblog called Superworse just posted a rare, #based, exclusive essay by @sadydoyle about Anaïs Nin.

superworse:

I have only lately determined to remember some of my early adventures. Till now I have always avoided them, even with a certain uneasiness. Now, when I am not only recalling them, but have actually decided to write an account of them, I want to try the experiment whether one can, even with oneself, be perfectly open and not take fright at the whole truth. — Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

“I would not be concerned with the secrets, the lies, the mysteries, the facts. I would be concerned with what makes them necessary. What fear.” — Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin: Vol. I

At some point, toward the beginning of the summer, I became more than slightly obsessed with the question of truth in personal writing. It wasn’t a question of craft — what to tell, how to tell it — so much as a moral crisis. If I have a value system, reckless honesty ranks high within it. But it’s easier to lie about oneself than about anything else, primarily because it’s easier to lie to oneself than to anyone else; we tend to be our own most gullible readers. And I got the sense that, more often than not, the story I remembered was only the story I most wanted to believe. 

I raked through my pieces, looking for sins of which to accuse myself. I found distorted chronology, missing details, imprecisions, false precision, inadvertent cruelties, intentional cruelties, invasions of privacy, a frankly disgusting amount of self-justification, even in pieces that had seemed harmless, and even in pieces where all concerned agreed that I’d told the truth. This process was more than slightly insane; the littlest thing could set me off. I remember those margaritas being $3. I remember that being their only real attraction. But what were the odds that I could remember the exact price of a drink I’d had, several years ago, without taking notes, and when I’d had enough of them to get an impulsive tattoo after the fact? Couldn’t the margaritas have been $5? Or $4, or $7? The spectre of involuntary margarita-related falsehood kept me up at night. 

My existential crisis was well-timed. The subject of women’s autobiography — specifically, how much they could tell, and whether they should tell it — was being widely discussed, and fought over. Emily Books was promoting several great examples of it (some of which I reviewed). Marie Calloway and Cat Marnell were attracting a fervent cult fan base, and an equally fervent cult of detractors. Girls and Sheila Heti were so ubiquitous that people joked about having to include their names in a pitch in order to sell it. After a few months of relentlessly hating myself and/or my writing, I was able to produce quite a few pieces on the debate, more often than not arguing both sides. 

The terms of the debate — which you’ve likely heard already, but which it’s worth rehashing — are as follows. For the defense: Women have never been encouraged to be honest. Traditional femininity both requires a permanent emotional pseudo-virginity — an appealing blankness, a lack of “baggage,” upon which men can impress their own fantasies and needs — and encourages women to fear or pathologize their own feelings, which are always suspect, always potentially “sentimental” or “melodramatic” or “hysterical.” In the old sexist dichotomy, men were proudly impersonal, gifted with transcendence: They slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the realms of pure, objective intellect. And if they happened to write about their bad relationships or their breakdowns or their various organ-meat-based masturbational tactics, as they traversed these lofty regions, well, that was Art, my good man. High culture, don’t you know. Brave and ground-breaking and explosive and rebellious and all those other nice, laudatory, masculine-sounding adjectives. Meanwhile, women covering the same ground were supposedly stuck in rehashing petty, pointless personal bullshit. Women didn’t write, or even self-express; they just “overshared.” Therefore, women who actually do share a risky or unflattering amount of personal information are pushing back against the system, breaking new ground, and presenting us with a full, complex portrait of female existence that isn’t filtered primarily through male fantasies or fears.

The prosecution’s case can be summed up in one word: “Narcissism.” Specifically, as John Cook at Gawker writes in regard to Girls, “the exhaustion of ceaselessly dramatizing your own life while posing as someone who understands the fundamental emptiness and narcissism of that very self-dramatization.” The act of writing about oneself is self-inflating, a way of recreating oneself as a fascinating character, even if that character is ugly. And it can also be a dodge which allows one to remain stuck in adolescent acts of self-definition without engaging with the larger social context in any meaningful way. There are wars, there is poverty, there is starvation, there are diseases and injustices and super-PACs; writing about your insensitive college boyfriend does very little to solve the problem. And it’s none too kind to the boyfriend, either.

Or, as Houghton Mifflin wrote to Anais Nin in 1942, rejecting her diaries: 

There is no doubt it is a remarkable performance that should someday be published and may well achieve permanence as the ultimate in neurotic self-absorption, a kind of decadent St. Theresa. Certainly the writing is extraordinary, the cadences, the ability to communicate an intensity of emotion. But I don’t think this is the time to bring it out. Today such morbid preoccupation with one’s inner life will seem trivial. 

“Today,” apparently, has lasted for seventy years. And it is frankly flabbergasting that any of these conversations — the one about women and autobiography; the one about autobiography and female narcissism; for that matter, the conversations about the act of documenting one’s daily life and creating a more or less truthful public persona, which, in the era of Tumblr and Facebook, are relevant to men and women alike — have gone on this long without a serious consideration of Anais Nin.

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