Tom M. is our content strategist and this week’s Rewind curator, a weekly post where we choose our favorite stories from the week before. He’s also a writer and musician living in Omaha. He co-edits the poetry journal Strange Machine and curates the Strange Machine Reading Series. In 1975, his father dated this French lady with a bird on her shoulder, who was featured in the May 1968 issue of National Geographic. Tom is slowly, slowly learning Arabic and Spanish.
Hello There, Racists! is a sort of vigilante Tumblr that calls out people who post incredibly disgusting racist comments online (as of Friday it was no longer available). HTR! posted offenders’ publicly available information, such as school, workplace and location, in an effort to shame them publicly. Sounds reasonable. After all, anyone who posts such insane content deserves to have his or her stupidity called to light. Right?
Maybe not. This Slate.com column says many of the people featured on HTR! are high school students who most likely don’t understand the magnitude of their actions and therefore should not be publicly exposed. These kids’ prefrontal cortices have not developed enough to give them insight into the nature of their hatreds or keep a rational reign on their impulses. They may be raised in hateful, abusive environments. They might be mentally ill. And they definitely don’t understand how their comments, dashed off in a burst of emotion and bad spelling, will come to haunt them in the form of barriers to employment and higher education. A fast, enraging and engaging read, the column made me wrestle with some tough moral considerations about the nature of hate, racism, youth and the true societal impact of social media.
Speaking of tough moral considerations, I am not wrestling at all with whether I should see the new Twilight movie or Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic instead. I’m a huge fan of Honest Abe, so the choice is clear (but I ended up seeing Breaking Dawn 2.0 to make my girlfriend happy, with the stipulation that we see Lincoln this week and she try not to fall asleep during it [which I almost did during Twilight]). Anyway, did you know Abraham didn’t have the low, booming oak tree voice we usually assign to him? It was actually thin and kind of high. So I was happy to find this Youtube interview with Daniel Day-Lewis discussing his unorthodox but authentic approach to our finest president.
Phenomblue prizes work-life balance. You can’t do groundbreaking work if you’re stressed and unhappy. Check out Inc.’s “Nine Daily Habits that will Make You Happier.” My favorite is the second tip,“Take time to plan and prioritize,” because it offers simple, actionable advice for always moving toward your dreams: “The most common source of stress is the perception that you’ve got too much work to do. Rather than obsess about it, pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.”
Finally, this article in the New Yorker about Ray Kurzweil’s new book, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, capped the week with its smarmy, yet nuanced view of a man who writes compellingly about a range of subjects–including nutrition, artificial intelligence and the possibility of immortality through technology. Kurzweil is a polarizing figure, an autodidact with 19 honorary degrees who has started a series of successful businesses and made pretty big contributions to the AI field. But I’ve written too much, just read it yourself.