Curating The Week: Cancel Culture, Solitude, The Brain

An article on cancel culture.

“What cancellations offer instead is a surrogate, warped-mirror version of the judicial process, at once chaotic yet ritualized. It’s a paradox reminiscent of the mayhem in medieval Catholic traditions of carnival and misrule, wherein the church and governing bodies were lampooned and hierarchy upended — all without actually threatening the prevailing hegemony, and even reaffirming it (…)

There was a time when we lived in a moral economy, which is to say, an economy that acknowledged, if not always observed, moral concerns. The British social historian E.P. Thompson used the term as a framework for understanding food riots in 18th-century England, when, in times of dearth, people set their sights on profiteers and organized what he described as ‘a kind of ritualized hooting or groaning’ outside shops to make their displeasure known. Today we hoot and groan still, but seemingly everywhere and at everything, so that even the worthiest and most urgent causes get lost in the clamor. The many subcultures whose complaints buoy the larger, nebulous cancel culture tend to fixate on minutiae, which can distract from attempts to achieve broader change.”

An article on solitude.

“When we’re alone, all the fears and worries and anxieties come up, because we can’t distract ourselves,”

An article on the brain.

“This budgetary account of how the brain works may seem plausible when it comes to your bodily functions. It may seem less natural to view your mental life as a series of deposits and withdrawals. But your own experience is rarely a guide to your brain’s inner workings. Every thought you have, every feeling of happiness or anger or awe you experience, every kindness you extend and every insult you bear or sling is part of your brain’s calculations as it anticipates and budgets your metabolic needs.”

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