Author Archives: Todd

The compulsion to LARP is for those who have to feel accountable to some larger salary god, one who takes earthly shape in the form of our manager, our manager’s manager, and/or our coworkers, all of whom are constantly deciding whether or not we deserve the salaried, privileged position in which we’ve found ourselves. This is largely bullshit, of course: yes, our managers do think about how much we’re producing, but only the worst of them are clocking how many hours our green dot is showing up on Slack. Most of our coworkers are too worried about LARPing their own jobs to worry about how much you’re LARPing yours.

Anne Helen Petersen, “LARPing your job

Buddhists seek to let go of attachment to the myth of the private, solid, unchanging self, and to promote universal compassion and end universal suffering.

But capitalist culture enforces the myth of the privatized, self-centered self. So unless mindfulness is employed in the service of making the world a better place — then practicing can and does end up serving to maintain the very self-centered, greedy, individualistic institutions and relationships that contribute to the lack of connected presence, kindness, and compassion that contribute to our unhappiness.

Mindfulness meditation in America has a capitalism problem

Why is it that this nation continues to steal land away from its original inhabitants under the guise of being “good for the economy”? And even if the land trade was of equal value, why should the Apache tribe be forced to give up their sacred lands and move for corporate greed? Did we not learn our lesson as a nation after the damage caused by the Trail of Tears? Have we not evolved our moral consciousness as a country enough to be able to determine that seizing land for profit is unjust?

Rev. William Barber, “Why Is No One Talking About the Land Battle in Oak Flat, AZ”

To Live In Peace

The trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Catch-22 filtered into my YouTube recommendations this week. I was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about it before. I don’t know if America is ready for something that isn’t 100% rah-rah cheerleading for “The Good War”, and this clearly is not.

The only two men I knew who saw combat in World War II were both transformed by their experiences into opposing war for the rest of their lives. The first was a distant relative from England who was an artilleryman with the British 8th Army in North Africa. The other, Bill Hochman, was one of my college professors. He served in the Navy, saw action in the Mediterranean, and survived being torpedoed in the English Channel. Professor Hochman died this month at the age of 97. In 2012, he wrote this essay for the alumni bulletin – “To Live In Peace“.

“I’m the boss.”

“When companies become design-led, he believes, designers are saying “get out of the way, I’m the boss.” The forceful “I’m the boss” mentality combines with design’s tendency to become what he calls a “microworld of aesthetic high-fives”: in which designers have an invisible language about what good design looks like based on a history and experience that they tend to privilege, and this understanding that designers together at the exclusion of others. Maeda thinks these two elements end up alienating other disciplines when everyone should be working together.”

John Maeda: “In reality, design is not that important” – Fast Company

This, 100%. He’s gonna get ripped for putting this on the table, but what he describes matches with my experience. And, as the article states, this doesn’t just apply to design and designers. I’ve seen it with engineering, hardware and software, too. Hubris.

Meada is “head of inclusion and computational design” at Automattic, the maker of WordPress. It seems he is taking the broadest possible view of inclusion, not just to consider traditional identity categories, but different perspectives and professional roles. It will be interesting to see if this gauntlet generates insightful discussion and change in the design community, or just pushback.

EDIT: Here it comes. And of course, it immediately goes for the “no true Scotsman” argument.

“The Irony”

The irony is that Americans remain in agreement on many actual issues. Eight out of 10 Americans think that political correctness is a problem; the same number say that hate speech is a concern too. Most Americans are worriedabout the federal budget deficit, believe abortion should be legal in some or all cases, and want stricter gun regulation. Nevertheless, we are more and more convinced that the other side poses a threat to the country. Our stereotypes have outpaced reality, as stereotypes tend to do.

The Geography of Partisan Prejudice” – The Atlantic

Is it “irony” that those who hold the minority views have artificially engineered political power to impose policies 180° from what the majority would prefer? Calling that “a threat” to democracy is far from prejudicial.

If Cohen saw himself in the Republican congressmen he faced across the dais, then Cummings was speaking to them, too, in offering the possibility of redemption—though they may not have heard it. Imagining the questions those in the hearing room would face years from now, Cummings asked: “In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?” After the end of this presidency, the country will have to take stock of how to move forward. Cummings offered one model of how to do so: with a keen awareness of the pain that it caused, but also with grace.

Elijah Cummings Saved the Michael Cohen Hearings” – The Atlantic