3 min read

Good Words: November '22

Exhaustion and agency "under capitalism," combative cocktail parties, and why leftovers are the only food worth eating.
Good Words: November '22

Our American readers are busy basting birds, preparing sides, and loosening waistbands, so I'll be brief.

Here are some good reads for your Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy!


🗞 Articles & Newsletters

Failure to Cope "Under Capitalism"

As someone who often feels overwhelmed and conspired against by a whole host of modern powers and principalities, this invitation to consider my seeming lack of competence as my lack of competence is strangely encouraging.

Perhaps we can, in fact, get better at things and learn to cope. Maybe, just maybe, we can grow.

It may be the case that many personal infirmities can only be fully repaired in a repaired world, but this does not obviate the need to pull ourselves together as best we can in this broken one. Any serious attempt to topple capitalism would require more discipline, more courage, more endurance, more capability, not less.
Failure to Cope “Under Capitalism”
The inability to do basic tasks is not always a political problem

Exhaustion, its cause and treatments

What if we're all so tired because we don't have enough to actually do? If this suggestion makes you recoil in terror or gasp in indignation, this short little piece is for you. It's also an excellent paring to Clare Coffey's piece above.

Silence, or at least quiet; Off rather than On. [...] there’s no doubt that for those who are able to manage it, such disconnection is a Good Thing. But maybe not the best thing.
exhaustion, its causes and treatments – The Homebound Symphony

The Political Power of Friendship

In a time when people are increasingly self-sorting across partisan lines, the life of Hannah Arendt carries a timely message.

Loving the world means working on two specific tasks. The first is doggedly insisting on seeing the world just as it is, with its disappointments and horrors — and committing to it all the same. The second is encountering people in the world and embracing their alterity, or difference.
The radical political power of friendship
It can help us push back against tyranny. Philosopher Hannah Arendt’s legendary cocktail parties were proof.

The Secret Life of Leftovers

We're closing in on feasting season – don't sleep on leftovers!

The Secret Life of Leftovers — The New Atlantis
Cheese, curry, beer: We can thank our ancestors who put food scraps to creative use. What we’re leaving our children is garbage.

📚 Books

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

I hardly know where to begin with this book. It is a sprawling tale and achieves its reach while remaining confined to one (albeit upscale) hotel in Moscow. It's a story of a man whose world is upended, whose freedom is circumscribed, and who lives a worthy life nonetheless.

An excellent read for winter nights.

Yes, a bottle of wine was the ultimate distillation of time and place; a poetic expression of individuality itself. Yet here it was, cast back into the sea of anonymity, that realm of averages and unknowns.