January 12, 2016

Diversions: Early January

A selection of essays, articles, and blog posts that inspired me these past few weeks.

On Writing and Restaurant Labor
The problem with the farm-to-table movement is that it is actually a farm-to-kitchen narrative; in most writing about food, service, and the people who perform this service, is ignored.

Going global
In a high school economics class, the teacher once used the Gujarati Ismailis (a community to which I belong) as an example of an ethnic group that has abnormally strong business success.” This piece in The Economist looks at the conditions that may have led to this economic success among Gujaratis across the diaspora.

Jury Duty
This recount of the inherent problems of jury duty is reflective of the inherent problems of our entire criminal justice system: race, class, and culture play a larger role in incarceration decisions than they should.

C.S. Lewis’ Greatest Fiction: Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight
Count me among the few people in North America that actually likes Turkish Delight. I once brought home a box of it from a trip to Istanbul, and had many people declining when I tried to give some as gifts.

Thanks, Sounds Good, I Love You
“Thanks, sounds good, I love you: it might be that our culture is glutted with gratitude, approval, and love, and that our e-mail responses reflect this. But at the heart of this apparent abundance of amity and tenderness, I suspect, is something more slippery.”

Learning to Deal With the Impostor Syndrome
I’m on the cusp of some big changes in life, and those changes will require me to show, once again, that I’m good at what I do. Sometimes, this is difficult; even though I know I am competent, I struggle with impostor syndrome regularly.

Finding Raffi
I may be the only person who did not grow up with Raffi music, but I’ve discovered him recently through his active advocacy on Twitter. He has some strong opinions, and he’s not afraid to share them, either online or through his music.

In your 30s, you’ll discover happiness is just persistence and sheer will
One of the many lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is that instead of striving for happiness, I should just strive to be me; being okay with who I am and where I am is the best indicator of happiness in my life.

The cathartic gift of Inside Out
Pixar has a knack for making films that are both entertaining and poignant at the same time. It’s no surprise that Inside Out (my favorite movie of 2015) is not just a fun, joyful movie, but also a wonderful look at sadness, depression, and the role our emotions play in our lives.

In Defense of Being Average
There comes a point in your life when you realize that you’re not going to be the best at everything you do. Once you stop comparing yourself to the best, you can start striving to be your best; that’s a much more healthy and happy place upon which to build a life.

How to Tell If a Canadian is Mad At You
“They are behaving towards you exactly as they always have, yet you somehow feel strangely guilty.” We are a polite, passive-aggressive bunch, aren’t we?

An Economist’s Guide to Tidying Your Apartment
Everyone I know has been telling me about Marie Kondo’s method of de-cluttering, but what really sold me was this piece on how most of what Kondo actually espouses is really just a good understanding of behavioral economics.

Why the Post Office Makes America Great
If there’s one part of public policy that fascinates me most, it’s policy around public infrastructure. Zeynep Tufekci reminds us, here, that we’re lucky to have such robust infrastructure (libraries, post offices) that spur innovation; we shouldn’t take it for granted.

The Baudy, Electric
So many of our metaphors for sex and drugs are tied intrinsically to the way we light up and heat ourselves: fire, flame, turn-on, turn-off, spark. The evolution of such a metaphorical relationship is fascinating.

Lost Soles
“I used to worry that I bared my feelings too readily, too voluminously; more recently, when I’m thinking about them at all, I worry that I don’t show them nearly enough.” I have read this sentence over and over. It repeats itself in my mind.