February 3, 2017 / From the Editor
Every Friday, we will publish a short list of a few articles that have caught …
February 24, 2017
Every Friday, we will publish a short list of a few articles that have caught our attention. This is what we’re reading this week:
A few words on literary history, criticism, injustice, and the questionable priorities of the Academy:
Narrative Historicism uses storytelling as its method of imposing order. It inverts the standard critical structure. Rather than embedding stories in an argument, it embeds arguments in a story. The narrative asserts relevance, identifies influence, and qualifies importance. It draws out nuances of personality, of moments in time, of settings and disputes and gestures.
Reframing depression as a mode of reflection that allows for the inner-workings of self to be revealed and altered:
Laura King, a psychologist at the University of Missouri, has spent a couple decades studying people’s experiences of meaning in life, and she told me in an interview at this year’s Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting that the meaning people derive from difficult experiences depends not on the amount that they’re suffered, but the extent of reflection — or meaning-making — they’ve done on what prompted a given nadir. Following this logic, if the job of a depressive episode is to figure out what’s gone awry, what emotional knots need to be untangled, what attachment patterns need to be identified and addressed, then antidepressants are an incomplete treatment, just like you wouldn’t prescribe Percocet to a heal a broken ankle without also supplying a cast.
Trump denies empirical evidence and the environment suffers:
Unfortunately, there is reason to suspect that Trump’s disdain for scientific research is not only driven by political ideology and the interests he represents. Trump clearly chafes against anyone or anything that challenges his power, including empirical reality.
The NFL will go forward with plans to discipline Texas Governor Greg Abbott if he enacts the proposed Bathroom Bill that targets transgender people:
The battle over bathroom bills is a silly one. Why are willing to fight so much to keep transgender people from urinating in rooms that correspond to their proper gender? Of all the stands to take, the wars to choose, why this one? Does Texas really want to sacrifice Super Bowls simply to make someone who identifies as gender different from that on birth certificate uncomfortable in the rest room? What’s the point anyway?
Jeff Sessions, Neil Gorsuch, and the Resurgent Threat to Voting Rights:
Here is the key passage of King’s letter opposing Sessions’s nomination as a judge in 1986: “Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
Dexter Fowler, outfielder of the Cardinals, speaks to his personal experience of the travel ban, and receives a deluge of criticism:
The worst admonishing comments came from people who told Fowler to “stick to sports” and to “stick to what you know — baseball,” and to “stay out of politics,” as if he were commenting on someone else’s family, and his own wasn’t directly affected.