Week thirty-six

“a selection of my links, once per week, every week”

1. This week, I really liked the article “Kate Manne on the Costs of Male Entitlement”. Kate Manne is a philosopher. She distinguishes sexism and misogyny and defines the former as the ideology, the latter the enforcement of that ideology.

This distinction is interesting as she argues that one can exist without the other. I.e. a person can not hold sexist views but participate in a misogynist structure. And vice-versa.

2. This weekend we had a few friends over for brunch. Not close friends. Sufficiently “not close” that we invited several so that we wouldn’t run out of conversation. Those are friends we don’t agree with on political issues, on material issues, on values.

Somehow we managed to build somewhat of a conversational bridge (TED talk), and I was surprised. It was a lovely moment. No echo chamber of ideas. Seb and I had material for discussion and debate for days afterwards.

I’m glad I hang on to those relationships, those you catch yourself asking, why bother? It often feels like work and even this time we didn’t leave happily agreeing on everything. But it makes me grow.

3. One of my best friends is dealing with a newborn right now (sending all my love). I sent her this Oprah video on how to decipher baby cries. Not sure if it works but it’s so fun. Good luck N, it does get better <3

Week thirty-five

A week-end with my dear friends… in the garden, harvesting zucchinis

I re-discovered Bleubird, a blogger Caro and I read ages ago. At that time she did a year-long project, “a portrait of my children, once per week, every week”. Today it inspired me to do something similar.

“But I hate taking pictures.”

“But you love eclectic links.” he replied.

So here is it. A small project. “a selection of my links, once per week, every week”.

  • Bleubird’s IG. You let me know when you’ve figured out how she makes her feed so relatable and so full of sponsorship at the same time.
  • Why every city feels the same now: I have been (slowly) decorating our new home, and am obsessed with being not-hipster. No I don’t know what it means. Yes I can just feel it. This article describes the effect of non-place of a city. So it gives me a language to talk about non-place in a home. Like the armchair I just bought and love in an genuine way – I’ve just seen it in three of my friends’ home.
  • On another topic, Seb and I have low executive skills and vacation with a baby is difficult logistically. We were looking for places where we could eat, rest, learn new stuff and have farm animals, all in one place. Eumelia looks amazing. It’s in a middle of olive tree farm. With a from-farm-to-table restaurant. And goats! If you know similar places, please let us know.

Week thirty-four

  1. An article that generated a lot of discussions with my friends last week is this one: the birth of the new american aristocracy. We asked ourselves, do we belong to this group, economically, culturally, philosophically (believing in meritocracy for example)? Does it apply in Switzerland? If yes will it express itself the same way, or are there systems (free education, spatial mixity, direct democracy…) in place to limit the crystallization of the gaps?
  2. This coincides with my endeavor to learn the Fundamentals of Sociology. This Coursera class gives an overview from Adam Smith to Norbert Elias, covering Tocqueville, Marx, Durkheim, Weber and others. The lecturer is amazing. Join me if interested (I’m at Week 5, on Marx).
  3. Zalan asked what fun thing we’re doing in our garden. I have to say trying out the ancient Three Sisters technique from the Mayas.
How to Plant the Three Sisters (with Pictures) - wikiHow

Result: the green beans are amazing and producing tons.

But for next year, we need to see how to get the timing right: the beans outgrew the corn so much that it bent the whole structure. Also we’ve had issues of corn cross-pollination. Look at all those empty seeds! So we’ll try higher density next year.

The reality of traditions – or how to take advices

Yesterday I wrote about the mystery of traditions. It really was a short ode to them. I compared them to poetry, for heaven’s sake.

1. Learn more about the person than from the advice itself

But don’t be fooled. I usually am the first one to dismiss – to scorn even – social norms and obligations, which is why I am always surprised when I discover some good in them.

So I will probably only write good things about them, because the inverse is so obvious to me that I won’t bother.

2. Beware of the author’s obsessions

Unless I’m particular proud of an analogy. So today I’d like to add that true, traditions are like poetry. I didn’t even want to start on how traditions can be stifling and perpetrate inequalities, until I got excited that poetry is also stifling and rigid and how wave after wave of writers seeks to abolish the precedent rules of text structure.

So traditions are nice as long as they don’t eat up our whole lives; after all who would only want to speak in sonnets and verses?

3. Always remember that there’s theory and then there’s practice

It’s such a great analogy. I’m sitting here, very satisfied with myself… until he comes in, tiny arms stretched up asking for a hug.

He’s had two Christmases, two New Years. I’m wondering what kind of traditions do I want to pass on to him?

I’m not sure. My analogy seems quite useless now. I think we’ll just have figure it out together.

The mystery of traditions

Today is the Chinese New Year.

Yesterday million of families have cleaned their homes and houses. They did not throw away the resulting trash bags, as that would be throwing away last year’s good fortune and memories.

Today despite cooking, guests, families, there will be no sweeping: that would mean brushing off the new year’s luck.

Science cannot explain why traditions matter, but it does. It makes me feel connected. It makes time flow differently… It gives symbolism and poetry to our reality.

Poetry. This rings true, doesn’t it? It doesn’t change the content, but brings rhythm and structure. It make our individual lives rime with those of a larger community.

So I’ll be keeping with these traditions. Even if it means I have to leave my warm bed to rush and do groceries before my friends come to make dumplings… now!