Digest, 1/21/2023: Can't Please the Masses
the seventy-ninth digest post
I’m in the weeds of writing my second book, but the end is in sight. Trying to keep this train going in the meantime.
This Week’s Posts
Monday, January 16th - Be Independent! No, Not Like That
Independence isn’t independence if it doesn’t entail the freedom to say things that the audience doesn’t like. Plus bonus post about how people dissemble in the face of American atrocities.
Tuesday, January 17th - Why is Everyone Suddenly Obsessed with “Generational Wealth”?
Asking why the desire not just for wealth for yourself, but for generations of your descendants, has become a meme.
Friday, January 20th - Let's Read Some Lyrics - Iron & Wine's “The Trapeze Swinger” (subscriber only)
Doing a close reading of a favorite song of mine.
Plus we put the book club for Jesus’ Son to bed.
From the Archives
Song of the Week
Non-Garbage Online Reading
For NYT subscribers, this Ross Douthat piece on upper-middle class striving and its anxieties is good, and not just because I’m quoted in it.
Rhetoric in the European Tradition, Thomas M. Conley, 1994
Most people define rhetoric as a species of bullshit, but it really just means the study of argument and persuasion, which seems like a worthwhile pursuit to me. If you’re looking for a place to start, Conley’s book represents a comprehensive and in-depth examination of the history and development of rhetoric in the European tradition. Conley offers a detailed analysis of the major figures and texts of the tradition, from ancient Greece to the present day. (Present day circa 1994, that is.) He also provides a clear and accessible introduction to the key concepts and techniques of rhetoric, making the book a great resource for a beginner looking to pick up core concepts.
NFL Picks of the Week
Boy, that Chargers pick was a bad beat. Imagine how good I felt for awhile there. Well, this week my pick is the Cincinnati Bengals +5.5. I really like this Bills team and Josh Allen, but I’m finding this line a little inscrutable; it took all Buffalo had to beat a scuffling Dolphins team down to its third-string quarterback. The Bills can’t rush the passer, so even with a banged-up offensive line, I’m taking Joe Burrow and the points.
Season Record: 10-7-0
Comment of the Week
I think today's young people, including the preponderance of Gen Z, see the economy as winner-take-all, or at the very least binary: the haves vs. the underclass. You either get on the train car going up or the one going down. "Generational wealth" is shorthand for "the thing rich people have that gets them on the right train car." It has less to do with SBF thinking about his grandkids and more about SBF thinking that in order to be rich he needs to amass enough fortune to get him several times over the horizon. - Lenny Defranco
That’s it. I’ll do better next week.