I don’t care who started it, if you don’t stop now, I’ll punish the victim!

Last year in Norristown, Pa., Lakisha Briggs’ boyfriend physically assaulted her, and the police arrested him. But in a cruel turn of events, a police officer then told Ms. Briggs, “You are on three strikes. We’re gonna have your landlord evict you.”

Yes, that’s right. The police threatened Ms. Briggs with eviction because she had received their assistance for domestic violence. Under Norristown’s “disorderly behavior ordinance,” the city penalizes landlords and tenants when the police respond to three instances of “disorderly behavior” within a four-month period. The ordinance specifically includes “domestic disturbances” as disorderly behavior that triggers enforcement of the law. [link]


It’s now 2001. After two years of painstaking work to produce the book—having never written one before or attended grad school, I had to learn on the job—nearly every review refers to me as a stay-at-home mom. One such article is entitled “Battlefield Barbie,” which calls me a “soccer-mom-in-training.” I look nothing like Barbie. My kids don’t play soccer. The general consensus is that the book is good, but I suck. The character assassinations are intense. Talkasks if I’m worried I’ll be labeled a slut. I object to both the word and the question; the journalist prints them anyway. Brill’s Content and The Women’s Review of Books insinuate that I brought on my own rape and various other crimes that I experienced at the hands of men—armed robbery, a knockout blow to the skull from a crack addict. Salon resorts to slut-shaming and libelNew York thinks I’m an insult to feminism for having left a promising career behind.

My book is a bestseller, gets taught in journalism schools. [link] [h/t Hello the Future]


the idea of a literary culture at risk is laughable. More books are being published today than ever before. More people are reading books today than ever before. More people are writing books than ever before. Books that would never have been published in the past are regularly published today. There is an astounding wealth of cultural diversity in the literary world. [link]

Fail whale FTW?

Making friends with failure is different than squinching your eyes shut and hoping it will go away. The latter is called the Oprah Law of Cause and Effect, which says that bad luck is always just a prelude to success. Think positive, visualize, seize the day, listen to Adult Contemporary music and ride out the bad, because the good always comes… always! The genius of the Law is that you can’t prove it wrong: you can fail all your life, but there’s still tomorrow. This is the logic of slot machines. Keep feeding it twenty dollar bills, like a reverse-ATM, and if it won’t pay out that only means it’s hot. Only an idiot would quit while he’s behind. [link][h/t Daily Dish]

Like what you do != do what you like

If your goal is to end up passionate about what you do, “Follow your passion” is terrible advice… it’s built on this misbelief that matching your work to something you have a very strong interest in is going to lead to a long-term satisfaction and engagement in your career.

Long-term career satisfaction requires traits like a real sense of autonomy, a real sense of impact on the world, a sense of mastery that you’re good at what you do, and a sense of connection in relation to other people…those traits are not matched to a specific piece of work and they have nothing to do with matching your job to some sort of ingrained, pre-existing passion. [link]


"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."

Boyd, James (May 17, 1970). "Nixon’s Southern strategy: ‘It’s All in the Charts’" (PDF). The New York Times


In its pure form, play has no external purpose or reward. We play just to play. When my sons’ volleys have been sufficiently consistent and accurate, their tennis coach will instigate a game. He yells, ‘Fruit basket!’ and lobs several balls into the air in quick succession. They have to drop their rackets, run and catch the balls before they stop bouncing. This is done amid much cackling and squeals of delight on their part — almost as if the rest of their lesson was work aimed at unleashing this bout of play. I love watching this, because I cannot imagine a purer form of play. There is no external goal or purpose. My sons do it simply because at that precise moment in time — and the squeals of delight are testament to this — there is nothing in the world they would rather be doing. To play is to dedicate oneself cheerfully to the deed and not to any external goal; to the activity itself and not the outcome. [link]