Interesting Reading, December 2021

Herein lies brief return of an old feature on this blog, just because I have for once actually collected some of the interesting articles I have read. Actual content will soon follow!

First, Noah Millman, one of the more interesting and unorthodox political and cultural thinkers out there, offers a Thanksgiving essay on gratefulness on his Substack.

Second, Kate Wagner, the architecture critic of McMansion Hell fame, offers a brief take in Bustle on the inanity of the “farmhouse” architectural style that prompted some conversation among my cousins and I as we spent Thanksgiving in a Chicago suburb brimming with these new things sprouting up to replace older ranches and split-levels. (My line at the time: “these are the things we’re going to look back on in 30 years and say, ‘ugh, that’s so 2020s.'”)

On the meatier side, Canadian philosopher Joseph Heath makes an appearance in American Affairs to offer a case for why racial problems in the United States seem so impossible to solve. He deftly shows how means and ends fail to align, and underscores the difficulty of a solution in light of the complexities of the Black American experience. His global context adds a valuable lens to a debate that so often gets caught up strictly in consideration of American events.

And, finally, in an article that can be termed Karl-bait, Graeme Wood tackles the concept of the “land acknowledgment” in the Atlantic. Land acknowledgments, for the uninitiated, are practice designed to honor Native Americans that too often, like so much of white liberal virtue-signaling, can allow people to feel good about themselves for knowing things without actually doing anything to fix them. It concludes with some concrete points to make them better.