What made me think — May 6, 2018

What I read

What happens after Capitalism ends. “We are going to have more time in the future, you and I. And our grandkids, more still. At least those that live in half-way intelligent societies. And the gift of time is that it gives us the chance to do things, think thoughts, imagine worlds, and feel emotions which genuinely matter, instead of those that don’t. More time — to earn more meaning, purpose, truth, beauty, grace, defiance, happiness, intimacy, warmth, all the things that give every instant of life richness, sweetness, and depth. And all that is the work that needs to be done as capitalism ends.”

I’ve been ruined by Long Long Man, the greatest love story ever told by Japanese gum commercials. Just watch it.

The Indianapolis Star published a letter written by a female prisoner from Auschwitz to her husband just before she and her youngest child were murdered in the gas chambers. The letter is the only one of its kind and has recently been added to the National Holocaust Museum in Washington.

“You, my only one, dearest, in isolation we are waiting for darkness. We considered the possibility of hiding but decided not to do it since we felt it would be hopeless. The famous trucks are already here and we are waiting for it to begin. I am completely calm. You — my only and dearest one, do not blame yourself for what happened, it was our destiny. We did what we could. Stay healthy and remember my words that time will heal — if not completely — then — at least partially. Take care of the little golden boy and don’t spoil him too much with your love. Both of you — stay healthy, my dear ones. I will be thinking of you and Misa. Have a fabulous life, we must board the trucks.

“Into eternity, Vilma.”

What I watched

Outside In: A rare grownup Hollywood love story that takes time to develop but lures you in and Eddie Falco does deserve many awards for her performance. When the movie ended, I wished them well because I know they are out there. Somewhere.

Flint Town: No matter where you stand on issues, the American Dream has turned its back on Flint. The water issue is just a tangential issue in this series, it’s more about the wider drama of the community. No money, no political will no change, no consensus, no real community. Heartbreaking.

Lucky A wonderful homage to an amazing actor and his career with mortality at its thematic center. While the topic is heavy, the whole movie feels like a spring song with the knowledge this wonderful day will end soon.

What I listened to

The age of “mega-identity” politics. Lilliana Mason traces the construction of our partisan “mega-identities”: identities that fuse party affiliation to ideology, race, religion, gender, sexuality, geography, and more. These mega-identities didn’t exist 50 or even 30 years ago, but now that they’re here, they change the way we see each other, the way we engage in politics, and the way politics absorbs other — previously non-political — spheres of our culture.

In making her case, Mason offers one of the best primers on how little it takes to activate a sense of group identity in human beings, and how far-reaching the cognitive and social implications are once that group identity takes hold. This is the kind of research that will change not just how you think about the world, but how you think about yourself.

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