Help Each Other Find The Helpers, Part A Million
Dearests, it’s been a tick since we connected. I’m typing this from Chicago, where I’m spending some time in our HQ before exploring the city for the weekend.
Been doing my best to avoid the news out of Ukraine, the shenanigans slithering out of the Supreme Court confirmation vote (but heck yes, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson making history!!!), out of the terrifying anti-LGBT rhetoric seeping out of the right, out of the last ditch attempts to save our access to reproductive health. I’ve reached this phase of numbness, of such news exhaustion… that I’m not even tired? I just don’t engage, I shut down, I’m in full denial that anything is happening out there, because if I open those floodgates, if I crack open the dam I’ve built to protect me from all the ways this world is hard and unpredictable and, alas, cruel, I’ll be pummeled by the flood and drowned.
And so I guess I ask, dear readers, how does one remain responsible, remain active, remain involved while faced with a seemingly insurmountable universe of toil and suffering? My privilege allows me to continue to lead a good life while sticking my head in the proverbial sand, but I also can’t stop thinking of my high school social studies class and Thomas Hobbes observing that life is “‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.’ How does anyone maintain faith in anyone at this point?
But then I try to remind myself of the context into which this ever-so-pessimistic thought was delivered, in that Hobbes, like so many other Enlightenment thinkers, tried to determine how ‘man’ could lift himself out, tried to find a way in which man was—slightly—happier (and of course, am I cherrypicking this thought out because it was on my mind and I want to find a silver lining? Do I one hundred percent disagree that an all-powerful sovereign is the solution, as Hobbes proposed? I do not, and therein ends my brief memory of a sliver of Enlightenment political thought, don’t @ me). Because that’s what we do - we try to make things better, no matter how pessimistic we are.
And I bring this up today because it can be very hard to think of how humans can lift each other up when we see those bent on destruction and hate. It can feel impossible to celebrate those who use all of our collective talents and guile and creativity to build and create and nurture.
But that optimism and hope is there, and emerges when we consider the collective community. We visited Three Pines Studio, in Cross Village, MI last week where the wood block artisan/owner has turned her talents towards creating and selling beautiful tea towels, directing profits going towards World Central Kitchen, the spectacular non-profit run by Jose Andreas that brings hot meals and hope to those experiencing disaster and/or war. Joann Condino and her dedicated volunteers are working round the clock to respond to the deluge of support, having raised $40k already after having an initial goal of $1,000. And to walk in from the snow to see a crew of people cheerily working to fill orders from all over the country was a little reminder of the beauty and care that can float above the detritus and anger.
Anyhoo, that was longer than expected. A few things to read below, but otherwise have a wonderful weekend - and tell someone you love that you care about them, won’t you?
STUFF TO READ!
Mike Masnick, Why Moderating Content Actually Does More To Support The Principles Of Free Speech (TechDirt)
Chloe Berger, Google’s former HR chief says your boss wants to boil you slowly like a frog to get you back in the office, and it will be terrible for morale and productivity (Fortune) - THAT HEADLINE, THOUGH (h/t Friend of the Missive Madeline for this barn burner)
Salvador Hernandez, An Adorable But Aggressive Fox Menaced The US Senate Before Being Caught By Animal Control (BuzzFeed News)
Michelle Goldberg, Why Are Seemingly Functional Adults Falling for the ‘Furries’ Myth? (NYT, h/t FotM Daniel)