Links: Noticing, trade-offs, freedom, epistemology, and more!

* “Criticism is being good at noticing things.”

* “Many people around the world have always resisted America’s self-appointed role as democracy’s champion. But they have also been rightly appalled when America sits back and allows genocide to engulf places like Rwanda or allows dangerous regimes to threaten the world order.” Compatible with “Where are the woke on Disney and China?

* “Saving the liberal arts,” by David Perrell and Jeremy Giffon. A good essay but one that should spend more time on epistemology.

* “The Looming Stagflationary Debt Crisis.” Maybe: plausible enough to repeat. Roubini, however, has predicted something like seven of the last two recessions. I wonder what’s in his portfolio. Ethereum, probably, for someone worried about stagflation.

* “Obama wins by reflecting people’s views:” not the actual headline—the headline is overly inflammatory, but it is from the article. Some politicians today are ignoring the strategy, currently being pursued by the executive branch, of simply saying one thing but doing something else. This line is also key: “while there’s more to politics than winning elections, there’s literally nothing you can achieve unless you win elections first.”

* “The Radical Women Who Paved the Way for Free Speech and Free Love:” but, more than that, a history about how control of telecommunication infrastructure—then, the mail—can be used to exert control over what people think. It’s useful to consider who controls what infrastructure today.

* “People are more than capable of believing things that are obviously not true and abandoning principles they’ve held their entire life.” Also: “there is an economy of attention and unclaimed attention is like a pile of money in the middle of the street.” And many other quotable moments.

* Don’t Take It Personally: “Since academic criticism has long since abandoned disinterested literary analysis, general-interest publications are really the only venues available (aside from personal blogs) for critics who favor this approach. Without it, we could ask whether literary criticism still exists.”

* How many American children have cut contact with their parents?

* Did Groupies Originate in the Time of Haydn & Mozart?

* A review of Nightmare Scenario, on the institutional failures revealed by COVID.

* The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, although it’s about the larger questions of what fantasy literature is doing today.

* “China’s Sputnik Moment? How Washington Boosted Beijing’s Quest for Tech Dominance.”

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