37 Difficult Questions From My Mixed-Race Son

“Mommy, I have changed my name to “The Sixth Jackson.”

Wait, really? I’m supposed to say, ‘This in my son, ‘The Sixth Jackson.’?’

No. You are supposed to say, “This is the Sixth Jackson.” And then I will show them my moves. And then they will understand.


—Mira Jacob. “37 Difficult Questions From My Mixed-Race Son.” Buzzfeed. June 8, 2015.

New to me. Mentioned as part of Mira Jacob’s just released, “Good Talk,” which is a graphic memoir of conversations that have this quote at their heart:

“I can’t protect you from spending a lifetime caught between the beautiful dream of a diverse nation and the complicated reality of one.”

h/t Longreads.

The Abolition of Work—Bob Black

“You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias.”

—Bob Black, “The Abolition of Work and Other Essays.” Port Townsend: Loompanics Unlimited, 1986.

What Books Changed the Way You Think About Almost Everything? | Hacker News

Discussion about books that have changed people’s perspective, starting with original poster’s experience with Freakonomics. Quite a few interesting book recommendations in this thread.

A few recommendations I liked include: Peter Watson’s Ideas, Jonathan Haidt’s Righteous Mind, Donald Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi, and Bruce Beuno de Mesquita’s The Dictator’s Handbook.

After reading the discussion, I thought it might be worthwhile to start a Key Books page on this site.

Doctor Rapp

“The reason Hershfield was accepted at Project Blowed, said Caldwell, was that he arrived with an open mind, and he listened and learned. ‘That’s one wonderful thing I like most about black American communities,’ he said. ‘As long as you don’t try to tell them how to do their own culture, you’re good.’ Ever since Dr. Rapp’s days, performers from all races and backgrounds have jumped onstage, added Caldwell. But the moment they stutter or slur, it’s always the same:

‘Please pass the mic.'”

—Jeff Maysh. “How a Stroke Turned a 63-Year-Old Into a Rap Legend: The Story of Dr. Rapp.” The Atlantic. January 16, 2019.

Wishful Thinking: Reading List for 2019

Last year, I tried a reading list experiment. The goal was to narrow down my ever expanding list of books to read to a manageable set for the year by selecting a 101 books. It was too much. So, this year, I’ll try the same, but reduce the number to one book a week, counting the six books that are less than 100 pages as one book.

  1. Albertine, Viv. To Throw Away Unopened. 320 pgs.
  2. Bardugo, Leigh. Six of Crows. 465 pgs.
  3. Bardugo, Leigh. Crooked Kingdom. 536 pgs.
  4. Bourdain, Anthony. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. 312 pgs.
  5. Bowden, Charles. The Red Caddy. 120 pgs.
  6. Bui, Thi. The Best We Could Do. 329 pgs.
  7. Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Curse of Chalion. 490 pgs.
  8. Bujold, Lois McMaster. Paladin of Souls. 470 pgs.
  9. Bujold, Lois McMaster. The Hallowed Hunt. 423 pgs.
  10. Chiang, Ted. Stories of Your Life and Others. 281 pgs.
  11. Davis, Eleanor. You & a Bike & a Road. 172 pgs.
  12. Díaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. 335 pgs.
  13. Doucet, Julie. 365 Days. 360 pgs.
  14. Egan, Greg. Dichronauts. 312 pgs.
  15. Epicurus. The Art of Happiness. 288 pgs.
  16. Farrukhzad, Furugh. Sin: Selected Poems of Furugh Farrukhzad. 136 pgs.
  17. Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues. 308 pgs.
  18. Fisher, B. K. Radioapocrypha. 82 pgs.
  19. Gwynne, S. C. Empire of the Summer Moon. 384 pgs.
  20. Hart, Tom. Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir. 272 pgs.
  21. Howe, Fanny. The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. 196 pgs.
  22. James, Marlon. The Book of Night Women. 417 pgs.
  23. Jos, Charles. feeld. 80 pgs.
  24. Kraus, Chris. Aliens & Anorexia. 244 pgs.
  25. Lester, C. N. Trans Like Me. 240 pgs.
  26. Lispector, Clarice. The Complete Stories. 640 pgs.
  27. Madhubuti, Haki R. Run Toward Fear: New Poems and a Poet’s Handbook. 68 pgs.
  28. Morgan, Richard K. Thin Air. 400 pgs.
  29. Moore, Elizabeth Anne. Sweet Little Cunt: The Graphic Works of Julie Doucet. 214 pgs.
  30. Myles, Eileen. Not Me. 202 pgs.
  31. Nelson, Maggie. Bluets. 98 pgs.
  32. Pink, Sam. The Garbage Times/White Ibis. 272 pgs.
  33. Pollan, Michael. How to Change Your Mind. 480 pgs.
  34. Pressfield, Steven. Gates of Fire. 384 pgs.
  35. Prine, John. Beyond Words: Lyrics, Chords, Photographs. 180 pgs.
  36. Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. 169 pgs.
  37. Rosling, Hans. Factfulness. 342 pgs.
  38. Saroyan, William. The William Saroyan Reader. 498 pgs.
  39. Scott, James C. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. 464 pgs.
  40. Sim, Dave. Cerebus. 546 pgs.
  41. Smith, Clark Ashton. The Devil’s Notebook: Collected Epigrams and Pensees of Clark Ashton Smith. 82 pgs.
  42. Sylvester, David. Interviews with Francis Bacon. 208 pgs.
  43. Taylor, Irene. The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists. 706 pgs.
  44. Tidbeck, Karin. Jagannath. 114 pgs.
  45. Tillman, Lynne. The Complete Madame Realism: And Other Stories. 296 pgs.
  46. Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow. 462 pgs.
  47. Trudell, John. Lines From A Mined Mind: The Words of John Trudell. 270 pgs.
  48. Watts, Alan. The Wisdom of Insecurity. 152 pgs.
  49. Wells, Martha. All Systems Red. 144 pgs.
  50. Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition. 158 pgs.
  51. Wells, Martha. Rogue Protocol. 158 pgs.
  52. Wells, Martha. Exit Strategy. 176 pgs.
  53. Westhale, July. Trailer Trash. 76 pages.
  54. Westover, Tara. Educated: a Memoir. 334 pgs.
  55. Wilkinson, Karen. The Art of Tinkering. 224 pgs.
  56. Villoro, Juan. The Wild Book. 240 pgs.
  57. Yong, Ed. I Contain Multitudes. 368 pgs.

End of Trust

“The first all-nonfiction McSweeney’s issue is a collection of essays and interviews focusing on issues related to technology, privacy, and surveillance.

The collection features writing by EFF’s team, including Executive Director Cindy Cohn, Education and Design Lead Soraya Okuda, Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass, Special Advisor Cory Doctorow, and board member Bruce Schneier.

We also recruited some of our favorite thinkers on digital rights to contribute to the collection: anthropologist Gabriella Coleman contemplates anonymity; Edward Snowden explains blockchain; journalist Julia Angwin and Pioneer Award-winning artist Trevor Paglen discuss the intersections of their work; Pioneer Award winner Malkia Cyril discusses the historical surveillance of black bodies; and Ken Montenegro and Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying debate author and intelligence contractor Myke Cole on the question of whether there’s a way law enforcement can use surveillance responsibly.”

End of Trust

The Parable of Fish & Turtle

“Once there was a fish and a turtle who were friends. They had been living in the same lake together for some time. One day the turtle decided to visit the land surrounding the lake. She had a good look around and came back to tell her friend the fish of the wonders she had seen. The fish was very interested and asked the turtle what it was like on land. The turtle answered that it was very beautiful. The fish then wanted to know whether it had been transparent, cool, rippling, shiny, smooth, good for gliding, buoyant, and wet. When the turtle said it had none of these attributes, the fish said, ‘What can be beautiful about it then?'”

—Ayya Khema, “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere.” Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1987. Pg. 146.