Hi everyone, and welcome to Extras #70! Please welcome new subscribers Bonnie and B. Shark! The first two articles this week are meant to be read together; they both challenge us to find our people, to build our identities rather than conforming to others. Then comes a photographic interlude. After
Hi everyone, and welcome to Extras #70! Please welcome new subscribers Bonnie and B. Shark! The first two articles this week are meant to be read together; they both challenge us to find our people, to build our identities rather than conforming to others. Then comes a photographic interlude. After the break, there’s a Spotlight exposé on prisons’ woeful failure to address mental health issues, followed by an ode to reading. Please enjoy!
Kevin Patterson writes this beautiful profile of his twin brother Tom, who grew up as a nerd in Canada in the late-1970s, before “nerditry helped liberate the world.” There are references to Dungeons & Dragons, and Tom’s coming out, and how learning Fortran, programming on an Apple IIe, and researching nuclear fusion and entanglement theory protected Tom from “brutes we knew who bragged of f-- bashing.”
Since the election, there has been talk about how we’re caught in our own filter bubbles, exacerbated by Facebook, and as a result, we don’t seek out opposing viewpoints, and democracy is weakened. This piece suggests a totally different thesis: that calls for the common good are propaganda, that filter bubbles help us build our identities, and that we shouldn’t kowtow to others on a false goal of trying to get along.
Prisons do not rehabilitate. This means that incarcerated people with addiction or mental health issues never heal. As a result, if they ever get out of prison, they most likely return. This article, by the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe, is nothing new, but it is disheartening nonetheless, particularly in how prisons tend not to serve those with the greatest needs. Maybe that’s because we don’t really care very much about the least fortunate.
“Books remain one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny—but only as long as people are free to read all different kinds of books, and only as long as they actually do so. The right to read whatever you want whenever you want is one of the fundamental rights that helps preserve all the other rights. It’s a right we need to guard with unwavering diligence. But it’s also a right we can guard with pleasure. Reading isn’t just a strike against narrowness, mind control and domination: It’s one of the world’s great joys.” (Note: If the article gets cut off, do a Google search for it, and you’ll be able to read the whole thing.)
You totally just completed another issue of Extras! Good work. If you are moved, share this issue with a friend or family member, and say to them, Look at what you’re missing! See you next Thursday at 9:10 am.