Weekend Reading

Next week closes out January, and ends something we do most years here on the farm, an annual post-holiday cleansing period, largely free of our usual vices. This year we’ve tried something new – reduced use of the internet.

I can report worthwhile results all around. We got a lot of reading done, finished several books between us including for me, the 800-page monster, A Bright, Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan, a history of American involvement in Vietnam. It’s part of due diligence for a long visit to Saigon we have planned for later this year, from where I hope to share lots of photography and writing here on CS&W. More to come on that.

Nowadays we read a calamitous new report about the Arctic climate just about every week, and the never-ending series of warnings has been making me mad at global leadership, which is well aware that big steps need to be taken but unwilling to take them. Meanwhile this week we’ve had the increasingly sad annual media genuflection to Davos man, he who is most able to get the ball rolling, but who benefits too much from the way things are to do so. I’ve begun to believe it really might take a global system change to get things right, with all the calamity that will surely entail.

To explore that topic this weekend I suggest a few things: Try What Will It Really Take to Avoid Collapse by Jeremy Lent, and his website Patterns of Meaning. To have a look at just a bit of what a systemic change might involve, try The Next System, Eudaimonia&Co., Evonomics and the Transnational Institute, (among many others), all wildly too lefty for those to whom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is unsettling.

In case that’s you, there are articles that outline the systemic nature of the problem in more mainstream places, like As a grocery chain is dismantled, investors recover their money. Worker pensions are short millions in the Washington Post and Millennials Didn’t Kill the Economy. The Economy Killed Millennials in The Atlantic. If AOC is a crazy, out of bounds nut to you, perhaps the website The American Conservative is more your cup of tea? In that case, please try Corporate Capitalists Killed American Identity there.


It will be a much colder than normal weekend here in southern Appalachia, in what is turning out to be a colder than normal winter. Wherever you are, I wish you a good weekend, stay warm and I’ll see you next week.

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