Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Rebecca Solnit is going to save our souls by holding up a mirror until we can’t look away. There is nothing the internet does better than provide stories to attract our eyes from the mirror, sometimes such a maze of stories that you can follow it anywhere, land anywhere you want to go. Here, Solnit examines the story of not caring, and where it really leads.
Empathy enlarges us by connecting us to the lives of others, and in that is a terrible vulnerability, one that parents know intimately, terrifyingly. If something happens to someone or something you love, it hurts you too, potentially devastates you forever. The prevention of feeling is an old strategy with many tactics. There are so many ways to really not care, and we’ve seen most of them exercised energetically these last couple of years and really throughout American history. They are narrative strategies and most of them are also fundamentally dishonest.
You know those optical illusions where it flips from a rabbit to an old lady between one blink and the next? This story’s kind of like that: it’s about a man who systematically and comprehensively robbed Little Free Libraries in North Chicago over the course of four months, and depending on where you start, you may end up thinking about how petty and screwed up it is to steal from a library, especially a community-tended Little Free Library. Or you might end up reflecting on how that practice might look rich and indulgent, and thus exploitable, to someone without the resources to imagine painting pretty little boxes and filling them with books.
Still. “Avid reader.” Somebody oughtta clock this guy.
The second time, Richard happened to be home when he saw a van pull up to his Little Free Library book-sharing box. He watched as a man jumped out, took every book out of the Library, and put the books in his car. Richard went out and spoke with him. Richard explained the purpose of a Little Free Library, but the man insisted that he was just an "avid reader," and drove off.
Bonus round! All the stories that made child-you weep uncontrollably (Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows), plus a few that made you weep much later in life, rewritten so the dog lives. Thank you, co-founder Martin McClellan, for knowing our hearts so well.
"Who is this dog?" Odysseus asked at last, smiling through tears
As though he did not know his own pup.
"Who is this good boy?
Who is this good boy?
Who is this good boy?"