The Sunday Post for April 14, 2019

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.

The American Worth Ethic

How does Rain City become Tent City? In part, says Bryce Covert, through an American ideology that links wealth to virtue, poverty to indolence, and assigns benefits accordingly. Fortunately we now have a Commander in Chief who is visible evidence that money and power are an outcome of ingrained prejudice and privilege. And cheating at golf.

Our country has a history of only offering public benefits to the poor either deemed worthy through their work or exempt through old age or disability ... Largesse for the rich, on the other hand, has rarely included such tests. No one has been made to pee in a cup for tax breaks on their mortgages, which cost as much as the food stamp program but overwhelmingly benefit families that earn more than $100,000. No one has had to prove a certain number of work hours to get a lower tax rate on investment income or an inheritance. They get that discount on their money without having to do any work at all.
The Death of an Adjunct

Thea Hunter worked hard — very hard — but unfortunately didn't know how to cheat at golf (see above), so did not benefit from the job opportunities and health insurance that accrue to those who do. Adam Harris explains how an injustice-weakened academic system took her from a "pioneering" researcher, with a world of opportunity, to the hospital bed where she died.

Had she been tenured, she would have experienced a sort of security that tenure is designed to provide: a campus office of her own, health insurance, authority and respect with which to navigate campus bureaucracy, greater financial stability. Without tenure, she was unprotected, at the whim of her body’s failings, working long hours for little pay, teaching large survey classes outside of her area of special expertise. As Terry McGlynn, a biology professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills, wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Full professors benefit from the exploitation of non-tenure-track instructors.” Adjuncts often do the work that other professors don’t want.
Behind the Process of Helvetica's 21st Century Facelift

So delightful that someone like Charles Nix, who led the recent Helvetica redesign, exists — to care so deeply and unreservedly about smoothing out the ragged edges of the world we read through.

There are moments in your life when you suddenly understand the concept of joy. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic about it, but the first proof that we pulled off Helvetica Now micro was one of those moments of my life. Like “Oh my god, the theory is true.” Every hypothesis we had about how a micro type could be made more legible, how it could preserve the impression of Helvetica, it played out.

And I just remember reading 3pt and 4pt type and thinking it’s a marvel because Helvetica always died at 6pt for me. It died at 7pt or 8pt because of the closed apertures, because of the cramped forms and tight spacing. Having it suddenly be incredibly legible at 3pt is one of those moments where the skies open up and the angels sing.

Instead of shaking all over, I read the newspapers.

Colm Tóibín writes with great eloquence about Colm Tóibín's balls. (Also an eloquent account of being surprised by cancer, told with dry wit that does not at all obscure the misery and terror of the experience.)

In those ten minutes, as the pain became so intense that I actually believed I was going to have a baby, I imagined appealing to the pope to let me through. I would apologise for all the rude things I have said about him. I would take back the assertion that he doesn’t mean a word he says. I would withdraw my view that at least we knew where we were with the previous two. With Bergoglio, no one knows where they are. I would tell him that I was sorry I had said this and would promise to be even more emphatically and eternally sorry if he let me through. This kept me busy as the throbbing pain became more and more unbearable. Finally, the nurse called back and told me to get the oral morphine I had used before. She told me exactly how much I could take. If the pain was still there in an hour, she said, I was to call back.
The key to glorifying a questionable diet? Be a tech bro and call it ‘biohacking.’

We've watched tech worship change our city, gut our nonprofits, and clutter our streets with construction and a plague of mid-lane Uber parkers. Now Jack Dorsey and his ilk are disrupting dysfunctional eating? Here's to a world that responds to this the way it should — with an eye roll and a Twitter log-off.

It’s both thought-provoking and aggravating to think about how tech bros have managed to hijack the whole dieting concept. To move from “you’ll never guess how many calories are in just one of these,” to “the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down,” as Dorsey said in his interview.

One wants to grab him by the hoodie strings and bellow, “that’s not mental clarity, my good man — that’s starvation.”