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Currently | Being Here and Getting There

currently july 18 2016

Briefly | As I’m drafting this post on Sunday afternoon, I’m having a hard time figuring out what this week has been about. I’ve been trying to savor the time we still have here, while also thinking about how we’re going to get there. The week has been so full of awful things in the world, yet also full of lovely moments where I feel profoundly grateful. My faltering meditation practice is all about being in the moment, but that’s been hard this week.

Reading | After about 50 pages, I’m going to have to give up on The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I’m enjoying it, but the length and tiny type just isn’t meshing with the scattered brain-space I’m in now. I went with something easier this morning, You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein, a collection of essays on being a lady by the head writer of Inside Amy Schumer. Funny and smart, which is what I wanted. I’m not sure what’s next in the queue, but I’m feeling impulsive and random — maybe The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore or Something New by Lucy Knisley.

Watching | Last night when I couldn’t get to sleep I watched Spotlight, the 2015 film about the Boston Globe’s investigation into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. I liked that it showed journalists doing the job, the boring and the exciting parts, and never had a female journalist sleep with a source.

Listening | I just added Radiolab’s More Perfect, a look into the world and impact of the Supreme Court, to my podcast queue. It’s a spin-off series with just seven episodes, but it’s a good legal nerd-out among my other podcasts.

Blogging | This week I wrote about how, ahead of a major move, I went out and bought a bunch of books. So responsible!

Loving | We got a new water softener in our rental house, which is amazing! My hair is so bouncy and full of volume now that it’s not being weighed down with the junk in our town’s extremely bad water.

Hating | Is it too early to say packing? I started organizing, decluttering, and boxing up my office and some of the kitchen supplies we don’t use regularly. There’s just so much left to go…

Anticipating | This week is looking pretty bonkers at work. I’ve got lots of events to cover and a mid-week trip for a meeting with other area editors.

Can’t Let It Go | I finally got around to reading the cover story from the June/July edition of The Atlantic, “How American Politics Went Insane”, and wow, did it give me a lot to think about. There’s a lot in the piece, but the basic argument is that the current chaotic political process wasn’t caused by any candidate and isn’t a singular occurrence, it’s a syndrome:

Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees—that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time. As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal—both in campaigns and in the government itself.

The idea that reform efforts designed to bring more transparency and accountability to the system have actually helped caused the breakdown is interesting — I definitely want to hear other responses to the piece.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through Amazon. If you make a purchase through any of those links, I will receive a small commission.

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  • Sarah's Book Shelves July 18, 2016, 6:40 am

    I just read about You’ll Grow Out of It in the newspaper this weekend and it piqued my interest….glad to hear it’s working for you!

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:46 pm

      I thought it was a fun read. Nothing earth-shattering, if you read a lot of the feminist/becoming a lady essay collection format, but it was enjoyable.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading July 18, 2016, 6:57 am

    I’m LOVING the More Perfect podcast lately. I’m a huge fan of Amicus, which is Slate’s Supreme Court podcast, but when the court isn’t in session, More Perfect does a great job filling that gap for me.

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:45 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll have to add that one to my list too.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) July 18, 2016, 8:31 am

    That does sound like an interesting piece in The Atlantic. Carl and I were talking about the current state of things and got to wondering why anyone would want to be President – maybe that’s why we don’t have a good choice this year.

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:45 pm

      It does seem like kind of a terrible job, especially with the country as divided and scary as it is now.

  • Meg July 18, 2016, 9:52 am

    I borrowed “Spotlight” form my editor, incidentally, and have been mean to watch it for ages. Glad to hear it’s good. And I definitely understand what you mean about struggling to stay focused and clearheaded with the sad state of affairs happening lately… sigh.

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:44 pm

      I think you’ll like it. I liked that it showed how procedural and sometimes boring even the best journalism can be. It takes time and persistence to do big projects.

  • Florinda July 18, 2016, 11:00 am

    I have to check, but I *think* I convinced Paul to add Spotlight to our Netflix queue last week. That article from The Atlantic sounds interesting and I will save it for reading later–I’m only working two days this week and have almost nothing planned for my time off. My interest in American history has been revving up lately (all the fault of HAMILTON, of course), and it’s fascinating–and depressing–to see how many of our arguments are really nothing new.

    Oy, packing…!

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:42 pm

      Super envious of you many days off. I have some vacation at the beginning of August, but we’ll be flying through part so it’ll be a bit hectic. I’m not sure when my next stay-cation will be 🙂

  • Jenny @ Reading the End July 18, 2016, 8:16 pm

    Can’t wait to listen to More Perfect!

    I watched Spotlight on a recent plane ride and thought it was wonderful. My favorite thing about it is that even the reporters we’re meant to sympathize/identify with are culpable for the systemic failure of the system to find and stop what’s been going on with the priests. I thought it did such an amazing job of depicting that failure at absolutely every level. My one small gripe is that it was weirdly blamey of the Billy Crudup character? Like, absolutely nobody else was doing anything about this, and he was at least getting these settlements for the victims, so it felt weird for the main characters to be all mad at him and asking him to abandon legal ethics for them.

    • Kim July 19, 2016, 7:41 pm

      Yeah, that’s a great point — it doesn’t shy away from the fact that a lot of things broke down to allow the awful things to keep happening.

  • Unruly Reader July 19, 2016, 10:56 pm

    Someone just mentioned the More Perfect podcast to me last weekend, and I’ve already listened to an episode and I’m HOOKED.

    Then I listen to Presidential.

    Now all I need is a legislative podcast, to balance all that power.

  • Michelle July 20, 2016, 4:33 pm

    Spotlight is SUCH a good movie. I just love how quiet the whole thing was – no paparazzi-like machinations, no stalking, no harassing. It shows why people get into journalism.

    I will have to check out that article in “The Atlantic.” Granted, the whole political system makes me sick to my stomach these days. And then you listen to the Hamilton soundtrack and realize that things have not really changed in 200 years.