We love Thanksgiving. We cook everything. But we’re still learning many things about the American culture. Back home everyone likes to hug and kiss on the cheek. It communicates that you care about someone. But here it is different. My friend tried to give me a Thanksgiving handshake at the gym today. But I went in for a Thanksgiving hug. And he only gave me a Thanksgiving half-hug. A few months ago I was called into Human Resources, and they said: ‘Mr. Mauricio, no more hugging at the office. It is making people uncomfortable.’
— Mr. Mauricio, in ‘Humans of New York’
P.S.: I’m a big time hugger. The British around me are definitely not. I’m available for hugs.
Pompey the Great would snap at magistrates who challenged him: “Cease quoting laws to those of us with swords.”
Eventually all pretense of civility was dropped and Rome was engulfed by a series of destructive civil wars that destroyed the republic once and for all.
— The Washington Post, in Perspective | This is how republics end
(America’s) Farm policies have made low-nutritional commodities exceptionally cheap, providing the food industry with enormous incentive to market processed foods comprised mainly of refined grains and added sugars. In contrast, vegetables, whole fruits, legumes, nuts and high-quality proteins are much more expensive and, in “food deserts,” often unavailable.
—NYT: ‘Opinion | America’s Obesity Budget‘
Continue reading Land of the brave – fattening them to death
At the root of this is American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system.
— Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker
This is a principle that is repeated in every aspect of life: if you raise the floor of competence, you inevitably lower the ceiling of achievement. There is no reward without risk, and demanding that everything meet a certain standard is to inevitably ensure that nothing goes beyond.
Ben Thompson, in the Stratechery Daily Update dated 22 Jan, 2018
Needless to point out that I completely disagree with Ben on this. I believe the opposite to be true. When the minimum required standard is raised, the standard of achievement required to stand out nudges even higher, spurring innovation and achievement.
I find his quote to represent a very American view of things – something that underlies/propels a lot of policy (and impolitic) discourse in their society. Even the most thoughtful, most reasonable people, once integrated in the US way of thinking tend to develop a intrinsic distrust and fear of equality, and anything that may even remotely resemble it, or lead to it.
Continue reading A very American view on equality & achievement…
The farmers know something is happening to the weather, but the words “climate change” have become politically charged in a place where, like much of rural America, conservative politics dominate.
Climate change threatens Montana’s barley farmers – and possibly your beer – Food and Environment Reporting Network
In the field, looking at his withering crop, Somerfeld was unequivocal about the cause of his damaged crop – “climate change.” But back at the bar, with his friends, his language changed. He dropped those taboo words in favour of “erratic weather” and “drier, hotter summers” – a not-uncommon conversational tactic in farm country these days.