smarterbits

White Fear

Many (white) people believe it only exists between people because they choose to ignore its tentacle-like influences on public media, popular culture, education, immigration policy, and social welfare programs. They use their fear to justify their senseless aggression toward black and brown bodies. Then they sit as judge and jury indicting black teens for eating snacks, smoking weed one time, or running fast. Meanwhile, white teenaged boys live fruitful lives after mowing down entire groups of people while under the influence of stolen alcohol because they suffer from ‘affluenza.’ A drunk white murderer is worth more than a dead black honor student. Such is the function of white fear.

How to Be Polite

She was surprised to see the stubborn power of politeness over time. Over time. That’s the thing. Mostly we talk about politeness in the moment. Please, thank you, no go ahead, I like your hat, cool shoes, you look nice today, please take my seat, sir, ma’am, etc. All good, but fleeting.

'I Had Failed to Convince as Damsel in Distress'

If I can be driven out by any man in the grip of unrequited attachment, if I can be driven out again for seeking legal redress, equality under the law is a fiction: I may need to pay twice for housing and lose a year’s income, maybe more, at any time. At eight stone, I can even the odds only if I can come to the door with a gun and say, ‘Make my day.’

In every direction a helpless nightmare.

The Low-Tech Appeal of Little Free Libraries

I’ve had this in mind for a small project some time now. When I learnt that someone had already built one in my neighbourhood and that it stood less than a week before being vandalized, I was slightly heartbroken. But undeterred.

I’m location scouting.

I Accidentally Started a Wikipedia Hoax

Ultimately, what I learned from my inadvertent Wikipedia hoax was not that Wikipedia itself isn’t reliable, but that so many people believe it is. My lie—because that’s what it was, really—was repeated by dozens of sources, from bloggers to academics to journalists. They knew better than to attribute Wikipedia directly, because even a seventh-grader knows citing Wikipedia as a source is tantamount to admitting that you haven’t done any research at all. Instead, they referred to the source of the Amelia Bedelia Cameroon lie in vague terms, such as “the literature I’ve read” on the subject, or even to Parish himself.

Shocking not shocking.

Via John Siracusa

You Can Own Too Many Books

This was reinforced when I moved again this year, and was told by the movers, multiple times, that my boxes of books, rather than furniture like a bed and a couch, was what was weighing down their truck.

I can attest that wonton book collecting is indeed an issue. I don’t want to be saved.

Dustin Lance's Writing Process

The meticulous and laboured research phase seems overkill at first, but the newfound familiarity to the subject that results from it makes putting the final product together feel effortless. As in sports, there’s a muscle memory to the creative process.

A Theory of Jerks

The moral and emotional failure of the jerk is obvious. The intellectual failure is obvious, too: no one is as right about everything as the jerk thinks he is. He would learn by listening. And one of the things he might learn is the true scope of his jerkitude – a fact about which, as I will explain shortly, the all-out jerk is inevitably ignorant. Which brings me to the other great benefit of a theory of jerks: it might help you figure out if you yourself are one.