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Oh, hello. There's an alarming theme of self-improvement in this email, but I hope it isn't too self-helpy for you all. Sorry. As always. You can save any of these articles to read for later using Pocket. 


The Ban, the Wall: Bearing witness. Which of our neighbours have been rounded up so far? by Dana Snitzky in Longreads
Reading time: 12 minutes
This article counts and lays out the Americans who have been quietly rounded up and, in some cases, deported since Trump took office. There's so much going wrong in the States at the moment that it's easy to miss stuff, and it appears the US is going full Nazi Germany. 

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us here: since January 1, there have been four American mosques burned to the ground100 bomb threats against American Jewish synagogues and cultural centers, and two American Jewish cemeteries vandalized in acts of mass desecration. Millions of American schoolchildren are frightened because the government is about to take their parents away. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are preparing to house more people than ever before in private prisons and detention centers. People in other countries are afraid to visit or send their children here. I suppose my thesis is that if we have been waiting for something to happen, we should consider that maybe it is happening already.

Generation Y should be planning a revolution by Annabel Crabb in the Sydney Morning Herald
Reading time: 5 minutes
Annabel Crabb make some very salient points. Listen up, Boomers. We'll be the ones in charge of choosing a nursing home for you. 

"How – if you were a young person today – would you see your seniors as anything but a grabby crowd of legislative brawlers who got their degrees for free and their homes for a song, and are conspiring together to have you foot the bill for their retirement as they drink the last of the Grange in the polluted ruins of the planet that is now exclusively yours to fix?"

The Karen Road to Nhill by Margaret Simons for SBS
Reading time: 10 minutes
Famous for 1997 movie The Road to Nhill, the town of that name is now home to 200 Karen refugees from Myanmar. Far from dividing locals, the huge influx of newcomers – many of whom arrived traumatised, unfamiliar with western society – has brought new life to the community. Is this a model for the rest of Australia?

Women and desire: the six ages of sex by various writers in the Guardian
Reading time: 7 minutes
My grandma once assured me that she and her partner (they got together when she was in her 50 and he was in his 60s) did not have sex. I didn't believe it for a second. This was an interesting read from some points of view that aren't often aired. 

"There’s a marked change from the dynamic of our 20s. As they get older, men can become vulnerable. They may be scared of losing their virility. If some octogenarians are still capable of an erection sufficient for penetrative sex, it is because they feel desired. The woman’s attitude is, therefore, very important. Women can also experience immense sexual pleasure as we age – some say they have better orgasms after the age of 60, and don’t need the man’s erection in order to come".

Moral outrage is self-serving, say psychologists by Elizabeth Nolan Brown in Reason
Reading time: 7 minutes
Getting outraged about issues that don't directly affect you makes you feel good in a way that simply acknowledging them doesn't. Awkward. 

When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don't affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism—a "disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others." But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern—what social scientists refer to as "moral outrage"—is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one's own status as a Very Good Person.

Being vegan isn't as good for society as you think by Chase Purdy in Quartz
Reading time: 6 minutes
Basically, it's not a good use of the planet's cropping land. 
"The vegan diet wastes available land that could otherwise be used to feed more people."

What being an Executive Assistant taught me about the failure of corporate feminism by Laura La Rosa in Catalogue
Reading time: 7 minutes
This article got me thinking about all the places I've worked where a woman is responsible for smoothing over and cleaning up after the emotional messes of their male bosses. If nothing else, it has made me make a special effort to turn up to meetings on time, lest someone else waste theirs by chasing me up.

These assistants would spend countless accumulated hours tracking down their designated chief, swiftly summoning them before shipping them off to their next meeting – a practice their more often than not male seniors would come to rely on in the absence of a quick looking down at their watches like the grown ups they were. It was a blatant piss-take, and an institutionalised digging in of one’s feet. Where these assistants would channel their productivity was in no way reflective of their obvious intelligence and potential for something greater.


Music: Ella Thompson sang and co-wrote my favourite songs on The Bamboos' 2013 album Fever In The Road, but I had kind of forgotten about her until the webshow Amateur Hour introduced me to her band GL. In true Melbourne style, she also sings in Dorsal Fins and does solo stuff, and I've been thrashing these two songs over the last month. If you like music to dance to, you'll enjoy this. 
GL - Warm (Live)
Dorsal Fins - High Low
Dorsal Fins - "High Low" (Live)


Copyright © 2017 Sophie Benjamin, All rights reserved.

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