I read Israel as a follow-up to The politics of anti-semitism. They were both really fascinating and made me want to read more in that vein – I haven’t read nearly enough history of the Arab world, for example.
I bought Street Fight, the book about Janette Sadik-Khan’s successful mission to make New York bicycle and pedestrian-friendly, at the local bookstore on the 24th, and finished it in just a few days: it was lighter and faster-paced than most of my books, and it had me rooting along as I went. I’d also love to dive deeper into the specifics of street interactions and the math and research that goes into such calculations.
Alex Baca’s series on Challenging the Cappuccino City is excellent, as well as her gentrification isn’t ending piece. I went to a live Chapo Trap House event this month, and enjoyed it, but their follow-up podcast, recorded in San Francisco “The YIMBY Failing Project” was really a disappointment - trotting out the same tired narrative about gentrification and adding nothing from their political ideology. I’m on the hunt for more and better material about housing policy.
Via that thread, Tom Lee turned me to Are We Postcritical?, an essay that deeply resonated with me. I’ve been in multiple conversations with respected circles of politically-change-minded folks who say “well, critical theory is this whole discipline that has said so much on this topic” - but when I actually read critical theory, it’s, bluntly, useless and lazily constructed. Realizing that this tradition exists and starting to recognize its characteristics also prompted an ‘aha’ moment, understanding why pieces like Xenofeminism never resonated with me.
Thinking about homelessness in San Francisco, I’ve read a variety of sources, and one of the most interesting is the review of Ronald Reagan’s influence, which seems to be one of the most important pieces of our current failure. It’s something to think about. Living in San Francisco, you’d have to be ignorant or callous to skip over this topic, but at the same time I can’t help but see this city’s situation as just one instantiation of a larger American issue. When folks from the suburbs remark at SF’s failure to keep up with the homeless, I’m starting to get it: the policies of Reagan and others have moved funding from cities to suburbs, have abandoned cities.
I cancelled my Netflix account again, and I’ve checked off a few movies from my to-watch list: Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Knight (re-watch to make sure it was still good, and it is), John Wick, Foxcatcher. In April, I’ll try to keep to this pattern: only watch movies, never space out to TV. It’s hard to stick to, unfortunately.
This was a pretty great month for new music - I added to my library:
Tim Hecker - Love Streams - Hecker is my dedicated copyediting music, and one of the best musicians to leave on and just experience. I also watched Annihilation recently, and got that soundtrack mostly for the sake of the track ‘Alien’, which has very Hecker-ian vibes.