He That Increaseth Sorrow Increaseth Knowledge: Or, Notes on Meritocracy

This is a great piece but I guess the reason the end disappointed me is that it turns out to be a sardonic, passive-aggressive (not that there's anything wrong with that) reaffirmation of the meritocratic winners' authority, when what I would rather read is somebody's portrait of alternative authorities. So sure, here's a list of reasons I've seen real people be treated as authorities. Andrews's list would be different no doubt but that's precisely why I would have liked to read it....None … [Read more...]

“Monks and At-Risk Teens Run School Together”: HuffPo

you know this part stood out to me: ...The other secret to their success is to let students lead — literally. The student body is divided into groups of about 25 kids each, in 7th to 12th grade, said Fr. Edwin. Each group has a student leader, and together with the other group leaders, they run the school. They know the grades of all of the kids in their section, and are involved in many of their discipline issues. They set the school schedules and coordinate events — and they even interview the … [Read more...]

“The Art of Toilet Cleanliness”: Lucky Peach

life lessons: ...The first option, the win-the-lotto option, was jam a coat hanger down in the grease trap and see if it’s a plastic bag blocking it or something. (One time I found some sorry asshole’s underwear in a situation like that, but that’s a different story.) But it wasn’t. And it was now three minutes later and the restaurant wasn’t any less packed and there was shit water creeping up, so I did what you do if you want to go around calling yourself a chef: I took my shirt off and my fri … [Read more...]

Didn’t Know It Was a Devil Town: I Finally Watch “Friday Night Lights”

For years people told me I had to watch Friday Night Lights. And they all said the same four things: "Coach and Tami Taylor have the best marriage on television. I love how Dillon is its own character, and the show honors those who stay in their nowhere hometown instead of going Somewhere to be somebody. Ugh, skip season two, some dude kills a dude and it's just a soapy mess. Oh and you don't have to care about football, seriously, it's not a show about football."Some of this is true! Here … [Read more...]

“In Fresno, A Community-Policing Ethos Builds Ties Between Officers and Residents”

from the Washington Post: Not long ago, the Hispanic residents of this gang-ridden neighborhood in Southwest Fresno would not have voluntarily spoken to a police officer, much less attended a police-sponsored block party and taken photos with the chief. But over the past decade, a sustained policing initiative marked by community meetings, Christmas gifts and dozens of neighborhood events has fundamentally altered police-resident relations. more (there are serious limits to attempts to "reform … [Read more...]

“Leading with Humility”: Me on Spiritual Direction for Gay Christians

and other people, should they exist: Several months after I'd stopped seeing my first spiritual director because he'd been transferred to a different parish, I saw that he'd be giving a talk on Catholic understandings of homosexuality. Since I knew I wasn't his only gay spiritual directee—in fact, he'd been recommended to me by another gay Catholic who, like me, was trying to live in accordance with Catholic teaching—I was excited to hear his perspective.I ended up sharply disappointed in th … [Read more...]

Friday Link Round-Up: The Road to Ferguson, And Some Paths Away

Hey it's my birthday, let's have some fun! This is a very, very scattershot link round-up. Mostly snagged from people I follow on Twitter and you should too.Walter Olson, "Petty Offenses and Police-Community Relations in Ferguson": It seems so random and meaningless that a legal offense as minor as walking on the roadway would set in motion what was to prove the fatal confrontation between officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown. But in the wider scheme of how Ferguson came to have its … [Read more...]