Some links for today

March 25, 2022

Just a few things, gathered in the past few months, for your reflection, if you want them.

Honestly, I love the early morning.  These days (call it middle age?), I usually get up before everyone else in my house, and while the rest of the world is asleep, I have very quiet time to myself, reading and thinking and maybe writing.  (I try very hard to stay off the screen in this time.)  I hope you have some time to do this as well--it's so enriching and replenishing.


And now on to the things:


Fascinating, in lots of ways.  Even Americans’ account of the meaning of life is increasingly partisan.


This is nice—Stephen Colbert (who you may not know is a trained theater actor, and has performed in musicals) interviewing Stephen Sondheim.


And another remembrance, from several years ago, of John Ashbery.  Always good to remember him and his poetry.


This seems really significant, but of what?  I am not sure: “Some 24.1 million people age 25 and older had master’s degrees in 2021. That’s a 51-percent increase from 2011, when 16 million people held the credential.” Not to be cynical, but a great deal, perhaps a majority? of the growth looks mostly like a revenue-enhancing strategy for smaller and less prestigious schools looking to shore up a declining financial base caused by undergrad shortages, and for schools looking to make a quick buck.


I think this sort of explanation—putting Putin’s actions within a framework of meaning, of a vision of the world and his (and Russia’s) place within it—gets at features of Putin’s behavior that more conventional IR theories like structural realism do not.  And this piece, on Alexander Dugin, helps as well.


Very interesting on the geopolitics of our moment: we are all networked and interrelated, which makes action very hard for the network as a whole, and action for one actor within the network in some ways protected (b/c counteraction against them will rebound on others, b/c of network effects).  But when the network actually can be stirred to act, it can be devastating.  Do nation states want to be so interdependent?  Can they be?  An interesting moment.


Be well, however networked you may be–