Sunday 9.6.2015 New York Times Digest

Quality Time

1. The Myth of Quality Time

“Couples move in together not just because it’s economically prudent. They understand, consciously or instinctively, that sustained proximity is the best route to the soul of someone; that unscripted gestures at unexpected junctures yield sweeter rewards than scripted ones on date night; that the ‘I love you’ that counts most isn’t whispered with great ceremony on a hilltop in Tuscany. No, it slips out casually, spontaneously, in the produce section or over the dishes, amid the drudgery and detritus of their routines. That’s also when the truest confessions are made, when hurt is at its rawest and tenderness at its purest.”

2. Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show

“The emails show how academics have shifted from researchers to actors in lobbying and corporate public relations campaigns.”

3. A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win

“ is fostering the growth of a hybrid profession: teacher-entrepreneur. The phenomenon has even spawned its own neologism: teacherpreneur.”

4. A Collector Sees the Potential in a Humble Paper Clip

“You can go into an office supply store and spend half an hour finding the perfect pen and the perfect notebook to write that novel.”

5. Smart Workers Seek Out Advice, Study Suggests

“People are often hesitant to seek advice because they fear it will make them appear incompetent, said Alison Wood Brooks, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. In fact, those who seek advice are perceived as more competent than those who do not.”

6. We’re All Artists Now

“Like mindfulness and meditation before it, creativity has become a mainstream commodity.”

7. Friends at Work? Not So Much

“When we see our jobs primarily as a means to leisure, it’s easy to convince ourselves that efficiency should reign supreme at work so we have time for friendships outside work.”

8. The Refugee Crisis Isn’t a ‘European Problem’

“The United States and its allies are at war with the Islamic State in Syria — fine, everyone agrees they are a threat — but don’t we have some responsibility toward the refugees fleeing the combat? If we’ve been arming Syrian rebels, shouldn’t we also be helping the people trying to get out of their way?”

9. Blessed Be My Freshly Slaughtered Dinner

“While the morality of our meals is not a new debate, the polemics have reached a shrill intensity lately as a growing number of people, in an effort to raise their culinary consciousness, have committed to eating only meat they kill themselves.”

10. Rising to Your Level of Misery at Work

“Why don’t people stop rising when they are happy? Because we are built to think that more is better — more power, authority, money and responsibility. So we incorrectly infer that promotions will equal greater satisfaction.”

11. The Internet of Way Too Many Things

“The tendency has been to throw excess technological capability at every possible gadget without giving any thought to whether it’s really necessary.”

12. Bucking a Trend, Some Millennials Are Seeking a Nun’s Life

“The sisters used to make their own shoes, too, but these days they buy them at Zappos. ‘Free shipping,’ said Sister Mary Catharine.”

13. Jesse Eisenberg: By the Book

“I also used to buy travel books for countries that no longer exist — I have extensive, and ultimately useless, guides to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.”

14. Is Everyone Qualified to Be a Critic?

“The roots of criticism lie not in judgment but in receptivity and response. Everyone, upon encountering a work of art, has some kind of response, ranging from boredom or incomprehension to amazement and gratitude. In this sense, everyone really is a critic, in a way that not everyone is a painter or a poet. It requires some special talent to create an artwork, but any conscious person will have a reaction to that artwork. What makes someone a critic in the vocational sense is, first, the habit of questioning her own reactions — asking herself why she feels as she does. Second, she must have the ability to formalize and articulate those questions — in other words, she must be a writer. To be able to say what you feel and why: That is the basic equipment of a critic.”

15. Is the Blue-Collar Shirt Still Blue Collar?

“In the course of his 1882 tour of the United States, Oscar Wilde visited the silver mines of the Colorado mineral belt, returning with a key observation on the American costume. ‘In all my journeys through the country, the only well-dressed men that I saw,’ he told lecture audiences, ‘were the Western miners.’ Admiring the height of their boots, the breadth of their hat brims, the drape of their cloaks, Wilde said, ‘They wore only what was comfortable, and therefore beautiful.’ This tribute to an aesthetic allied to a blue-collar work ethic was a premonition of the triumph of bluejeans and the practical fashions that followed. The process began to gain speed 25 or 30 years ago: the trek of Timberland boots from lumberyards to city streets; the appearance of sundry sophomores in service-station jackets emblazoned with the names of anonymous grease monkeys; the appreciation of comfort by white-collar workers who were increasingly released from the constraints of their neckties and skirt suits.”

16. Alton Brown Has Had It With Foodies

“There is more to the act of sharing food with one another than simply saying ‘Here is some food.’ I do believe that there is a spiritual act in breaking bread and sitting down and being thankful. The pornification of food takes away the importance of sharing it with one another and instead focuses only on the food.”


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