Best Of The Web
“Open your browser. Start typing, “40 is the new…” and what do you imagine pops up? I’ll tell you. It’s “30,” with 87 million results, and “20,” with a shocking 121 million results. Click on any number of the top articles and you’ll read bloggers’, columnists’, and health experts’ exultant claims about how and why 40 is no longer old. Of course, implicit in this argument is the perennial bias against aging, the assumption that everyone — if given the choice — would stay forever young.
I’ve been pondering my own 40th birthday, which arrives in a matter of days. I’ve talked to a number of people at all ends of the age spectrum and read dozens of articles like those I mention above. And based on this highly unscientific research, I admit that in some ways, I’m convinced: To be 40 now is certainly very different than being 40 at any other time in our history.
As a white, cisgender, more-or-less middle class American, I have the privileges of a longer life expectancy and better health outcomes than previous generations. I, like many others, have reinvented myself professionally, and to some degree even personally, more than a few times in my adult life. I have the freedom to choose my career, my spouse, and what I do with my time — a freedom most women in all of recorded history did not have. I have the benefit of access to information about nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. I even have a little disposable income for things like moisturizer and eye cream. Taking all that into account, 40 for me feels unlike my mother’s 40, or my grandmother’s 40. It’s certainly different from what I might have imagined as a kid.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."