Best Of The Web
“Narcissism is defined as excessive self-love or self-centredness. In Greek mythology, Narcissus fell in love when he saw his reflection in water: he gazed so long, he eventually died. Today, the quintessential image is not someone staring at his reflection but into his mobile phone. While we pine away for that perfect Snapchat filter or track our likes on Instagram, the mobile phone has become a vortex of social media that sucks us in and feeds our narcissistic tendencies. Or so it would seem.
But people have long used media to see reflections of themselves. Long before mobile phones or even photography, diaries were kept as a way to understand oneself and the world one inhabits. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as secular diaries became more popular, middle-class New Englanders, particularly white women, wrote about their everyday lives and the world around them. These diaries were not a place into which they poured their innermost thoughts and desires, but rather a place to chronicle the social world around them – what’s going on around the house, what they did today, who came to visit, who was born or who died. The diaries captured the everyday routines of mid-19th-century life, with women diarists in particular focused not on themselves but on their families and their communities more broadly.
Diaries today are, for the most part, private. These New England diaries, in contrast, were commonly shared. Young women who were married would send their diaries home to their parents as a way of maintaining kin relations. When family or friends came to visit, it was not uncommon to sit down and go through one’s journal together. Late 19th-century Victorian parents would often read aloud their children’s diaries at the end of the day. These were not journals with locks on them, meant only for the eyes of the diarist, but a means of sharing experiences with others.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"Donald Trump is the only President of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union who has been unable to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia."
"This past weekend Melania Trump’s spokeswoman penned an op-ed for CNN in which she criticized the media’s unrelenting criticism of the first lady... Is it true that the media have a fixation on the first lady’s fashion sense?"
"Ultra-Orthodox Jews are smarter consumers, have interest-free loan funds, and are satisfied even if they are poor, the Haredi Institute for Public Affairs has found."
"In Anti-Fandom: Dislike and Hate in the Digital Age, out January 8, Melissa Click delivers a collection of 15 essays by scholars exploring the many ways there are to hate, and why we love to do it."
"For more than a decade, ultrarich people from the former Soviet Union, China and the Middle East have turned to London mansions, New York high-rises, and chic properties in Vancouver, Miami and Paris to store their cash."
"Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life . . . it gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on."
"It’s the end of 2019 and America’s bountiful harvest is in. But President Donald Trump is facing a crisis few contemplated the year before: a food shortage almost everywhere else in the world."
"Christopher Hitchens died seven years ago this Saturday, a decade after breaking ranks with onetime friend Gore Vidal and beginning a feud that symbolized major changes in left-wing politics."
"I could try to find out where my ancestors may have come from, but that is never going to show me what I’ve actually inherited."
"Have you eaten a Cheez-It sometime in the past eight years? If so, as they say on TV, call now because you may be entitled to compensation."
"An intelligent fish has stirred up a debate about how to measure self-awareness among animals—and what self-awareness even is in the first place."
"...either our youth walk out on Judaism or maintain a lukewarm relationship with Jewish observance; or, they become so obsessed by its finest points that they are incapable of seeing the forest from the trees."