Freshly Pressed: Friday Faves
Where I live, it seems winter is refusing to loosen its grip, holding back a long-awaited spring. With two feet of snow still on the ground and frigid, breezy days, it’s nice to sit inside (by the fire) and lose myself in the delights of the Reader. Forget Calgon. Reader….take me away! Here’s just a few Freshly Pressed posts that gave us pause this week.
Roger Ebert, RIP
Yesterday, the world lost more than a prolific film critic when Roger Ebert died of cancer at age 70. In Roger Ebert, RIP, science fiction author John Scalzi hails Ebert as one of his most important writing teachers, a fair, incisive film critic, and above all, a man who refused to allow a devastating disease to take away his humanity:
In these later years and after everything that he’d been through with cancer and with losing the ability to physically speak, I read and was contemplative about the essays and pieces he put up on his Web site. Much of that had nothing to do with film criticism, but was a matter of him writing… well, whatever. Which meant it was something I could identify with to a significant degree, since that is what I do here. It would be foolish to say that Ebert losing his physical voice freed him to find his voice elsewhere. What I think may be more accurate was that losing his physical voice reminded Ebert that he still had things he wanted to say before he ran out of time to say them.
Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Lean In, challenges ambitious women to seek leadership positions to help shake off the ever-competitive socio-political status quo and reshape the world of work for the better. At The Purpose of Work, Mike Gammage suggests Lean In‘s fatal flaw is that Sandberg should be addressing society’s “all-pervasive competition” to always be “on” and working in Lean Together:
Almost wherever we look, the workplace is becoming relentlessly competitive. It’s an assumed ‘passion’ that jeopardises family life. And as work becomes more hyper-competitive, women’s opportunities shrink. Pregnancy and maternity leave especially become huge issues. Sandberg acknowledges her own fears that – even at her level and with her talents – her job and prospects at Google would be diminished if she took ‘too much’ time off [that is more than a week or two] after her first child was born.
What if we try instead to slow down and step off this devilish hamster wheel that we’ve created?
First off, I think, we would want to reflect on the culture of contest that is embedded into our societies and so into our working lives. We have to recognise the myth of the inevitability of all–pervasive competition.
At Vocabat, author Katie gives us a reflective Spanish lesson on the word cursi, which in English means “cheesy.” Katie transcends simple translation, meditating on the cultural nuances between Latino and American culture, finally embracing cursi as an unfettered expression of love:
In sum: What is love if not cursi? Love is supremely sentimental and gushy and ridiculous. And love means leaving your self-consciousness at the door, as well as your ego. I feel like you’re not really in love if you’re not regularly making a fool of yourself! But why hide our cheesiness within the safe confines of relationships? I admire people who can unblushingly own their feelings, hopes, and even disappointments without pussyfooting or pretending to not care all that much anyway. Although cursi people could use some work in the originality department, at least they care in the first place. There’s a lamentable epidemic of nonchalance and numbness and self-absorption these days, and cheesiness is a much better alternative to these terrible modes of subpar living.
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