1. Is it okay to listen to R.Kelly? When it comes to light that a celebrity has done a bad, bad thing, it appears that the calculus that occurs as to how they are consequently judged hinges on four things. 1) the seriousness of their crime(s) and whether they are a repeat offender. 2) who the crime(s) was committed against. 3) whether the person is repentant, dismissive, or denies that the crime(s) ever occurred. And 4) the perceived greatness of their artistic contribution to humanity.
What’s crazy is that (4) should not at all be relevant. And (2). And yet…
As former Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis says in this Vulture piece, “Why haven’t we reached a Cosby-style tipping point with him?”
Clearly fans of R.Kelly who are aware of the numerous claims are factoring in (2) and (4) in their deliberations.
DeRogatis goes on to say, “You can despise the individual and appreciate the art, fine, but you need to be aware that you’re making a conscious decision to overlook some very, very bad behavior.”
And here’s where I become a lot less self-righteous. Because you know what? We all make the conscious decision to overlook bad behaviour every day in the interest of enjoying the lifestyles that we do. We ride our cars, fuelled by oil that isn’t exactly clean. We wear clothes made by some of the world’s most disadvantaged people, who get paid wages that keep them in their place. We drink coffee that has much the same story. And I haven’t even gotten into the environmental impacts of our actions.
The bottom line is, we all deliberately ignore the moral complexities of our behaviours and what we consume and go on living our lives. It’s not just fans of R.Kelly and his alleged sexual misconduct. It’s all of us and it’s everything. Which is pretty freaking depressing.
2. How to be a lawyer without going to law school. Okay, lighter note. My experience of enjoyment of this already enlightening article was unexpectedly elevated by how it’s capped off: Our next post examines how much urine splashes back on you when you use a urinal. To get notified when we post it → join our email list.
3. The paradox of friendship. People often talk about close friendships in these terms: they say they’re the family they’ve chosen. (Come to think of it, that applies to pets too). As a result, it’s inherent that these friendships mean a whole lot, because they reflect a depth of voluntary commitment.
On the other hand, because it is a voluntary commitment, our commitment to those we have an actual obligation to tends to pull rank. Like, every time. So in that way, friendships suffer.
Julie Beck writes about all this and more in her fantastic piece for The Atlantic. She charts the way we ‘do’ friendship and how the way we feel about our friends changes over the course of life. She was invited onto WBUR’s On Point to talk about her findings and thoughts on friendship, and that’s a great accompaniment to the article.
4. The Tim Ferris Show. I have such, such love for this podcast. I’ve had it in my feed for several weeks but didn’t get around to listening to it until this weekend. When I did, I promptly mainlined his episode featuring book devourer and critic Maria Popova and conversations with meditation guru Tara Brach and philosopher Alain de Botton. I heartily recommend the former and the latter, but especially the latter. The former, however, has some excellent advice for writers.
The overarching theme of his podcast seems to be lessons on how to live, which sounds new age-y and all that. But it’s not that way at all. Furthermore, Tim doesn’t ram things down your throat. And he has a wonderful interviewing style in which he truly listens to his guests and gives them the space to speak while keeping the conversation on a clear path. So much to like.
5. I only want you to love me. When I left LA, I took with me the copy of the LA Times which I bought the Sunday that I was there. For reasons I can’t convey, even to myself, I’ve felt compelled to read the paper from cover to cover. I got through the general news, lifestyle, entertainment and obituaries while I was still over there. I read Travel and Fashion last weekend, Business some weekend before that. I still have real estate and sport to go – and I’m determined not to skip over them.
Anyway, in Image, which covers designers, beauty, the runways and more, there was this. And, suddenly, with the force of a hurricane, Miles Aldridge had entered my life.
Part of the reason the image so caught my attention was because it reminded me of this. I think ‘lurid beauty’ well describes both styles of art. Simply show-stopping.