*****

After the Pandemic, We’ll Finally Have to Address the Impossible State of Motherhood, by Sara Petersen for InStyle
It’s become uncomfortably clear that the fundamental drivers of the way our society devalues mothers never really went away — modern life just got better at covering them up. 
I felt this cultural disrespect for care work in my bones pre-pandemic when asked “what I do.” I was always quick to say “I’m a writer,” even though writing probably only made up 25% of my actual workload... I am forced to reckon with the fact that while I may be a writer, I can’t be one without first doing the work of mothering. My husband earns more and his job provides health insurance, so I am the home-schooler, the alpha parent, the one who yells too much. I am a mother who occasionally writes.
I almost had to check the byline to make sure I didn't write this article! What I love is how Petersen left us with an honest call to action at the end, offering ways to affect change both now and in the future.

*****

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You
, by Ken Armstrong, Justin Elliott and Ariana Tobin for ProPublica
You may not have heard of Arise, but chances are, you’ve talked to an Arise agent — perhaps when you thought you were talking to a Comcast employee about a bill or a Disney employee about a reservation.

There were too many quotable moments in this one for me to grab a proper excerpt, but it really opened my eyes to the world of work-from-home customer service jobs. It's almost unbelievable that these kinds of business practices are actually legal, then I remember the kind of system we live in.

*****

Welcome to Your Bland New World, By Ben Schott for Bloomberg
Blands need a narrative. Rarely do blands declare: “We were founded to exploit a niche and leverage venture capital until the target of our disruption buys us out.” Instead they proffer origin stories that mash up indie-movie “meet cutes” with aspirational “grail quests.” 
Many blands attempt to coax users into memberships and subscriptions — using the language of community and convenience to create long-term commitments to traditionally fleeting purchases.

I thoroughly enjoyed this take on the startup boom of the past decade. I will also continue to reject all subscription models, because automatic bank drafts will catch you slipping when you least expect it!

*****

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial, By Venkatesh Rao for Ribbonfarm
Premium mediocre is the finest bottle of wine at Olive Garden. Premium mediocre is cupcakes and froyo. Premium mediocre is “truffle” oil on anything (no actual truffles are harmed in the making of “truffle” oil), and extra-leg-room seats in Economy. Premium mediocre is cruise ships, artisan pizza, Game of Thrones, and The Bellagio. 
Premium mediocre is food that Instagrams better than it tastes.

I went down the clickthrough link rabbit hole after reading the bland new world article above, and this one was also well worth a skim at the very least.

*****
The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennet



“You could convince anyone you belonged somewhere if you acted like you did.” 

This books was fantastic, as I knew it would be. I first fell in love with Bennet's writing in 2017 when I read The Mothers for the first time. I've since read it again, and it was even better than I remembered. Her words feel so familiar, and she writes such relatable characters - no matter their race, their background, or the time period. This book tells the story of two Black twins with fair skin: one lived her life as a black woman, and the other lived her life as a white woman. There are so many layers, messages and themes woven into the narrative, but none of them get lost in the shuffle. A must read for all audiences! 


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1 comment

  1. I just finished my first semester of grad school and I am counting the days until I am able to sit with a great book!

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