Year in review: Five favourite books of 2017

Year in review: Five favourite books of 2017

It’s true: I do occasionally read actual books, not just comic books! Over the past year or so, I seem to have divided my comic book reading and my book reading in a “home/away” fashion: When I’m at home, I read comics. When I’m commuting, on the go, or on vacation, I read books. That reading mostly takes place on my Kindle so I guess that makes sense—the Kindle is so easy to travel with.

None of that is particularly relevant to this post though! These are books I read in 2017 that I really liked. Check ’em out, maybe you’ll like ’em too.

Read moreYear in review: Five favourite books of 2017

Five things that are worth your time: January 10

Five things that are worth your time: January 10

Thanks for joining me for another five things! A few long reads this week, featuring Apple, Star Wars, and the the future of work, so if you want to save them for the weekend, I can’t blame you.

Has Apple Lost Its Design Mojo?

By Rick Tetzeli, Fortune

Couple thoughts on this “state of the union” article about Apple design. One, yes, Apple has always been at the forefront of technology design. But, Apple rarely gets it right right out of the gate. The article mentions the original iPod, with its barely functional click wheel, and the original iPhone, without 3G or apps. Apple iterates over time; it always has. Which brings me to my second point: Apple used to be a lot smaller. They could take all the time they wanted, and their customers would be patient. But now, Apple is everywhere, and every other company wants to be like Apple, and people just don’t have the patience for that anymore. So I would argue: Apple is still doing great design work on its products, just as it always has, but the world around it has changed. And I don’t think Apple should change, because then the design actually will suffer. (Besides, the real question here shouldn’t be about poor Apple design; it should be about their shitty software development efforts in recent years.)

A quote: “This creative process is Apple’s secret sauce. Its goal—innovating and improving simultaneously, delivering both annual updates and the occasional brand-new product—is commonplace. But few companies have done it as well as Apple, at mass scale over a long period of dramatic technological change. Chochinov cites Nike and the New York Times as two that have, but many of the sources I interviewed for this story couldn’t think of any comparable peers.”

This is Not Going to go the Way You think: The Last Jedi is subversive AF, and I am here for it

By Melissa Hillman, Bittergertrude.com

Melissa Hillman breaks down some of the ways that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is subversive and feminist, and I love this kind of take on the film—and, I suspect, deep down many of these themes are why some of the more traditional Star Wars fans are so angry about The Last Jedi. This isn’t a film that’s made with them—the white male (or heroic white male, as they see themselves)—front and centre. This is a film for everyone. I’m not entirely sure the filmmakers intentionally focused on some of the things Hillman brings up, but, good filmmaking allows different people to interpret things in different ways, and I would guess that The Last Jedi does that more than any other Star Wars film to date.

A quote: “The Resistance is impressive in its casual diversity. Women and people of color are valued for their expertise as a matter of course; nowhere does the film congratulate itself on its diversity by making a huge point of highlighting it, demonstrating white male benevolence by the generous inclusion of women and people of color, positing a white male audience nodding along, agreeing that we are so wonderful for allowing our White Male World to donate a very small corner for the Less Fortunate. The Resistance is naturally diverse, and no one even seems to notice. ‘”

The Imminent Death—and Amazing Life—of the Funny Highlight Guy

By Brian Curtis, The Ringer

Reading Brian Curtis on sports media is always a good bet. I enjoyed this look back at the era of “Funny Highlight Guy” sports anchors, in part because this whole phenomenon of sports highlight shows that masqueraded as comedy bits mostly passed Canada by. We got Gino Reda and Michael Landsberg while the U.S. had Dan, Kieth and Kilborn; by the time we got Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole the era was pretty much over. But in a way, that’s probably a good thing—check out the quote below to see why. (Also: Go and watch Sports Night; you won’t be disappointed.)

A quote: “One night in the ESPN newsroom, Beil recalled, “Gus had seen that the movie Jumanji was coming out. So he’s walking around the newsroom and trying to sell ‘Jumanji!’ as a catchphrase.
“He’s literally walking down three rows of computers. I was there. Karl Ravech was there. Brett Haber was there. Gus is just running into ‘No,’ ‘No,’ ‘No,’ ‘That’s stupid,’ ‘Get outta here,’ ‘Get away from me.’
“He gets to Kilborn. He says, ‘Jumanji!’ And Kilborn goes, ‘Yes.’ We’re all looking at him like, Are you serious? Sure enough, we do the show that night, and he did it in his tone of voice: ‘Ju … manji.’ The next day, nobody would stop saying ‘Jumanji.’””

Donald Trump Goes Full Fredo

By David Frum, The Atlantic

Trump is an easy target to aim for and hit, especially when he sets himself up for it so well (and so regularly). After his unhinged tweets about his own genius, I and many others noted how much he sounded like Fredo in The Godfather Part II (“I’m smart! Not like everyone says, like dumb!”). David Frum managed to put it into a great column. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rg8jODlrka0 To Frum’s point… where is America’s Michael? After Fredo allowed the Don to be shot on his watch, Michael stepped up. Who is going to step up and put everything right in America?

A quote: “From the start, Donald Trump was a man of many secrets, but no mysteries. Inscribed indelibly on the public record were the reasons for responsible people to do everything in their power to bar him from the presidency. Instead, since he announced his candidacy in mid-2015, Donald Trump has been enabled and protected. The enabling and protecting not only continues. It accelerates.”

The Real Future of Work

By Danny Vinik, Politico

This look at trends in labour is U.S.-focused but you can certainly see the same trends in Canada. More and more businesses are hiring contractors instead of employees; there is more and more competition among contractors, which is driving rates down, which means contractors are making less than they did as employees, and corporations are getting richer. And there are no protections in place to prevent it. It’s more than a little scary, especially for someone like me who is mulling a potential future os a contractor. Things are great right now, but if everyone is a contractor in 5 years, what are my professional options?

A quote: “Businesses prefer these arrangements, too, because they can shed expensive benefit packages and are not responsible for following federal labor laws. But that also gives them an incentive to “misclassify” their workers, overseeing them as if they were employees but officially classifying them as independent contractors to cut costs.”
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That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

Five Things that are worth your time: January 3

Five things that are worth your time - January 3

Five things is back! I managed to miss last week as I was too busy playing Battlefront II, eating junk food and enjoying my holidays. But now I’m back at it! It’s a Deadspin-heavy week, featuring posts about some historic sports photographs, Doris Burke, Star Wars, Titanic… and maybe the end of the world. Enjoy, I guess?

Read moreFive Things that are worth your time: January 3

Five things that are worth your time: December 20

Five things that are worth your time December 20

Here’s some reading material for the holiday weekend! A couple of pieces here are a bit somber, but, important reads nonetheless. The others are more fun and lighthearted, including some cool comic book ads and a look back at the mess that was Game of Thrones Season 7.

Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too

Salma Hayek, The New York Times

Actress and producer Salma Hayek details her experiences working with Harvey Weinstein to bring her passion project, Frida, to life. Beyond the disgusting sexual advances, which Hayek was able to rebuff, she explains how Weinstein used his position and authority to devalue her as an artist and as a human being.

A quote: “Halfway through shooting, Harvey turned up on set and complained about Frida’s ‘unibrow.’ He insisted that I eliminate the limp and berated my performance. Then he asked everyone in the room to step out except for me. He told me that the only thing I had going for me was my sex appeal and that there was none of that in this movie. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.”

What Happened to Game of Thrones in 2017?

Jason Concepcion, The Ringer

You might remember Jason Concepcion as one-half of the successful Binge Mode podcast, that—incredibly—reviewed and analyzed every episode of Game of Thrones to date. Jason looks back at Season 7 here, which, I can say with a little bit of time having passed, was incredibly disappointing. It had way more lows than highs, and far too many “dumb” moments where characters acted foolishly just to move the plot along. Jason outlines it much better than I can! (Binge Mode is back, by the way, with regular, non-Game of Thrones instalments! Check it out).

A quote: “One of George R.R. Martin’s underrated talents is his ability as a namer of things. Here are some of his battle names: “The Field of Fire,” “The Battle of the Redgrass Field,” “The Taking of Griffin’s Roost,” “The Battle of the Blackwater.” Contrast that with “Loot Train Attack,” the name of the engagement from Episode 4, “The Spoils of War,” which seems like a production title that stuck.”

The Greatest DC and Marvel Comic Book House Ads

Brian Cronin, Comic Book Resources

I grew up in the golden age of comic book house ads; back in the 80s, Marvel and DC would actually commission their artists to create new art solely for use in ads, a practice that’s long since been abandoned. As expected, when you have the likes of Alan Davis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Frank Miller and more creating new art, they produced some incredibly memorable ads. Davis’ Fall of the Mutants ad remains a high point.

A quote: “One of the very best house ads was a pair of ads by the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz that helped promote Power Man and Iron Fist. They were rare examples of house ads where one ad would help set up the other ad…”

Arthur C Clarke at 100: still the king of science fiction

Adam Roberts, The Guardian

This is a too-brief recollection of the life and works of Arthur C. Clarke, who would have turned 100 last week (he died in 2008). I share it only as a reminder to sci-fi fans, that his early work is an absolute must-read. His penchant for producing less-than stellar sequels in the last 25 years of his life should not at all take away from the brilliance of Childhood’s End, or Rendezvous with Rama. And of course, with 2001: A Space Odyssey he teamed up with Stanley Kubrick to produce one of the great works of science fiction film as well. (And, you can see 2001 in 70mm next week at the TIFF Bell Lightbox! I saw it there a couple years ago and it’s the absolute best way to see the film.)

A quote: “What all three works share is the ability to construe moments of astonishing transcendence out of the careful delineation of scientific or technological plausibility. The amazing final line of ‘Nine Billion Names’ (I won’t spoil it, if you don’t know it), the expertly paced uncovering of the mystery of the alien ‘overlords’ who place Earth under benign dictatorship in Childhood’s End and the wondrous uplift of 2001 – this is the genuine strong black coffee of science fiction.”

We spent months bracing and preparing for the death of our daughter. But guess what? We weren’t ready.

Royce Young, Medium

This article is from April, and I shared it on Facebook at the time, but it recently resurfaced in my Twitter feed (h/t to Bruce Arthur) and it’s so good I’m sharing it again. “Good,” actually, isn’t the right word; it’s devastating. Royce Young and his wife found out halfway through her pregnancy that their child wasn’t going to live; here, Royce takes you through the emotional journey and the choice they made to carry their daughter to term and donate her organs. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and thoughtful.

A quote: “On Sunday, April 16, the day Keri officially hit full-term at 37 weeks, suddenly, we were in the two-week window. In two weeks, we’d be prepping to welcome our baby girl into the world, and preparing to say goodbye to her. I planned on sitting down that day to write Eva a letter, like I did before Harrison was born, to give him on his 18th birthday. She’d never read it, but I was going to read it to her.”
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That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

Five things that are worth your time: December 13

Five things that are worth your time: December 13

Welcome! Here are five more fun things to read this week. Nothing too serious or depressing this week, but, I did read a good article on relationship advice, a silly article on arena proposals, and a couple work-related ones. The first one is my favourite though!

Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them

Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker

I’m not sure what’s more whimsical here: The article itself, which is a ranking of how likely various mythical creatures (mermaids, unicorns, vampires) are to actually exist… or the fact that this article comes from the New Yorker’s Dept. of Speculation. Which is so whimsical, it’s like what the New Yorker would be like if Wes Anderson was the publisher. (And yes, this is the only article in the Dept.’s publishing history.) Anyway! This is a totally self-serious examination of these creatures and where myths like this originate, and why we cling to them even as we know, intellectually, that they don’t exist. (Right?)

A quote: ”Like supernatural creatures, such powers can be ranked in terms of plausibility. Which seems more likely to work: Harry Potter’s apparating ability or Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi mind trick? If you ask me, it’s obviously the mind trick, with its real-life analogies of charisma and hypnosis, not to mention its failure to defy any major laws of physics. On the other hand, apparating—vanishing from one place and appearing in another—strikes me as more plausible than time travel, possibly because we have many ways to move through space but only one way to move through time.”

You Have More Than Enough Time, You’re Just Not Spending it Right

Thomas Oppong, Thrive Global

As I’m starting to build my freelance consulting business, I’m becoming more conscious of my time and how I spend it. So far, even though I’m not working anywhere close to full-time hours, I feel just as busy I did when I was. And yet I can honestly say I’m not spending that time doing idle or unimportant things. Unimportant being relative of course; this blog isn’t “important” in the grand scheme of things but it’s something I want to be doing and enjoy doing. The days are full. This is a good thing, right?

A quote: ”Prioritization and organizing can lead to a more efficient allocation of time. Step back and figure out what is important to you. Get rid of the unimportant, de-commit, brainstorm long or short-term changes. You have all the time you need to create value, work on your best work and make an impact.”

1,500 People Give all the Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Need

Mark Manson, markmanson.net

Mark Manson wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, which I haven’t read, but I hear is well worth reading. Also well worth reading? This article on relationship advice. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises here, but what makes it work is that the advice comes from real people and is offered in a very regular-person, down to earth, human way. It’s not professional therapy, or coming from a guru or self-help book. Just folks offering opinions. It’s long, and seeing some of this advice may make you feel like a bad partner if you don’t do it… but that’s OK. Take it as a nudge to do better.

A quote: ”If you have two different individuals sharing a life together, it’s inevitable that they will have different values and perspectives on some things and clash over it. The key here is not changing the other person — as the desire to change your partner is inherently disrespectful (to both them and yourself) — but rather it’s to simply abide by the difference, love them despite it, and when things get a little rough around the edges, to forgive them for it.”

New Research Answers: Is Content Marketing Sustainable?

Steve Rayson, BuzzSumo

Well, here’s some wonderful news for content marketers (like me): Content marketing is dead! OK, not quite. But Steve Rayson channels Mark Schaefer (author of Content Shock) and gives us the bad, if predictable news: There’s so much content out there now, on so many topics, that it’s incredibly difficult to stand out. People are still consuming content, but does it excite them, engage them, energize them to take action? Content marketing isn’t dead, but it is changing.

A quote: ”If you are entering a saturated content market you need to look at creating radically different and exceptional content. Less is more when it comes to content production. Another “me too” list post will sink without trace. In our experience it is better to focus all of your promotion on a single day to become the story of the day rather than spread your promotion and amplification efforts over a period of time.”

Inside the Awkward, High-Risk World of Arena Wedding Proposals

Alex Wong, GQ

Here’s my one piece of relationship advice: Unless you and your SO are both huge fans of a specific sports team, don’t ever do one of these elaborate arena proposals. Like, just don’t do it. I know it’s memorable, but come on. It’s a stunt! And I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to reduce your relationship and an otherwise intimate moment into a piece of theatre for several thousand other people… but, that’s just me. I guess everyone really is different.!

A quote: ’Bryan and Nancy have heard the criticism about arena proposals, but the moment was as special as Nancy could have imagined. “With the love I have for sports, I’ve always thought about how cool it would be to get proposed to on live television,’ says Nancy, who was previously a sideline reporter for ESPN3. Bryan is aware of the snarky comments that people have left on their arena proposal video online. ‘Every person is different and prefers to do things differently,’ he says. ‘The comments don’t bother me.’”
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That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

Five things that are worth your time: December 6

Five things that are worth your time: December 6

This week’s five things are highly movie-inspired, as I share articles on two of my all time favourites—or is it three of my all-time favourites?—plus the latest on the Marvel Universe. I also share some advice on an important soft skill, and one beautiful story of a Holocaust survivor, which—for obvious reasons—is an important story to share right now as we wind down 2017.

Remembering the Wonderful Little Idiosyncrasies of Good Will Hunting on Its 20th Anniversary

Shea Serrano, The Ringer

Good Will Hunting is one of the my favourite movies. Shea Serrano is one of my favourite writers. There was no doubt this was making the list this week! Shea nails the truth of Good Will Hunting here: For all of the things that we remember about the film that make it memorable and enjoyable, it’s the little things between the lines that make it a classic. I love “Here’s ya fuckin’ double burger” sooo much. But Shea missed a couple: Billy’s “That’s a good takedown” when Will and Chuckie are wrestling at the batting cages; and Morgan’s Brando-inspired “I swallowed a bug” as he extricates himself from the scene when Skylar finally approaches Will at the bar.

A quote: ”The way Will leans in to propose a fight with Clark. That’s how you know he was serious about fighting. If Will wanted to just show out for the girls, then he’d have been really loud and blustery so everyone could see and hear the confrontation. He wasn’t, though, which is why you see Clark get filled with fear so quickly. As soon as Will lowered his voice and proposed stepping outside, Clark was like, “Oh fuck, this guy really wants to fight.””

Secrets of the Marvel Universe

Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair

Speaking of things in my wheelhouse, here’s the great Joanna Robinson with a great “state of the union” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a look inside exec producer/architect Kevin Feige’s head. It’s a little light on actual “secrets,” of course—Marvel and Disney guard those details as if they were actual infinity stones—but it’s still a fun read, and the photos of everyone in costume are brilliantly outrageous.

A quote: ”One day on set (of Fox’s X-Men, 2000), (Lauren) Shuler Donner and Avi Arad, then head of Marvel Studios, watched as an exasperated stylist, at Feige’s insistence, sprayed and teased actor Hugh Jackman’s hair higher and higher to create the hairstyle that would become the signature look of the character Wolverine. The stylist “eventually went ‘Fine!’ and did a ridiculous version,” Feige recalls. “If you go back and look at it,” he admits, “he’s got big-ass hair in that first movie. But that’s Wolverine!” The experience stuck with Feige.”

Debate Club: Which is Better, Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back?

Tim Grierson and Will Leitch, SyFy

I am a big fan of Tim Grierson and Will Leitch’s movie reviews (and also, possibly, their podcast, of which I’ve saved every episode but have not yet found time to listen to). Here they tackle the age-old debate: What’s the best Star Wars film? For most of my life I’ve leaned slightly towards Star Wars, because even though Empire is, technically speaking, a better film, how can you top the original? But this article makes the case for Empire, all while neglecting to mention one thing: The music. And as much as I love Luke’s theme, and as memorable as the Star Wars fanfare is, Empire contains the one piece of music that may in fact be more famous than the Star Wars fanfare: the Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme). It’s also got Yoda’s music and Han and Leia’s theme (used to great effect in The Force Awakens trailer). So yeah. With that in mind, I think I’m giving Empire the slight nod. For now.

A quote: Empire is enhanced by Lucas settling into his more comfortable position as producer and overseer, hiring Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan to work on the screenplay, and bringing in director Irvin Kershner and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky to give the sequel a more layered, somber tone. Also, Empire introduced some of the franchise’s best characters, including Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, and Yoda, who’s the movie’s spiritual center”

I Have a Message For you

Matan Rochlitz, The New York Times

This is the story of Klara, a Holocaust survivor from Belgium; specifically, her escape from a train taking her to a concentration camp, and who she had to leave behind on that train. And of a message that she receives many years later. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to and share these stories like this right now, of course, since Nazis are all but running the United States, but even setting that insanity aside, it’s just a lovely story and it’s beautifully presented. Here’s Rochlitz with some more detail behind the story.

A quote: ”You know what those cattle wagons are like? There’s a little window, like this. I put my legs through and turned around and I slid between the two wagons. The train kept going and going. It was very difficult because the SS would shoot at us. I waited a moment. Then I put my hands up to protect my head. And then I jumped from the train.”

Here’s the Key to Great Conversation in 1 Sentence

Wanda Thibodeaux, Inc.com

Most of the time, when someone’s talking to us, we’re listening—but only so that we can respond. We’re focused on what we’re going to say next, not what the other person is saying. And that sucks. But active listening is a skill that takes time to master. There are some good tips here to help. (Just try and ignore the typo in the first sentence…)

A quote: ”Formulate your answer only after the other person has finished talking. Embrace the silence that happens as you think. Your partner isn’t going to care about the pause if you give a thoughtful answer that demonstrates respect.”

That’s all for this week! Come back next Wednesday for another five things.

PS I’ve changed my mind already. I still like Star Wars more.

Five things that are worth your time: November 29

Five Things: November 29

For the past year at Brainrider my colleague Jon Kane and I have been putting together a weekly internal newsletter, sharing five cool things we’ve read (that generally have some relevance to what we do at Brainrider) with the entire Brainrider team.

At its core it’s just curated content with a little bit of commentary. We send it out on Friday and then we share one thing a day via our intranet the following week. The whole thing was Jon’s brainchild and I give him all the credit. But I like the idea so much I’m stealing it for myself! (OK, I asked his permission so it’s not really stealing. But it’s more fun to say it that way).

On to the things! This week they’re I have four fairly long long reads to share; you might want to settle in with a coffee. But I am very, very certain that all of them are worth your time. And I wrap it up with a video that I am also certain is worth your time.

Luke Skywalker Speaks

Dave Itzkoff, New York Times

I love how totally at ease Mark Hamill seems with his life; he became a mega-celebrity right at the start of his career, and it probably completely derailed said career but he’s just steered into it, owned it and enjoyed it. I think there’s an obvious lesson in there for all of us.

A quote: “Mr. Hamill isn’t bitter or jaded, and he isn’t Luke, though he has retained some of that character’s incorruptibility. He’s gone from a new hope to an old hand, with a lined, expressive face and a gray beard, beneath which lurks a mischievous sense of humor, a yearning to perform and a joy in sharing “Star Wars” war stories.”

Gal Gadot Kicks Ass

Caity Weaver, GQ

Super-hero movies have become pretty formulaic these days, and Wonder Woman isn’t really all that different… except for its star. Gal Gadot embodies that character in a way I don’t think any actor in a super-hero role has done since Christopher Reeve in Superman (whoops, just aged myself there). It’s like she was born to play the part. This profile seems to indicate she’s just as awesome in real life as she was on screen.

A quote: “Gal Gadot is very hands-on. As in: When you meet her, she will put her hands on you many times, in many different places. Israeli culture is so touch-oriented that guides for Americans traveling there warn they may feel their personal space is constantly being violated in formal settings… Even as Wonder Woman sequels and spin-offs propel Gadot to new heights of global stardom, she probably will not lose this habit of touching, because she is a charming, beautiful woman, and it will never occur to people to shrink away from her.”

“That’s My Justice”

Jordan Ritter Conn, The Ringer

Brenda Tracy was raped by four college football players in Oregon in 1998. It took her more than a decade, during which she battled depression and contemplated suicide, before she realized she had within her the power to effect change in the rape culture found among men’s athletics, and football in particular, on college campuses. This story is equally horrifying for what Brenda went through, and uplifting for what she’s trying to do now. My words can’t express how impressive this story is.

A quote: “Tracy realizes she may have offenders in her audience. She targets her message, though, to the vast majority of the players in the room who are unlikely to ever perpetrate a violent act but have the ability to shift the culture among their peers. At Houston, she says: “You might think to yourselves, ‘I don’t commit rape. I don’t beat on women. Why is this my problem?’ I’ll tell you why it’s your problem. Because if women could stop sexual violence, we would have already done it. Eve would have done it. The first woman on the planet would have done it. And do you think that rapists are going to stop it? No. Of course not. So it’s up to you, the 90 percent of men who would not commit rape, to put an end to it.”

Promethea Unbound

Mike Mariani, The Atavist Magazine

This is one of the best things I’ve read in a very, very long time. It’s the story of a child prodigy and the challenges she and her family had growing up. You’d think that a girl who started taking college classes at age 8 and earned her degree at 13 would have it made, but young Jasmine (later Promethea) encounters one challenge after another, climaxing in a tragic act of violence, that derails her future.

A quote: “Solomon posits that “being gifted and being disabled are surprisingly similar: isolating, mystifying, petrifying.” The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t cover prodigies, and the rationale seems obvious: These children are overequipped for normal achievement. Yet their unique requirements for learning and the extraordinary burdens placed on their families make prodigies resplendent doppelgängers to developmentally challenged children.”

When every word doesn’t belong to everyone

Ta-Nehisi Coates, YouTube/Random House

What do words mean to different people; different groups of people, different races or genders? And why are some words acceptable in some groups but not others? The amazing Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why white people using the N-word is problematic, and why, if you’re not black, you need to be OK with not using it.

A quote: “My wife, with her girlfriends, will use the word “bitch.” I do not join in! I don’t do that. I don’t have a desire to do it. The question one must ask, if that’s accepted and normal for groups to use words that are derogatory in an ironic fashion, why is there so much hand-wringing when black people do it? … Why do so many white people have difficulty extending things that are basic laws of how human beings interact to black people. And I think I know why.”

That’s all for this week! I’ll have five more to share next Wednesday.