The more that my attention span shortens on the whole, the more drawn I become to long pieces of beautiful writing that manage to hold my attention. 99% of the time I can not even make it through a 60-second YouTube clip or a two paragraph blog post, let alone a 13,000-word feature article. But on the rare occasion when I find something worth that investment of time, I become engrossed and treasure it. An article in this week’s New Yorker did that.
The Voyeur’s Motel
Gay Talese’s feature is centered around the question: is a transgression like voyeurism wrong when there is no harm or injury to the party being watched? It asks this question through the story of Gerald Foos, a motel owner who secretly observed the behavior of his guests over decades. Talese grapples with this moral question while illustrating Gerald’s struggles as a voyeur, and what his observations recorded about the changes — sexual and non — in America over the years. I end the article where I began it (aligned with Talese that voyeurism is not okay, even if there’s no injury), but could not help but be fascinated by someone who lived their life this way.
Bernie is exactly what we thought
The absolute defining proposal of the Sander’s campaign has been to “break up the big banks.” Stunningly, when asked how he would do that by the New York Daily News, he did not know. I understand that not every goal or objective of a presidential campaign comes with a detailed implementation plan, and that’s okay. But each campaign is built on a handful of key proposals and those need to have a plan behind them. If your main goal is to totally revamp the US financial system, and breaking big banks into smaller ones is the linchpin of that, how can you not have a plan to do so? It shows a stunning lack of preparation and a basic unfitness to be in any kind of executive role, let alone president.
Who are we to judge?
Pope Frankie strikes again. Despite its flaws, the Catholic Church has been, overwhelmingly, a force for good in modern times. Like all human institutions it has made mistakes and been filled with downright evil people, but the total ledger is positive. The pope took a big step this week toward aligning the church with a worldview that makes lapsed Catholics like myself more likely to return. While dogma has not changed, there’s a recognition that a successful church loves and embraces all, including those that are sinners. Jesus spent his life surrounded by people who our modern church would cast into the street. This change in worldview is perfect: it does not create permissiveness, but encourages openness and inclusiveness.