In this week’s MRN (1) we summarize a week that might have passed quietly had two oil tankers not gotten attacked in the Gulf of Oman, inflaming tensions between the US and Iran; (2) I get all literary, connecting last week’s post about “ironic tribalism” with Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle; (3) we unveil a new way for MRN readers to talk with each other about issues of the day; (4) we offer background links on things ranging from “liberal nationalism” to “McMindfulness” to the allegedly insidious influence of “positive news” to Steve Bannon’s impending eviction from his medieval monastery to a prolific Iranian journalist who turns out not to exist. Plus: Pepe the Frog has his day in court and captive Canadian whales get protection from abuse.
Continue reading Issue #77: June 9–15, 2019
In this week’s MRN, we offer: (1) a crisp summary of a week heavy in news about giant tech companies that dominate our lives; (2) a bigthink, or at least mediumthink, piece in which I unveil the term “ironic tribalism” and ask whether cultivating ironic tribalism can save the world; (3) background links that will steer you to readings on such things as D-Day, John Boehner’s new career as a marijuana pitchman, deepfake videos, fake but tasty meat, the unique peril posed by Tucker Carlson, how to talk to people different from you, and how a Muslim soccer star singlehandedly reduced the rate of hate crimes in Liverpool.
Continue reading Issue #76: June 2–8, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) offer our patented weekly news summary—which, we continue to claim, features the highest signal-to-noise ratio in the Trump-related newsletter industry; (2) find cause for cheer in European Union election results; (3) continue our crusade to deploy mindfulness as a weapon against distraction; (4) steer you to background readings on things ranging from the world’s most journalist-unfriendly country to the political realignment America is undergoing to the newly recognized disease of “gaming disorder” to the art of changing people’s minds.
Continue reading Issue #75: May 26–June 1, 2019
In this week’s MRN we: (1) briskly summarize a week that was pretty eventful, especially on the international front; (2) get all exercised about the release from prison of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh—though not for the reasons that others are exercised about it; (3) critically examine a treatise that defends the dumping of milkshakes on right-wing politicians; (4) direct you to background readings on things ranging from tensions with Iran to fake-news-resistant Finns to the origins of Hindu nationalism to Amazon’s gamification of warehouse work to the cluelessness of experts.
Continue reading Issue #74: May 19–25, 2019
- In this issue of MRN, we (1) summarize a week in which the chances of war with Iran dropped and the number of Democratic presidential candidates grew (again); (2) ponder various issues raised by the extremely stringent new anti-abortion law in Alabama; (3) explore the motivation of a man who has reason to hate Trump and is trying to love him; (4) steer you to background readings on things such as Trump’s pardoning of a criminal friend/hagiographer, the latest attack on Rashida Tlaib, endangered rural hospitals, and the challenge of talking sense to Flat Earthers.
Continue reading Issue #73: May 12–18, 2019
In this week’s MRN we: (1) summarize a week in which Trump administration bellicosity was directed more at Iran than at Venezuela (stay tuned for next week’s pendulum swing); (2) complain about how obediently Facebook and other social media companies abet America’s reckless foreign policy; (3) consider trying to love Trump; (4) come to our senses; (5) steer you to background readings on things ranging from psychedelic mushrooms to colonizing outer space to the emotional reactions of liberals to the Mueller report.
Continue reading Issue #72: May 4–11, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) note signs of a race-based Trump foreign policy; (2) explain how you, via the magic of micro-initiatives, can make the world a better place and maybe even save it; (3) summarize the week’s news so smoothly that you’ll feel almost no pain; (4) direct you to background reading on things ranging from William Barr to John Bolton, from the mindset of extremists to the oppressiveness of algorithms, from good news for the Satanic Church to bad news for Satan’s Twitter account (really); plus a lusty fourteenth-century nun.
Continue reading Issue #71: Apr 28–May 4, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) ask whether the Sri Lanka bombings signify the onset of a new phase in history; (2) explain how to use mindfulness to combat distraction-by-Internet; (3) summarize the Mueller report and opine on its import; (4) suggest that New York-area MRN readers come hear me talk in mid-May (and convene after the talk); (5) offer links to readings on subjects ranging from Joe Biden to Lou Dobbs to Amazon software that decides which workers to fire to Chinese software that infers ethnicity from facial features to a chimp that uses software (the Instagram app) with impressive fluency.
Continue reading Issue #70: Apr 14–27, 2019
In this week’s MRN we: (1) explore the Murdoch media empire’s powerful role in demonizing Rep. Ilhan Omar; (2) lament some things said by America’s only mindfulness-championing presidential candidate; (3) summarize a week that was rich in high-profile exits and non-exits; (4) offer background reading on things ranging from the religious left to a new activism among Amazon employees to Brexit questions you were embarrassed to ask to “the Light Triad of personality” (which is much better than the Dark Triad) to a part of the world where men and women seem to literally speak different languages. [Note: No newsletter next week, for Easter/Passover-related reasons, as discussed below.]
Continue reading Issue #69: Apr 6–13, 2019
In this week’s MRN we (1) note with approval the entry of a mindfulness meditation advocate into the Democratic presidential race; (2) explain how you can use a smartphone to fight smartphone addiction; (3) summarize a week that features an unusual amount of Capitol Hill vs. White House tension and the usual amount of White House vs. the World tension; (4) offer links to readings on things ranging from the declining objectivity of American media to a possible way to civilize street gangs to the possibility that matter is an illusion.
Continue reading Issue #68: Mar 31–Apr 6, 2019