Posts tagged The New York Times
Posts tagged The New York Times
Because: Now the rest of the world knows what South America already does. Also, there’s this: After Years in Solitary, an Austere Life as Uruguay’s President from The New York Times.
Related but unrelated: I just got back from a little over a week in Punta del Este and am now especially fond of Uruguay, the little country that could.
Because: Argentina, incidentally, also claims one of the highest rates of eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) and also performs more cosmetic surgeries a year than almost every other country in the world.
And a personal observation I consider related is that they collectively complain more than most other groups of individuals with whom I have interacted. Cue the tango.
Still, there really is something to admire and respect about the country’s open conversation about mental health, that it is perceived as totally healthy and expected to seek mental health help.
Because: I was tempted to blog this as a quote, but I would have been entering the entire column into that section, this whole column gets it so right. I talk about this concept often with people in Buenos Aires, as it arises in conversations comparing the two cultures and countries. Up in the Estados Unidos there is this cultural obsession with being “busy” (as accurately described in this article) that is all personally created and self-imposed even though, and here’s the kicker, it seems we resent all of it. The summer before I moved to Buenos Aires I remember listening to a radio program on NPR discussing this concept of busyness. The man speaking described how an acquaintance of his, a recent immigrant to the U.S. who was learning English, came to respond to the greeting of “How are you?” by saying “Busy!” with a smile. What she had witnessed and picked up on in the U.S. from the majority of cordial interactions was that saying “busy” was synonymous with “I’m doing well,” or, “Things are good!” What a telling anecdote. I remember thinking to myself, “No one in Argentina is going to answer a question of, ‘How are you?’ with ‘Busy!’ as the knee-jerk response. I was idealizing and generalizing, but I was right.
In Buenos Aires, people spend hours lazing in parks and a “productive” weekend involves lots of sleep and a lengthy lunch with friends. From travels and stints elsewhere, I have come to learn that is how it is many places. I know that being situated in this framework is what I needed and still do need. Naturally, I tend toward the “busy” expounded on in this article. I would load myself up with things I both do and don’t want to be doing, feel like I wasn’t doing enough and whine about it all. It’s funny, though. Now, if I were to objectively look at how I spend my time and what I do, I think I would see myself as “busier” and more productive than I ever have been, even based on my prior set of ‘busy/productive evaluation standards. But I am calmer, more relaxed and feel less rushed or pressured than ever. I think it’s because I have changed my perspective on it all, or put myself in a place that forced me to do so. Seeing a certain movie, writing an essay or trying a new restaurant aren’t things I cross off lists any more; I do them when I want to and because I feel like in that moment, that is the most fulfilling way for me to spend my time. Certain obligations are inevitable, but even from what I see in most all full-time corporate jobs here, for example, everyone takes a full lunch break. I have never seen anyone eat at a desk. One day early on in my job I almost took my lunch at my desk, and my coworkers had no qualms about telling me I was crazy and just could not do that. I now take my lunch on a park bench and spend the remaining 30-40 minutes wandering the neighborhood.
Because: I’ve been around my dad, who was born in raised in Mexico, where the majority of his family still lives, a few times when the conversation has turned to the drug war. He’s always said, “It’s a U.S. problem being fought on Mexican soil.” This article validates and brings that point home. It’s an interesting way to research and report the problem, as well. I think the amount of bloodshed associated with the trade was a bit downplayed, but at the same time I do think it’s too heavy a point of focus in much of the mainstream media, painting Mexico as some entirely anarchic, hopeless land.
Because:I read this with curiosity, as an outsider, and then realized I could be considered one of the subjects of the story. My circumstances might be a bit different from the first-generation immigrant child returning to the homeland, thrusting him or herself full in the developing economy, but I am after some sort “American Dream” (Latin American Dream?), I am living abroad in a country with an emerging economy and my father is a first-generation immigrant.
I’ve thought about that concept a lot: the revised American Dream, or the contemporary American Dream. No theories yet, just thoughts.
Because: Above are three interesting and unrelated, aside from being published in the same outlet, food stories I have read recently. Reasons detailed briefly below.
1. I have a friend working at a food co-op in New Orleans and I think urban food deserts are an important issue to address.
2. This is a form of writing I’ve always been curious about.
3. Travel news, so I’m interested. Who knew so much tomato juice was consumed, or why.
Because: If this is the case, Argentines are doomed. Still, can smothering a steak in a spice-laden sauce like chimichurri make a difference, as this study I read about the day before this piece suggests?
In my totally non-expert opinion, it’s all good for you, it’s all bad for you. Qué sé yo.
Because:To get wistful and channel some (if not every) political candidate, the small towns in the U.S. scattered throughout all 50 states, especially the ones like this Water Valley Mississippi with personality and history, show what the country is made of. This article is a great feature, both regarding the subject and writing.
Because: I tire of articles that wag a finger at being too connected or too online, or ones that cry out for simpler times when everything involved more human contact, or whatever the various claims are. To me the authors come across high and mighty, as though they are talking down, and also as overly defensive. It’s cool if you use Twitter; it’s also cool if you don’t use Twitter. It’s a personal preference and as with everything, I think moderation is important.
Still, I gave this piece by Pico Iyer a chance after seeing numerous friends post it or send it out. (The author must have known how meta it all would be.) I enjoyed it; I did. All in all, I think it was considerate to all types of people mentioned and incorporated a well-rounded collection of points of view.
It also brought me back to my ski trip in Vermont two weeks ago with my family. I was swishing down the mountain, the first time skiing in two years. The trail was open in front of me and through my goggles everything looked monochromatic, like a black and white photograph of a wintry scene. My cheeks were numb, my muscles tightened to work my skis through the powder. I realized I was smiling and heard myself thinking this was the closest to nature—the elements I think was how I phrased it in my head—I had felt in some time. Then I paused, took out my phone and snapped a picture.
The composite of that experience for me is about right, and how I currently like life.
Also, the piece ends beautifully. I think it’s just that, that the generation after us will best us in how they compartmentalize their time and online connectivity.