Thursday, December 22, 2016

Meanwhile, slowly dissolving...

So everybody's down on 2016:  all the celebrities who have died, the Cubs won the World Series, and then there's that election thing.

But what really should be worrying us is the gradually expanding sense of despair, one that culminates in early death and suicide.  It's hitting middle-aged white women particularly hard.  Regional and socio-economic factors contribute, but one thing is clear:  the communal web or network that used to hold together communities has frayed and is snapping. The individualizing age of the smartphone has shown its downside--and therein people suffer, well, individually, i.e., alone. Hence suicide becomes not possible but perhaps preferable.  From the article Jennifer Silva, a sociologist from Bucknell University:

"People are trying to solve the crisis on their own. I see a lot of relying on the internet to try to treat, especially mental health problems. I had an older white woman who was suffering from self-diagnosed depression, but a few years later I learned she actually died of a brain tumour but she never went to a doctor because she couldn't afford it.
"[These people] are often not working, not in relationships, just not connected to any kind of social organisations. In this coal region there used to be a church on every corner and people would join together and socialise and exchange information, but now, most of those churches have closed down.
"We have a whole generation of people who are just in some ways wasted talent. There's a lot of suffering, a lot of desperation, fear, vulnerability, and hopelessness. They're not really sure how they can make a world better for their children and they feel very betrayed."

Read more here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

OKFIBAT: Trump presidency

OK, fine, I'll blog about this  over a month later....

So Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the US.

source: Business Insider
Image result for trump time magazine

Remember what I said about my inability to pick presidential elections?  Well, there you go...

What I find fascinating now--and have for the past month--is the range of postmortems.  How could this have happened?  Indeed, even on the election morning it was widely presumed that Clinton would roll to victory.  But then as the results came back, it first became clear that this would be closer than thought...and then the unthinkable became reality.  While watching the results, my phone kept buzzing with Twitter alerts.  Among them one friend, a Byzantine Catholic, sent at about 11 pm:

This is legit bananas.

Yeah, that pretty much covers it.  48 hours later, the shock still lingered.  Trump visited the White House to start the transition process, and it was clear the staffers had not quite accepted the news.

source: New York Times via Google

How about the woman third from left already tearing up and the glum faces all around?

How in the world did Hillary Clinton miss the equivalent of a two-foot lay-up?