Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

8

The star rating is a particularly ingenious means of sowing this anxiety. As we all learned in primary school, amounts are nonsense without units. Six, one half, eighty-seven thousand—these numbers do not mean anything unless we know what mutually agreed-upon unit they attach to: fortnights, teaspoons, furlongs, etc. But what is a star? Nobody knows. The star rating average is only meaningful in relative terms: it’s higher or lower than the star ratings other striving workers earn. In other words, user reviews situate our performance not according to some stable benchmark—such as increased production per hour worked—but within an ever-fluctuating hierarchy comprised of our peers.

This all-too-public, shifting performance grid represents but one of many tools that keep the flow of anxiety humming along under neoliberalism. Others abound, and are now such a familiar feature of our working and emotional lives that we scarcely notice how routinely they derange our basic sense of self: there’s the rollback of ongoing employment through the gig economy, the explosion of applications (LinkedIn, for instance, turns its users—even the employed ones—into constant job applicants), zero-sum performance assessments such as Barack Obama’s Race to the Top, just-in-time shift scheduling, entrepreneurial kindergartens, and many more. All of these systems encourage us to view others’ achievements as our own setbacks, to individualize completely all successes and disappointments.

—p.8 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The star rating is a particularly ingenious means of sowing this anxiety. As we all learned in primary school, amounts are nonsense without units. Six, one half, eighty-seven thousand—these numbers do not mean anything unless we know what mutually agreed-upon unit they attach to: fortnights, teaspoons, furlongs, etc. But what is a star? Nobody knows. The star rating average is only meaningful in relative terms: it’s higher or lower than the star ratings other striving workers earn. In other words, user reviews situate our performance not according to some stable benchmark—such as increased production per hour worked—but within an ever-fluctuating hierarchy comprised of our peers.

This all-too-public, shifting performance grid represents but one of many tools that keep the flow of anxiety humming along under neoliberalism. Others abound, and are now such a familiar feature of our working and emotional lives that we scarcely notice how routinely they derange our basic sense of self: there’s the rollback of ongoing employment through the gig economy, the explosion of applications (LinkedIn, for instance, turns its users—even the employed ones—into constant job applicants), zero-sum performance assessments such as Barack Obama’s Race to the Top, just-in-time shift scheduling, entrepreneurial kindergartens, and many more. All of these systems encourage us to view others’ achievements as our own setbacks, to individualize completely all successes and disappointments.

—p.8 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago
9

[...] We all know that those at the top play by different rules, and that for most people, consequences can be wildly out of proportion to their blunders. At least under feudalism, this discrepancy was out in the open. Yes, it was unjust, but it also couldn’t be denied. What’s special about capitalism, and its neoliberal version in particular, is how most of us must accept that each and any of our individual missteps justifies all calamity that befalls us, no matter how ruinous. The location of all social problems onto individuals has now reached preposterous proportions. It used to be that people’s hardships owed to their not studying hard enough or having a rap sheet for smoking weed in the 7-Eleven parking lot. Now, ordering avocado toast at brunch is the vice that justifiably closes someone out of the housing market forever. Meanwhile, today’s glorified feudal lords continue committing fraud and torture—or just go on lying and bumbling their way into greater wealth and political glory.

—p.9 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] We all know that those at the top play by different rules, and that for most people, consequences can be wildly out of proportion to their blunders. At least under feudalism, this discrepancy was out in the open. Yes, it was unjust, but it also couldn’t be denied. What’s special about capitalism, and its neoliberal version in particular, is how most of us must accept that each and any of our individual missteps justifies all calamity that befalls us, no matter how ruinous. The location of all social problems onto individuals has now reached preposterous proportions. It used to be that people’s hardships owed to their not studying hard enough or having a rap sheet for smoking weed in the 7-Eleven parking lot. Now, ordering avocado toast at brunch is the vice that justifiably closes someone out of the housing market forever. Meanwhile, today’s glorified feudal lords continue committing fraud and torture—or just go on lying and bumbling their way into greater wealth and political glory.

—p.9 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago
11

Anxiety, and especially depression, as the late social critic Mark Fisher noted, often have social causes, but we are led to believe that we suffer individually and must struggle alone. Fisher’s point is that we are prevented from even considering such conditions as social. The treatments on offer, the most common ways to discuss recovery—therapy and pharmaceuticals—are essentially solo journeys that patients undertake. Against this hyper-individualist vision of psychic healing, we do well to highlight Fisher’s core insight that the tools we are given skew how we understand the world and our place in it. Language, typically the most essential method by which we articulate our affective life, can be a most insidious means of our own oppression if co-opted by those who would exploit us.

There is a reason why re-emergent words and phrases like “solidarity,” “class consciousness,” “mass movement,” “organize,” and “collective struggle,” sound old-fashioned and in need of a good dusting-off. They didn’t simply fall out of vogue; they were aggressively obsolesced in our everyday lives by a variety of interests—employers, corporations hungrily eyeing public assets—determined to alienate us from each other in the interest in marketizing our souls for their own benefit. In return, they bestowed to us a self-oriented language of supposed care, that was never really meant to liberate us from the sources of our anxiety and depression. It’s only there to blunt the pain temporarily—long enough to enable us to move on to the next TaskRabbit assignment, Uber client, or briskly managed election cycle.

—p.11 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Anxiety, and especially depression, as the late social critic Mark Fisher noted, often have social causes, but we are led to believe that we suffer individually and must struggle alone. Fisher’s point is that we are prevented from even considering such conditions as social. The treatments on offer, the most common ways to discuss recovery—therapy and pharmaceuticals—are essentially solo journeys that patients undertake. Against this hyper-individualist vision of psychic healing, we do well to highlight Fisher’s core insight that the tools we are given skew how we understand the world and our place in it. Language, typically the most essential method by which we articulate our affective life, can be a most insidious means of our own oppression if co-opted by those who would exploit us.

There is a reason why re-emergent words and phrases like “solidarity,” “class consciousness,” “mass movement,” “organize,” and “collective struggle,” sound old-fashioned and in need of a good dusting-off. They didn’t simply fall out of vogue; they were aggressively obsolesced in our everyday lives by a variety of interests—employers, corporations hungrily eyeing public assets—determined to alienate us from each other in the interest in marketizing our souls for their own benefit. In return, they bestowed to us a self-oriented language of supposed care, that was never really meant to liberate us from the sources of our anxiety and depression. It’s only there to blunt the pain temporarily—long enough to enable us to move on to the next TaskRabbit assignment, Uber client, or briskly managed election cycle.

—p.11 Tell Me It’s Going to be OK (6) by Miya Tokumitsu 10 months, 3 weeks ago
16

This therapist-led decoupling of the personal from the political has been much noted, and mostly lamented, by scolds from the right and other schoolmarms, and I don’t wish to follow in their path. Rather, I would just point out that behind both the affirmative and the dour views of our interior life lurks a question that has been haunting us since the Enlightenment: now that God is dead and priests are just men spouting superstition, now that we’ve taken matters into our own hands, just how are we supposed to live with one another? Now that everything is permitted, now that rules are whatever we make them to be, how can we tame those evil spirits ourselves? Implicit in the therapeutic answer is a bet—the same bet that lies behind science and democracy and free market capitalism: that we are self-limiting creatures, that given freedom and self-knowledge and the opportunity to express them, we will be able to ride the long arc of history toward progress.

But, as Dr. Phil might ask, how’s that working out for you? Not so well, it seems, at least not if you are living in Trumpistan, where those Enlightenment virtues look like political correctness and globalism and the elitism of the effete, where the invisible hand gives you its back and reason tells you that your moral standards are only so much prejudice and science insists that the car in which you drive to your shitty, low-paying job is making the ice caps melt. In this blighted province, even if you have never set foot in a therapist’s office, even if you see the profession as a vast snowflake factory, you have absorbed the truth of the therapeutic: that grievance is always justified, that the victim always has the high moral ground, and that if you are frustrated or worried or despairing or otherwise discomfited, then that means you have been robbed of your birthright. Because you were put on this earth, or at least in this country, to pursue happiness; if you can’t even dream of that anymore, then you are entitled to redress. And if the channels through which redress is achieved are closed off to you, then perhaps you should hitch your wagon to a bulldozer intent on carving out a new one.

i like the phrasing (and the concept)

—p.16 America and Its Discontents (12) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This therapist-led decoupling of the personal from the political has been much noted, and mostly lamented, by scolds from the right and other schoolmarms, and I don’t wish to follow in their path. Rather, I would just point out that behind both the affirmative and the dour views of our interior life lurks a question that has been haunting us since the Enlightenment: now that God is dead and priests are just men spouting superstition, now that we’ve taken matters into our own hands, just how are we supposed to live with one another? Now that everything is permitted, now that rules are whatever we make them to be, how can we tame those evil spirits ourselves? Implicit in the therapeutic answer is a bet—the same bet that lies behind science and democracy and free market capitalism: that we are self-limiting creatures, that given freedom and self-knowledge and the opportunity to express them, we will be able to ride the long arc of history toward progress.

But, as Dr. Phil might ask, how’s that working out for you? Not so well, it seems, at least not if you are living in Trumpistan, where those Enlightenment virtues look like political correctness and globalism and the elitism of the effete, where the invisible hand gives you its back and reason tells you that your moral standards are only so much prejudice and science insists that the car in which you drive to your shitty, low-paying job is making the ice caps melt. In this blighted province, even if you have never set foot in a therapist’s office, even if you see the profession as a vast snowflake factory, you have absorbed the truth of the therapeutic: that grievance is always justified, that the victim always has the high moral ground, and that if you are frustrated or worried or despairing or otherwise discomfited, then that means you have been robbed of your birthright. Because you were put on this earth, or at least in this country, to pursue happiness; if you can’t even dream of that anymore, then you are entitled to redress. And if the channels through which redress is achieved are closed off to you, then perhaps you should hitch your wagon to a bulldozer intent on carving out a new one.

i like the phrasing (and the concept)

—p.16 America and Its Discontents (12) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
24

Perhaps the purpose of this whole song and dance is to convince the marginalized that they are to blame for their own marginalization—to prevent ill-treated female caretakers (and of course the bulk of caretakers are female and many of them are ill-treated) from comparing notes. Or perhaps self-help is supposed to insulate men from the unseemly display of female frustration. “It is often a requirement upon oppressed people that we smile and be cheerful,” writes philosopher Marilyn Frye. “Anything but the sunniest countenance exposes us to being perceived as mean, bitter, angry, or dangerous.” Whether it is designed to sabotage sad women or console uncomfortable men, the happiness industry has gone a long way toward stigmatizing public admissions of suffering. The self isn’t even the one that self-help is helping: it merits its name only insofar as it perpetuates the illusion that social problems are located at the level of the individual—only insofar as it isolates the marginalized, sealing them off from the social body.

—p.24 The Promise of Misery (20) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Perhaps the purpose of this whole song and dance is to convince the marginalized that they are to blame for their own marginalization—to prevent ill-treated female caretakers (and of course the bulk of caretakers are female and many of them are ill-treated) from comparing notes. Or perhaps self-help is supposed to insulate men from the unseemly display of female frustration. “It is often a requirement upon oppressed people that we smile and be cheerful,” writes philosopher Marilyn Frye. “Anything but the sunniest countenance exposes us to being perceived as mean, bitter, angry, or dangerous.” Whether it is designed to sabotage sad women or console uncomfortable men, the happiness industry has gone a long way toward stigmatizing public admissions of suffering. The self isn’t even the one that self-help is helping: it merits its name only insofar as it perpetuates the illusion that social problems are located at the level of the individual—only insofar as it isolates the marginalized, sealing them off from the social body.

—p.24 The Promise of Misery (20) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
27

Here’s another way of understanding why the “self” belongs in self-help. Self-help concerns the self because it excludes others—because it actively discourages acts of intervention or compassion. Self-help is for selves because it is selfish on the giving end (that is, the not-giving end) and lonely on the receiving end (that is, the not-receiving end). It isn’t hard to see that the shame that attends female unhappiness compounds the initial unhappiness, which might have been bearable. It was bad to fear planes tilting up the steep sky, bad to ascend the uphill days, but it was worse when men told me to jettison my anxiety. Then I was anxious about being anxious in addition to just being anxious. Then my unhappiness wasn’t just unpleasant but also unspeakable, and I had to choke on it whenever I tried to gulp it back.

—p.27 The Promise of Misery (20) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Here’s another way of understanding why the “self” belongs in self-help. Self-help concerns the self because it excludes others—because it actively discourages acts of intervention or compassion. Self-help is for selves because it is selfish on the giving end (that is, the not-giving end) and lonely on the receiving end (that is, the not-receiving end). It isn’t hard to see that the shame that attends female unhappiness compounds the initial unhappiness, which might have been bearable. It was bad to fear planes tilting up the steep sky, bad to ascend the uphill days, but it was worse when men told me to jettison my anxiety. Then I was anxious about being anxious in addition to just being anxious. Then my unhappiness wasn’t just unpleasant but also unspeakable, and I had to choke on it whenever I tried to gulp it back.

—p.27 The Promise of Misery (20) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
29

When you leave the museum

of contemporary art, opening

the doors to midday, you may need

a few minutes to reset context:

the bike shackled to the sign

is only a bike, the sign only a sign,

no small white exhibit labels.

Out here birds are nothing

but their crumb-begging selves,

shitting on cars and waking us

before our alarms. Cars are cars,

shit is shit. You walk by some café

where a woman sits alone unless

you count the two dachshunds

eating torn bits of French bread

she’s tossed under the table.

Aren’t the dogs perfectly

curated and aren’t the branches

like bicycle spokes, the noontime light

a playing card whirring between them?

As if sunlight as sunlight isn’t

art enough, as if trees need to be

more than themselves to deserve

attention, which is a kind of love.

You’re a stranger in this city,

finding your way to the hotel

where you’ll sleep only tonight,

though when you arrive,

you’ll text your husband,

I’m home. It’s more than enough:

the city as itself and you as you

inside it, and home as home,

etcetera, forever.

awww i like this

—p.29 Installation (29) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago

When you leave the museum

of contemporary art, opening

the doors to midday, you may need

a few minutes to reset context:

the bike shackled to the sign

is only a bike, the sign only a sign,

no small white exhibit labels.

Out here birds are nothing

but their crumb-begging selves,

shitting on cars and waking us

before our alarms. Cars are cars,

shit is shit. You walk by some café

where a woman sits alone unless

you count the two dachshunds

eating torn bits of French bread

she’s tossed under the table.

Aren’t the dogs perfectly

curated and aren’t the branches

like bicycle spokes, the noontime light

a playing card whirring between them?

As if sunlight as sunlight isn’t

art enough, as if trees need to be

more than themselves to deserve

attention, which is a kind of love.

You’re a stranger in this city,

finding your way to the hotel

where you’ll sleep only tonight,

though when you arrive,

you’ll text your husband,

I’m home. It’s more than enough:

the city as itself and you as you

inside it, and home as home,

etcetera, forever.

awww i like this

—p.29 Installation (29) missing author 10 months, 3 weeks ago
62

The politics thus advanced is profoundly race-reductionist, discounting the value of both political agency and the broad pursuit of political alliances within a polity held to be intractably and irredeemably devoted to white supremacy. This fatalistic outlook works seamlessly to reinforce the status of racial voices who emphasize the interests and concerns of a singular racial collectivity. Central to these pundits’ message is the assertion that blacks have it worse, in every socio-cultural context that might be adduced.

This refrain is also consistent in two important ways with the reigning ideology of neoliberal equality. First, the insistence that disparities of racial access to power are the most meaningful forms of inequality strongly reinforces the neoliberal view that inequalities generated by capitalist market forces are natural and lie beyond the scope of intervention. And second, if American racism is an intractable, transhistorical force—indeed, an ontological one, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has characterized it—then it lies beyond structural political intervention. In other words, Coates and other race-firsters diminish the significance of the legislative and other institutional victories won since Emancipation, leaving us with only exhortations to individual conversion and repentance as a program.

hm idk how much i agree but this is interesting

—p.62 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The politics thus advanced is profoundly race-reductionist, discounting the value of both political agency and the broad pursuit of political alliances within a polity held to be intractably and irredeemably devoted to white supremacy. This fatalistic outlook works seamlessly to reinforce the status of racial voices who emphasize the interests and concerns of a singular racial collectivity. Central to these pundits’ message is the assertion that blacks have it worse, in every socio-cultural context that might be adduced.

This refrain is also consistent in two important ways with the reigning ideology of neoliberal equality. First, the insistence that disparities of racial access to power are the most meaningful forms of inequality strongly reinforces the neoliberal view that inequalities generated by capitalist market forces are natural and lie beyond the scope of intervention. And second, if American racism is an intractable, transhistorical force—indeed, an ontological one, as Ta-Nehisi Coates has characterized it—then it lies beyond structural political intervention. In other words, Coates and other race-firsters diminish the significance of the legislative and other institutional victories won since Emancipation, leaving us with only exhortations to individual conversion and repentance as a program.

hm idk how much i agree but this is interesting

—p.62 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago
64

This vision of unyielding black pathology is yet another testament to the harmony of antiracist and neoliberal ideologies—and it, too, harks directly back to the origins of the black leadership caste at the dawn of the last century. Washington and Du Bois, together with Garvey and other prominent racial nationalists, envisioned their core constituency as a politically mute black population in need of tutelage from their ruling-class-backed leaders. Touré F. Reed persuasively argues that the mildly updated version of this vision now serves as an essential cornerstone of the new black professional-managerial class politics. Underclass mythology grounds professional-class claims to race leadership, while providing the normative foundation of uplift programs directed toward enhancing self-esteem rather than the material redistribution of wealth and income.

Exhortations to celebrate and demand accolades, career opportunities, and material accumulation for black celebrities and rich people—e.g., box office receipts for black filmmakers or contracts and prestigious appointments for other well-positioned black people—as a racial politics are consistent with the sporadic eruptions of “Buy Black” campaigns since the 1920s and 1930s. Such efforts stood out in stark contrast to more working-class based “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaigns that demanded employment opportunities in establishments serving black neighborhoods. Like “Buy Black” campaigns, which seem to have risen again from the tomb of petit-bourgeois wishful thinking, projections of successes for the rich and famous as generic racial victories depend on a sleight-of-hand that treats benefits for any black person as benefits for all black people. [...]

—p.64 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago

This vision of unyielding black pathology is yet another testament to the harmony of antiracist and neoliberal ideologies—and it, too, harks directly back to the origins of the black leadership caste at the dawn of the last century. Washington and Du Bois, together with Garvey and other prominent racial nationalists, envisioned their core constituency as a politically mute black population in need of tutelage from their ruling-class-backed leaders. Touré F. Reed persuasively argues that the mildly updated version of this vision now serves as an essential cornerstone of the new black professional-managerial class politics. Underclass mythology grounds professional-class claims to race leadership, while providing the normative foundation of uplift programs directed toward enhancing self-esteem rather than the material redistribution of wealth and income.

Exhortations to celebrate and demand accolades, career opportunities, and material accumulation for black celebrities and rich people—e.g., box office receipts for black filmmakers or contracts and prestigious appointments for other well-positioned black people—as a racial politics are consistent with the sporadic eruptions of “Buy Black” campaigns since the 1920s and 1930s. Such efforts stood out in stark contrast to more working-class based “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaigns that demanded employment opportunities in establishments serving black neighborhoods. Like “Buy Black” campaigns, which seem to have risen again from the tomb of petit-bourgeois wishful thinking, projections of successes for the rich and famous as generic racial victories depend on a sleight-of-hand that treats benefits for any black person as benefits for all black people. [...]

—p.64 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago
66

Nevertheless, we continue to indulge the politically wrong-headed, counterproductive, and even reactionary features of the “representative black voice” industry in whatever remains of our contemporary public sphere. And we never reckon with the truly disturbing presumption that any black person who can gain access to the public microphone and performs familiar rituals of “blackness” should be recognized as expressing significant racial truths and deserves our attention. This presumption rests on the unexamined premise that blacks share a common, singular mind that is at once radically unknowable to non-blacks and readily downloaded by any random individual setting up shop as a racial voice. And despite what all of our age’s many heroic narratives of individualist race-first triumph may suggest to the casual viewer, that premise is the essence of racism.

bold

—p.66 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Nevertheless, we continue to indulge the politically wrong-headed, counterproductive, and even reactionary features of the “representative black voice” industry in whatever remains of our contemporary public sphere. And we never reckon with the truly disturbing presumption that any black person who can gain access to the public microphone and performs familiar rituals of “blackness” should be recognized as expressing significant racial truths and deserves our attention. This presumption rests on the unexamined premise that blacks share a common, singular mind that is at once radically unknowable to non-blacks and readily downloaded by any random individual setting up shop as a racial voice. And despite what all of our age’s many heroic narratives of individualist race-first triumph may suggest to the casual viewer, that premise is the essence of racism.

bold

—p.66 The Trouble With Uplift (50) by Adolph L. Reed Jr. 10 months, 3 weeks ago