Read on the street 13 June 2020
This week’s Read on the Street is an eclectic mix, with some pieces about the coronavirus and others on completely unrelated subjects. And even the pieces on the pandemic are away from the regular issues of news coverage; deliberately so.
I find myself gazing and grazing far and wide in trying to make sense of life as it is and as it will become. By definition, in a changing world, the familiar and the comfortable may be of limited use and diminishing value in navigating the future.
If not exactly new tricks, old dogs will at least need to learn new things and be open to seeking different sources of information.
The truth is out there – somewhere. I know I haven’t found it yet, but the best we can all do is keep on searching. I hope you learn one or two new things from this week’s offering – including the dynamite ending – and that we all keep up the search for understanding.
Have a great weekend.
First class, business class, working class
Jamie Lafferty’s essay is a powerful read about how, by destroying his work as a successful travel writer, the pandemic has caused him to go full circle from a difficult upbringing “shaped by the welfare system” back to living on benefit. It’s a personal story and journey about what it means when we talk in abstract terms about how Covid-19 has changed our world and shrunk the economy.
Read on Jamie Lafferty.
Gen-Z's devil-may-care attitude to debt
For anyone fortunate enough to remain employed during the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown has perhaps offered an opportunity to save. But this austere experience may not be true across differing age groups. It is well documented that Gen-Z is likely to be hit hardest by the economic fallout from the pandemic, but at the moment it seems like their spending continues, underwritten by a new wave of social media savvy credit providers.
Read on UnHerd.
Desert Island Discs with Sinead Burke
Sinead Burke is a disability rights activist and teacher who has accomplished many things in her 30 years of life. She has campaigned for more representation of diversity in the fashion industry, spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, taken her message to the White House at the invitation of the Obamas, and advised the Irish president about disability rights. Referring to herself as a “little person”, her influence and aspiration are far from little. Her song choices reflect her exuberant confidence. This is a must listen.
Listen on BBC Radio 4.
Ethiopia tree planting
This fascinating piece sheds light on the eco-tastic Ethiopia, a country working to plant five billion trees this year in an effort to build a green, sustainable economy. At the same time though, Ethiopia faces a ballooning budget deficit and dwindling foreign investment as a result of coronavirus. Straddling the line between protecting the green legacy, as well as the basic wellbeing of Ethiopians, will be a difficult balancing act. Watch this space.
Read on Quartz Africa.
The real Marthe Bonnard
Marthe Bonnard is frequently represented throughout Pierre Bonnard’s work, and for decades art history has labelled her as a paranoid woman, with a neurotic obsession with bathing and a hatred of other people. New evidence reveals that bias and prejudice have distorted her reputation, and that those who wrote those accounts of her benefited from doing so. “Like one of his paintings, the rich layers of her life extend beyond what is visible on the surface”. This piece by Stephen Khan starts to unravel the layers.
Read on The Conversation.
The history of dynamite
There are few instances where we have been able to revolutionise a tool with quite the same impact as we did with explosives in the late 19th century. By the time dynamite was invented in 1867, black powder had been used for over a thousand years, and it really did not improve much during that time. This perplexed a young Alfred Nobel, who set on a quest to find a more stable and powerful successor. Once he did, he wanted to ensure that dynamite would serve as a force for peaceful development, and in a way it did: it was an indispensable tool of engineering for building dams, railways, skyscrapers and tunnels in the 20th century. The riches that it gave Nobel also ended up in a trust, establishing the Nobel Prizes, given annually to scientists, doctors, writers, and those who work in the pursuit of peace.
Read on Popular Mechanics.
Written by Kevin Pringle, Partner