Posts tagged “Reader Review” include a few top articles from my weekly reading. Their topics may vary, but their quality and provocation quotient won’t. Enjoy.
When spirituality gets corporatized: The commercial dharma
Tricycle Mag: Protesters crash Google talk on corporate mindfulness at Wisdom 2.0 conference (Alex Caring-Lobel)
Alex’ sharp critique of corporate spirituality—Buddhist-ish instruction of mindfulness to help corporations improve business effectiveness—prompted me to write on Twitter “The snark is strong with this one.”
And so it is, but perhaps no more than Zizek’s challenge to compassionate consumerism. Both Caring-Lobel and Zizek challenge the way that capitalism and corporatism have co-opted narratives of social concern and/or spiritual awareness. For Tricycle Mag and Curtis White, Google’s ability to sponsor a presentation at Wisdom 2.0 over local objections about its business impacts is a sign that mindfulness has been divorced from its religious roots and any responsibilities that those roots might challenge practitioners to address.
A January 2014 TIME cover reignited similar questions about how publications package and represent practices like yoga and meditation to Western readers—almost exclusively with photographs of thin, White women, and usually in terms of individual benefits and stress relief.
The RSA animated part of Zizek’s talk in 2010:
(A London Guardian columnist snapped back at Zizek quite hard the next year. The debate continues.)
If the Other feels forced to cover, we all lose out
Harvard Business Review: Fear of being different stifles talent (Kenji Yoshino and Christie Smith)
Yoshino and Smith surveyed 3,000 corporate employees and analyzed participants’ responses by demographic categories. They found that when employees felt pressured to “cover” or repress their differences to fit in with the corporate culture, they also reported feeling less committed to the organization, less self-assured, and less engaged.
I look forward to research that correlates these self-reports to more objective performance measures, and I suspect that the patterns will be similar: environments that encourage employee self-repression also purchase poorer employee performance. There is already some related research showing that stereotype threats undermine students’ performance in tests.
“Obeying God rather than men” on the left side of the political spectrum
Quaker Quaker: The case of 1st amendment vs. 1st commandment (Clem Gerdelmann)
A short reflection on how theocratic arguments can be made for people who are otherwise left-leaning. For instance, if the law of the land is pro-segregation, but you feel compelled to promote equality, you might just appeal to your deity as creator of all and consider human rights that deity’s legacy to all.
Gerdelmann doesn’t explain what we should do with this reasoning, whether we should think it valid or invalid; he simply offers it as a narrative that complicates the usual dichotomy of “constitutional permissions vs. moral imperatives.”
This morning another Quaker article caught my attention. Friend minister and theology professor Dr. Wess Daniels weighs the difference between denominational branding—PR marketing—and rearticulating denominational mission and impact as salt, light, and center of transformation. This mirrors some of the conversations I had with Seventh-day Adventists at this weekend’s panel on the future of the church and its relationship with Millennial members.
If someone tells you not to look in a box, do you look?
The short film is a fantastic medium in the right hands. Imagination Video is a series of shorts based on the same script and sponsored by Bombay Sapphire. The three below are my favorites, and are all subtitled.
What to do about the US’ tolerance for violence against black men?
New York Times: Young, Black, and Male in America (Room for Debate Panel)
A nine-strong panel of commentators discusses black men, assumptions of criminality, education access, parenting, employment, multi-generational stigmatization, and low conviction rates for cases where people coded unarmed and non-aggressive people as a threat and killed them.
“Stand Your Ground” laws have received special attention since the Trayvon Martin case (2012) and similar cases since then (e.g. Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley Jones, and Jonathan Ferrell). Esther Armah also writes on the latest case in which a white man who shot at a car full of young black men has been convicted for shooting at several of them, but not convicted for actually killing one. She also framed that case in terms of social entitlement and the privileged expectation that Others will submit to one on demand.
— Iam Drfitness (@DrfitnessFP) February 18, 2014
While there are several articles reflecting on the violence trend, the NYT series links the outcome to possible sources elsewhere in society. Is it a pattern we can break?
HT for the NYT piece to Broderick Greer, a Virginia-based MDiv student and writer.
Related: Dr. L’Heureux Dumi Lewis-McCoy’s article on the PBS education documentary, American Promise, which focuses on two Black American boys’ experience with discipline and diagnosis in public-private education.
On the intern/no-hire cycle: for creatives, what’s the path forward?
Buzzfeed: Can the intern hamster wheel be stopped? (Doree Shafrir)
This is the article that inspired the #myinternship hashtag on Twitter this afternoon. Lots of stories and experiences from current and former interns there.
People who are on the internship hamster wheel for years need to think about whether these industries are right for them, and we who are now in charge need to figure out a way to be able to hire the brightest, most creative people if we want our industries to survive. Keeping the gates completely closed to young people—and their new ideas and perspectives—is probably the fastest way to ensure our collective irrelevance. —Doree Shafrir