Friday Reading for 2/13/2015

On Fridays I share my favorite readings from the week. Except last Friday, because I had a bit of a busy week. Oh well, you’ll just get extra this time around!

Lydia Wilson’s article in Nautilus discusses some peculiarities involved in doing anthropological and psychological fieldwork by describing what happened (and didn’t happen) to her study in Lebanon after ISIS attacks.

Lindy West writes: What happened when I confronted my cruelest troll? This is the story of how she engaged with one particularly bad harasser online and got an apology letter and, eventually, the story of a reformed life. I’m not sure the moral of this story is that people should engage with their harassers; rather, I think it just reinforces the fact that most online abusers are lonely, sad, pitiable people.

Eddie Izzard on comedy in another language, learning how to swear in a foreign tongue, political aspirations, and human sacrifice. Just what you’d expect from him, but I found his approach to language learning fascinating!

The Jewish magazine Tablet has instituted a pay-to-comment policy. For $2/day or $18/year, you can make as many comments as you’d like on their website. If you don’t want to pay, you can still send comments via social media and e-mail. Their reason? “But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal-and, often, anonymous-minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who’d like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee-less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.” I approve of this method of raising money and stemming the flow of anonymous invective in comments sections.