• ‘Tis the season to be grateful, as Baffler contributing editor Barbara Ehrenreich notes in the New York Times:
Perhaps it’s no surprise that gratitude’s rise to self-help celebrity status owes a lot to the conservative-leaning John Templeton Foundation. At the start of this decade, the foundation, which promotes free-market capitalism, gave $5.6 million to Dr. Emmons, the gratitude researcher. It also funded a $3 million initiative called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude through the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, which co-produced the special that aired on NPR. The foundation does not fund projects to directly improve the lives of poor individuals, but it has spent a great deal, through efforts like these, to improve their attitudes.
• Reasons to feel jaded, part two: Ethan Couch, the “affluenza teen” we keep hearing about, was but a pale shadow of his predecessors, “one in a long American train of dubiously accomplished scions of privilege kept at fastidious arm’s length from the consequences of his own actions,” writes Baffler senior editor Chris Lehmann, “a mere piker—heir to a Sunbelt sheet-metal fortune, son of fractiously divorced-and-remarried parents, inept master of disguise.”
• “Ideologically, Silicon Valley is rapidly coming to occupy the space traditionally reserved for the radical populists of the right,” writes Baffler contributing editor Evgeny Morozov in The Guardian. “The global fight to watch, then, is between two high-tech populisms—those of the left (represented by the new political parties [like Podemos]) and those of the right (represented by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs).”
• Remember Politwoops, the app that published politicians’ deleted tweets, and met its untimely demise, in June of last year, at Twitter’s hands? Well, it’s back for 2016 as Twitter now thinks it has “a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue,” or something equally disingenuous.