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Issue No. 2

Evaluating the Glass photo sharing network as it matures, changing a screen time habit into a reading ritual, China is looking to make Marx the answer to the lack of spirituality in the country and noticing a meaningful nuance in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Robert Rackley
Robert Rackley
4 min read

Matt Birchler writes in Photography Needs to be Fun about how the new Glass photography network feels a bit too stilted and more like Unsplash than Instagram.

Meanwhile, Twitter and instagram are teeming with pros, amateurs, and everyone else, and they’re just more rich photography experiences for me. Social networks have cultures that form around them, and my feeling is that the culture in Glass is way too buttoned up and monolithic. I want photography to be diverse and fun, and the monolithic feeds I see in Glass don’t check either of those boxes for me now.

I wrote a few months ago about how fits into the Glass equation. I’ve seen some amazing photographs on the M.b. platform and there are people I follow that have near-professional photography skills. There are quite a few amateur shots. It feels like a really nice balance. I don’t feel intimidated posting photos.

Anne-Laure Le Cunff of Ness Labs was just interviewed by Indie Hacker. I really like the balance that she is able to strike between a fascination for work that requires a computer, and being able to extract time where she is not using a device.

What I spend the majority of my time doing: Sitting in front of my computer. Whether it’s learning, creating, connecting with other curious minds... I sometimes think it’s too much screen time, but there is such joy coming through this window on the world!

On her reading habit becoming a ritual:

Another thing that’s helped me move from routine to ritual is that starting last year, I’ve followed a strict rule of no electronic devices in my bedroom. It’s probably one of the simplest and best lifestyle changes I’ve made. It sounds obvious but not having devices in my room makes me sleep earlier, and better. I wake up with more energy and I’m more productive and creative.

While most of what she does involves screen time, she also puts hard boundaries around those activities to make time for other enrichment. I would find the part about putting away electronic devices in my bedroom pretty difficult. I wouldn’t give up my Kobo, of course, but even when you have an iPad, that lean back device form factor makes it too easy to use when supine. The closest thing I’ve got to her resolve is to set downtime to 9:30pm, but even that is too easy to break by putting in my screen time code.

It seems the Chinese government is starting to understand that a political system with no real values is not healthy for people. The citizens of the country are increasingly developing a sort of nihilistic tendency. “Among the online youth, for example, ‘sang culture’ (roughly the equivalent of “doomerism” in the West) has proliferated.”

To combat a lack of spirituality in their culture, the Communist party is turning to Marx to inspire. From People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist party:

Recalling the “warmth” he still feels after finishing this study of Marx, a “warmth [that] comes from spiritual excitement, spiritual joy,” the reviewer concludes with an account of the “deep sense of inner satisfaction and happiness” he has gained, before declaring himself, with the cry of a convert, “a Marxist believer!”

The piece notes that these pronouncements sound more like they come from mid-2000’s American Evangelical Christians than Chinese Communists. The party recognizes, though, that they need to combat the malaise that their culture has engendered.

This has kicked off a scramble, led by top Party political theorist Wang Huning, to “create core values” to fill this uncomfortably God-shaped societal hole with the comforts of a synthetic ideological alternative.

It remains to be seen if the Chinese can be spiritually fulfilled by Marxist theory, which is still purely materialist.

The CCP gets religious about Karl Marx | The Post


Christians love the part in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus gives his speech about the true meaning of Christmas, quoting from the book of Luke. I am not exempting myself from the devotion to that scene. A few years ago, I read this passage at a Christmas Eve service at our church, and, even though it wasn’t in the translation from which I was reading, I was tempted to use the phrase, “and they were sore afraid,” just to be like Linus.

In the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas, when a frustrated Charlie Brown asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus, with his security blanket in hand, steps center stage and quotes Luke 2:8–14. In the middle of his recitation, as he says, “Fear not,” he drops his blanket—the thing he clung to when afraid.

One thing I hadn’t notice before was the part about Linus dropping his security blanket, which his sister Lucy tried in vain many times to wrest from him, when he recites the scripture. It wasn’t until I read this passage in Our Daily Bread that I recounted that crucial part of the scene. Linus always carries that blanket to feel safe. The action has a symbolically profound implication about how we try to let go and trust in the Lord to guide us, especially during this season.

Fear Not | Our Daily Bread

Friday Night Video

Hazel English “Nine Stories”
This is definitely the most playful music video I’ve seen in some time. You have Hazel English, mostly dressed like a school girl from a private prep school, goofing around in fountains, reading in the grass, and well, attending school. The song exudes a twee charm with a suitable theme
This has been a Christmas edition of Frosted Echoes - Week on the Web.

Robert Rackley

Orthodox Christian, aspiring minimalist, inveterate notetaker, software dev manager and paper airplane mechanic.

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