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This week, the reader advisor considers the maligned art of compromise, as well as all those Pikachus everyone is so excited about. – Artblog Editor


pokemon go reader advisor
Pokémon Go at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. Photo: Chad Rachman/New York Post via New York Post

Should you compromise with someone even if you know you are right? This question seems to come to mind lately as divisive rhetoric and polarized attitudes continue to dominate major ongoing discussions in our country. In political and cultural arenas, the middle ground (and those that are willing to go there) seems to be a disappearing wilderness. Compromise has become synonymous with weakness as perspectives on both sides value above all (above progress) the steadfast resolution of their ideals. We don’t see other people; we see the positions that they project and how those positions differ from our own. Standing your ground. Standing up to a bully. Never backing down. It seems the only conflict resolution we are interested in is dominance. But with dominance there must also be subservience, and instead of progressing hand-in-hand we become shackled together in a never-ending cycle of oppression.

Of course the clearest example of the decline of compromise is politics and in some cases the growing partisan divide within each party. In this link, “Bernie or Bust” supporters see a “revolution” event as the only path forward. Even if that path leads through a Donald Trump presidency.
[ via The New York Times ]

Last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court spoke out against Donald Trump and the eye-bleeding prospect of his presidency. While I can never really fault anyone for deriding a fascist, having a sitting supreme court judge openly take a political stance compromises the impartiality of our highest court. But instead of digging in and/or doubling down when faced with criticism, Ginsburg listened to her detractors and issued a statement admitting that she had made a mistake. So often our complexion of character is all strength and resolution. What is missing is the humility (and under-recognized strength) needed to acknowledge errors and take responsibility for your actions.
[ via NPR ]

It is also important to acknowledge that compromise can be a perspective of privilege. Compromise is a long slow path to change, but for many gradual change comes at the very real price of our country’s never ending body (black, brown, queer, etc.) count. Watch this teenager from Atlanta deliver a slam poem he wrote called “White Boy Privilege” where he outlines all the ways his privileges shape his world and the worlds of others.
[ via The New York Daily News ]

What can account for the recent explosion of popularity of the Pokémon Go game? One theory is that after one of the worst (but perhaps most raw and revealing) weeks in recent memory, Americans were searching for something–ANYTHING–to escape the brutal and complex reality of race relations in our society. Usually a steady diet of Instagram and Snapchat face filters (I love the one that turns your head into an exploding pineapple!) keep us thoroughly un-engaged. But after the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and the subsequent sniper killings of five Dallas police officers, we needed a harder drug. Could there be a better escape vehicle than a nostalgia-infused augmented reality app populated with cuddly cute fantasy deedle-doos and whippy-wongs? Instead of going outside and actively confronting racial and economic disparities, let’s go outside and confront this Snorlax! Instead of meeting strangers and friends to reflect and discuss our experiences of race, let’s discuss these Pikachus! We are like the scared children on the airplane who refuse to focus on the harsh and seemingly terrifying realities of our situation and instead have been given an iPad by our parents. But as adults, we alone are to blame for this shameful compromise, an indulgence of distraction that immobilizes the raw introspection and societal movement that is our responsibility. All of us Pokémon Go users aren’t looking to catch them all; we are desperate looking to forget them all.
[ via Jacobin Magazine ]

In other news, Arctic Splash consumers refuse to compromise:
[ via Billy Penn ]