The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

by Yule Heibel on March 7, 2010

  • Sharon Zukin takes on gentrification (in Harlem especially), while Harlem-ites dismiss her critique. “Gentrification” v. “authenticity”? Between black and white there might actually be plenty of shades of gray (no pun intended)…

    It should also be said that these talented, innovative African-Americans are forging a new entrepreneurial path that was too often closed to their ancestors. Jai Jai Greenfield, co-owner of Harlem Vintage, a wine store that opened on Frederick Douglass Boulevard in 2004, designed it as an homage to her grandparents, longtime Harlem residents whose elegant photographs from the 1930s were featured in the store’s initial promotional literature. She says that Ms. Zukin is missing the point. “We brought to Harlem something that had never existed here—a store that is for and about the wine. [Ms. Zukin] seems to think that to be legitimately ghetto our store should look a certain way—bullet-proofed windows and grates. To be authentic, in her view, I would need to go with a couple of concepts—fried chicken or maybe a nail salon.”

    tags: authenticity, gentrification, sharon_zukin, harlem, nyc, socialcritique

  • Flavorwire’s interview with Michael Sean Edwards, who moved to the East Village from Toronto in 1977 and has been documenting it ever since. A set of his images from 1978 to 1985 is now available on Flickr. Flavorwire’s article also includes a slide-show with commentary by Edwards.

    tags: michael_sean_edwards, photography, cities, nyc, east_village, street_photography, art, flavorwire

  • Fascinating article by Jonah Lehrer about depression. Closing paragraphs:
    And then there’s the virtue of self-loathing, which is one of the symptoms of depression. When people are stuck in the ruminative spiral, their achievements become invisible; the mind is only interested in what has gone wrong. While this condition is typically linked to withdrawal and silence — people become unwilling to communicate — there’s some suggestive evidence that states of unhappiness can actually improve our expressive abilities. Forgas said he has found that sadness correlates with clearer and more compelling sentences, and that negative moods “promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style.” Because we’re more critical of what we’re writing, we produce more refined prose, the sentences polished by our angst. As Roland Barthes observed, “A creative writer is one for whom writing is a problem.”

    This line of research led Andrews to conduct his own experiment, as he sought to better understand the link between negative mood and improved analytical abilities. He gave 115 undergraduates an abstract-reasoning test known as Raven’s Progressive Matrices, which requires subjects to identify a missing segment in a larger pattern. (Performance on the task strongly predicts general intelligence.) The first thing Andrews found was that nondepressed students showed an increase in “depressed affect” after taking the test. In other words, the mere presence of a challenging problem — even an abstract puzzle — induced a kind of attentive trance, which led to feelings of sadness. It doesn’t matter if we’re working on a mathematical equation or working through a broken heart: the anatomy of focus is inseparable from the anatomy of melancholy. This suggests that depressive disorder is an extreme form of an ordinary thought process, part of the dismal machinery that draws us toward our problems, like a magnet to metal.

    tags: nyt, depression, evolutionary_psychology, jonah_lehrer

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

^ Bonus Image for “Depression’s Upside”

As I looked around for an image to illustrate Jonah Lehrer’s discussion of rumination and depression, I came across edu-blogger Doug Johnson, who, in his 2008 Blue Skunk Blog post on Ruminating, adapted a tourist photo (source) to create the image below. I hope he doesn’t mind my using it, but it’s just perfect – hats off, Doug Johnson:

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