the lavin weekly | November 03, 2017

The Lavin Weekly: Reclaiming ‘Allahu Akbar,’ Behavioral Architecture, The Irony of Ageism, and A Study in Solitude

In this Lavin Weekly, Wajahat Ali wants ‘Allahu akbar’ back; Adam Alter explains how to build screens out of your life; Ashton Applewhite’s review of a new ageism book offers insights of its own; and Kate Bolick explores solitude in the desert. 

1. “I want ‘Allahu Akbar’ back.”

“I say ‘Allahu akbar’ out loud more than 100 times a day,” says Wajahat Ali in the New York Times this week. “And I, like an overwhelming majority of Muslims, have never uttered ‘Allahu albar,’ before or after committing a violent act.” Despite how it seems in headlines, this phrase doesn’t belong to extremists. It belongs to Muslims: “an eccentric tribe with over a billion members, who say it several times in their daily prayers.” 


2. “Become a behavioral architect.”

“Just as an architect would design a building or city, you must arrange your space in ways that discourage the use of these devices.” This week Adam Alter talked to NYU News about how to cut down how much time you spend on your smart phone. “An example of this is deciding that every time you eat dinner, no matter who you’re with, you’ll put your phone in anther room, and ideally ask others to do the same.”  


3. “The greatest irony of ageism is that the ‘other’ is our own future selves.”

Ashton Applewhite, author of the manifesto on aging, reviewed Martha Nussbaum’s latest Aging Thoughtfully in the LA Review of Books this week. “Of course, much about aging is difficult, but much of the difficulty is constructed or compounded by ageism. Of course, aging involves loss, but it also deeply enriches. Let’s tell both sides of the story, and work toward a world where no one ages out of having value as a human being.”


4. “She is always thinking about everything, every detail that adds up to a life, and that includes you.”

In The New York Times Style Magazine this week, Kate Bolick, author of “Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own,” profiles Andrea Zittel, an artist who’s spent the last 20 years exploring solitude in the California desert. “What makes Zittel’s art seem so urgent at this moment is that the culture appears to have caught up to her at last: In our era of rapidly shifting domestic arrangements, nearly everyone—young people living alone or aging couples in communal compounds—seems badly served by architecture designed for the increasingly vestigial nuclear family.”  


To book Wajahat Ali, Adam Alter, Ashton Applewhite, or Kate Bolick, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive speakers’ bureau.