Todd M. Sweet

Topics: Champaign-Urbana, higher ed, communications, movies, music, books, running, biking, parenthood. Opinions are my own.

Category: Reading List Page 1 of 2

Big Long List of Articles

I’ve done a poor job in recent weeks of sharing interesting reads as they come in, so here’s my attempt to get current.

Reading List: Sports Prodigies

These two stories are worth sharing together, and offer some incredible insights into parenting, youth sports, and mental health.

On the Covington Boys

In our current insane news cycle it’s hard to imagine that the confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial has already slipped out of the national conversation. There was the initial outrage, the additional context, the predictable backtracking, and then…

Here are a couple columns that have stuck with me.



Many on the right are using the equal opportunity bigotry of the Black Hebrew Israelites as a way to excuse the disrespectful and obnoxious behavior of the Covington boys. Others, such as Kyle Smith of the National Review, wag their fingers at the teens. But Smith added something else in reaction to the backlash received by Sandmann and his classmates that irked me to no end. “Until about ten minutes ago, it was broadly agreed in our culture that kids are allowed to do some dumb things because they’re kids,” Smith wrote. “Should these kids’ lives be ruined because some of them responded to obnoxious provocation by being a bit rude themselves?”


Let’s be clear: This assessment only applies to white kids.

Jonathan Capehart,
Nothing justifies what the Covington students did – The Washington Post


These people are willing to give the screaming mob of white teens the benefit of the doubt because it distinguishes them from the emotion-driven hordes. It’s something like virtue signaling, but instead of attempting to signal that they hold any type of moral or ethical principles, these people are attempting to show that they are willing to be chastened, and so are thoughtful. I can admit when I’m wrong, they say, so you can always trust me.

Laura Wagner,
New Video Shows MAGA Teens Are Just As Awful As Everyone Thought

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

Across the country, dozens of their colleagues in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association were doing the same at national parks closed or partially closed by the shutdown. They cleaned up litter, emptied garbage cans and swept the grounds — from the Everglades National Park in Florida to Joshua Tree, California and the Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio.

Source: CNN

A different approach to social networks and online privacy

I needed to read something like this. I continue to be angry about how careless and opaque the social networks we increasingly rely on are with our data and privacy. My first impulse is to delete my accounts and not look back, but in my line of work that is almost impossible since I manage several institutional accounts. Additionally, for my generation Facebook has become the primary way to communicating with family and friends, regardless of proximity; I don’t want to completely eliminate that connection. What do you do then? I like the balanced approach suggested by the author.


Well, first, don’t discount the power of individual actions. They add up, and even small steps can mean a lot to you personally. There’s an old saying that “just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything.” It applies just as much to internet privacy as it does to climate change or other big, thorny issues that seem like they’re out of reach to solve.

Alan Henry

Source: What We Can Learn About Online Privacy From Climate Change – The New York Times

Facebook’s Data Sharing: 5 Takeaways From Our Investigation

While Facebook users can control what data they share with most of the thousands of apps on Facebook’s platform, some companies had access to users’ data even if they had disabled all sharing. Many of the partners’ applications never even appeared in Facebook’s user application settings. According to Facebook, each of the outside companies acted as an extension of the social network. Any information a user shared with friends on Facebook, the company argues, could be shared with these partner companies with

Source: Facebook’s Data Sharing: 5 Takeaways From Our Investigation – The New York Times

Reading List: Ada Hegerberg Would Prefer to Talk About Soccer

Hegerberg is the first woman to be awarded the Ballon d’Or, soccer’s top honor. It’s great to see more attention being paid to the women’s game.

Excerpt:

For example, they never drove their children to soccer practice. “They had to go to training by running or by bike,” Stein Erik Hegerberg said. “If it’s not important for you, then you won’t go.”

The Hegerberg children were encouraged to make their own choices, and to learn from their own mistakes. And, above all, they were told to always, always remain humble.

Source: Ada Hegerberg Would Prefer to Talk About Soccer

Reading List: The Mind Is a Terrifying Place. Even For Bruce Springsteen.

Great profile of Springsteen where he talks honestly about his lifelong struggle with mental health issues.

For more than fifty years, he’s traveled deep into the heart of America. But with his new Netflix special—a film of his intense, powerful one-man show on Broadway—Bruce Springsteen reveals that his bravest journey has been wrestling with his own mental health.

Source: The Mind Is a Terrifying Place. Even For Bruce Springsteen.

Chancellor’s Commission on Native Imagery: Healing and Reconciliation begins work

I scanned the list of participants and I am very eager to hear what their recommendations are. Both sides of the issue are clearly represented. Kudos to the Chancellor for making this happen.

Source: Chancellor’s Commission on Native Imagery: Healing and Reconciliation begins work

Reading List: Why MLS teams tried to sound more European

As I watched an MLS playoff game today between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake, I realized how annoyed I was by the derivative names of our soccer teams. Why do so many MLS teams imitate their naming conventions of their European cousins? From a marketing perspective I think it is unquestionably a successful approach – why not manufacture instant tradition? It feels very inauthentic. What do you think?

Source: Not feeling the (Dallas) Burn: why MLS teams tried to sound more European

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