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August 7, 2017 | by  | in Editorial |
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Editors’ Letter

For my whole childhood I had one person who cut my hair. Then I left my home town and now have a complicated relationship with hairdressers where I never quite feel comfortable and often just put off getting my hair cut.

Last Tuesday my girlfriend cut my hair in our freezing bathroom. I swept up the clumps and had a shower. Ali’s piece resonated with me, and I found myself thinking of how things are in flux, constantly moving somewhere, and sometimes it can feel that we’re just rushing along with the current. In this light, a haircut takes on symbolic gravity. It can be a momentary pause. Momentary in that your hair keeps growing, but still important:

“What I do is trim my fringe some more, enough to feel new. I will trim my fringe every couple of weeks and let go of little pieces of hair until my fringe is new and there is no old hair left.”

***

Caoimhe’s article responds to the rising popularity of minimalism and its transformational power (of the bedroom and office, but also the mind). Minimalism sees “less reliance on objects as a form of personal enlightenment.” However, this reliance is necessary for many who cannot afford to buy items (e.g. clothing or furniture) as they need it. “It is only safe to decide not to own many things if you have the money to buy things as soon as you need them.”

Gus writes about the complexities of social media. It’s a tool for its users to shape and share discourse in a way traditional media can’t, but it also has algorithms that set the boundaries of the platform. Social media is a tool, and a community, and it’s unclear who holds more power — the creators, the moderators, the advertisers, or the users. With virtual spaces generating real income, how might it change our physical landscapes? Have we progressed socially (can we?), to match our progress in technology?

One answer is to consider the past. Dan interviews William Ray, the creator of podcast Black Sheep that discusses “the shady, controversial, and sometimes downright villainous characters of New Zealand.” New Zealand, as a whole, when imagining its history, often celebrates the heroic figures and political progress; Ray’s podcast encourages us “to embrace the grimmer side of our history.”

These four pieces complicate ideas of progress and transformation — on the micro level, like when you cut your hair, to the macro level, when we consider tech and social media giants. Nothing is straightforward; complicate and {{{ fracture {{{.

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