Detroit book, cognitive biases, and anarchy in W. Mich


On Wednesday afternoon, as my schedule was lightening up, I began to notice that my throat was raspy and I was coughing more.

By the evening rehearsal I was feeling poorly but not bad enough to cancel rehearsal or crawl in bed. This continued on Thursday. However I once again did not cancel my piano trio but rehearsed with my friends feeling a bit under the weather.

I am still feeling it this morning but I believe I might be recovering from whatever this is.

I often listen to books at night. Last night I chose one that ended up being pretty interesting.

Detroit (A Biography) by Scott Martelle

Martelle, a journalist, spent some time in Detroit working for the Detroit News.

Since I listened to this in the night, I missed large portions of the book. But I did hear the beginning and the end, which led me to believe that Martelle has created a book that not only helps me understand the complexities of the demise of Detroit but of our nation.

The book link above is to his web site. I plan to do some more checking on his work and maybe even get a copy of this book to read. What I like about what he has done is his combination of history, research, grasp on economic realities and most importantly his ability to discuss the difference between individual actions and societal trends.

Very helpful to me.

BBC – Future – A five-step guide to not being stupid

I also ran across this article yesterday. I am amused how “pages” on Facebooger will do a post which is really derivative from better reporting or writing. I am alert to try to get past the filter site to the original ideas. That’s how I came on this article.

It deals with stuff I think about quite a bit.

And it also linked in another site:

List of cognitive biases – RationalWiki

I have never heard of RationalWiki. This list of cognitive biases was a revelation to me as I began reading it and thinking about it. It’s a long list and I haven’t made it all the way through it yet, but am enjoying pondering its take on concepts.

It included “framing” as a cognitive bias.

I think the idea of “framing” has done a lot of damage to our society. Especially at the hands of people who want to shape opinion and policies.

RationalWiki defines it as “drawing different conclusions from the same information, depending on how that information is presented.” This makes it more about the “framee” than the “framer” (the one doing some damage in my opinion). I hadn’t thought of it quite this way.

“Framing” is in the same part of my brain as the idea of “Don’t think of an elephant.” Involuntary biases are endlessing fascinating and very difficult to understand in one’s self.

About – Sprout Distro

I found this group after following up on a link my daughter Elizabeth put on Facebooger.

According to its website, “SPROUT DISTRO is an anarchist zine distro (distributor) and publisher based in the occupied territory currently known as Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’re organized as a collective.”

I was very encouraged to learn that West Michigan has an anarchist history.

Interesting to learn that our grocery chain, Miejer, was founded by an anarchist:

Hendrik Meijer was the founder of Meijer, the ubiquitous West Michigan grocery chain that started from a single storefront in Greenville, Michigan to become a multi-million dollar company.

The Dutch immigrant Meijer worked long hours and made many sacrifices, eventually succeeding in the grocery business. It’s the kind of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” story of capitalist success that Americans love to tell.


However, there’s an interesting part of the story that many do not know: Hendrik Meijer was an anarchist who disdained organized religion, hated capitalism, and— at least for a time—participated in the Dutch anarchist movement in the Netherlands and here in West Michigan.

It’s a story worth sharing because it challenges the dominant narrative that all Dutch immigrants came from conservative religious backgrounds and shows that there were a variety of anarchists active in the West Michigan area.

This was taken from a pdf of an issue of a “zine” called MobWork: Anarchists in Grand Rapides, vol 2. 

Fred Meijer, a descendant of Hendrik, with a sculpture of himself.

I was also blown away to learn from it that the famous Emma Goldman was in Grand Rapids in 1911 and 1912.

If this is the second of this zine, one can only wonder what the fuck was more important for including in a first volume.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.