- AOTD on 11/27/20 - Scout: billbill3 days ago
Really meta. I mean, here I am, getting to know a person, on Readup, using Readup, that I met through Readup, and I'm thinking to myself: This is the best way to get to know someone. I have already had a number of video-meets w/ Thor, sometimes really long ones, and so even before reading this I already felt like I knew the guy. But, alas, reading his writing makes the connection SO much deeper. A wonderful reminder that there's something truly magical about what we're doing here.
Today (Thanksgiving) I am so deeply thankful for the Readers on Readup. You people have changed my life, and I plan to spend the rest of mine working to keep improving yours, ours, together. The caliber and diversity of humans on this platform is absurd! I've been over-using that word ("absurd") recently, but I just looked up the definition and I think it actually really fits here. There's something "wildly unreasonable" about this whole experiment, something "ridiculous." It's just too many amazing people.
Gratitude is a wonderful, freeing feeling. I spend a lot of time trying to de-code Readup, trying to figure out how and why the magic happens, how I can bottle it up, analyze it, do something with it. Gratitude doesn't get in the way of that work, it enhances it. It creates these little spaces, gaps in time that slow everything down - almost like little moments of prayer - where I can let go of all the things that need to get done, and remind myself why I love this work. It's because of the Readers. Readup is, very literally, nothing without the Readers. An empty vessel. A frame without any art in it. A bunch of meaningless code. Readers bring this thing to life. So thank you, Reader, for giving me so many gifts: joy, peace, and being in the present moment.
As Thor says:
"Faith in humanity restored."
Amen to that.
- # 38760 pts - Scout: vunderkindLithub | Paul Koudounaris | 11/13/20 | 10 min4 reads3 comments9.5LithubPaul Koudounaris|11/13/20|10 min4 reads9.5
- # 181637 pts - Scout: jeff
To an extent, I consider myself to be a part of the "new generation of users of GitHub." I can mess around in the terminal, but it's not a happy place for me. I use these tools to publish blog posts and it seems unnecessarily painful. I think it's very interesting to see which companies design tools that are meant to lure non-coders like me into coding. I would think that the folks behind Git and GitHub have a vested interest in turning me into a coder, but they surely don't roll out the red carpet. Version control should be my friend. It isn't. (The opposite is a company like Squarespace, which seems to want to make people not want to learn how to code.)
I think the author is right on about how simple our expectations are. We wanna mess around w stuff with confidence that we're not gonna screw everything up. We want our own little playpens ("branches" I guess) and to be able to see what our changes looks like when our "draft" code mingles with "master," the stuff that's live in production - then undo it, redo it, or, if it's good, actually ship it. It never even occurred to me that that's a reasonable request. But now I really want it.
I won't blame the tools, but I will say that I wish that by now I was shipping meaningful changes to Readup (front end stuff, for example, in html; static text on static pages; or even gasp creating new pages) instead of just being perpetually confused about merging blog posts.
- # 106250 pts - Scout: SEnkeymirror | Ros Wynne Jones | 5 min3 reads3 comments-mirrorRos Wynne Jones|5 min3 reads-
- # 108247 pts - Scout: tourist
Now I'm thinking that it's a really good thing that Readup is NOT going to have donation-based, "pay whatever you want" pricing. That model often leaves me feeling like I gave too much or too little. I just want the thing to tell me how much it's worth.
And I think we should really try to drive people to the $14.99 middle tier. If you read a dozen articles per month, all of the writers will get (roughly) less than a buck but more than fifty cents. Thats a good spot.
I'm personally reading >50 articles/month, but damn - this is going to make me want to be so much more intentional.
Also, Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan get special shoutouts in this blog because I have very literal crushes on both of them. 💕🤐
PS @Jeff, You and I shouldn't get paid for our blog posts.
PSS But also, I def want to get paid for any personal blogging. (And, one day, earn a living on Readup as a writer.?! This shit is so wild.)
- AOTD on 11/16/20 - Scout: BillsfriendjakeThe Atlantic | Barack Obama | 11/12/20 | 9 min23 reads7 comments9.8The AtlanticBarack Obama|11/12/20|9 min23 reads9.8
- AOTD on 11/18/20 - Scout: bill
Wow. I am FREAKING OUT about this one. George Orwell’s 1984 is, indeed, one of the most important books of the last century. If you haven’t read it - you must. It’s not enough to know what it’s about. You have to actually inhabit the world in order to see and feel how much like our real world it is. My copy of 1984 includes a brilliant afterward by Erich Fromm, which opens with:
George Orwell’s 1984 is the expression of a mood, and it is a warning. The mood it expresses is that of near despair about the future of man, and the warning is that unless the course of history changes, men all over the world will lose their most human qualities, will become soulless automatons, and will not even be aware of it.
That’s it. That’s what’s happening. And modern media-technology is hastening our transformation from human to automaton. Once you start to see it happening, you can’t unsee it.
Orwell on the hellishness of writing is horrifying, beautiful and true, all at the same time:
"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist or [sic] understand. For all one knows that demon is the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's personality."
I can’t believe that 1984 was almost called “The Last Man in Europe,” because the sci-fi novel that I started last year (and have since abandoned… for now) was called “The Last Reader.”
And, finally, there is this:
Life was simple, even primitive. There was no electricity. Orwell used Calor gas to cook and to heat water. Storm lanterns burned paraffin. In the evenings he also burned peat. He was still chain-smoking black shag tobacco in roll-up cigarettes: the fug in the house was cosy but not healthy. A battery radio was the only connection with the outside world. Orwell, a gentle, unworldly sort of man, arrived with just a camp bed, a table, a couple of chairs and a few pots and pans. It was a spartan existence but supplied the conditions under which he liked to work. He is remembered here as a spectre in the mist, a gaunt figure in oilskins.
It is downright surreal for me to read those words from my own extremely rustic abode. This is where I am right now:
I’m steeling myself for a long, cold winter in a house with no heat (except two wood stoves) and one single lightbulb. After dark, I light candles to continue reading and writing. Everything is minimalist and analog. There’s no running water, no toilet, no shower, and obviously no TV, radio, or anything that pulls me from my work - Readup. Like Orwell, I am in a race against time, so I must make every day count. Unlike Orwell, I am in good health. This article is a great reminder to be thankful for that.
My wifi box is turned on when the work day begins and turned off before sunset. I prefer to work under these kind of extreme conditions. It’s hard to explain. Thankfully, I don’t have to. I just need to keep doing the work and the work will explain itself. It has something to do with the fact that you, reader (yes you!) and I, in this precise moment, are not automatons. We are alive. And as long as we keep reading and writing, there is hope.
- # 27531 pts - Scout: billAssociated Press | 11/13/20 | 6 min3 reads1 comment5.0Associated Press11/13/20|6 min3 reads5.0
Ughhhh. New, more extreme lockdowns in my (new) home state of New Mexico. Upsetting and disturbing, but not surprising.
Keep calm and carry on, people. We'll get through this.
In the meantime, I'm finding some dystopia-themed solace in one of my favorite poems of all time — "Candles in Babylon” by Denise Levertov, who really should really be more famous:
- # 153149 pts - Scout: BillsfriendjakeThe New York Times Company | Cara Giaimo | 11/13/20 | 3 min5 reads2 comments8.7The New York Times CompanyCara Giaimo|11/13/20|3 min5 reads8.7
- # 19673 pts - Scout: bill
Wonderful! A joy to read and a ton of American history packed into this little 15-minuter.
So much beautiful scenery! Reading this article feels like going for a beautiful hike.
Jill Lepore is an excellent writer. I wonder why this one didn't end up in The New Yorker, where her stuff usually gets published. Regardless, it's absolutely perfect for National Geographic.
- AOTD on 11/17/20 - Scout: billio9.gizmodo.com | Charlie Jane Anders | 11/8/12 | 27 min19 reads11 comments10io9.gizmodo.comCharlie Jane Anders|11/8/12|27 min19 reads10
Great sci fi short story. Easy to see why it made such a huge splash. It really packs a punch. A huge, kinda ugly, kinda beautiful punch, right in the gut.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that I'll be thinking about the last two sentences of the seventh-to-last paragraph (starting with "You know what the Chinese think...") for a long long time. Words like that have the power to be life-changing, because they make you want to live different. Better, basically. Treat people better. Ughhh. Heavy!
- # 116230 pts - Scout: Ruchita_Ganurkar
I'm coming out of a period where I preferred quick, light, quirky poems, frivolous explorations of random, silly things.
Now I crave the deep stuff. I want poetry that says, "This is the meaning of life," or "Love = God = x," or whatever. I want to read and see and hear all of the most audacious attempts to explain everything, literally everything, and this poem, undeniably, is that. What a blast of bright, bright light. @Ruchita_Ganurkar, you are on fire!
As if the world were a taxi, you enter it, then Reply (to no one), “Let’s go five or six blocks.”
That's brilliant. So is ALL of this:
Isn’t the blue stream that runs past you a translation from the Russian? Aren’t my eyes bigger than love? Isn’t this history, and aren’t we a couple of ruins? Is Carthage Pompeii? is the pillow the bed? is the sun What glues our heads together? O midnight! O midnight! Is love what we are, Or has happiness come to me in a private car That’s so very small I’m amazed to see it there?
I think the answers to those questions might be: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!
- AOTD on 11/10/20 - Scout: deephdave
Oh I love this. Here's the vision I'm working on:
The year is 2040 and creative writing is one of the most lucrative and abundant jobs on the planet, thanks to Readup. Many people write full time, and they earn a comfortable, happy living wage. Far more people just do a bit of writing here and there, when they feel particularly inspired or when they want to earn some extra cash. More than half the human population reads at least a handful of stories per month. Some people read that much every single day. Universally, everyone strives to "up" their reading game, just as everyone (still!) wants to get a bit more exercise and eat a bit healthier. There's absolutely no shame in reading or writing "easy" stuff. Or reading slowly. In fact, these practices are honored. But, at the same time, there's a whole lot of pride (and competition) in reading longer, more challenging stuff, both fiction and non-fiction.
People of all political persuasions recognize that the only way to address major problems is for everyone to read about them. Thus, not only do writers work to explore solutions to problems, but they also spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the most urgent problems even are.
For those who are willing to put in the time and effort, it's relatively easy to get up and running as a writer. You just need to think up a new idea or tell a good story. No formal education required. (What even is formal education anymore?)
There is a wide distribution and diversity of writing for all readers to choose from. Of course, some stories become global hits (and those writers become not just wealthy, but also powerful) but the sweet spot for most writers is an audience of a few hundred readers per story. And many readers tend to be geographically local, for obvious reasons. People find local writers to be particularly relevant.
Oh, and digital ads are ancient history. Duh.
It's not too late. It's also not too soon. Let's goooooo.
- AOTD on 11/9/20 - Scout: normanbae
Love it! This is my anthem!!
I started toying with non-showering when I moved onto a sailboat almost a decade ago. There was a shower at the marina where I docked, and another at the office where I worked, but I quickly started skipping showers and noticed that the more I skipped the better I felt.
Fast forward ~5ish years and I got REALLY hardcore about living a "no product life." No shampoo, no conditioner, no nothing. Just occasional cold rinses, to nurture my natural biome. At the peak of my soap-free existence, I attended two black tie weddings without anything more than a splash of water on my face and I am absolutely certain that I wasn't the "dirty" or "messy" guy at either party. If anything, I can be a bit of a dandy when I get dressed up.
Later, after leaving the corporate world for a more blue-collar life, I became less militant about not using soap, because I often needed to get serious dirt and grease off of myself. But then at the beginning of 2019, I moved onto a small RV (without a shower) and, once again, basically stopped bathing altogether, except for jumping in rivers and lakes whenever possible. When I can find a solid, clear water source, I love grabbing handfuls of dirt, mud and even small pebbles and rubbing the mixture into my face, ears, neck, underarms. Salt water is a particular treat.
And that brings me to today: Now I live in a small adobe shack in rural New Mexico without running water. So, obviously, bathing is out of the question. I'm perpetually dirty, and often sooty as well - my only heat comes from two beautiful wood stoves and my hands are in there reorganizing logs every few hours. I run into town once or twice a week to refill my few five gallon water jugs, but that's just for drinking and cooking. I absolutely love the whole arrangement, and my skin does too. The best part is that there are two beautiful little streams running through my property, and even though they are getting VERY cold (especially in the morning) I love to put my bare hands and feet in there and splash around. Running wet hands through my hair feels like baptism. I'm back down to only two "cosmetics," my absolute minimum: a toothbrush and paste (twice daily) and a small plastic fine-tooth comb (once weekly, to prevent the buildup of grease, although that can be a look too, if done correctly). Overall, I like the way I look and I like the way I feel. And I especially like how easy it is. I think more people should try to simplify. It's not for everyone, but it's worth a shot.
I don't have a mirror at home, but occasionally I'll catch a glance of myself when I'm out. Sometimes I look downright frightening, but far more often I think "Lookin' good, man. Keep it up," then I wink at myself and move on with my life.
- AOTD on 11/8/20 - Scout: billLithub | 12/17/18 | 21 min4 reads2 comments10Lithub12/17/18|21 min4 reads10
I'm totally trippin'. I had no clue that Gorey and O'Hara were friends. These guys are beyond legendary.
Before I started reading, I thought to myself Okay Bill, give yourself a Saturday morning treat, but you can't post it, because you're literally flooding Readup with gay stuff. But then I read it (what a delight!) and I realized that it's actually super important for more people to hear these kind of stories.
Plus, if you don't know about Gorey or O'Hara, you're really missing out. In that case, I suggest a quick image search for "Edward Gorey illustrations" and O'Hara's poem "Having A Coke With You."
These guys were so ahead of their time. I can't believe what they were getting up to a full decade before "Howl," during a time when Harvard was expelling gays. It inspires me to get more aggressive about pushing limits.
Free-thinkers do a whole lot more than just make the world more interesting and beautiful. They make it more survivable.
- AOTD on 11/7/20 - Scout: Ruchita_GanurkarPerspective | I’ve built a career as a prolific prison journalist. So why did it take me so long to write a letter to the family of the man I killed?washingtonpost | John J. Lennon | 10/28/19 | 23 min9 reads3 comments10washingtonpostJohn J. Lennon|10/28/19|23 min9 reads10
- # 26936 pts - Scout: bill
- # 166107 pts - Scout: skrt
Go Glenn, go! This guy is a burning fire of passion and purpose and I'm all about it. I can't believe how many great writers are on Substack now. That's very exciting. I also can't wait for writers to be able to publish directly to Readup. Of course there will be no censorship or moderation. We need to get the paid version of Readup up and running first, but hot damn this is all so exciting.
I'm bummed about the typo in this super important paragraph:
It was Intercept editors who pressured the story’s reporters to quickly send those documents for authentication to the government — because they was eager to prove to mainstream media outlets and prominent liberals that The Intercept was willing to get on board the Russiagate train.
It's also an interesting typo; "Was" (versus "were") would refer to a singular noun. I bet Glenn initially debated calling out individual editors before deciding to avoid getting personal.
- # 23051 pts - Scout: billAttention Activist | Jay Vidyarthi | 4 min4 reads2 comments8.0Attention ActivistJay Vidyarthi|4 min4 reads8.0
I haven't watched a show in years, but I like Duncan Trussell, so perhaps I'll have to check this out. Sounds interesting.
This is something I think about all the time, never ceases to amaze me:
Right now you are reading tiny lights arranged to form letters that correspond to the sequence of buttons I pressed on my keyboard far away. Yet you hear a voice in your head that maps on to the voice in mine as I type this. You are literally reading my mind right now. What could be more absurd?
- AOTD on 11/12/20 - Scout: billWIRED | Nicholas Thompson | 11/2/20 | 18 min24 reads6 comments9.2WIREDNicholas Thompson|11/2/20|18 min24 reads9.2
- AOTD on 11/6/20 - Scout: temi
- AOTD on 11/5/20 - Scout: jeffThe New York Times Company | ALEXANDRA ALTER | 5/23/20 | 20 min9 reads8 comments9.5The New York Times CompanyALEXANDRA ALTER|5/23/20|20 min9 reads9.5
- # 27135 pts - Scout: SEnkey
- AOTD on 10/31/20 - Scout: bartadamleybill4 weeks ago
Fantastic. I find it really inspiring to remember that larger-than-life figures (in addition to Da Vinci, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein come to mind) are humans just like us with flaws and failures, high times and low times, earthly passions as well as unmet dreams. Also, they must battle with oppressive societal norms in the exact same way that we do, not to mention even more mundane stuff like, say, making money. (Great scout @bartadamley)
- Harvard Business Review | 7/23/18 | 9 min3 reads1 comment10Harvard Business Review7/23/18|9 min3 reads10
- -0 pts - Scout: Ruchita_GanurkarThe Guardian | Clive James | 9/26/20 | 14 min5 reads7 comments9.3The GuardianClive James|9/26/20|14 min5 reads9.3
We all owe @Ruchita_Ganurkar a round of applause for scouting yet another treasure. This was delightful. I’m particularly happy to have the word "gazofilacio" in my vocabulary now.
The Italians have a word for the store of poems you have in your head: a gazofilacio. To the English ear it might sound like an inadvisable amatory practice involving gasoline, but in its original language it actually means a treasure chamber of the mind. The poems I remember are the milestones marking the journey of my life. And unlike paintings, sculptures or passages of great music, they do not outstrip the scope of memory, but are the actual thing, incarnate.
My gazofilacio is my story, my purpose, my life. I'm already sad that it's going to die when I die, which is another way of saying: I’m happy to be alive, or, in the words of Walt Whitman: “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
- AOTD on 11/2/20 - Scout: Pegeen
- AOTD on 10/27/20 - Scout: jeff
Oh hell yeah. I love reading about reading. This was a delight. And truly inspiring. I'm proud to be a slow reader. And I'm even more proud to be a deep reader.
Last night, I finished reading Giovanni's Room, cover to cover, within a 24 hour "sprint" but I really wasn't reading fast. In fact, I kept using all kinds of little tricks to slow myself down even more than my regular super-slow pace. It probably took about 6 or 7 hours to read 160 pages - a late(ish) night, a morning, and another night. So thats an average of 2-3 minutes per page. Plus the font is huge. I'm fairly certain that I zipped through some fun, early scenes, and I also know that I was spending 10-15 minutes on individual paragraphs of brain-exploding, larger-than-life stuff that was absolute poetry and contained a lot of information about the meaning of life.
Reading is a never-ending journey. The more you do it, the "better" you get, with no upper limit. At a certain point, you really realize - and internalize - this notion that it's not a race (or a comprehension test) and that's where the the magic, the flow state, begins.
- AOTD on 10/20/20 - Scout: bill
This is exceptionally solid reading about the attention/information economy and how and why it debases us, assuming you're not too exhausted to keep reading about how the internet is wreaking havoc. If so, totally understandable!
I love non-fiction book reviews like this because then I don't need to read the actual books and can focus my "book time" on fiction, classics, and stuff that has stood the test of time.
I wonder what will happen first: Phelps-Roper joining Readup or Marantz writing about Readup. Probably the latter, but I hope that both happen sooner than later. Very interesting people with interesting perspectives.
This article far exceeded my expectations, just as Stouffer's mac and cheese always did when I was young.
Now sometimes I pretend like I'm fancy by pairing my frozen Amy's burritos with a blob of sour cream whipped with sriracha and slicing an avocado on top, if I have one and it's ripe. Life is better with a dash of intention, but more importantly, when we don't take ourselves too seriously. Seriously.
- The Hustle | 10/9/20 | 9 min2 reads1 comment-The Hustle10/9/20|9 min2 reads-
- Men's Health | Joe Keohane | 10/8/20 | 20 min1 read0 comments-Men's HealthJoe Keohane|10/8/20|20 min1 read-
- AOTD on 10/21/20 - Scout: jbuchanaAll That's Interesting | Katie Serena | 10/9/20 | 14 min24 reads8 comments9.6All That's InterestingKatie Serena|10/9/20|14 min24 reads9.6
Anybody wanna talk about the 1619 Project? I'd rather talk about the actual thing than all the drama that surrounds it, but alas, here we are. I managed to avoid the headlines that surrounded this kerfuffle for quite some time, but I am glad that I read this piece. It's a case study in everything thats wrong with the media today and lays everything out in a pretty clear, fair way. I really wish this whole thing wasn't thing at all. And there's precisely one reason that it is a thing: Twitter.
Hannah-Jones is undeniably a rabble-rouser on Twitter. That's her game and that's what works on Twitter. Still, I don't think she deserves even a tiny fraction of the flack she's getting.
I thought the 1619 project was wonderful. I read it in print when it came out. The error (around the Revolutionary War) is indeed, a blemish. The Times (and Hannah-Jones) should have made a faster, bolder correction. But to expect news outlets to be flawless is absurd. That's an impossible standard.
The really bad actors here are the fools who started this bogus "1620 Project" (are you kidding!?) and obviously Tom Cotton, who I really wish would disappear.
Silver lining: I have a more nuanced understanding of this one particular aspect of American history.
I deeply believe that if we can save reading -- deep, thoughtful, critical reading -- we can really create a new and better media landscape, and a more sane world. In a brighter future, projects like the 1619 Project still exist, and they are the catalyst for meaningful, productive conversation. In that future, we all ignore the buffons at the ends of the spectrum who say "throw it all away!" and "don't you dare challenge this; it's perfect!" Our unfortunate reality is that those are the only people we hear from. Again, thanks for nothing Twitter.
I remember being very intrigued (and skeptical) that this poem is just called “Poem” and the way it made my heart sped up and up and up right until the finish and I thought “Ahh!! I'll never forget that!" and now, sure enough, almost a decade later I still very much remember that experience and I love to re-read it.
Ok, so I'm pretty sure I've said this before but I'll say it again: I need to read every single thing that Lauren Oyler writes. This is a spectacular gem of a review about a writer I had never heard of and who I now feel like I already know and love. You better believe I'll be posting some of Hazzard's short stories on Readup in the coming days. What a blast of fresh air.
- Update (10/15/2020):
One of the several dozen passages that stopped me:
But nowadays—was it because one travelled more easily, or because one acted with less finality?—people did not part. On the contrary, contemporary tragedy seemed to be bound up with their staying together.
- Update (10/15/2020):
309 Poe Ave
Toms River NJ 08753