“They tell you that their products aren’t just better; they are simplifying the whole deal, changing how stuff works across society, and not a moment too soon.”
But what if it’s true!? That sentence really rocked me. The way it’s written (“They tell you that...”) is perfect. There is an art (which I need to master, quickly) of switching between reality and fantasy — quickly, honestly, and with candor. Not an easy thing to do.
The dream is:_____.
The current reality is:______.
We must discuss both at once. Not easy. But hella fun. Especially when you don’t have to fake that you really (1) believe in the dream and (2) care about it. And that you don’t even think the dream is a dream. It’s a future to make real. And your life’s work to do it.
All hail Alexa! This essay bent my mind for hours. Great find.
So many incredible sentences, including:
Leaving Twitter for Instagram was like moving to Los Angeles, only cheaper.
“Literally just cleaned Parmesan cheese out of toddlers vagina.”
“I look nice and smug in this photo,” said a popular woman powerlifter I liked, “but I’m considering making a YouTube video about my recent nervous breakdown/identity crisis.”
This is brilliant:
New storefronts and restaurants were likewise optimized for the image. Considerations like comfort, accessibility, and acoustics were secondary to visual appeal. It was as if the landscape itself had dysmorphia, altering its physical appearance to fit an arbitrary standard that undermined its primary function.
Anyone who has ever used Airbnb knows exactly what the author is describing: a world made to look better than it actually is, for photos.
How was this even possible, this eternal volley between mimesis and life, mimesis and life, through which you could discover a stranger who felt like a friend, but a friend from whom you needed nothing?
It may not be a global crisis yet, but human interaction is definitely becoming rarer, and it’s hard to see how the trend will reverse itself, if each generation grows up less accustomed to face-to-face exchange than the last. I just think we should keep a protective eye out for human interaction, so it doesn’t slip away while we’re doing something else.
Repost. This article from 2011 keeps getting better and better as the SweeTango and Honeycrisp markets continue to expand. The Honeycrisps in bags at Trader Joe's are only slightly larger than golf balls, which freaks me out. It's good to know your apples.
This is a somewhat saturated topic area (a writer writes about writing on the internet) but still worth reading. It really is messed up what some people have to put up with online, especially outspoken women and POC.
I love how clearly and effectively the writer diagnoses the problem: Nuance is missing. Context. Deep reading. Slowing down.
But silence is also a balm; even the briefest retreat from the gnawing din of humanity can be spiritually and physiologically curative.
Much of modern wellness is concerned with escaping one’s self, but, at the same time, the self—as brand, as business—has become increasingly monetized. Every day, we are told to both cultivate and erase ourselves.
Update I just got via email: Tristan's changing from Exec Director to "President" and they're hiring a new ED, whatever that means:
To support our growth, I am moving to the role of President: This transition enables me to dedicate myself fully to the societal and global implications of the attention economy, the impact of persuasive technology on human civilization, and ensuring that CHT’s vision remains in alignment with our boldest opportunities.
very curious. something's amok over there.
PS I still want this one to AOTD! I want to know what other people think after reading that piece. I just re-read it (and I'm sure there are a million ways to interpret it) but it's just so darn negative.
I realize that the only kind of political stories that I currently enjoy tend to be first-hand accounts, told as great stories, and definitely without preaching or moralizing. That can be hard to find, but this article is really close.
A recent study by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found that, as a result of cuts to estate and corporate taxes, as well as the 2017 G.O.P. tax bill, the four hundred richest Americans pay a lower over-all tax rate than any other group in the country. In a Times Op-Ed, Saez and Zucman wrote, “This is the tax system of a plutocracy.”
That’s one of several fascinating and quite unsettling little nuggets in this excellent, easy-to-read piece.
There’s no need to banter about Abigail Disney, her personality and values, although it’s a bit hard to resist. She’s quite a character, to say the least. The more important/productive thing, from my perspective, would be to try to clarify the problem and actually address it. I know plenty of people who don’t think rising inequality is an issue. So that’s the place to start.
The part with all the rich people in an orchid-filled room arguing about the definition of rich is perfect. Secrecy and shame are the huge factors. I personally know lots of mega-wealthy people who don’t have the emotional capacity to confront their own wealth, so they develop these traumatizing mental blocks, as an attempt to hide from reality.
This is a crazy-short short “story,” just one paragraph. I kinda dig it. It’s a good reminder that fiction writing need not be such a big deal. A little character sketch can pack a lot of meaning, insight and emotion.
Maybe kinda weird, but I think that my growth as a reader has a lot in common with my growth as a yoga practitioner. After a while (in my case, 10 years) you hit a point where you don’t really care about the “metrics” or “performance.” When there’s no ego involved, the results stop mattering. Instead, it’s about chasing the magical flow - finding it, holding it, enjoying it, and then letting it go when it’s gone. It has nothing — literally nothing — to do with other people. Ironically, when the results stop mattering, they start skyrocketing.
I read a great bundle of books in 2019. Probably about 20. But I no longer care about how many, or how big they are. I also don’t mourn the “dry spells” - weeks, or even months, without finishing a book. There’s a zen to it. Discipline plays a role, especially early on, but eventually you can learn to let go and ride the wave, wherever it leads. At that point, everything is gravy.
Also, yeah, duh, this:
Eliminate one hour of television a day if you have to. The long-term benefits cannot be compared with the short-term pleasure of daily distractions.
Also, I just remembered why I wanted to comment on this in the first place: I disagree with the premise of this article - I don’t see much value in learning to read insanely fast. If competition drives you, go ahead and teach yourself to read a book a day. Maybe that will be fun for a little while. But regardless, you’ll still have to level up to a point where you’re just doing it because you love it.
Although the United States was founded on the Enlightenment values of reason, liberty and progress, there has long been another strain of thinking at work beneath the surface — what Philip Roth called “the indigenous American berserk,” and the historian Richard Hofstadter famously described as “the paranoid style.”
I hate reading about the disgrace that is Trump, but it was worth it to get to all the other parts, especially about media, tech, and dystopia.
Good find. I still wish Michiko Kakutani would stick to literature.
I have portions of this poem committed to memory, because I've read it so many times. I love the first line, "I was wrong about oblivion then," and the repetition of oblivion, two more times, near the end. The poem itself induces oblivion.
The first sentence that begins with "I could say" is beautiful beyond words. The second sentence that begins with "I could say" is insane and unspeakable. The combo is perfect. This was first published in 2006 and I hope people are still reading it five hundred years from now.
This is an exceptional interview with an exceptional human: Kim Kardashian West. I was hooked by the time Kris Jenner pops into the scene with the best opener: “I remember it like it was yesterday.” These people are such good storytellers it’s absurd. “The Chanel story” is amazing. All of it is surreal.
I think I’m evolving to where I don’t feel the need to want to keep up. Not that I did it to feel like I had to keep up, but I guess I just don’t care as much anymore to want to take tons of photos in a thong bikini. I actually just want to lay out. I don’t care to take the time out of my day on vacation like I used to, where I’d pull up to the house and I’d see, This is a setup, this is an Instagram pic. Now this is a different setup. Oh, this place has so many different setups. This is going to be amazing. And now I’m just like, “Let’s actually live in real time and enjoy it. If we happen to get a photo, great.”