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    • bill
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      scouted1 week ago
      The New YorkerDeborah Treisman12/27/216 min
      The New Yorker

      🤯

      My favorite fiction writer is back and I. Am. Completely. Tripping. Balls.

    • bill
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      scouted1 week ago
      The New YorkerJennifer Egan12/22/2125 min
      The New Yorker

      Holy SHIT. The sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is apparently coming soon and this clearly is an excerpt. (Rolph’s back! I want more Rolph!)

      Long before Readup existed, the short story Safari (itself an excerpt from Goon Squad, also published in The New Yorker before the book was released) completely changed the way I think about reading, writing and life.

      I can’t get enough Jennifer Egan, and reading her this morning is a revelation. Her stories and characters have been living all around my consciousness for the last decade, and wandering around with them - and some new characters too! - feels like some kind of homecoming or long-overdue reunion. Or just a super-fat bong hit.

      The elements of sci-fi and time travel are daring, wonderful, exciting. I’m more than a little bit on edge about that. But what’s really pressing against my temples right now is the thought of these square dudes wandering around the redwoods, stoned, thinking, is this real? and how much that echoes my own life, which started in “the ‘burbs” and progressed through some of the exact same mind-expanding hippie scenes in the magical, fairy-filled woods of Northern California.

      Life is good. Even though we’re all riddled with anxiety and depression and fear and failure, we have writers like Jennifer Egan who can put us deep into the brains and experiences of other semi-screwed-up people. That’s the revelation: when we’re actually in the moment — here, now — its all good. Even when it isn’t, it is.

      We’re all just trying to look normal when we’re handed a weird instrument and told to play. It’s a metaphor for life. Lose the shoes, skinny dip, and for fuck’s sake start strumming and singing before it’s too late, even though it’s already kinda too late, but also there’s no such thing as too late.

      Gahhh, I’m obviously so stoked right now and can’t hold it in. What a great way to feel and what a crazy (magical!) thing that good literature can do that to us.

    • bill
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      scouted1 week ago
      quarterlywest.comJonathan Winston Jones27 min
      quarterlywest.com
    • bill
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      commented1 week ago

      Wow. Intense, emotional, & raw. I want to read more stuff by this author.

    • bill
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      read1 week ago
      McSweeney's Internet Tendency3 min
      McSweeney's Internet Tendency
    • bill
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      commented1 week ago
      The Point Magazine12/19/2124 min
      The Point Magazine

      Brilliant. Loved it.

    • bill
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      commented1 week ago
      The New York Times CompanyDANIEL VICTOR1/3/224 min
      The New York Times Company

      ❤️

      👏👏👏

      This is really awesome:

      The breakthrough, he said, was limiting players to one game per day. That enforced a sense of scarcity, which he said was partially inspired by the Spelling Bee, which leaves people wanting more, he said.

    • bill
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      scouted1 week ago

      😳 I wanna read Drew’s version!

    • bill
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      commented2 weeks ago
      Defector12/29/2113 min
      Defector

      Ok. Wow. Interesting. I read Heather’s piece first, yesterday, and I too thought it was unnecessarily cruel.

      But something about this one is also all wrong. Marriage itself is bullshit The whole thing is bullshit. The author is dead wrong to dismiss “The Institution of Marriage” from this conversation. This WHOLE conversation is about the institution, and the institution sucks.

      Having said that, super-long-term loving partnerships that last until someone dies are incomprehensibly, other-worldly beautiful. Cosmic, meaning-of-life stuff. “Until death do us part,” (or some variation) can be hot/awesome/amazing, especially when whispered into your lover’s ear during an intimate moment, when you really mean it. Hearing someone say it to you- what a thrill! On the flip side, it feels borderline depraved to have that kind of thing written down as a legal commitment on a ledger in some random government building somewhere.

      Love is magic. When two people are attracted to each other so much that they bash their entire lives together and stay that way forever - boom! - it is just so, fucking, incredible. That’s not what marriage is! Marriage isn’t a contract between two people, it’s a contract between two people and the state. Marriage ensures state control (previously it was a religious thing, but religious control and state control have everything in common) over every aspect of your existence. We regularly conflate these two things (loving, long-term relationships & marriages) and the result is a bunch of unhappy people in unhappy arrangements.

      I don’t judge people who get married, but I do get frustrated when people don’t call it what it is. As with so many contracts, money is the key part. We get married because we want the advantages and we want to work less. We want to “lock it in” so we can relax. Again: I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with “settling” with a partner, but we might as well admit it is what it is: the easy way.

      When you get married, you’re saying that (1) you want the financial benefits, and (2) you want Uncle Sam to play a role in keeping you and your lover together for as long as possible.

      I don’t mind living in a world with marriage, but I think I would LOVE to live in a world without it. Either way, there’s plenty of love to go around (plus we magical humans can make love! How fucking cool!) so let’s all just do more of that and stop worrying so much about good marriages and bad marriages. In the grand scheme of things love is a very very real thing and marriage is a very very fake thing.

      Ok now I’m going to hit “submit” before I proofread any of this nonsense 😝

    • bill
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      scouted2 weeks ago
      New RepublicKyle Chayka10/4/2112 min
      New Republic

      Stellar. Kyle Chayka is on the ball.

    • bill
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      commented2 weeks ago
      Believer MagazineJude Stewart10/1/2118 min
      Believer Magazine

      I usually prefer “story” articles versus “information” articles. I want a beginning and an end, and some tension in between. Unfortunately, there’s no story in this one, but it’s still a really great read with lots of fascinating information about what it means to be a human. Smells rule.

    • bill
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      commented2 weeks ago
      Longreads8/20/2029 min
      Longreads

      Here is something bracing to think about: it is hard to learn how to be yourself.

    • bill
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      read2 weeks ago
      The New York Times CompanyHeather Havrilesky12/24/2111 min
      The New York Times Company
    • bill
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      commented3 weeks ago
      The AtlanticYascha Mounk12/22/216 min
      The Atlantic

      Yay! The thing to celebrate (that we can all celebrate) is that we beat the dang thing! RIP COVID.

      We did flatten the curve, back in 2020 (the author gets that part wrong) when we didn’t know how deadly OR ‘spready’ the virus would be. And we didn’t know whether or not the hospitals could handle it. Now we know all of this stuff. At this point, hospitals and pharma have had more than enough time (and $) to do their thang.

      PUBLIC life can begin again! Most restrictions should disappear soon.

      And here’s to a new and improved definition of health in 2022: eat well, exercise, lots of sleep, lots of outside time, love. This COVID shit ain’t got nothin’ on us. The stress and fear is killing us, but we can lift each other out. Go team human! 💪

    • bill
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      commented3 weeks ago
      The AtlanticVladimir Nabokov11/1/4125 min
      The Atlantic

      Woot! Nabokov’s Lolita is one of my all-time favorite books. This short story doesn’t disappoint. (Interestingly, the protagonist is a lot like the protagonist of Lolita. Deeply depressed, basically. But also not not-funny.)

      I love to experience what life was like in the decades before I was born. Some things (yearning to travel, feeling locked in marriage, sitting in a bar, owning a small novelty business) haven’t changed much with time. And other things — trying to ‘get away,’ figure out the meaning of life —haven’t changed at all.

      Jeff’s comment is spot-on.

    • bill
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      scouted3 weeks ago
      The Rumpus.net10/12/2114 min
      The Rumpus.net

      Interesting. A zippy personal essay about language. And communication between humans. Some of my favorite topics.

      Words are hard. Communication is hard. We do it all day every day, but we rarely stop to think about it at such a deep level. Especially people like me who only speak one language. I love to read about polyglot life and I wish my Spanish was stronger. Would be a good New Years resolution... but nahh - enough on my plate already right now. ;P

      Big cheers to people who speak multiple languages! And double-big cheers to those who raise kids that way. A beautiful gift.

    • bill
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      commented3 weeks ago
      Molly FrancesMolly Frances10/7/2117 min
      Molly Frances

      👏👏👏

    • bill
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      scouted3 weeks ago
      The New YorkerNick Paumgarten10/28/2131 min
      The New Yorker

      Aha! So energized!

    • bill
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      read3 weeks ago
      The AtlanticCaitlin Flanagan11/1/219 min
      The Atlantic
    • bill
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      commented3 weeks ago
      The New York Times CompanyCHRISTOPHER MELE1/13/173 min
      The New York Times Company

      An obituary from 2017 about a true legend.

    • bill
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      scouted3 weeks ago

      Yesterday, halfway through a wonderful sit-down Christmas meal, I found myself lecturing an entire table of people about the significance of Taylor Swift. She means a lot to me, and her music has altered the course of my life. But not in obvious ways. I derive a lot of witchy power from her witchy power. But again: not in obvious ways. That’s how power and witchcraft work - never in obvious ways.

      Some people here (on Readup) already know how big of a Swift fan I am, but the truth is that I probably read 3 or 4 Swift-related articles for every one that I post. (I haven’t wanted to flood the space with Swift! Changed my mind.) Also, I think that I thought that if I let the world know about the magic between me and Taylor (yes, just the two of us) it would ruin it. But I no longer have that fear.

      According to Spotify, I was among the top 2% of Swift listeners globally in 2021. Quite an achievement, if you ask me, during a year when many of us were binging quite aggressively. (Note: I think that the people who made the top 1% are probably streaming her while they sleep, which isn’t fair. Or I’m a sore loser.) Point is: I really do believe that I am getting to know her, better than almost anybody else, through her art. And (awesomely!) there’s no limit to the depths of this rabbit hole, as far as I can tell. That’s how love actually works, but it’s also a metaphor for love. Turtles. All. The. Way. Down.

      I am 100% certain that I’m going to keep listening to Swift for the rest of my life. (When Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) comes out, I’m going to need a week off work.) In a truly chaotic and unpredictable world like the one we now live in, that kind of certainty is rare, beautiful, and worth treasuring.

    • bill
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      commented3 weeks ago
      The New York Times CompanyVictor Lodato2/24/179 min
      The New York Times Company

      Wow. Merry Christmas (Eve) to all of us! What a gift! 10!

      I have had some deeply-romantic relationships with older people, and I have written about it all, but never published.

      This piece was very inspiring to me. I love to think about the couple reading this together (in print! In The Times!) and that must have been such a beautiful moment for both of them. For me (the younger one, the writer) the clock is ticking. When your lover/friend is on the verge of death, there is something so heavy about every moment. The unwritten essay, at any instant, can become the will-never-be-written essay.

    • bill
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      read1 month ago
    • bill
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      commented1 month ago
      The New York Times CompanyRONI CARYN RABIN12/8/215 min
      The New York Times Company

      The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. Most American adults are overweight, and 42 percent have obesity.

    • bill
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      commented1 month ago
      n 1Tony Tulathimutte8/14/1941 min
      n 1

      I needed two 30-min sittings for this. Damn.

      I forgot how good a true 10 can be. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

    • bill
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      scouted1 month ago

      Clams are fun! Worthy read.

    • bill
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      commented2 months ago
      The CutLisa Miller12/11/198 min
      The Cut

      Ahh. Good shit. Having a Charlie is the best thing ever ;)

    • bill
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      commented2 months ago

      Damn. Definitely head-exploding.

      Wisdom is the co-existence of contradictory truths, and money is the clearest example of this.

      Money is great. But it doesn't matter to me. Reading this article was an upside-down and backwards experience for me, because I think I might be one of the few people who have spent too much time thinking about my own death, my purpose, my identity, and the meaning of my life. And, frankly, de-prioritizing money. Especially recently.

      The meaning of life is love. Work is love made visible. And what you pay attention to grows.

      In my life so far, I have lived through long stretches of time with lots of money and long stretches of time with very little. Here's what I think I know, for now at least:

      (1) Being in “survival” territory (homeless, hungry) is a nightmarish hell. Having some amount of money to stay out of that zone is a huge reducer of life-altering stress. (2) Once you're above that point, there is zero correlation between money and happiness. (3) In the game of life, money is power. With lots of it, you can bend the world in any direction you choose.

    • bill
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      commented2 months ago
    • bill
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      commented2 months ago
      thenewatlantis.comNicholas Carr35 min
      thenewatlantis.com

      In this essay, Nicholas Carr doesn't answer the question in the title. (And I get all hot and bothered about it because I have an answer to the title that I feel strongly about: How to fix social media? Reading.)

      Anyway, I still love Carr. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. Long before the dominance of Facebook and Twitter, Carr anticipated the problem, to a T. The tech, the neuroscience, the attention business. The whole shebang. He saw it coming.

      Bummer that there's nothing too special in this essay, which basically just meanders along like this: "On the topic of censorship versus free speech, the US government kinda/sorta tries to fix stuff sometimes (because new tech comes along and changes everything overnight) and… well… sometimes the government has done some good. But sometimes not. And we need them to do better."

      So mostly I'm feeling like: Ugh. C’mon, Carr! Get back in the depths! But whatever, I'll give it a 10.

    • bill
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      commented2 months ago

      Beautiful.

      Sarah Fay obviously isn’t the first to uncork the question of connection between solitude (or loneliness) and social media. (On this topic, I think Cal Newport is the best, especially in first few chapters of Digital Minimalism.) But this piece is still excellent - very human. I recommend wholeheartedly.

    • bill
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      scouted2 months ago
    • bill
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      scouted2 months ago

      Me reading this: I love this. I hate this. I love this. I hate this.

    • bill
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      scouted2 months ago

      A silly piece of fluff. This whole article is about protecting a minority, which makes it very hard to criticize. But, against my better judgment, I’ll still try.

      Of course we should treat scarred and disfigured people with dignity, respect and kindness. And of course we should use art, including film, to expand our consciousness.

      But Hollywood doesn’t produce art. It produces commercial entertainment. And there’s a reason that none of us have heard of Happy Face or Dirty God. We want entertainment more than we want enrichment.

      Sociologist Fiona Whittington-Walsh needs to dig deeper. The “political and societal criminalization of so-called ugliness” goes way deeper than the advent of the camera. In The Odyssey, super-hunk (and bonafide sexpot) Odysseus slays one ugly after another. Cyclops is the most memorable one for me.

      The main argument of this article is juvenile, but the author does dance around some concepts that are actually super interesting. Humans are not wrong to prize beauty. This is deep, innate & real. But humans are also missing out when they fear and reject ugliness. That was the moral behind the original legend of Beauty and the Beast. In short: lonely/cold girl finally finds super-hot chemistry when she allows herself to get turned on by the beast. Good shit, sister! Get your freak on!

      I have plans to see the new Bond film and I sure as hell better see a lot of Daddy Craig without a shirt on. That’s literally what I’m paying for. But when the movie ends, I’ll return to a reality that’s even deeper and better, a reality where the things that make us different have the potential to make us sexier, scarier, more powerful, and more interesting.

      The craziest part of this article, to me, is that the author seems completely blind to the fact that some of us might actually believe that Safin, with that epic texture of facial scars, is even hotter than the scarless, smooth actor who plays him. That’s the kind of narrow-mindedness that’s really holding us back.

      1. Update (10/23/2021):

        I rated this article “10” (which moved it from #26 to #9) because I want more people to see my comment. Article ratings have some issues that need addressing. Maybe we should just scrap.

    • bill
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      commented2 months ago
      The AtlanticIan Bogost10/21/216 min
      The Atlantic

      Screw the metaverse!🖕I just want to use the internet to read! And that’s still not working!!

      Whatever. Some people will never stop moving too fast and breaking things.

      The more important (and untold) part of this story is that some of us are working hard in the shadows - slowly and methodically - to fix the messes created by the speedy/greedy titans of our day.

      Having said all of that, I found this article awesomely inspiring as an aspiring sci-fi writer. If there was any doubt that sci fi writers are literally writing the future into existence... well now we know. In my stories (and in my real life) everyone is starting to return to the herb gardens.

    • bill
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      commented3 months ago
      TJCXTJCX8/21/198 min
      TJCX

      I can’t get away from this concept:

      I’ve never done sales, but I know a little bit about the “sales funnel.” You hire college grads to make 500 cold calls in a week. Of those 500 calls, maybe 5% agree to watch a demo of the product. Then some slightly-more-senior sales people do this demo, and perhaps 20% of those demos end up in contract negotiation. And 60% of those end up as actual sales. That means you need 500 cold calls to make three sales.

      I think that’s what creating is like. You need to write 500 words to get three good ones. Or 500 sketches, business ideas, or recipes. If you’re really really good, you can increase your overall conversion rate from 0.6% to 1%—but the most reliable way to get better results is to just produce more crap.

      It's a golden truth. If you want something, you need to be willing to fight for it. Often, “fight” isn't remotely glamorous. It just means keep trying, harder, and keep failing, more. Stack the odds in your favor by giving yourself as many chances to "get lucky” as possible. If it wasn't emotionally exhausting, it wouldn't be considered “work.”

    • bill
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      scouted3 months ago
      DefectorKelsey McKinney10/7/2115 min
      Defector

      I can’t stop thinking about this one. I first read it on Thursday (last week) and now it’s Monday morning and I’m still thinking about it.

      Clothing is fascinating. Fashion is fascinating. I wear basically the same thing every day and I’ve been tricking myself into believing that I’m somehow "above" fashion, but of course there’s really no such thing.

      Lots to chew on.

    • bill
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      scouted3 months ago
      The WalrusAmir Aziz9/27/219 min
      The Walrus

      A solid read for people with cacti.

      I have three, in pots, in my house. I didn't buy them; they were given to me as gifts. Two of them are very small and very cute. I love them all very much.

      Now — thanks to this article! — I have some new things to think about when I look at them.

    • bill
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      scouted3 months ago
      The BafflerAsad Haider10/6/2111 min
      The Baffler

      I identify with this:

      "From the time I was a youngster I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to revolution,” Ignatiev writes. “What drove me to it I cannot say.” To dedicate one’s life to human emancipation is a decision one could decline to make; yet it is also a condition that seems as if it were imposed from birth, and on more days than others, it is a burden that defeat makes painful to bear. It is a life that is oriented toward the brilliant horizon of possibility but mired in the grim and murky swamp of reality.

    • bill
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      scouted3 months ago
      the dream machineJackie Luo3/7/218 min
      the dream machine

      A wonderful reflection on my favorite topics: reality and fantasy.