A queasy sense of prophecy and prescience
This week: Facebook, alt-lit, apple-picking, book blobs, Linktrees ... and NOTHING about kidneys
Hi friends. Today is October 8, 2021.
It’s been 11 years since “The Social Network” premiered, which feels kinda apt in light of this week’s outrages and outages. Unsurprisingly, maybe, you can see the evolution of attitudes toward Facebook in critics’ response to the film: In 2010, many griped that screenwriter Aaron Sorkin seemed indefensibly anti-tech or anti-innovation. A decade later, half a dozen major outlets named the movie one of the decade’s best, citing its “queasy sense of prophecy and prescience.”
Sorkin has talked about doing a sequel; you gotta think these interminable hearings are his jam. But what is there to even dramatize now? We live in a worse timeline than even Sorkin imagined. 🙃
If you read anything this weekend
“Marie Calloway Was The Poster Girl For Alt-Lit. Then She Disappeared,” by Scaachi Koul in Buzzfeed. Who cares, really, about the bad art friend? *I’m* here for Marie Calloway, the OG internet-reviled writer, whose toneless observations of men and sex polarized the Twitter of my late adolescence. Was she a literary genius? An attention-seeking hack? A model for all the confessional internet writing to come? Whatever she was/is, it’s private now. She wouldn’t even participate in this profile.
“Why TikTok Is So Obsessed With Labeling Everything a Trauma Response,” by Shannon Palus in Slate. The kids aren’t actually all traumatized, they’re just … very intense? And possibly selling some $$ life-coaching sessions.
“What Do All These Stories of Vaccine Denial Deaths Do to Our Sense of Empathy?,” by Maura Judkis in The Washington Post. An admirably nuanced, empathetic look at r/HermanCainAwards and its ilk, which exist in some weird ethical netherworld between ghoulish and effective.
“Can a Person Who Tracks Their Steps, Sleep and Food Ever Truly Be Free?,” by Simon Usborne in The Guardian. In keeping with Betteridge’s law of headlines, the answer here is of course NO … though personal data collection has truly reached depths (the acid level in your spit; the time you spend outside) that should be unfathomable.
“Apple Picking Is a Bizarre Imitation of Hard Work,” by Dan Greene in Vox. If you’re planning to enjoy a photogenic outing to the orchards this weekend … maybe read this after.
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Book blobs. Audio porn. The longest dog ears in the world. How Linktrees spread misinformation and whatever happened to Ronald McDonald. All the celebs hawking NFTs. All the gamers streaming to no one. Can confirm: Noom is a diet, and not a particularly great one!
The most-streamed Netflix shows of all time. A social network for plant people. Color me surprised that Facebook’s PR guy is, actually, a colossal jerk. Pop culture cookbooks; TikTok’s farmfluencers; the big problem with free returns. Last but not least: explaining the needless ubiquity of touchscreens in doctor’s offices and airports.
That’s it for this week! Until the next one. Warmest virtual regards.