This week: Life coaches, Q therapists, bone salesmen, Slackers, hackers and TikTok vengeance
Hi friends. Today is October 15, 2021.
It’s the 24th birthday of Age of Empires, the only video game I ever truly loved. Two decades later, I can still hear the exact mystical, Lamaze shushing that announced the creation of a new villager. (Hell yes, that’s the one!) Apparently AoE still exists, in some form; they’re putting a new edition out later this month. Alas, I can’t imagine it would hit quite the same in any other time/place than at the boxy desktop in my parents’ basement, circa 2001 … before I learned that, you know, few “empires” are enviable achievements.
If you read anything this weekend
“Slackers of the World, Unite!,” by Ellen Cushing in The Atlantic. You may think Slack is an office chat software … and that is technically true! But Cushing has 110% convinced me that it’s also a revolution in the culture and hierarchy of office work. We’re awash in casual gossip now; we’re united (or divided?) in #channels, many aimed at the boss. You will never use Slack the same way after reading, which is a compliment (!).
“Thousands of People Are Trying to Leave QAnon, but Getting Out Is Almost Impossible,” by Andrea Stanley in Cosmopolitan. Here’s a Q angle (a … Qangle?) I haven’t seen before: There’s an emerging therapeutic industry bent on deprogramming reformed Q followers. “You have to rebuild your entire identity, so it’s a psychological, emotional, and oftentimes interpersonal crisis.” (Related: Rolling Stone also has a very grim longform profile of the Q-following surf instructor who killed his children.)
“It’s Time to Stop Talking About Generations,” by Louis Menard in The New Yorker. CAN I GET AN AMEN. What began as a way for post-war marketers to sell stuff to the “youth” has become a vehicle for otherwise smart people to make blatantly unlikely, lazy assumptions about like, a quarter of the population.
“I’m a Life Coach, You’re a Life Coach: The Rise of an Unregulated Industry,” by Rachel Monroe in The Guardian. Life-coaching seems like a cross between influencing and a good MLM: part entrepreneurial hustle, part lifestyle performance … but mostly a lot of exploitation!
“A TikTok Bone Salesman’s Wall of Spines Reignites Ethical Debate Over Selling Human Remains,” by Caroline Anders in The Washington Post. Just in time for Halloween, meet the 21-year-old mega-creep with shelves of human skulls behind his couch! (I hate everything about this and truly cannot believe the U.S. doesn’t regulate this ghoulishness.)
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An anonymous subscriber — who is linking out to the Pet Emergency Fund, an awesome non-profit that provides financial support for companion animals whose owners can’t afford emergency medical treatment.
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Governor Mike Parson @GovParsonMOThrough a multi-step process, an individual took the records of at least three educators, decoded the HTML source code, and viewed the SSN of those specific educators. We notified the Cole County prosecutor and the Highway Patrol’s Digital Forensic Unit will investigate. https://t.co/2hkZNI1wXE
The billionaire space race. The house Etsy built. A list of useful, little-known sites. This, on true crime, is very very good. (See also: this discussion of Couch Guy.) How three experts would handle Succession’s scandals. How credit card companies came to regulate the web. “According to Danesh, many members of the public, exhausted from living through the pandemic, are hungry for vengeance.” 🚩🚩🚩
Never buy the first Amazon result. (Maybe never buy Amazon at all!) He really was the Worst Person You Know. Meet the app that thinks it’s fixed the news algorithm. An appreciation of movie memes and Joyce Carol Oates’ most deranged tweets. Last, but not quite least: “Cancel corporeality.”
That’s it for this week! Until the next one. Warmest virtual regards.