Fan girls, Gone Girls, influencer creep, Pizzagate lite and a bit of levity
Hi friends. Today is June 10, 2022.
And I candidly do not have much of an intro for you today, because this has been a WEEK (hence the late send) and I am now (spiritually, emotionally … but also literally) hungover.
Having jussssst encountered this new study on the links between optimism and longevity, however — a word to fellow pessimists: it does not look for us — I am focusing on ~good vibes~ as much as possible. Like: this site that lets you listen to radio stations around the world. (Random! Fun!) Or: this Mormon mom drama on TikTok. (Fantastic!) Fake news can still occasionally be harmless and absurd. This GIF of a hedgehog in a sink exists.
Hopefully (hopefully — I am full of hope) I just reclaimed a few of the lost minutes of my life previously forfeit through alcohol consumption. I regret to inform you the hopefulness will not extend through the entirety of this week’s edition. 🙃
If you read anything this weekend
“How Harmful Is Social Media?” By Gideon Lewis-Kraus in The New Yorker. This is essentially a v. nitty-gritty follow-up to that big Jonathan Haidt essay in The Atlantic a few months ago, this time looking more closely at the evidence that social media ruined democracy, public health, civic discourse, etc. (Maybe *we* actually ruined democracy/public health/civic discourse, and it’s just more visible on Twitter!) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
“A Pizzagate in Every City,” by Melissa Gira Grant in The New Republic. Continuing on that cheerful note: Remember Pizzagate? Remember how absolutely deranged it seemed? Those Q-style conspiracies around pedophilia — now aimed at the LGBT community — are so (inconceivably!!) mainstream now that Pizzagate lites are becoming routine.
“The Linguistics Search Engine that Overturned the Federal Mask Mandate,” by Nicole Wetman in The Verge. Conservative judges are increasingly using a method called corpus linguistics to reinterpret words according to their historical usage across thousands of documents. Big data solves everything, right?? We have definitely never had issues with this.
“Influencer Creep,” by Sophie Bishop in Real Life. “Influencer” once meant bloggers and vloggers. It expanded to include reality show runners-up and charismatic hair/home stylists. Now even people in fairly offline industries (food service, silversmithing) are expected to ~cultivate~ online brands. I’m exhausted!!
“How The Internet Became a Doom Loop,” by Charlie Warzel in Galaxy Brain. True to the newsletter’s name, a 🤯 moment: “The internet, as a mediator of human interactions, is not a place, it is a time. It is the past … The layers of artifice that mediate our online interactions mean that everything that comes to us online comes to us from the past—sometimes the very recent past, but the past nonetheless.”
👉 ICYMI: The most-clicked link from last week’s newsletter was this fun lil tool that shows you books set in/near your zip code.
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How One Direction fangirls made the internet. How “Gone Girl” reshaped literature. A search for the least viewed article on Wikipedia and a tool for “wandering through Twitter.” Crypto broettes. Links as “aspirations.” No online argument is worth this. Overly Attached Girlfriend turns 10 and @Yashar breaks his silence.
What does “tech company” even mean anymore? Is NFT art any good? How is it that you can buy gun parts on eBay? (And sell entire weapons on Facebook??) The “stunningly long-nailed” ladies of TikTok. God bless the Insteon devotees.* An interesting interview with the editor of Know Your Meme. How streaming and social media upended music charts. Why it’s legal for influencers to hide some types of political ads. Last but not least, the ongoing fiasco at The Washington Post continues to be — comically? but also very seriously?? — bad.
That’s it for this week! Until the next one. Warmest virtual regards.
*See previous coverage of Insteon here — this is a great day for dads everywhere.