Manifest that shit
Pandemic anxiety, daily routines, Tumblr girls, dick pics and charcuterie
Hi friends. Today is January 7, 2022.
And it’s apparently a GREAT day to manifest your future.
Ignore what manifesting even means, for a minute. This week, outlets as varied as the Financial Times and Women's Health endorsed it. A new book on the subject published this month. And not for the first time in the past two years, Google searches for the term are again trending up.
There’s a pretty strong correlation, in fact, between search volume for “manifesting” and search volume for “Covid” — far stronger than, say, the correlation between “Covid” and “sourdough.” Both trends promised to soothe our pandemic anxiety, but only manifesting — a wide-ranging and variably spiritual New Age practice in which people magical-think their dreams into existence — promises an absolute (if eventual!) solution.
Manifesting can take a lot of forms. Just consult TikTok. Depending on the practitioner, it ranges from Goopy self-help to teenage wish-fulfillment to sincere spiritual practice. From these former groups we get the meme “shut up I'm manifesting” — also, best-selling Etsy products like “manifest that shit” votive candles and “rich/sexy/successful as fuck” manifestation jewelry. (“While manifesting this amazing business growth, there is an adjustment that comes with now producing so many orders at a time,” disclaims one Etsy seller in a December posting.)
Much of this predates covid (by a lot — see New Thought, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” “The Secret,” Oprah). Manifesters will tell you it continues to gain ground as part of larger conversations around health and wellness and a Gen Z-fueled New Age revival.
But truly, if you did want to manifest anxiety away, today is opportune. Rarely have you had such a dread buffet of crises to choose from! The eminent collapse of American democracy? The continued surge of the Omicron variant? No wonder more people are manifesting! We need all the help we can get.
If you read anything this weekend
“Money in the Metaverse,” by Anna Weiner in The New Yorker. The “metaverse,” whatever that turns out to mean, could be a lush, bold utopia à la Rousseau. More likely, however, it will adopt the ethics and economics and structures of the video game tech industry that came before. Weiner argues that’ll look like privatized capital, centralized power and the widespread “assetization” of everything/everyone. So — can’t wait, sounds really fun!
“How Hobbies Infiltrated American Life,” by Julie Beck in The Atlantic. On the scourge of “productive leisure” and the very American conviction that even our free time should generate — at the minimum! — an enviable Instagram.
“Is the ‘Future of Food’ the Future We Want?,” by Jaya Saxena in Eater. A truly grim dispatch from Vegas -- is there any other kind?? -- where a recent food-tech conference made its pitch for dining, redefined. In this future, drones deliver take-out, diners never leave home, and celebrities preside over vast, monocultural restaurant chains. Who is asking for this, exactly?
“What Daily Routine Videos Actually Show Us,” by Sophie Haigney in The New York Times. Here’s a TikTok phenom at the thematic intersection of productivity culture and pandemic manifestation: “sleek fantasies of order, unfolding amid chaos.”
“Artificial Intelligence Is Restoring Lost Works by Klimt, Picasso and Rembrandt. Not Everyone Is Happy About It,” by Kelsey Ables in The Washington Post. As GPT-3 gets better and better, and my long-range job security grows worse and worse, I’m increasingly *very* interested in things that AI can’t yet do. Art, apparently, still clears that bar! (Dream app excepted.) So too does meteorology, if you’d like more on the subject.
Voracious — VORACIOUS magazine is a print magazine dedicated to the enthusiasts everywhere. There’s nothing nicer than hearing people talk about what they love — apart from reading it in a beautiful printed tome with art, recipes, illustrations, interviews and more.
Links’ reader Joey Trimyer — Over 1 million people in the U.S. suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating neurological condition. Join me in raising money and awareness as I train for and ride 150ish miles this spring. Every donation makes a difference and is appreciated!
📣📣 I’m not currently accepting new classified ads, but … if you’d like to partner with Links in the future, please hit “reply” to get in touch!
Charcuterie boards as “abundance porn.” The return of the 2014 Tumblr girl aesthetic. Why it’s so hard to curb algorithms and where TV gets its dick pics. RIP Blackberry and Betty White. “Do your own research.” “If you scratch an NFT believer … it appears you find the same ‘I’ve got mine, fuck you’ of the rest of the business world.”
Social media ruined sex. Honestly, god bless France. The women shattered by “collector culture” and the children of Jan. 6 insurrectionists. The biggest Wikipedia battles of the past year. The murky economy of online reputations. Last but not least: what the internet’s most famous kid says about modern kids and parents.
That’s it for this week! Until the next one. Warmest virtual regards.