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My favorite reads from the plague year
In this week's edition: laptops, layer cakes, mommy bloggers, the 'TikTok everyhouse,' Snapewives, B-sides and wolf-kink erotica
Links is a free weekly newsletter with a simple premise: I read tons of stuff on the internet, and this is the best of it. You can hit reply to send your own links. You can also follow me on Twitter. And if you want to support the newsletter, please tell your friends. Or enemies, really! I take all comers.
Welp, friends: This is it. We did it. Today marks the last day of a long and (I hope) soon-forgotten year. It’s hard for me to guess how I’ll remember this time, an uneasy and unfixed era punctuated mostly with binge-drinking, sleepless nights and strained FaceTime calls. But also: a puppy! Tiger King! Cottagecore! This very newsletter!!!
I want to thank all of you — whoever and wherever you are — for reading and supporting this project as it finds its voice and footing. Writing it each week has been a blast and a balm and I’m excited to take it all further in 2021. (More plans on that forthcoming soon.)
Until then, please enjoy this round-up of my 25 favorite internet culture reads from 2020. They’re not necessarily the longest or ~most prestigious~ or most beautifully crafted stories to appear in this newsletter … but they’re the ones that stuck with me all these endless months later.
Wishing you all a blessedly offline new year’s eve and lots of health, happiness and good memes in the year to come. Let’s do it again in 2021!
Notes on a TikTok quarantine // Charlotte Shane in Bookforum
TikTok and the evolution of digital blackface // Jason Parham in Wired
The appeal of the TikTok everyhouse // Emma Alpern in Curbed
My mommies and me // Alexandra Tanner in Jewish Currents
My Instagram // Dana Tortorici in n+1
The gas industry is paying Instagram influencers to gush over gas stoves // Rebecca Leber in Mother Jones
Involving some sort of internet drama
A feud in wolf-kink erotica raises a deep legal question // Alexandra Alter in NYT
Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s war against the media // Gideon Lewis-Kraus in the New Yorker
Alison Roman, Bon Appetit and the ‘global pantry’ problem // Navneet Alang in Eater
Why did YouTubers Myka and James Stauffer give up Huxley? // Caitlin Moscatello in The Cut
Other flavors of crazy
The prophecies of Q // Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic
Why are right-wing conspiracies so obsessed with pedophilia? // Ali Breland in Mother Jones
Consider the Snapewife // Ashley Reese in Jezebel
How we internet now
A psychoanalytic reading of social media and the death drive // Max Read in Bookforum
On r/unemployment, a community of desperate people has stepped in where the government failed // Bridget Read in The Cut
What was fun? // Rachel Sugar in Vox
The gig economy is failing. Say hello to the hustle economy // Me in OneZero
Layer cake: the politics behind the internet’s sweetest meme // Raven Smith in Vogue
Do these fake people look real to you? // Kashmir Hill and Jeremy White in NYT
You can dance if you want to
Why is the obscure B-side “Harness Your Hopes” Pavement’s top song on Spotify? // Nate Rogers in Stereogum
Enya is everywhere // Jenn Pelly in Pitchfork
TikTok has been saved. But for music, is that a good thing? // Mikael Wood in LAT
Things I liked but am not clever enough to categorize
‘Emily in Paris’ and the rise of ambient TV // Kyle Chayka in The New Yorker
The more we Google the less we know // Megan Marz in Real Life
Laptops killed work-life balance // Amanda Mull in The Atlantic
And now for something completely different
More of this in the new year, plz.