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
|Dec 31, 2020|
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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.