Hello, and welcome back! (I say that mostly for my benefit since I have been terrible at updating my Substack.) In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s my essay for this week. It’s one of the more vulnerable things I have written, so I hope you enjoy it.
A bunch of you expressed some interest in having some sort of book/movie/podcast/etc. club through here, and I’ve been putting some thought into it, but I need your help!
I don’t know what the best way to do this would be: Should we have a Zoom hangout once a month? An open chat? Do I recommend things or should we just have a weekly open thread where you talk about whatever you’re reading/watching/listening to?
Please tell me your preferences in the comments, OR you can email me at email@example.com.
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For now, the working title of this feature is going to be “Culture Club” which is basically the embodiment of the kind of club I would have loved when I was in high school. It will be for paid subscribers only, so you know what to do.
Here are some of my favorite links from this last week.
🎙️ ”Why Men Seek Danger” from Honestly with Bari Weiss: I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t my impetus for this week’s essay. This podcast episode really pulled together some thoughts that have been gnawing at me since July.
🤡 “The Class Politics of Instagram Face” from Tablet: This was, by far my favorite thing I read this week. Plastic surgery has become increasingly more safe and accessible, and it has resulted in a distinct aesthetic (and at a cost). The final paragraph made my head explode.
👓 "C'mon Man, Woke HAS Been Defined!” by Carl at Stuff Happens: Last week, commentator Bethany Mandel got into yet another scrape on the internet when she was asked to define the term “woke” by an anchor for a show on The Hill. She just had her sixth baby and has been otherwise incredibly busy, so naturally, her brain broke.
I thought it was mildly amusing when she said, “This is going to be one of those moments that goes viral…” I did not find it amusing when people took that moment of self-awareness to mean that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Carl does a good job at explaining the many — frankly meaningless — definitions for the word. One which refuses to be defined.
🐕 "When Your Dog Pays the Mortgage: by Noah Rinsky at The Free Press: When I opened my email this morning to an article about MY FAVORITE INSTAGRAM CORGI EVER, I was over the moon! Clearly, the commenters of The Free Press have no sense of humor and need to get right with themselves. Also, I need to start putting my dog to work.
🕵️ ”Banning TikTok Should Be Just the Beginning” from The New York Times: An interesting opinion piece about the recent talk of banning TikTok in the US. The authors argue these efforts should go further by also dramatically scaling down the amount of data companies are allowed to collect and sell.
🤠 ”Home range: Ivan McClellan’s intimate portraits of the Black cowboys of the West” from Deseret Magazine: The newspaper I work for published an incredible issue of their magazine recently. This story had particularly magnificent photos.
I have two professional developments I’m pretty proud of.
🥂 The first (and favorite) is some marketing work I have been doing for a project called “The Unspeakeasy.” It’s an online (and IRL) community started by Meghan Daum for women who want to speak candidly and have nuanced conversations about major cultural and political issues without the social isolation that comes with it. Check it out here.
📰 I’ve mentioned a few times that I write a daily newsletter for Deseret News. On Fridays, I started doing a little column about art in the west. It’s still taking shape, but I felt really good about this Friday’s piece.
one of my all time favorite paintings..I am loving you work and the unspeakable is so interesting! good for you!
Now I'm just curious: What are some of your favorite "bittersweet" or tragic stories?