Formatting Note: I’ve gone back to no subheads because 1) I hate when they aren’t clever and I’m not clever enough to write that many clever headlines each week, and 2) You guys skim when I put them in. I know you do. Don’t even try to deny it.
A couple of guys started posting Nazi propaganda on comment threads for articles about European migration and people thought they made some good points because people are the worst.
At the most recent count, we had a total of 480 up votes (and rising) against 16 down votes, across eight adapted Nazi comments. It seems the migration debate has evolved to a place where even certified hate speech can pass for popular political opinion!
Remember, don’t ever read the comments.
For Gordon (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of you. I suppose I really could have just emailed this straight to Gordon, but whatever): Fuck nuance.
Nuance is not a virtue of good sociological theory. Sociologists typically use it as a term of praise, and almost without exception when nuance is mentioned it is because someone is asking for more of it. I shall argue that, for the problems facing Sociology at present, demanding more nuance typically obstructs the development of theory that is intellectually interesting, empirically generative, or practically successful.
And while I have strongly encouraged you to not read the comments, as always, MetaFilter is the exception.
Did you read The Berenstein Bears when you were a kid. I know I did. They were great. Except they were actually The Berenstain Bears (that's with an "a," not an "e") and this is proof that there are multiple dimensions and some of us are basically sliders. I’d think this is cute and amusing, except I am 100% positive it was Berenstein. There is no doubt in my mind. Now I’m scared to ask my wife what she remembers out of fear our kids are some kind of unholy multi-dimensional hybrids.
Go ahead and judge these books by their covers. Actually, judge all books but their covers. That’s why books have covers. The saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" is stupid. If your book is good, put a better cover on it. Sheesh.
Debate over the meaning of “curation” is heating up again.
Blogs are curated. So are holiday gift guides. So are cliques, play lists, and restaurant menus. “Curated,” a word that barely existed forty years ago, has somehow come to qualify everything in our lives. When I tried that glib parlor game of typing a word into Google to see how it would autocomplete the search phrase, the first suggestion for “curated” was “content.” In other words, almost nothing escapes curation, or at least the possibility of being curated. How did our world become a venue for curation? And how did curating, a highly specialized line of museum work involving the care, accessioning, and exhibition of artworks, come to mean, as cultural policy scholar Amanda Coles puts it, “just picking stuff?”
It’s been awhile since the launch of the patently ridiculous Curator’s Code and I thought we’d just decided to let people who take themselves too seriously keep on keeping on. Guess not. (Keen readers may have noticed me refer to the pieces in the “David Foster Wallace Reader” as being “oddly curated” last week. Nobody's perfect.)
Nostalgia: You are actually just a filthy blogger.
Related: I am the freshest comedy aggregator on the Internet.
Do you think this is easy? Gathering original humor and reproducing it? Consuming the freshest morsels off the plates of starving comedians, and regurgitating their product onto my own Twitter and Instagram accounts? I’ve aggregated memes you people wouldn’t believe.
I missed the rise of “Netflix and chill” as a thing (because I'm old), but I love it and can’t stop working it into conversation, no matter how inappropriate.
“Netflix and chill” is a classic case of social media-fueled semantic drift. It began as a plain, descriptive phrase (“Can’t wait to leave work so I can watch Netflix and chill!”), and stayed that way for several years before acquiring a loose sexual connotation (“Wanna come over for Netflix and chill? ;)”) and, eventually becoming a known code phrase (“He said he loves me, but I know he just wants to Netflix and chill”).
Two stories of websites: Twins.com and Space Jam.
The site lay more-or-less dormant for the next 14 years. But that changed for good in late 2010, when the Internet, exponentially bigger than it was in 1996, rediscovered the site – almost entirely unchanged from its initial launch. It was reborn as a viral sensation, the web’s equivalent of a recently discovered cave painting. We laughed at the site because we couldn’t believe anything was ever designed this way, but also because it still existed. It remains one of the most faithful living documents of early web design that anyone can access online.
They don’t make them like that anymore. Seriously, all websites look the same. (Work Slack was buzzing over this one.)
Speaking of Slack, it’s the latest thing destroying people who find it impossible to exercise even the slightest amount of self control.
First, I would delete the Slack app from my phone for the whole week, no exceptions. This, I reasoned, would keep me from impulsively checking channels when mobile, and ensure I don’t spend idle time at home checking in on work instead of being an attentive husband and dad. Next, all desktop and email notifications would be turned off, and adopt Slack “office hours” for four hours a day (two hours before lunch, two hours after), keeping the application closed on my laptop at all other times. Given that I spend well over 40 hours a week logged into Slack on average, this would cut my time in half or more. Gulp. Finally, I would to tell no one at work about my experiment. I wanted an honest assessment of how critical my consistent, virtual presence was, and to understand what repercussions I would face by not being available for work at all waking hours. On Monday morning, with my rules decided, I deleted the app from my phone, turned off desktop notifications, and got to work.
Dude, your problems go so much deeper than your phone's notifications.
The evolution of magazine covers (or: The New Yorker is awesome).
An open letter to 17-year-old boys who just discovered The Doors.
This will all end in merciful disillusionment.
That is some superlative goddamn truth.
This week in oral histories we didn’t know we needed: Theodore Rex.
Oliver Sacks died.
As a medical doctor and a writer, Dr. Sacks achieved a level of popular renown rare among scientists. More than a million copies of his books are in print in the United States, his work was adapted for film and stage, and he received about 10,000 letters a year. (“I invariably reply to people under 10, over 90 or in prison,” he once said.)
Here’s a reading list and a pretty good TED Talk.
Also: Wes Craven died. If you decide to go back an revisit some Craven, I think New Nightmare is brilliant.
Miscellany: Banksy’s Dismaland. Pitchfork’s 200 best songs of the 80s. Time Flies. Vintage airline posters.