Link Blog, November-December 2021
The capacity to reach an audience some of the time became contorted into the right to reach every audience all of the time. The rhetoric about social media started to assume an absolute liberty always to be heard; any effort to constrain or limit users’ ability to spread ideas devolved into nothing less than censorship. But there is no reason to believe that everyone should have immediate and constant access to everyone else in the world at all times.
The revolving door of ’90s nostalgia is now targeting twenty-something existential dread, the not quite midpoint of life when we kiss goodbye to carefree youth and begrudgingly say hello to the impending doom of tax returns and dying alone. The ’90s have come and gone over and over again for the past decade.
listening to popular music ceases to be a way to construct identity and becomes “merely a pastime, like watching movies,” or a pursuit (like video games) that plenty of people simply choose not to engage in. I wonder if we’re already there. Consider how many of Spotify’s most popular playlists are structured not around genres but rather around activities.
Sure, standalone blockbuster movies still come out from time to time, and single-player video games haven’t completely disappeared. But they’re becoming increasingly rare. Everything competes with everything…
No matter what you post, or how you word it, or how many asterisks and caveats you attach to it, you will suffer the worst-faith readings you have ever experienced.
Your job is to learn how to love the work of writing, and the work of aging, and the work of being alive. It’s all work, but it’s sublime. There are no shortcuts. That’s what’s great about it, in fact. You have to show up for it completely. You have to surrender yourself to the project of slowing down, focusing, meditating almost, until you manage to make something that leaps off the page, straight into the arms of a stranger.
I’ve had my social accounts on private for a really long time, and it’s been a real push to make them public for the purposes of this, and I do not wish to be perceived! I found it very difficult to look at my face. I was surprised about how hard I fell for the facial dysmorphia trap, and obsessing over what I looked like and how I was coming across, and being hyper-aware of movements and facial expressions.
There are decades of sitcoms and beer commercials that portray male friendships as effortlessly simple, or at least much more simple than the complex emotional diagnostics of femininity. This is, without a doubt, total bullshit. Men possess all the orthodox heuristics to interact with superiors, colleagues and romantic partners — but they are absolutely lost when they attempt to navigate the murky waters of a loose bar appointment with someone they only kinda, sorta know.
So then, once again: At their core, what’s a cozy stream? It’s about settling down with a blanket and a warm drink, and curling up to the soothing sounds and visuals of a chilled-out stream. It’s hanging out with a community of like-minded people who enjoy the same activities as you. It’s that feeling of coming back to where you belong, and leaving toxic culture at the door.
That hokey unfashionable techniques like practicing gratitude turn out to have strong scientific evidence behind them, and several countries happen to have a preexisting holiday that’s already, at least in theory, dedicated to this practice.
If the answers to these questions lead you to the conclusion that seeking fame or prestige is not in your best interest, then now is the time to stand up to your caveman impulses. Don’t boast or seek attention; delete the post and take a social-media break.
Assuming you take our main thesis seriously — that obesity is the result of environmental contaminants — what should you do about it? Our suggestions are very prosaic: Be nice to yourself. Eat mostly what you want. Trust your instincts.