035: The Mooch showed up


Basically

This week, a ballistic missile from North Korea. A ballistic missile from the White House. The end for Reince. And the beginning for actual ugly people, who apparently out-earn sort of ugly people. Plus, archeologists discovered the oldest 😊  at the Turkish–Syrian border. We're holding out for 💃 .


Verbatim

It was an OkCupid breakup that spiralled so far into madness that it “required the intervention of the United Nations” and injected Jolt Cola into the veins of the nascent alt-right lurking in 4chan’s shadows. Are we far enough away now from Gamergate to take a deep breath and figure out how far we all fell? As Noreen Malone writes for New York, for all the wild, planet-changing implications of whatever the fuck that was, however wretched it was to watch from the outside, Zoe Quinn, now saddled with complex PTSD, was the one who had to live through it, and still does.

I thought about why Quinn might have been drawn to build a world like that, fallen and imploding and yet treasured, full of surprising joy and possibilities. During one of the hearings for the legal action against Gjoni, a judge who saw no grounds for criminal harassment charges suggested that Quinn get a job that didn’t involve the internet, if the internet had been so bad to her. She told him that there was no offline version of what she did. “You’re a smart kid,” he replied. “Find a different career.”


ThingsMIT Tech Review report on what might be the first attempt outside of China at editing human genes through CRISPR. This may be fascinating stuff, but this kind of background pre-peer review report – raising the spectre of the tool as a potential WMD against unconfirmed research in a respectable and generally sober magazine – strikes us as unhelpful. Oh, how we long for a better kind of contemporary science reporting than this – how to be smart and critical without resorting to unsourced guesswork?

For California Sunday, Todd Levin sends a cry for help from inside the late night talk show writers’ room. The news, once the comedy writer’s best friend, has become “a new kind of friend. The kind who emails you, then texts you immediately to see if you got its email.”

Speaking of Cali Sunday, one of its most prominent benefactors, Laurene Powell Jobs, has emerged as the next steward of The Atlantic through her Emerson Collective not-for-profit. How refreshing – a buyout story of an old stalwart that’s not about asset stripping! Say what you will about the magazine’s online race to the bottom in terms of pay rates and quality, at least they’re still doing well enough to attract a kindly benefactor.

Driverless car evangelism at its worst will lead to the sort of bad, car-first urban planning that carved a modernist scythe through our cities in the 1950s. Already we have prominent plans spitballed for high velocity expressways in NYC and ludicrous Musk tunnels in Los Angeles that do little other than reallocate congestion at the expense of sensible mass transit investment or a livable, walkable city. But do we need such wretched ideas to at least spark the conversation?

If you thought that New York feature on the climate apocalypse wasn’t bleak enough, spend some time hanging out with Brian Calvert and Paul Kingsnorth as they retreat to the wilderness and figure out how to live past grief in the age of ecocide. Or embrace the rural hipster you’ve always had inside of you – learn from history by following the lead of Richard Gaskin and his psychedelic visions of soybeans, publish a book called Yay Soybeans! and sell your tempeh to the world. The world will need it – there probably won’t be many fish to eat.

Alternatively you could figure out, with the help of Kate Aronoff at In These Times, how to move the issue back to the ground of class and economic policy, where real change might still happen.

More critical apocalypse issues – Venmo and other instant money transfer tools are apparently killing our willingness to go splitsies. In the future wasteland, we are all cheap assholes.

You're watching Philosophy Time – a new series by eminent philosopher James Franco. Ugh.

Dunkirk must be seen on IMAX. Not because it’s good, but because it’s Nolan’s sensory weapon-of-choice. His misanthropic, gravelly style seemed appropriate for his Batman trilogy, but falls flat as soon as it leaves Gotham City. He resents his audience – we have to lean in to decipher unintelligible dialogue only to have the Dolby Atmos pulverize our eardrums with Hans Zimmer and shellfire.


Let us go, though, because we’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy.