Subscriber Writing, January 2023
Here are links to writing by subscribers for the months of December/January, presented in the order in which I received them.
I have to underline this point, and I’m sorry if I haven’t been more clear about this: I don’t host subscriber writing on this newsletter. (That is, post subscriber writing to this site or send it out as email.) I post links to work hosted elsewhere, typically on Wordpress or Substack or similar. I’ve gotten a fair number of Word documents lately, but I can’t publish those here myself.
If I’ve missed someone entirely, please let me know and I’ll be sure to include you next month; if I’ve misformatted something, comment and I will fix it on the website. Those of you who formatted your submissions in the way I asked are the real MVPs. Please note that while I tried to remember every email sent to the wrong address, I disavow any responsibility if I missed yours! I always find cool stuff to read in these, so please click around at whatever you might fancy. Try someone whose stuff you haven’t tried before.
The first link points to this here newsletter - it’s Aurelien’s runner-up essay for the Book Review Contest! The other runner-up will be published here soon.
Brad Neaton, Go East, Young Man
A post I wrote about walking from Colorado to North Carolina to raise money for RAINN.
Josh off the Press, Five Books I Have Gifted the Most
There are actually 6 books I gave a brief review on, and in all likelihood, there will be at least one book-review you will gravitate to.
It probably violates some norm to keep pimping the same pre-orderable book, but all my hopes and dreams are pinned on this one, and it includes an aside on the origins of nonrepresentational art; so please if you're into history or philosophy please pre-order it or perhaps just put it on reserve at your local library?
The greatest fantasy novel ever written is a book you've probably never heard of.
Infovores, "Why Does No One Click on Links?"
And what does this teach us about human psychology and behavior?
Austin James, The web won't exist in cities of the future
Cities of the future might be designed to limit people's exposure to the web, like cities of today limit exposure to unhealthy things like cigarette smoke.
How smartphones and social media make fun things less fun.
Erica Etelson, "How These Democrats Bucked the Trend and Won Over Rural Voters"
Rural Democrats' success hinges on their ability to set aside national talking points and speak to culturally moderate but economically progressive voters' local concerns.
High testosterone leads to more aggressive and risky asset-trading, so we should test fund managers for steroids and have more women in the financial services industry to prevent asset bubbles.
Alex Small, Diversity Doubletalk
If universities really, truly want people certain backgrounds then they should unapologetically select for those backgrounds, rather than insisting that merit is an inscrutable notion.
Adam Whybray, Review of 'A Perfect Mystery' (2000)
A review of The Legendary Pink Dots's millennium album 'A Perfect Mystery', published alongside Tom May's review of the same.
When gay spaces became normalized, we lost something - but attacks like those at Club Q remind us these spaces maybe aren't as normal as we thought.
Rebecca Eydeland, Stephen King on Healing
Thoughts on healing extrapolated from (former addict) Stephen King and his memoir on writing.
Mari, the Happy Wanderer, Privilege, Gratitude, Service: Or, How to Be Happier in Just Three Steps
Featuring cameos by Idris Elba and Christy Turlington, a recipe for chicken soup, and a better privilege quiz than the notorious one at Buzzfeed, this article offers a quick way to lift our spirits.
T Scott, Remembering To Say “Yes”
Go ahead and tell me where you think you’ll be in 5 years — you’ll almost certainly be wrong
A look at Ukraine from the perspective of long term American foreign policy.
Mark Newheiser, Detective Manse and the Horror from Beyond Time
A genre-bending short story about a private detective caught up in an unusual case across space and time; for fans of film noir, eldritch horror, and humor in the face of madness.
Steven O'Donnell, Living with Delusions: Navigating Mental Illness at Cal
A reflection on the challenges of mental illness against a social landscape that often ridicules, excludes, and dehumanizes people with these complex experiences.
Many of the contemporary problems that we attribute to a wide variety of factors actually stem from poor urban land-use policies, as M. Nolan Gray describes in his book.
Adam Gurri, "The Case Against Dictatorship"
The myth of the dictator is of a man who is not held back by politics, but the politics of dictatorship are far worse and far narrower than democratic politics.
Nick Russo, Unscattering
A very personal essay on the fragmentation of relationships, despair, planting roots, and hope
Nick Coccoma, "The Case for Abolishing Elections"
They may seem the cornerstone of democracy, but in reality they do little to promote it; there’s a far better way to empower ordinary citizens: democracy by lottery.
Thomas Reilly, “The Truman Show and the Air Loom”
Why do some people believe they are secretly being filmed for reality television and what does tell us about the development of delusions?
Ann Marie McQueen/Hotflash inc: The concerning rise of the social media DMG
There are no gurus, especially in menopause
Luke T. Harrington, So you’re quitting Twitter, for real this time
A guide from someone who quit Twitter before it was cool
J.M. Elliott, Of Wind and Wolves (a novel)
On the ancient Ukrainian steppe, an ambivalent young Amazon, whose arranged marriage is pending, embarks on a final mission to make her first kill as she attempts to reconcile herself to the cruel duties of both warrior and wife.
Samantha Hedges, The Quintessential College Experience
A take on the allure of the "college experience" and what it tells us about modern living.
Benjamin J. Smith, The Ezra Pound Paradox
Examining the case of Ezra Pound, major American poet and committed Fascist, in light of current conversations about separating art from artist.
Spencer Brooks, Facing the Jellied Eel
An essay on the jellied eel, one of Britain's worst culinary creations.
Tyler Likes, Two Minor Poets
An English professor at a small Midwestern college is surprised she can’t remember a poem by Yeats. (It gets better.)
High School students in the four lowest-performing (racial/ethnic) groups who aspire to graduate study or a professional-level degree earn ACT scores as much as 39% higher than students in the highest-performing groups who have lower postsecondary educational aspirations. Unfortunately, no one seems to notice
Matt Saccaro, You Are Not Owed Joy
An examination of contemporary science fiction & fantasy's shortcomings (performative didacticism, toxic positivity, immaturity, etc).
Rousseau Cray, Tweets Are The New Day Trades
On Twitter and social capital
Rajiv Sethi, From Hamline University to the Buddhas of Bamiyan
On the resurgence of the illiberal instinct to deny to all what is offensive to some
Alex Olshonsky, Addiction is Between You and the World
The latest neuroscience research suggests that addiction is not just a "disease" that lives inside you––rather, it is a dynamic relationship between you and the world you are looking to feel at home within.
Christopher J Feola, Massachusetts and Google secretly installed trackers on 1 million phones
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Google installed a spyware tracking app on millions of Bay State residents’ Android phones without telling them; when some people discovered the app running on their phones in the background and deleted it, Google would just install it again during the next update.
Andrew Rosa, December Diary Entries, 2022
Hours and hours of TV
Education Realist, How Were TJHSST Commended Students Harmed?
For anyone wondering what happened in the Thomas Jefferson High School National Merit "scandal" of withholding awards in the name of "woke equity", the answer is: very little happened, they didn't withhold anything, and equity had nothing to do with it.
Bill Stark, "Politics is not about you"
Nothing good happens when you turn politics into just another venue for self-expression.
Michelle Jia, Go Ahead, Squander Your Potential
On the moral / political duty to destroy yourself.
Andrew Zaleski, Jump Or Die
Atop a new generation of souped-up sticks, a group of gravity-defying tricksters want to do for pogo what legends like Tony Hawk did for skateboarding.
Edward J. Rathke, Mario, Daddy
For my son's fourth birthday, I discussed fatherhood by way of Mario's jump, or Mario's jump by way of fatherhood.
Trevor Jackson, No Consequences
Elite impunity has created a crisis of democratic legitimacy.
Quinn Ivins. Something's Different. A lesbian romance novel featuring a neurotic overachiever attempting to impersonate her carefree twin.
itsnotmyfault, "12 Boomer Rants"
Book review contest submission, endorsing Jordan Memerson's 12 Rules for Life.
A semi-serious attempt to understand a serious problem.
Joshua Furst, The Ark
A short story about evangelical christian summer camps, the persuasive power of puppets, and the PMRC.
Barrett Hathcock, An old interview with writer Charles D'Ambrosio
Republishing an old interview with short story writer Charles D'Ambrosio, who rocks.
Erin Etheridge, A Nicolas Cage movie taught me everything I need to know about life.
How Con Air reshaped the way I think (jk it's not Con Air...it's The Wicker Man.) (jk again).
Galadír Taru, A Herd of Bison
A short piece of fiction from within the world of Llathalian, a fantasy MMO
Daniel Cassady, “Marc Glimcher and Powell Jobs step back from Superblue”
This is a reported story about a well-funded experiential art venue in Miami, Superblue, that is in terrible shape financially and going through quite a bit of behind the scenes boardroom drama.
Kat Morita, Covered in Blood
An origin story for a girl who's learning how to live
Campaign contributions and party registrations imply that 90% of civil servants favor Democrats, as do 95% of employees at elite cultural institutions; meanwhile, military contractors, big banks, pharmaceutical companies, and other such corporate boogeymen each employ equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. What produces this outcome, and what outcomes does it produce?
Ana Siljak, “There is no materialist path to the promised land”
A meditation on Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and the inescapable tragedy of ethics.