Subscriber Writing, June 2022
As previously announced, here are links to subscriber writing for the month of June. As you will see, the amount of entries this time was fairly overwhelming, but I believe subsequent months should be shorter. Please take a little time to check out the synopses below to see if anything strikes your fancy. I will make a call for July’s entries at a later date; in the future I will be requesting a simple consistent format for entries to make transcribing them a little easier. Obviously, none of this work should be considered to have my endorsement, and I disagree with some of it. But that’s part of the fun. I appreciate all of you who followed the directions and kept to the deadline.
I am presenting the list in the fairest order I could think of, which is order received. There’s always a chance I missed someone who submitted properly, and I apologize in advance if so - please email me and I will put you at the top of next month’s list. Comments are open, but this is not a forum to engage in free-for-all criticism of the pieces listed, and if you are excessively unkind to anyone who shared their work here I can assure you that you will be temporarily banned.
I’m really glad for the opportunity to share subscriber writing and I hope you’ll take the time to see if anything suits your interests.
I wrote a longish response to your Unherd article, comparing mental illnesses and in particular ADD with depression
Arnold Kling, In My Tribe
Improving social epistemology, rewarding reasoned discourse
Tanner Rubert, RESPONSE TO HOLD BACK TO BLOCK – EVERYTHING IS A “PRODUCT”
Blog post responding to a video that came out last year arguing eSports events centered around fighting games need to move away from being consumer "products," which I argue is not possible when everything already is a "product" in the online content economy
D.H. Collman, They Shot His Parrot, Too
This is fiction, light reading, meant to be entertaining - also, meant to have a protagonist who isn't a tortured hero'. (Jeezus. I blame the Ancient Greeks!)
For the music-obsessed, a critique of what in the well-meaning identitarian turn in aesthetic discourse ends up demeaning, and a call to deconstruct the hegemonic listening practices that the identitarian turn has left untouched.
FTTTG, First Toil, then the Grave
The first post on my newsletter is an analysis of the importing of US-style racial identity politics into Ireland, and how little sense this makes in the context of Irish culture, history and demographics.
It’s an essay about the intersection between the James Joyce story “Araby,” and a Chinese restaurant accidentally putting broken glass in my dinner, and then apologizing by sending over a free plate of flan.
a “first-time reader’s guide” to Ulysses
Brad Neaton, In Bitter Safety I Awake
a longform essay exploring history, psychology, and anthropology that highlights a fascinating psychological phenomenon: People are often happier during times of extreme hardship than times of peace and prosperity, so much so that when the hardship is over, they miss it.
This is a 1,000 word discussion of who we invest our emotional capital in, featuring Dunbar's number(s) and including people we know and people we don't (real and fictional).
Resident Contrarian, Self-titled
I disagree with you on roughly everything in that normal friendly way where I still enjoy your writing. In terms of things we do agree on, it's something like "very conventional writing is often very boring, and it's weird that people try to enforce conventionality so hard".
Everyone is looking for something, and the things that most people are seeking are the easily identified, common currency of life, things like love, security, peace, wealth, and happiness; however, a certain select few are looking for something else, and that something else is the subject of the Scottish writer Muriel Spark’s terrifying 1970 novella The Driver’s Seat.
Available for pre-order from everywhere, including but not limited to this link, is my upcoming alternate history book (Impossible Histories), which will, I hope, be stranger, funnier, and more interesting than other alternate history books, and certainly relies more than is strictly usual on old comic books, etiquette manuals, joke books, advertisements, and propaganda pamphlets.
Erik Hoel, Secrets of the publishing industry
Author launches debut book with big publisher, learns harsh lessons about the steep playing field of book sales.
It's a critique of a research article that applies Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness studies to find alleged white supremacy in an innocuous classroom encounter.
Daniel Oppenheimer, In these disappointing essays, David Mamet can’t close the deal
David Mamet is a really lazy critic of the left, who seems only to be in dialogue with the dumbest voices on the right.
Patricia, the 39 from Fiction 451
Bill Maher is living in our heads these days, isn't he? Here’ a bit of quick fun fiction about that.
T. Scott, There Is Only This Life
An essay that describes why, even when confronted with a debilitating chronic disease, I don’t mourn my old life.
Michael Hughes, Pushing Buttons: The Video Game Cartoons of John Holmstrom
John Holmstrom is best known for cofounding Punk magazine in 1975, but from 1981 to 1985 he worked as a video game critic, documenting the emergence of video games as a cultural force to be reckoned with, and creating a body of work that can be read as an alternative history of the different directions games culture could have gone if not for the video game crash of 1983.
An article about a minor social media kerfuffle about the British comedian Stewart Lee, which goes on to consider the wider question of what 'punching down' and 'punching up' mean.
Sarah, An Endlessly Upward World
It’s an essay about learning to speak in a dialect algorithms taught us, and the benevolent tyranny of the 5-star scale.
Michael Bellamy, untitled
I photograph some of my hella poems sometimes
Meghan Boilard, Coronavirus, Conspiracy, and Coping with Death
This piece is a look at the controversial /r/HermanCainAwards subreddit, and how people use online communities as a COVID coping mechanism
A review of two excellent books by noted young left-wing editors, about how and why to bring socialism to the United States.
Patricia S. Bowne, Fountain Girl
Middle grade/YA-ish fantasy novel - Paio's brother's dying wish is for her to learn magic at the far-away University of Selanto and find his lost child - but do the witches from her hometown really want her to succeed?
MV Perry, A Revolution of the Mind
A literary manifesto about mental illness in modern America.
Rick Schatzberg, The Boys
The Boys is actually a hybrid — a photobook-memoir with modest literary pretensions. Mixing images and text, it focusses on a group of fourteen men originally from suburban Long Island all of whom were born in 1954.
A trans opponent of COVID authoritarianism makes a case for why anti-lockdown, anti-mandate allies should aim for consistency when considering gender transition, especially medical transition for young people
Gabriel Kahane, In Defense of Friction
An argument against instant gratification through a musical analysis of a Beach Boys hit.
a college job working at a scam inbound call center designed to separate rubes from their money
Pete P, Don't fear the multipolar world
Avoiding the collapse of the American, part 1
Actias Luna, A Bathhouse Full of Spiders
a collection of five cosmic horror stories in the Lovecraftian tradition
Adam Whybray, The Legendary Pink Dots Project
My indulgently long form reviews of every Legendary Pink Dots album (ongoing)
a newsletter about pop culture written by British Gen Xers; no dunking, no hot takes, no false nostalgia
An insider’s look at how Chicago’s underground music industry transformed indie rock in the 1990s
Brendan Mackie, Why Can't We Be Friends
Why do people develop parasocial attachments to content creators and what's the big problem with it? I eventually decide that the problem is that the whole internet is parasocial, all the way down.
Max Daniels, Self-kindness: Upgrade Your Thinking
Turning our awareness on the inner critic / hanging judge, which is the first step in getting it to shut up for once
Erica Etelson and Anthony Flaccavento, Bette Midler’s Contempt Fuels Right-Wing Populism
When cultural elites disparage the deplorable rubes of rural America, they play directly into the right-wing populist playbook.
Barrett Hathcock, Yet Another John
an essay about the similarities between an old John Updike novel and the latest Jonathan Franzen novel
Andrew Rosa, The Lord’s Last Bastard Descendant
Joshua Cohen’s The Netanyahus is a dream, but who is the dreamer?
Landscaping as a metaphor for human intervention and the ways in which intervention becomes perpetual
Ryan Zickgraf, The Two Souls of Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism isn’t inherently a right-wing religious movement—it has a history of anti-authoritarianism and pacifism that doesn't align with the recent turn towards flag-waving theocracy
Ted Hayden, These 5 books go 6 feet deep
When body modifications become mainstream, families bury loved ones whose bodies are full of high-cost tech gear - and Victorian-style grave robbing gets revived.
BJ Campbell, Memespace Egregores and Google Maps
Where we grapple with demons of our own make
We should all wish for politicians understand poverty, but a simple rule of thumb can be worse than nothing.
Tom Corddry, Why Joe Rogan Matters
Addressing the Joe Rogan controversy
David Stone, In The Catbird Seat
The Further Adventures Of Our Feral Feline Friends
T J Elliott, Testing: A Personal History
T.J. Elliott’s decidedly non-expert blog on tests, assessments, exams, quizzes, assessments & claims that shape our lives
Yassine Meskhout, A Scandalous Confession
Me confessing to gaming the disability accommodation system in college solely for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage over my classmates
Rebecca Birch, On Luxury Beliefs in Education
I write about the cultural politics of education
Hubert Horan, Uber’s Path of Destruction - American Affairs Journal
I've written a great deal about Uber's terrible economics over the past 5 years. The article below is probably the most accessible description of just how terrible they are
Jake Seliger, Most people don’t read carefully or for comprehension
Don’t assume other people have read or understood you; much online discussion consists of people who haven’t read each other carefully, or sometimes at all, debating.
Matt Bivens, M.D., No One Can Be Struck by a Car from the 100 Days
The emergency department computer won't allow it
Neil McGarry, The Duchess of the Shallows
In a city of lies and corruption, one woman will compete for the greatest prize: initiation into the secrety society of thieves and spies known as the Grey.
Summary and translation of a back-and-forth about eugenics and scientific racism at the New York Review of Books
Jonathan Kissam, Domestic Left #12
A reminiscence about experiencing the Iraq war through leaked Russian intelligence reports
Barney Miller, Rethinking Kubrick
Contrary to his reputation, Stanley was actually quite an emotional director
This essay draws on the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” to reject Tim DeRoche’s brand of secular Christianity and propose an alternative basis for a fulfilling life.
Gayla Gray, Nibbles & Bits, Vol. 1
Gather 'round for all things books, reading and other bookish fun
edward rathke, Final Fantasy VI
A review of Final Fantasy VI that's primarily a meditation on friendship, pain, and loss.
Mark Monday, Goodreads, The Catcher in the Rye
Mark Monday’s Goodreads reviews
Clayton Davis, The Epic of . . . Bilgamesh?
a little Substack account about books, especially their history, culture, and design
Joshua Pressman Jacobs, Columbine and its aftermath: “23 years later”
This piece commemorates the third anniversary of Austin Eubanks and his untimely passing (10/7/1981 - 05/19/2020). Austin Eubanks was a survivor of the Columbine HS Massacre (April 20 1999). But, 20 years later he died of an opioid overdose.
J.M. Elliott, The Problematic Pen
The pleasure, pain, and peril of writing in the present—especially about the past
J.R. Leonard, Satire is Dead, Long Live Satire
This is the first post of my newsletter "Dutch Comfort," in which I consider the movie Don't Look Up and why it may be difficult to make good contemporary satire.
Ruben, In the Brightness of My Day
This is a short essay reflecting on a long walk in a Rust Belt suburb.
First in a (weekly?) series, written by a college student in the spare hours of a seasonal research job at Capitol Reef National Park.
Danny Wardle, No, Raising the Minimum Wage Won’t Spur Inflation
A short piece arguing that raising the Australian minimum wage won't spur inflation and that wage rises are an important part of the solution to the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Ryan Bloom, Since It Happened
A short story about belief
Klaus Kinski, ML & AI: What is Machine Learning?
An introduction to the concept of machine learning and how businesses actually use it
Erin Etheridge, When you are The Person
How Station 11 and the Winter Olympics prove that sometimes kids are better grownups than the adults
Matt Arnold, The Medicalization Of All Human Experience
The definitions of "care work", "self-care", and "emotional labor" have drifted to transform replenishing experiences into depleting "labor"
Quinn Ivins, Desert Island Books
These are the books, song, and luxury item I would bring to a desert island, where dehydration would cause organ failure and death in about three days
Andy Howlett, SPEARPHISH – A Novel
Dan Sharp is a young man in his early 30s living outside of Philadelphia. He works the phones at a large financial services firm, helping customers accomplish various securities transactions, and volunteers as a youth baseball coach.
Dan’s ordinary life comes to an end one day in October 2019 when a shadowy organization begins extorting him for information, threatening his safety and those of his loved ones.
Finnishmouse, The Barclay Incident
A con artist with the help of 23 unwilling shills steals from a Jewelry store by posing as FBI agents and conducting a fake investigation on the store
Chris Feola, The Lonely call of the 21st Century Luddite
Apple has 90% fewer workers than peak General Motors; how many are needed when you can download the iPhone XV & print it on your 3D printer? Another 90% less means hardly any managers, leaving college-grad elites as the New Luddites
Praj Kulkarni, All EEs don’t need to learn Laplace Transforms
My book project critiques 'The academic approach' to education, and this short post gives an example of a class that is more abstract and difficult than needed for most jobs.
Samuel Kao, Asian America and the Politics of Guilt
This piece examines a bizarre trend of "progressive" self-flagellation among Asian Americans during the events of 2020