Subscriber Writing, September 2023
Here’s a set of links to subscriber writing for the month of September 2023, which I called for a couple weeks ago. They are presented, as always, in the order in which I received them. I still got more than 20% of submissions that were not formatted correctly, so try to keep an eye on that for next time. Let me also reiterate that I can’t take late submissions, but we do this every month so just email me the following month. If I accidentally left your piece off, please email me and I will move it to the top of the list next time. We have finally exceeded the limits of a single email with this feature (blew right past them in fact), so please click through.
Readers, please pick around here and find something you might like. People work hard on this stuff. I will be posting a roundup of How Elites Ate the Social Justice Movement media soon; there’s a lot of it. The subscriber book review contest will be announced next month! Now give some of this subscriber writing your attention, and if you want to be featured here but aren’t a subscriber yet, you know what to do.
The justified and important current struggle to lower canteen markups in prisons, while food in prison (the free kind that they have to give you) remains inedible, provides an opportunity to think more generally about how activists should think about short-term versus long-term goals.
Jay Hinman, My Patty Hearst Obsession, In Photographs
Take a look at these modern photos of everywhere it all went down in the 1970s with the Symbionese Liberation Army and Patty Hearst, as well as what it was like to experience it all as a child the first time.
Brian Leli, Creator-Destroyers
Do longer life expectancies and growing economies necessarily cancel out the rises in atomization, stress, mental health issues, suicide, and so on that appear to stem, at least in part, from the modern societies we’ve made, and the fact that humans live increasingly connected to machines and disconnected from both other humans and ourselves?
Luke Sullivan, Samurai Pt. 1
Is James Clavell's "Shōgun" orientalist? Does it matter?
Adam Nathan, The Watchmaker
A childhood year living in a medieval Italian city has haunted – in a friendly way – all the other places I've ever lived.
Mark Newheiser, Detective Manse and the Infallible Oracle
A genre-bending short story across time and space, featuring Newcomb's Paradox.
Nigel Bernard, What It Takes to Win
I wrote about cheating (I guess I should call it cheating) in an academic contest when I was 14 and.. I'm not actually sure I regret it? It's complicated.
Normal people loved Oliver Anthony's blue collar anthem, but the tone deaf liberal commentariat was miffed.
Ryan Bruno, Conspiracism as Serious Play
An article about how conspiracy theorists temporarily suspend disbelief to fully immerse themselves into an imaginative game.
Tommy J.C. Forbes, Orwell and AI: A New Kind of Literature?
An essay on artificial intelligence and its potential use by totalitarian states in utilising literature as a propaganda tool.
Precariat Musings, Dear elites, here’s why the peasants don’t trust you
A post about why those in the bottom four quintiles of the income distribution no longer trust those in the top quintile
Thaddeus Kozinski, No One is Innocent
The totalitarians are satanists, and they want to abuse us to such an extent that we no longer ask questions in obedience to the ultimate authority of Truth and thereby save our souls.
Hal Johnson, A Garland of Quotations
A weekly roundup of "inspirational," strange, or beautiful quotations gleaned from three thousand years of literature (or portions thereof).
Christopher J Feola, Are you conscious? How does that work?
Not only are scientists unable to define how consciousness works, they don’t even agree who or what is conscious. If we don't have any clue how consciousness works, why is everyone running around with their hair of fire insisting that Artificial Intelligences are going to take over the world and exterminate humanity?
T Scott, Cookery
Cooking as transformation, and why it is essential (and mysterious) to have fun with it.
Thomas Parker, Movie of the Week Madness: Satan's School for Girls
The Exorcist made the Devil one of the biggest success stories of the 70's, but the most definitive treatment of the Fallen Angel appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week. Really!
Stephen Delacroix, truegoodbeautiful
A website arguing for consistent epistemic justifications for knowledge claims
Nicole Jones, A Tennis Influence Trifecta
The zeitgeist's greatest con is the guise of its beating heart. This is a story of that magic and how it beguiled me into loving tennis.
I’m dying of a squamous cell carcinoma infestation, and the treatments for it are so arduous that they make me consider when life is worth living, and the extent to which love is the major tethering force to the world.
Harry Goldhagen, Angels in Medicine
A site that features the work of medical humanitarians: those who care for people little access to quality healthcare, such as the homeless and indigent, the incarcerated, and those in less developed and war-torn parts of the globe.
Chris Jesu Lee, Attention, Rage, and the Artist as the Supreme Being
When artists are the only irreplaceable human beings, art becomes a moral warzone
Nick Coccoma, “The Politics of Jesus: The Revolutionary Christ”
Contrary the claims of today’s right-wing intellectuals, Jesus of Nazareth was neither an apolitical dreamer nor a reactionary moralist, but the leader of a revolutionary, anti-imperialist movement to establish justice in the name of God.
Micah, Wisdom of crowds
Recapping summer '23, when all we seemed to want was big events and big crowds.
Paul Bali, rabbits
An autofictional Apocalypse, with pics & lotsa rhymes.
His recent book “Don't Be A Feminist” is a load of hogwash so let's revisit another one of his duds.
John L. Lynch, New Persia: Before the Storm
On a planet settled by colonists from Earth’s Muslim cultures (whose true history has receded into myth), young soldiers in “New Persia” find their incipient romances—and lives—jeopardized by impending war.
Oscar K Steele, The Trade-Off of Pure Efficiency Optimization
An essay about how we often make blind trade-offs in favor of efficiency, assuming we give nothing up
A conversation with the artist and Black Marxist Shellyne Rodriguez, who has been a long-time community organizer in the Bronx, about the failure of identity politics, the co-optation of BLM, contradictions inherent in abolition, and united and interconnected struggles on the left. The piece is framed by two works by Rodriguez from her recent show at P.P.O.W.
Barrett Hathcock, New York Review of Book Design
All books should look like John McPhee books
Leon Macfayden, It’s Feeling Full of Everything and Empty at the Same Time
A description of mental illness through the lens of my final vacation with my late father.
David Volodzko, The Radicalist
A blog about political extremism on all sides—the history, philosophy, current events, anecdotes and interviews.
Mari, the Happy Wanderer, Let’s Celebrate Workers with The Bear and Tom Cruise!
This special Labor Day post features discussions of The Bear and Mission Impossible, plus a terrific recipe for zucchini bread!
Andrew Campbell, English Teacher Weekly
Weekly commentary and digest of what's worthwhile in literature, education, and Christian thought
Amod Lele, Defending half-elves and half-Asians
How a Dungeons & Dragons designer described my existence as inherently racist.
Erik Kain, Fear And Loathing In The American University
A look back at my experiences in the university system on and around 9/11 as drugs quickly took over my education and the world went mad.
Jessica Nordell, The 4 Things You Must Say Before You Die
A conversation with one of the very few therapists who specializes in end-of-life.
a diary of sorts about making my first feature film
radicaledward, Cormac McCarthy Reviews Super Mario 3
Cormac McCarthy's infamous review of Super Mario 3.
David Azrael, Things I Like And Don't Like
A daily blog where I write about something I like or don't like.
Luke T. Harrington, Why clowns became scary (and why they'll inevitably revert to funny again)
A quick lesson in clown-based poststructuralism.
Christian Lorentzen, Root Canal Street
Autofiction about a visit to the dentist, Dr. L., in Tirana
Hot Plate! Print Edition, If Six Purple Hazes Turned Out To Be Nine
Essay on ways prose writers can borrow from Jimi Hendrix’s virtuosic approach to variation, demonstrated by a comparison of nine “Purple Haze” guitar breaks.
Alex Small, Talkin' 'Bout Their Generation
A critique of the tedious, contradictory generalizations that education consultants love to offer when discussing modern students.
The Memory Hole, Anything Can Come Back to Haunt Us
A true story of the time a wannabe assassin hired by a Presidential campaign feared his employer would kill him when his covert operations went sour.
GOOD INTERNET, My Tsundoku pile of unread books
On collecting and reading books in a labyrinthian antilibrary.
Richard Trenholm, How you can be a real Rocketeer in 2023 (but probably shouldn't)
We look at technology featured in classic movies and flash forward to where it's at today.
Integrity Talk, Narcissism is rampant, so how do we address it?
An article on how narcissism has established itself in sophisticated ways, and a call to raise awareness about it.
Stephen Skolnick, Eat Manually.
For one meal, pretend you are somehow disabled and can't put the process of eating on "autopilot" while you look at your phone or computer. You might be amazed, you might be appalled.
Nolan Yuma, A Rhetorical Analysis of the Safe Space Movement. I explore the effects of memes and PC culture in and outside North America.
Thank you for this opportunity,
Nate K, Paris, à la Dean Moriarty
The first section of my memoir on the city of Paris, with a special emphasis on bookstores.
Graham Cunningham, Englishness as a Brand
"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality." George Orwell
While people sneer at their opponents changing their mind on an issue once they've been personally affected by it, that's how almost all social change happens. And we all do it.
Mazin Saleem, How I solved The Library of Babel
Discovering a secret miracle hidden in Borges's most famous short story
Christian Näthler, What does a conversation look like?
I took a stranger's scribble and put it in my skin. No need to retrospectively assign meaning to little black lines making my brain go brrr.
Hank Witherow, Hank's Road to Fatherhood
A light-hearted blog about hope and dread on the road to becoming a dad.
What will the Chinese Communist Party do with a Large Language Model?
Christine Axsmith, Fear-Based Life
Propaganda and coercive control use similar tactics - a cult that traps people into a tar pit of weird beliefs has many of the same tools as the controlled media of a totalitarian state.
A book exploring how youth sports have become warped and unhealthy, and what parents, coaches, and institutions must do to restore them.
Quinn Eastman, The Woman Who Couldn’t Wake Up
How the sleep disorder idiopathic hypersomnia has emerged over the last decade as a focus of both research and patient advocacy. The book explores the history of the IH diagnosis, in relation to narcolepsy, and the science of pathological sleepiness.
Tom Nixon, The Unbearable Burdens of Being First
When the First Man on Mars finally dies, one woman remembers her meetings with him.
Polymathic Being, Trauma and Antifragility: When Avoiding Trauma Hurts More
Our bodies and minds are naturally antifragile and yet we strive to protect ourselves from the very stimulus that can make us stronger and that unlocks our full potential as human beings.
BJ Campbell Talkin About Hunga Tonga
An objective look at how the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano impacted this summer's unprecedented warming, and what that portends for the next few years and beyond.
Gary Ross, The Ross Rules
A Substack that will help you become a better writer
A book about that makes an ironically persuasive case for not being so easily influenced anymore.
Malcolm Ocean, Intentionality, not productivity
A short manifesto about rehumanizing our relationship to time management by shifting to focus on freedom and choice instead of output.
Adam Whybray, Nope (2022), Werner Herzog, and Climate Change
Reflections on how Jordan Peele's film functions as an allegory for the Society of Spectacle and, in turn, how this dramatises the impossibilities of climate change activism (plus Werner Herzog memes).
Zack Morris the Elder, The standards for insurrection are just woefully low these days
It seems extremely perilous to dumb down the idea of “insurrection” to the level of stupid mob demonstrations.
Literary, historical and personal musings on humanity's inability to recognize and deal with emergencies in the moment.
Stan Hister, Population and patriarchy
That women globally are choosing to have less children suggests that patriarchy is a hollowed-out concept.
Jonah Davids, How (Not) To Prevent Youth Suicide
Youth suicide research is mostly a sham, researchers hide how much the interventions don’t work, and if we want to stop people from killing themselves we should mostly focus on building barriers/safety nets and restricting firearm access.
David Pinsof, You Will Find This Interesting
Most of what we find interesting is bullshit. Interesting stuff is overrated.
Blake Nelson, TRAVELS TO DISTANT CITIES
Impressionistic travel pieces from cities around the world.
Tom Berry, A Horse
A comic about a horse's transformation
In my project to read and comment upon the 850-odd works and authors of the Western canon as enumerated by Harold Bloom, I discuss the revisionist history and theology of the Fifth Book of Moses, called Deuteronomy.
Differing scientific attitudes in the United States and Europe
Written by a college writing teacher, this essay discusses differences between teaching English writing as a process and as language. Essentially works as a short history of writing and language instruction in the US.
The Expiration Date, Barbie is Our Future.
An essay about the short life of internet jokes and the immortality of their plastic counterparts.
Michael Huang, Ethics study is running around a definitional carousel
My detailed explanations for why the century-old philosophical question of normative ethics is not coherent and cannot be answered. And also why you should not take radical moral theories (Kantian deontology, utilitarianism, longtermism) too seriously.
Vinnie Sperrazza, Father's Day
An essay exploring my father's musical history and how it fits in with the story of American music in the 20th century.
An argument for why defining racism as disparities with group membership as the heuristic for targeting suffering reduction policy does not bring about results.
Tilde Snyder, Terror as Theatre
An essay on acts of violence and their relationship to surrealism, the avant-garde, and performance art
Ron Turley, Blaine
A memoir of a brief relationship
Frederick R Prete, The ACT is Still Useful
A careful analysis of the ACT results indicates that standardized tests discriminate, but not in the way that most people think.
Alberto Romero, ChatGPT: Eraser of the Implausible
An essay on why ChatGPT can't understand or process the intrinsic omnipresence of the improbable events that make each human life unique
Gabriel Kahane, To the Finland Station
A tone poem on solitude in Northern Karelia, musical collaboration, and emotional triage.
Nicky Shapiro, So You Want Mitch McConnell to Die
On Violent Political Fantasies, products of naive underestimations of both the wider forces responsible for political movements and the chaos inherent in implementing sudden, ad-hoc succession plans.
The Ivy Exile, A Letter From Back Home
Breaking with the progressive establishment entailed burning a bunch of bridges and losing a lot of friends. A good-faith attempt to explain to my former tribe why I had to leave, and the importance of empathizing with good folks with whom you might disagree
Norris Comer, Why I Love Maritime Writing
In this high tide of delusion, there is honesty in boats. A reflection on the joys of maritime journalism expands into a macro level critique of contemporary American writing.
Timothy Beck Werth, Meet Cool Whip, the 1,700-Pound “Sweetie Pie” Bucking for Rodeo Glory
It's a celebrity profile — of a bull. Find out if this underdog can become the world champion bucking bull.
Alex Olshonsky, No More Foreplay, the Universe is Ready to Fuck
Amidst an increasingly surreal modern landscape, which seems to be approaching a tipping point much like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's "Omega Point" theory suggests, you're still going to grapple with the everyday challenges of being a human.
Max Bouratoglou, Laying the Tracks of Disorder
An article which looks at how the railroad industry manipulated credit and government aid into personal fortunes, undermined the free-wage system through exploitative contracts and imported labor, and in the process nearly destroyed the American economy with the Panic of 1873.
Tara Smith, Things My Mom Said - Volume One
A Substack post featuring a few of my mom's most memorable zingers over the years
Megan Gafford, When Curiosity Kills the Cat
A mad scientist offers her perspective on the lab leak theory of COVID-19 origins, and its effect on the value of science. She incorporates her original pencil drawings in this visual essay.
Fiction: a tech worker gets invited to interview for a job in a computer game
Jason Munshi-South, I've studied NYC rodents for 12 years. The enemy is us.
A guest essay in the NY Times with my take on how NYC government, and residents, need to approach the issue of urban rats.
Pointless reflections on a traumatic intro to Threads with a thing about Cornel West's campaign sort of bolted onto it.
MustardClementine, Kill the Office To Breathe New Life Into Our Cities
Reflections on how we're strangling the development of a more sustainable, vibrant economy (and urban regeneration) by resisting the full embrace of remote work
Michelle Federico, Being "baby" is not anti-capitalist
In this text we take a look at the current cultural shift towards infantilisation, particularly its impact on our collective ability to drive meaningful political change, which in my humble stated opinion requires responsible agents who can handle tough challenges - pretty much the opposite of "baby".
Morgan Beatty, Into It
“Into It” is a novel about two high school boys, John (made dangerously manic by illicit medications) and Adam (a secretive obsessive), and their response to media coverage of a massive recent school shooting: to plot the destruction of their own school. Meanwhile, their classmate, Meredith, secretly plans to stop them.
Rebecca Eydeland, Finding the words, working through profound loss with hope and purpose
Key shares from a magnificent book on death and survival by a father who lost two teenager kids.
A story about one Southern working-class woman’s life that argues the constant churning and instability in people’s lives needs to be addressed.
A. N. Owen, Quest for Justice
Quest for Justice is a serialized fiction Substack exploring the meaning of justice throughout the ages while set against the backdrop of the onset of the American Civil War. Quest for Justice isn’t Sophie’s World, nor Life of Pi, and not just a Unionist rebuttal to Gone with the Wind, but fans of history, philosophy, politics, and heroines in swaying hoopskirts might find themselves strangely united.
Functionally Imperative, The bigger the interface, the weaker the abstraction
A post about simplifying life goals by creating narrowly scoped interfaces, drawing inspiration from the Go Programming Language.
Yassine Meskhout, Defunding My Mistake
Confessions of an ex-ACAB
April Harris, Open Eyes Within Hidden Places
Incarcerated writer April Harris gives an inside view of day-to-day life in a women's prison in Chino, California.
Josh Off The Press, The Summer is in the "Books" : And a new project is brewing at Josh off the Press.
A brief review of the books I have read this past summer.
Kier Adrian Gray, Why We Need to Stop Romanticizing Illness
An essay about why I left the spoonie subculture.
Khaled, Immiserate, Medicate, Replicate
A piece about the psychiatric symptom as an emergent societal phenomenon made concrete by the structure of the psycho-medical industry and our collective credulity to it
Jonathan Badger, Science, Language, and Hot Summer Days, Part 1
A Substack essay in response to a fancy critique of "Orwellian" references to climate change in newspapers
Moti Sorkin, A Glimpse Ahead
Fantasy story about the unexpected turns that life can take.
Roman Gamourtian, The Nanodemonic Curse
Goetic verse about a tiny curse.
Freya India, We Can't Compete With AI Girlfriends
A piece about AI girlfriends and the pressure on young girls to measure up physically, sexually, even emotionally with whatever the market churns out for men.
Itay Dreyfus, The social network antithesis
An essay discusses whether there's an antidote to social networks
Dana Jeri Maier, Skip to the Fun Parts: Cartoons and Complaints About Creativity
An advice-free book of cartoons and essays about the creative process.
Click Repellent, ICYMI: The First GOP Debate
A "transcript" of last month's Republican debate only slightly dumber than the real thing
My doctor ordered me to touch grass and it has sent me into a pseudoscientific tailspin.
A.J. Fezza, Trump at the Iowa State Fair: In Retrospect
A poetic take on Trump's adolescent energy and invigorating effect on the public, inspired by his arrival at the Iowa State Fair
Triangulation, Populational reshuffling
How to understand the existence of social change in the light of our knowledge about the relative stability of the individual—the stability of the individual’s psychological characteristics, as well as human nature—over time, as the findings from behavioral genetics, differential, and evolutionary psychology teach us?
Natasha Vargas-Cooper, Can the Trad Wife and the Lefty Mom be Friends?
We love our children and hate the state, so can we team up and overcome the forces that degrade us?
Education Realist, The Pandemic's Original Sin
There's really only one decision point that might have averted the damage caused by school closures.
This essay quotes DeBoer in support of the idea that NIH is wildly missing the point by embarking on a multi-year process to change its mission so as not to mention fixing disabilities. My apparently controversial view is that disabilities are obviously a health problem, and a science/health funding agency should continue to fund research on how to prevent or cure disabilities.