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This is a list of articles favourited in Pocket over the last week. You can view my reading list at any time here, or subscribe to the RSS feed here.

One second on Twitter, a four-volume set of books.

Archie Comics excels at spoiling their own stories to drive sales.

We’ve been building up to this moment since we launched Life with Archie five years ago and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie’s life as an adult had to also show his final moment.

Nastya Ptichek’s “emoji-nation” art series is a fantastic mix of old and new media. [via]

The irreplaceable David Letterman.

I came up with a theory: Letterman is for cat people. Dog people, who seek out affability and enthusiasm in their late-night hosts, gravitate toward Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, hosts who tumble down the driveway, eager to please. Cat people, by contrast, like Letterman, because he’s prickly, indifferent, and mysterious. Staring down at his blue index cards, chuckling ominously to himself, Letterman doesn’t seem to care about being funny. Instead, he seems frustrated, distracted, and maybe even a little bored.

The Ultimate Warrior died. And I’m actually a bit surprised about what a big deal it is. Not that it shouldn’t be, I think I just forgot how huge he was.

The Ultimate Warrior was a homophobic jerk. But he was a generation’s homophobic jerk.

More substantial cuts are coming to CBC. Because of course they are.

This would be the third major round of job cuts in five years after the CBC announced plans to lay off up to 800 workers in 2009 and about 650 employees in 2012.

Why won’t people start listening to Wade Rowland?

McSweeneys: The LinkedIn endorsement prompts are getting interesting.

Does James Pike know far too much about Galt’s Gulch?

An oral history of Heathers1.

The original ending was that J.D. blew up the high school and they all died, then there was a prom scene in heaven. [New World execs] just said, “No way. We can’t make a satirical movie about teenage suicide in which the people actually kill themselves.”

  1. Every time I think the whole oral history thing is played, somebody does one I can’t not read. 

This is a list of articles favourited in Pocket over the last week. You can view my reading list at any time here, or subscribe to the RSS feed here.

Some guy took about 500 photobooth pictures of himself over 30 years. Which made him substantially ahead of his time.

The man—nobody knows who he was—repeated this process 455 times, at least, and he did so well into the 1960s. Nobody knows for sure why he did it. Or where he did it. All we know is that he took nearly 500 self-portraits over the course of thirty years, at a time when taking self-portraits was significantly more difficult than it is today, creating a striking record of the passage of time.

An Rdio playlist of every song played on MTV’s Amp. Fuck you, everything else I might have listened to this weekend. [via]

Every Mitch Hedberg joke, ranked. This could be a book of philosophical aphorisms.

Every book is a children’s book if the kid can read.

The story of Pia Farrenkopf, who died in 2009 in her garage, but went undiscovered because of automated bill payments and friendly neighbours.

Between those two moments—when she died and when her body was discovered—she was a kind of Schrödinger’s cat, biologically dead but also, in a way, among the living, paying for her power and phone, the roof over her head. Until her body surfaced, Farrenkopf’s institutional ties were the only things keeping her “alive.”

Frankie Knuckles died.

If there was a year in which house music might be said to have climbed out of its subterranean bunker and into the mass market, it was 1989. That was when Mr Knuckles’s “Your Love” filled every dancefloor. Today, it is better known in its later incarnation as Candi Staton’s evergreen hit “You’ve Got The Love”. But ravers of a certain generation will tell you that it still brings to mind a time when the sweat dripped off nighclub walls, the ecstasy tablets were pure and only those in the clan attended.

Vice on microaggressive discrimination.

That’s because, as a big dumb pack, we White people can’t stand when anyone complains about our doing or saying offensive things when, gosh, we didn’t mean to cause offense—which we take as license to cause any offense we like. We White men are the worst when it comes to this and the most loath to learn and liable to go all angry-talk-radio on anyone who has the temerity to point out that we’re acting racist or sexist or just generally shitty. “Don’t be so sensitive!” we say, doggedly determined to make things worse, though of course the pasty White dudes of America are some of the most overly sensitive people on the planet (go ahead, just try making a joke at our expense).

On the latest episode of Canadaland, Jesse Brown and Ann Rauhala have an interesting and frank discussion about the current state of the Globe and Mail. Some of it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but there’s no denying the paper is a hot mess right now.

This is also the third time in the last two weeks I’ve read/heard a reference to the plagiarism allegations against Margaret Wente, which are, what, two years old now? They really didn’t handle that shit well at all.

Jamelle Bouie presents a brief history of racist bones.

Indeed, when it comes to race, it’s much easier for people to talk about their boundless tolerance than it is to own up to their actions.

This is a list of articles favourited in Pocket over the last week. You can view my reading list at any time here, or subscribe to the RSS feed here.

A.V. Club looks back at Tragic Kingdom (which came out nearly 20 years ago, old balls).

As crucial as it was for No Doubt to scale back the ska, it was Gwen’s look and personality that pushed Tragic Kingdom over the edge. Hella angsty yet still mindful of her abs, Stefani was the punky chick on the JV cheerleading squad, Alanis Morissette for Hot Topic shoppers. With her belly shirts and bindi, she was sporty, sexy, sort of dorky, and completely unlike any female rocker of the post-grunge era.

Evgeny Morozov on innovation (what is it?) and the way we make policy decisions about technology.

But why assume that innovation – and, by extension, economic growth – should be the default yardstick by which we measure the success of technology policy? One can easily imagine us living with a very different “internet” had the regulators of the 1990s banned websites from leaving small pieces of code – the so-called “cookies” – on our computers. Would this slow down the growth of the online advertising industry, making everyday luxuries such as free e-mail unavailable? Most likely. But advertising is hardly the only way to support an e-mail service: It can also be supported through fees or even taxes. Such solutions might be bad for innovation, but the privacy they afford to citizens might be good for democratic life.

McSweeneys: Your baby’s Klout score is in the 25th percentile.

I know you’re probably wondering how that’s even possible when he’s been acting like a perfectly normal baby, gaining weight, updating his Facebook page, tweeting regularly—but it’s a sad reality that some babies are just more influential than others, and can really drive online conversations, while some others unfortunately have opinions that don’t really make an impact. Some of this may be genetic—I don’t know what your Klout scores are—and even though we all want the best for our kids, parents with low Klout scores do tend to raise children who don’t get retweeted as often as they should, and who may not be able to build the following on Instagram that can catapult them into a thriving adolescence.

Hating Upworthy means you’re probably a cynical asshole.

Upworthy takes that old binary—earnest versus cynical, fair versus manipulative, righteous versus self-interested—and twists it into meaninglessness, from the mission statement on down. It turns out that if your noble goal is to “draw massive amounts of attention to the topics that really matter,” then the success of that mission (i.e., driving eyes toward meaningful content) and the short-term success of your company (i.e., attracting visitors to your for-profit, investment-backed website) are precisely identical. It’s the ultimate in “social entrepreneurship”—the good of the company and the good of mankind are, allegedly, the exact same thing. And not that the founders will say this explicitly, but there’s even some ambient implication that if this situation nags at you, you might on some level be more critical of getting the masses to think seriously about important issues than you are of a web-media status quo that on certain days seems to be 90 percent rage-bait essays and side-boob slideshows. Which would make you the cynic, nitpicker, hypocrite, or elitist.


A defense of clickbait that gets just about everything wrong.

Taken at face value, it’s less than meaningless—it’s self-negating. It’s obscurantist, senselessly treating journalism as if the high modernist values of contingency and complexity were journalism’s own. It’s moralistic, proposing a false binary between stories that serve the public interest and those cynically presented just because people will read them. It’s suspicious, hostile, and patronizing. It confuses decorum with integrity.

In theory, it’s a term for something without inherent merit, published principally for the purpose of tricking people into reading it. In practice, it’s something else.

The mistake is that clickbait, technically speaking, isn’t a problem, it’s a symptom. Clickbait headlines are a sign that journalism is broken and capitalism has failed. Or something. It’s complicated.

And don’t even get me started on the myriad issues with a headline that compares the projected death toll of construction projects related to the World Cup in Qatar to the people killed in 9/11. Like, fuck.

The Facebook/Oculus Rift thing has left a lot of people confused, angry, sad or some combination of the three. Valleywag takes the stance that it shows the less appealing side of Kickstarter: charity for venture capitalists.

If anything, I am frustrated with a narrative, not the mechanism of a Kickstarter campaign. It’s implicit when you back a product-based project that they will turn into a profitable company, if their idea and execution are solid. If Oculus turned into a billion-dollar company on their own by selling hardware, publishing software, and forging strategic alliances with other companies, I don’t think I would have given my Kickstarter money a second thought.

But that’s not what happened to Oculus. Instead, the money given by me and my fellow Kickstarter backers served as bait for venture capitalists, who invested three rounds of $29 million and $85 million apiece, leading to an eventual sale to Facebook for $2 billion.

A very important new parenting study has just been released.

A recent study has shown that if American parents read one more long-form think piece about parenting they will go fucking ape shit.

The Onion: Guy with 10,000 tweets, 15 followers about ready to hang it up.

Tech detoxing and the pointlessness of unplugging.

Unplugging seems motivated by two contradictory concerns: efficiency and enlightenment. Those who seek efficiency rarely want to change their lives, only to live more productively; rather than eliminating technology, they seek to regulate their use of it through Internet-blocking programs like Freedom and Anti-Social, or through settings like Do Not Disturb. The hours that they spend off the Internet aren’t about purifying the soul but about streamlining the mind. The enlightenment crowd, by contrast, abstains from technology in search of authenticity, forsaking e-mail for handwritten letters, replacing phone calls with face-to-face conversations, cherishing moments instead of capturing them with cameras. Both crowds are drawn to events like the Day of Unplugging, and some members even pay premiums to vacation at black-hole resorts that block the Internet and attend retro retreats that ban electronics. Many become evangelists of such technological abstinence, taking to social media and television, ironically, to share insights from their time in the land of innocence.

Grantland goes long on the current status of the Wu-Tang Clan.1

But the group has failed to deliver on anything close to a proper full-length album. And in the process, they’ve made one thing clear: This thing is broken. For as much as the group members talk about unity and foreverness, they can’t get in a room and agree. They can’t get their shit together.

  1. Sorry about the headline. Couldn’t resist. 

This is a list of articles favourited in Pocket over the last week. You can view my reading list at any time here, or subscribe to the RSS feed here.