Improving Ourselves to Death
There is a great deal of money to be made by those who diagnose and treat our fears of inadequacy;
“I mean, that’s what’s interesting about this moment in time, since Donald Trump is the main character in all of our lives.”
This Black Mirror episode suggests that while some big tech names, like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, worry about a superintelligent AI enslaving or destroying humanity, the more immediate threat is human beings, who misuse modern tools every day to manipulate and harm people in ways an AI would never dream of. Humanity has desires and impulses that would make no sense to even the most sadistic piece of software.
Black Mirror is most comfortable when it’s suspicious of technology, but it’s sharpest when it examines distinctly human anxieties
I was never actually present for any of it. It was like I was on autopilot doing all the things a well-rounded human should do and suppressing the urge to scream, or collapse, or both.
A big part of our jobs, as mature adult human beings, is figuring out who we are and what we value WITHOUT falling back on a million and one inaccurate and clumsy stories told by other people who know us about as well as a fucking squirrel knows the moon.
But with her appointment, Condé Nast is signaling, once again, that it is barreling headlong into the digital age — if as much to reach its screen-obsessed consumers as by the financial realities of the magazine industry.
There is, to begin with, constant tension, an overarching sense of pressure associated with the thought that there’s something that needs to be done, always something I’m supposed to be doing right now.
Damn these millennials with their Snapchat and their openness and their insistence that the uncomfortable social norms we’ve all just swallowed for decades can, in fact, be changed. I spend about two-thirds of my time in awe of them and the rest feeling like the dad in Footloose, which none of them have seen.
So much of what happens to anyone, offline and online, is the fault of everyone — our collaborative structures, our massive platforms. The people in charge at Facebook and Twitter are just getting around to saying so, but the rest of us have made it clear that we already knew. “Loneliness is personal, and it is also political,” Laing concludes. “Loneliness is collective; it is a city.” The vast digital metropolis of the internet — that place that was supposed to make us feel never alone — failed us this year; we built what we needed on its outskirts.
What I found was a remarkable example of a new breed of 21st-century start-up — a homegrown hardware business with only around 50 employees that raised no venture capital funding, spent almost nothing on advertising, and achieved enormous size primarily through online word-of-mouth. It is also a testament to the enormous power of Amazon, and its ability to turn small businesses into major empires nearly overnight.
What is currently being tested is whether men are superfluous.
That has proved half true. Mr. Trump, so far, has arguably wrestled the presidency to a draw.
The Trump lies that could not be coded into just one category were typically told both to belittle others and enhance himself.
Ms. Yellen, the first woman to serve as the head of the Federal Reserve Board, didn’t ask to become a feminist icon, and she almost never talks about gender in the abstract or her historic role as the agency’s chairman (she bristles at being called “chairwoman”). And yet, during a tenure characterized by a plummeting unemployment rate and consistently low inflation, Ms. Yellen became a pop culture phenomenon.
Franken was a good politician, and many Democrats hoped he might grow into a presidential candidate. But it was his destiny to serve history in a different way. He was caught up in a rebellion of epic proportion, one that was not just about unwanted groping but a whole new stage in the movement of women into the center of public life.
A few years ago, I met a fellow who had won a Pulitzer for foreign reporting the year before. When he finally discovered what we had in common, he said in a scolding voice: “You’re the shyest Pulitzer winner I’ve ever met. Do you understand you won the highest award in journalism? When I got it, I shouted it to the skies.”
And the skies clearly listened.
Pleasure is a brain wave right now. Happiness is a good story of your life. The Greek word for happiness is “eudaimonia,” which means literally “having a good guiding angel,” like Clarence the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life. The schoolbook summary of the Greek idea in Aristotle says that such happiness is “the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.”
He can tweet and sign off, but those 140-280 characters may keep reporters and editors here in New York and in Washington busy for hours. Everyone has lost a lot of sleep.
When leaders are open, clear and unapologetic about the lines they draw, the rest of us have permission to consider our own boundaries.
When men turn some women into sexual objects, the women who are inside that box are one-dimensional, while those outside of it become disposable; the ones who refuse to be disposed of, who continue to insist on being seen and heard, are inconvenient and pitiable at best, deceitful shrews and crazy harpies at worst. That’s exactly how some commentary and news coverage treated Mrs. Clinton.
A pervasive theme of all of these men’s coverage of Mrs. Clinton was that she was dishonest and unlikable. These recent harassment allegations suggest that perhaps the problem wasn’t that Mrs. Clinton was untruthful or inherently hard to connect with, but that these particular men hold deep biases against women who seek power instead of sticking to acquiescent sex-object status.
This man naturally assumed that he knew more about it than I did. It was his ingrained view of women — a view that’s costing all of us.
Today, the pivot seems less like a business strategy and more like end-of-life estate planning.
Really interesting read
“We all get to choose our life stories. It’s our choices that define us, not our gifts. You can only be proud of your choices” Jeff says. You either choose a life of “ease and comfort”, or of “service and adventure”, and when you’re 80, you’ll be more proud of the latter.
"These are deaths that would not have occurred had the warming we’ve observed in the historical climate record not taken place."
Their podcast has come to occupy a singular perch in blue America; where an NPR tote bag once signified a certain political persuasion and mind-set, in the age of Trump, it’s a “Friend of the Pod” T-shirt. “ ‘Pod Save America,’ ” says the Democratic strategist Jesse Ferguson, “is the voice of the ‘resistance.’ ”
You’re a classic self-blaming overachieving perfectionist. Everything is your fault and you’re responsible for fixing anything that’s wrong, but because everything has been your fault since the dawn of time, you no longer have the will to fix anything. You don’t even have the will to acknowledge that there are things OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF that need to be fixed.
For his efforts to make the city seem, instead, like a nonstop exclusive party to which almost nobody is invited, I dare say Halperin is the single journalist most responsible for Donald Trump. Think that's too bold? Name me another.
Another way of putting that is that the future that VCs and other investors were investing hundreds of millions of dollars in probably doesn’t exist
Thus Money Diaries was established as a place where millennial women stand before their peers to await harsh judgment.
"I definitely think that for a silver job women always have to be gold. As a woman I never felt I could wing it. And I was always envious of men who could wing it. I can’t wing it."
We are turning over incidents that don’t fall into the categories that have been established — a spectrum that runs from Weinstein-level brutality to non-rapey but creepy massages to lurid-but-risible pickup lines — and wondering whether or how any of it relates to actual desire for another person.