Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles we enjoyed this week, good for consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
If you don’t get any farther in today’s Post than this “best of” the Awl and the Hairpin, selected by writers and editors from both blogs, that’s okay. I almost stopped there, too. Mixed in with dozens of links to hilarious, moving, smart, offbeat writing are elegies for the sunsetting sites. Some are nostalgic; others are righteously angry — Sam Biddle’s, for example.
DCist, the first place that ever published something I wrote, was recently killed by a spiteful billionaire. Gawker, the first place that ever paid me to write, suffered the same fate about a year earlier. Now the Awl, the first website that took a chance on publishing me when I was just some dipshit recent college grad (I am now a dipshit 31-year-old) is dead, not directly at the hands of a billionaire, but in part by the stupid, fucked-up publishing ecosystem that tech billionaires have helped build. I guess the lesson here is try to be a billionaire if you can.
On the anniversary of the Women’s March, Andrew Sullivan wrote that being an asshole is a biological imperative. Ijeoma Oluo did not write a rebuttal, but her recent essay on male choice might as well be one.
As I watch countless men (and sadly, quite a few women) jump to the defense of other men who have been outed for their coercive, demeaning, and abusive behavior towards women; as I watch them debate the fine points of whether or not a woman said no loud enough, whether her “I’m not comfortable” was strong enough, whether she was at fault for being mistreated by not yelling, or hitting, or running — I want to ask them all this question: Is this the type of man you want to be?
Sudden urge to put Sullivan in a room with Oluo and wait for her to come out alone. Sudden, better urge to put Sullivan in a room with James Damore and lock the door forever.
Oliver Burkeman’s essay on books that teach parents how to rear their children is blood-curdling. The entire genre seems based on the vulnerability of new parents who are, seemingly, a desperate and wild-eyed lot, all-too-easy to convince that one misstep will ruin your child for life. Thank heavens cat and dog people are free of any such neuroticism …
What I didn’t yet understand was the diabolical genius of the baby-advice industry, which targets people at their most sleep-deprived, at the beginning of what will surely be the weightiest responsibility of their lives, and suggests that maybe, just maybe, between the covers of this book, lies the morsel of information that will make the difference between their baby’s flourishing or floundering. The brilliance of this system is that it works on the most sceptical readers, too, because you don’t need to believe it’s likely such a morsel actually exists. You need only think it likely enough to justify spending another £10.99 on, oh, you know, the entire future happiness of your child, just in case.
James Jackson Toth’s 2017 resolution — listen to a single album, and only that album, for every week of the year — died quickly and amusingly. But his take on how the internet has changed his relationship to music, with implied parallels to the problem of curating and consuming words, is interesting. And yes: algorithms can be magical, but I still like humans best.
Missing from a larger discussion is the radical idea that maybe it is the consumers who are being done the greatest disservice, and that this access-bonanza may be cheapening the listening experience by transforming fans into file clerks and experts into dilettantes. I don't want my musical discoveries dictated by a series of intuitive algorithms any more than I want to experience Jamaica via an all-inclusive trip to Sandals.
The queue, as considered by Jamie Lauren Keiles, is an engine of desire and a microcosm of social hierarchy, competition, and collaboration. A gently serious piece about mostly lighthearted things — cronuts, iPhones, and sneakers — and how we give them value by our willingness to wait.
I’m left to keep up with the latest desserts through the Instagram posts of a random teen I’ve followed online for the last three years. This past summer, she visited New York and waited in line at a place called Dō, a “confection” shop near NYU that sells raw cookie dough in spoonable cups. A few weeks ago, I visited the shop, hoping to enjoy the society of its line and try its pasteurized (though questionable) product. But arriving at the shop on a weekday afternoon, the line I sought was nowhere to be found. Two French tourists dawdled out front, enjoying their bowls of uncooked dessert. I looked through the window at the empty café. It felt pointless to spend the $4 without waiting.