10 things worth sharing: the joys of spring, the dangers of the algorithm, ear and eye candy, and more...
We must have a pretty highbrow crew around here, as the discussion thread about TV wasn’t quite as popular as the discussion thread about books! Love it. If you haven’t gotten access to discussions by become a paying subscriber yet, you’re missing out on one of the funnest places on the internet:
Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
Spring has sprung in Texas and I’m celebrating with lots of bike rides, writing with my feet in the pool, and reading Martin Gayford’s Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy. (I wrote a little bit about Hockey in my post about old ways to do new things.)
The most thought-provoking thing I heard this week was Ezra Klein’s interview with philosopher C. Thi Nguyen about what makes games special and gamification so dangerous. Head over to Nguyen’s website to browse his writing — his paper, “How Twitter Gamifies Communication” is one of the best things about that cursed website I’ve ever read. (Looking forward to reading his book, Games: Agency As Art.)
More anti-algorithm reading: a case against Rotten Tomatoes and how Instagram’s pivot to video has screwed over small companies. (After all this time, I’m still a believer in owning your own turf online and building a mailing list.)
I had a delightful conversation with writer Oliver Burkeman.
Maud Newton’s book, Ancestor Trouble, is finally here and getting excellent reviews. (She has some of the best writing advice: “Don’t write the Tedious Thing.”)
An inspiring letter from Steve Albini to Nirvana explaining his philosophy before they worked together on In Utero.
Eye candy: Anaïs Nin’s home in LA and the collected photography of cinematographer Roger Deakins.
Ear candy: Steve Reich on Song Exploder discussing the making of “Different Trains.”
TV: We’re loving Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty on HBO Max. Fantastic actors (I love John C. Reilly so much) and it’s structured like a classic heist movie.
Two obits juxtaposed by friend Mark: centenarian blogger Dagny Carlsson, who lived to 109, and drummer Taylor Hawkins, who left us at age 50.
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That Steve Reich Song Exploder piece was strong! I immediately recognized "Come out" which Reich wrote in the 60's from the Madvillain "Madvillainy" record. I did not know it was sampled from him. Thanks, Austin!
Rarely watch TV anymore so I couldn't contribute to that particular thread! I did, however, watch your conversation with Oliver Burkeman and it was delightful and it is this kind of viewing which I find so nourishing nowadays.🙏✨