Let’s dig into “gravitas,” because it’s an ambiguous word, selectively applied. Ever wonder how expression that’s feminine, working-class, queer, or POC isn’t deemed as having “gravitas”, but talking like an Aaron Sorkin character does? Men have “gravitas,” women get “likeable.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on words.

Ocasio-Cortez is specifically namedropping Sorkin here because she’s saying this in response to some of his dipshit comments. Also, The West Wing is still a bad show and that’s a take I will now and forever stand by.

2019-04-29T12:06:40+10:0016th July, 2019|Tags: culture, politics|

Toxic shocking.

As someone who was so scared by the Toxic Shock Bogeyman as a teen and has subsequently never used a tampon because of it,1 this re-look at the “syndrome” was pretty fascinating. And not just for the fact that apparently all the major researchers in the area are dudes who get into prestige fights over whose theory of the causes is correct…

  1. Not that I’ve had a period for, like, a decade. But still… []
2019-02-05T11:45:41+10:0015th July, 2019|Tags: health|

Me: … and yeah it’s totally the little things that throw you out. Like I was reading this one fic where a character put his shoes in the washing machine and everyone acted like it was totally normal.

Literally everyone I know: It’s totally normal to put shoes in the washing machine! I’m washing my shoes right now!

Me: … wtaf?

Everyone: How else do you get clean shoes?

Me: … w t a f ?

2019-07-16T09:32:48+10:0015th July, 2019|Tags: life|


Ads sold by Amazon, once a limited offering at the company, can now be considered a third major pillar of its business, along with e-commerce and cloud computing. Amazon’s advertising business is worth about $125 billion, more than Nike or IBM, Morgan Stanley estimates. At its core are ads placed on by makers of toilet paper or soap that want to appear near product search results on the site.


In addition to knowing what people buy, Amazon also knows where people live, because they provide delivery addresses, and which credit cards they use. It knows how old their children are from their baby registries, and who has a cold, right now, from cough syrup ordered for two-hour delivery. And the company has been expanding a self-service option for ad agencies and brands to take advantage of its data on shoppers.

Karen Weise on Amazon’s next product.

(Hint: the Product is You.)

2019-02-05T11:17:26+10:0014th July, 2019|Tags: advertising, privacy, tech|

The purity cost.

So what did happen to all those girls who signed “purity plegdes” back ten or twenty years ago? If you’re thinking “probably nothing good” then… yeah, basically. But possibly not in the way you’re imagining…

2019-02-05T10:58:16+10:0014th July, 2019|Tags: culture|


But I’m struck by how one primary reason a fiasco like Fyre Festival could happen, or indeed how many of the worst aspects of influencer culture can happen, is because of the very real emotional effect of the Fear of Missing Out. It’s especially true because FOMO is a designed, intentional result of using most modern social media apps.


The stakes are so much higher now then back when we just worried that social media would make us feel bad about missing a party. Yes, that’s still a cause of stress, but far worse is social media enabling grifters to profiteer off of innocent people’s credulity. How can we fret about missing our friends when the emotional manipulation of social apps has warped every institution in our entire culture?

Anil Dash on missing out.

2019-02-05T10:53:32+10:0013th July, 2019|Tags: culture, social media, tech|

Young Tumblr Brown.

If you come to believe that you know the truth about someone or that you know their “real” self, then there is nothing else to learn. There is no need to listen or to observe. You can assume that every argument is conducted in bad faith. There can, in fact, be no dialogue at all. Conversation is altogether precluded.


We are thus tempted simultaneously, and somewhat paradoxically, to believe that those we encounter online are necessarily involved in an inauthentic identity game and that we are capable of ascertaining the truth about them, even on the slimmest of evidence. […] Or, to put it another way, we believe we know the truth about everyone and the truth we know is that there is no truth to be known. So our public sphere takes on not a cynical quality, but a nihilistic one.

L. M. Sacasas on the Discourse.

I’m somewhat torn about this article, as well as the essay that it references about “the unmasking style” in arguments.1 On the one hand, I think understanding “the unmasking style”—understanding that it’s even A Thing—is really critical in understanding certain manifestations of Arguing On The Internet and okay I’m going to say fandom antis. I mean I think it’s useful in understanding fandom antis (among others).

But, on the other hand… a lot of Arguing On The Internet really is conducted in incredibly bad faith. And assuming good faith in those situations isn’t just futile but can be actively dangerous. So… yeah.

I don’t really have a pithy conclusion or an action list or whatever to solve this apparent paradox, incidentally. Just… these things. They exist.

  1. Which, again, I think is interesting reading but have issues with on… numerous grounds, really, not the least being the author is one of the sorts of people who’d unironically put scare-quotes around the word “microaggressions” while simultaneously utterly failing to comprehend what they actually are. []
2019-02-04T13:22:54+10:0011th July, 2019|Tags: culture, social media|