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The Bluestocking vol 280
The Indigo Blob is not an undifferentiated mass
A couple of weeks ago, the Radio Times asked the Page 94 crew to do a photoshoot for its current issue, which is a Podcast Special.
Adam, Andy and I raced to the studio, carrying a cardboard cutout of Ian (he was on holiday). Here is the end result:
I’m so happy to be podcasting again! Also, Radio Times is the best kind of publicity, i.e. something that your mum will be impressed by. You should definitely listen to Page 94, which is out every other Wednesday—in the latest episode, we tried to gauge how sympathetic we should be to Nigel Farage over his debanking.
The Weird, Fragmented Post-Twitter World (The Atlantic)
Now, though, I can see the first glimmers of a post-Twitter world. The weirdos, early adopters, shitposters, furries, and scolds are trying out Bluesky, where they can complain about “Elmo” and his tenure in charge of “the bird site.” Actual young people are on TikTok. True Boomers never made it to Twitter and are still happily posting on Facebook about UFOs and bunco nights. A handful of disgruntled tweeters tried Post and Mastodon, but the first is a graveyard, and the second is an obstacle course for non-techie users. The normies and the brands went to Instagram’s new Threads app, and then many of the normies promptly left because Threads was too boring without enough weirdos, furries, or scolds to add seasoning to the mix. (Corporations might love placing their ads next to unobjectionable inspirational content, but the cumulative effect is to make Threads like watching a television channel entirely composed of infomercials.)
Grindfluencers—the type of people who listen to 15-minute summaries of Freakonomics and The Art of War—have always been happiest on LinkedIn, posting about their podcast drops and congratulating you on your “work anniversary,” which is not and never will be a real thing. Instagram is still full of hot people who are feeling #blessed and keen to demonstrate this humility by posing in a bikini by an infinity pool. (If these posters have a hot sister, she can wear a bikini too, and then they can observe that #familyiseverything.) Twitter is now the social network of choice for people who know what a sonnenrad is and, moreover, believe it has been unfairly maligned.
I wrote an updated version of Yes, Prime Minister’s account of who reads what newspaper. People on Instagram don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.
“‘The moderates are the ones who behave the same way regardless of whether their party is in power or not. The moderates are critical to crafting and passing legislation that actually gets signed into law. The moderates are the ones who work the hardest,’ Hurd writes in his book. ‘And we are the ones who get shit done. Extremists do the most bitching and get the least accomplished’.” Will Hurd is running as a “normal” Republican (The Atlantic).
The guys who spent two years making chainmail for Lord of the Rings clearly went a bit mad, but you can’t deny they made great chainmail (Twitter).
“The Indigo Blob is not an undifferentiated mass. If you look closely, it contains multitudes. However, it’s to some people’s advantage to maintain the Blob’s ambiguity. Trying to disambiguate the Blob will often make you the subject of intense criticism on Twitter, and Twitter’s architecture has tended to make such dissent painful.” Nate Silver on the groupthink problem of Old Twitter (Substack).
Henry Oliver has written a reflection on Oppenheimer, suggesting that using the atomic bomb wasn’t so much an active decision as something which alchemically became inevitable. We’ve got it, so of course we have to use it. Which has all kinds of interesting implications, I think (Common Reader, Substack).
“In the years that followed, [Tucker] Carlson rose, then fell, then rose higher again, and often I wondered how he did it. I believe among the millions of words he employed — the thundering waterfall of words; the warring, imprecatory, wheedling words — only one mattered most: “you”. This was his great insight. Instead of describing events from around the globe with detachment, he invited viewers into a conspiracy of knowing.” (Unherd)
“You can't be texting somebody else and paying attention to what's going on. If you call people on it, they'll repeat the last thing you said. They repeat the words with zero understanding of what they meant.” Why Christopher Nolan doesn’t allow phones on set (Esquire). In my household, this phenomenon is known as “boyfriend recall,” a highly developed survival technique.
“One of the main things Joe can offer Hunter is repeated public declarations of his worth and rectitude, and he offers them readily. Joe Biden is also a father who has faced tremendous loss: many of his loved ones have died untimely deaths, and Hunter, whatever his flaws, is one of the children he has left. I find Joe’s devotion to and accommodation of Hunter to be very understandable, human, and heartbreaking. It shows the costs and the hurt that Joe Biden is willing to endure for his love.” You read a lot about the political dimension of Hunter Biden, but I thought this was a moving personal piece. I don’t see any evidence Joe Biden has colluded with his son’s mad schemes, but he has (politically unwisely) refused to cut him off (Very Serious, Substack).
Sorry the Bluestocking has recently been, unlike me, a little thin. It’s been a busy month, and also everyone else in journalism is on holiday and therefore producing fewer interesting things to read. There will be a special edition on Sunday, however, so look out for that in your inbox.
See you next time!