In a new regular segment of my blog, I'll be listing the longreads I've enjoyed in the past month, breaking down the articles and offering links so you can check out my recommended reading.
As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi, and he's been straight killing it with his columns on U.S. politics. Recently, he wrote about the Trump-LaVar Ball fiasco, summing it up thusly: "Sadly, the two men have remarkably similar media instincts, the difference being that Ball is mostly trying to sell sneakers, whereas Trump is trying to sell race-hatred."
If you want a tasty column full of acerbic writing and shade so thick it could be pitch black, read all of Taibbi's recent columns on the idiotic Twitter wars Trump starts and how his presidency is nothing but a glorified WWE match.
Making a sharp turn, I read this fantastic overview of the Black Panther comics' role in spreading the good word about Afro-futurism, the concept of blending science fiction with a future informed by blackness. As a Black Panther noob, I wanted to learn more about Black Panther's world of Wakanda and what makes this African nation so advanced in the Marvel universe. It's a great read, especially if you're nerding hard on all things Black Panther ahead of the film's release on February 16.
Wired has been pumping out some fantastic journalism in the past year, and this Virginia Heffernan column on the Net's uncanny valley is no exception. She looks at how "the gap between the real and the replica can seem nauseatingly narrow" and how the Net distorts the truth almost by the minute. I love this line: "What we’re doing still, after all these years, is seeking serviceable metaphors that will make sense of the digital onslaught, trying to match its many facets, in scale and tenor, with traditional human experiences."
Finally, in the same vein, The Nieman Lab published this interview with Baylor University professor Alan Jacobs, author of How To Think. The author writes: "We suffer from a settled determination to avoid thinking. Relatively few people want to think. Thinking troubles us; thinking tires us. Thinking can force us out of familiar comforting habits.” He brings this theory to the Twitterverse, explaining how responding to tweets is so reflexive it's almost animal. He wants us to slow down. To think about how we'll respond to tweets and posts. And as a news junkie, I was especially enjoying his take on how news networks can help improve civil discourse.
Jacobs even offers an idea to help us think harder about what we post online: "I think Twitter would be doing a great service to humanity if they put a five-minute timer on tweets before people could respond to them. Of course, they won’t do that."
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