Consumed Media

Feb 2021

The Ezra Klein Show

Things that stuck with me:

Ezra Klein is someone who I have found is thinking about a lot of the same problems I am, and usually more in depth than I am, and farther along in his conclusions. I have gleaned numerous book recommendations, discusssion topics, new perspectives from listening to him and the guests he brings on. I mainly listen to discussions on the topic of how technology is affecting us, attention, and whatever else catches my eye in the title bars.

100 Rabbits

Things that stuck with me:

These folks are living close to what I would say is my dream life, and doing it with a philosphy that I really respect, and am coming to realize is much more my speed. Devine put is best in a talk that 100r did: "It's a lot healthier for us to optimize to need less than trying to optimize to make more money"

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Things that stuck with me:

Every essay is great. Her essay on Heroines gave me plenty of reading suggestions, and her essays on the internet and optimization were deeply relatable. Her arguments on the internet are summed up cleanly in the introduction of her critiques:

"I've been thinking about five intersecting problems: first, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity, second how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions, third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition, fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."

Additionally, I thought this line was insightful:

"[the social web] can...feel like a shunt diverting our energy away from action, leaving the real-world sphere to the people who already control it, keeping us busy figuring out the precisely correct way of explaining our lives."

I totally agree with this and am grapling with how much an online/computer existence is so rooted in abstraction and talk as opposed to action and existence; which she goes on to sum up with this choice quote:

"People are making the the world better through concrete footwork everyday...But their time and labor, too, has been devalued and stolen by the voracious form of capitalism that drives the internet, and which the internet drives in turn."

Her essays on optimization and marriage also struck a chord with me. Societally, there are a lot of things that we do just because the grooves are already in place to fit into, but I don't think are actually particularly smart calls, or make us happy. Tolentino says this way better than I can throughout those two essays. A lot can be summed up with this John Kenneth Galbraith quote, that Tolentino uses:

"It can no longer be assumed that welfare is greater at an all-around higher level of production than a lower one...The higher level of production has, merely, a higher level of want creation necessitating a higher level of want satisfaction."