Welcome to the Winter Syllabus 2017, a collection of articles and commentaries that captured my attention. (See also 2016, 2015, 2014.) I use the term ‘journalism’ loosely.
Standard disclaimer: This is not a list of ‘likes’ nor is it a recommendation for what ought to be read or which deserves exposure—that list would be endless and also meaningless.
If you’re only going to read a few of these, the ones that have stayed with me the most are Virginia Heffernan’s The Internet Is the Uncanniest Valley. Don’t Get Trapped in It, Kevin Kelly’s The Myth of a Superhuman AI, and Claire Dederer’s What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?. Maybe the funniest was Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Buzzfeed Article, but there were so many funnies this year. I guess we all needed it.
- Workload survival guide for academics
- Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security
- Science first, scientists later
- Academia is now incompatible with family life, thanks to casual contracts
- The “Crazy/Bitch” Narrative About Senior Academic Women
- The dark arts of academia and why journals must do more to tackle the problem
- Sixteen years in academia made me an a-hole
- Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too – Issue 46: Balance – Nautilus
- Sixteen years in academia made me an a-hole
- The Human Cost of the Ghost Economy
- Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream
- The First White President
- Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump
- On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America’s New Right
- 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump
- America’s New Resistance
- How to Build an Autocracy
- What the idea of civilisational ‘collapse’ says about history
- Appalachian Wrestling’s Greatest Villain: ‘The Progressive Liberal’
- The Lost City That’s Not Lost
- White Men
- My month with chemtrails conspiracy theorists
- Searching for California’s lost Viking treasure ship
Ethics and the examined life
- The secret to office happiness isn’t working less, it’s caring less
- Is the world really better than ever?
- The ultimate case against using shame as a management tactic
- The Wisdom of No Escape
- LOVE IN THE 21ST CENTURY; Against Love
- Ask Polly: Men Are the Worst, and I’m Married to One!
- On Optimism and Despair
- What’s wrong with infidelity?
- Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self
- The Consent of the (Un)governed
- Rebecca Solnit: if I were a man
- How Men Like Harvey Weinstein Implicate Their Victims in Their Acts
- Let’s Get Drinks
- Seeking Idea-Oriented Business Multi-Professional to Localize Metrics-Enlarged Dreamscape Stratagems
- Lobsters, Fajitas, Sex Toys, and More: The Best and Weirdest Heists of 2017
- Listen Up, Bitches: It’s Lysistrata Time!
- ‘The Only Difference Between Humans And Chimps Is That Humans Made The Sopranos’: 5 Questions With Jane Goodall
- Hell Yes, Baby, It Is The Special Choo-Choo Medicine Called Coal! The Patriotic Vegetable That Comes From Mountains!!!
- List: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Buzzfeed Article
- Trump Got To Sit In A Big Boy Truck Because Today Was A Special Day!
- Synthetic Fabrics Inspired a Cultural Revolution
- Frances Gabe, Creator of the Only Self-Cleaning Home, Dies at 101
- Sock Puppets and Cult Leaders: The False Prophet Alexander
- What was Christmas like in Nazi Germany?
- How the Appetite for Emojis Complicates the Effort to Standardize the World’s Alphabets
- Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?
- Arabic Words Illustrated Based On Their Literal Meaning
- Linguists have been discussing “Shit Gibbon.” I argue it’s not entirely about gibbons.
- The Last Days of the Leather Fortress | Hazlitt
- Why Happy People Cheat
- Opinion | Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism
- The Nightwalker and the Nocturnal Picaresque
- Melissa Broder: Thoughts On Open Marriage and Illness
- Something is wrong on the internet
- John Lanchester: You Are the Product: It Zucks!
- The Internet Is the Uncanniest Valley. Don’t Get Trapped in It
- Intersectional Identity and the Path to Progress
- The Moon Is Full of Money – Issue 52: The Hive – Nautilus
- Lack of character in Canberra analysis
- Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice
- The Rise of the Thought Leader
- The age of banter
- How Liberals Fell In Love With The West Wing | Current Affairs
- This Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks Like
- This is how we take back control: from the bottom up | George Monbiot
- Meltdown of the Phantom Snowflakes | Laurie Penny
- A debate over identity politics, with Mark Lilla
- How Information Got Re-Invented – Issue 51: Limits – Nautilus
- Chaos Makes the Multiverse Unnecessary – Issue 49: The Absurd – Nautilus
- The Fly in the Primordial Soup – Issue 50: Emergence – Nautilus
- The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel
- If You Think You’re a Genius, You’re Crazy – Issue 46: Balance – Nautilus
- The Coin Toss and the Love Triangle – Issue 44: Luck – Nautilus
Writing & writers
- ‘Cat Person’
- What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?
- “A Love Story”
- Hermann Hesse on the Three Types of Readers and Why the Most Transcendent Form of Reading Is Non-reading
- How TV Became Respectable Without Getting Better | Current Affairs
- Why Doesn’t Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings? – Issue 47: Consciousness – Nautilus
- How I won the War of the Pie single-handed
- George Saunders: what writers really do when they write
- Writing and identity
Most overrated crap
I should have started this sub-list earlier because I think it’s important to keep track of articles that seemed to be shared all over the place for no good reason. I won’t link to them since you will need no help finding them.
Number one goes to John Pilger’s ‘Terror in Britain: What did the Prime Minister know?” Nobody has been able to explain to me why a long-winded conspiracy theorist with a bromance for Putin and Assange has such a passionate following on the left. This piece, circulated earnestly on AASNet and elsewhere, is an utter train wreck of bollocks.
Second prize goes to Dan Kopf’s ‘The new, nearly invisible class markers that separate the American elite from everyone else’. All you need to do is imagine somebody who never did an undergraduate arts degree independently discovering the concepts of class and consumption and being blown away by their own insight.
[How I made this (a note to self). Favourite articles were archived using instapaper and then downloaded as html via the settings page]
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