The Best Things I Read This Week

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I couldn’t narrow it down this week.

On blogging, from Seth Godin via Exploreblog:

People always look for excuses. My favorite one is, “Well that’s easy for you because you have a really popular blog.” As if my really popular blog was something I won in the lottery. I had a really unpopular blog for three years in a row where 10 or 20 people were reading it. When I got started in the book business, I received 900 rejection letters. So you don’t look at the end result — at the Richard Bransons and Maria Popovas — and say, “Well they have that thing that I don’t.” They got that thing by showing up. I am really focused on helping people understand that not showing up is a failure of will more than it is a failure of birth.

On writing, from Madeleine L’Engle via Exploreblog:

I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.

On clickbait and clicking responsibly, from Sally Kohn via Brain Pickings:

…clicking is a public act. It’s no longer the case that a few powerful elites control all the media and the rest of us are just passive receivers. Increasingly, we’re all the media. I used to think, oh, okay, I get dressed up, I put on a lot of makeup, I go on television, I talk about the news. That is a public act of making media. And then I go home and I browse the web and I’m reading Twitter, and that’s a private act of consuming media. I mean, of course it is. I’m in my pajamas.

Wrong.

Everything we blog, everything we Tweet, and everything we click is a public act of making media. We are the new editors. We decide what gets attention based on what we give our attention to. That’s how the media works now. There’s all these hidden algorithms that decide what you see more of and what we all see more of based on what you click on, and that in turn shapes our whole culture.

[…]

In an increasingly noisy media landscape, the incentive is to make more noise to be heard, and that tyranny of the loud encourages the tyranny of the nasty.

It does not have to be that way. It does not. We can change the incentive. For starters, there are two things we can all do. First, don’t just stand by the sidelines when you see someone getting hurt. If someone is being abused online, do something. Be a hero. This is your chance. Speak up. Speak out. Be a good person. Drown out the negative with the positive. And second, we’ve got to stop clicking on the lowest-common-denominator, bottom-feeding linkbait.

[…]

If what gets the most clicks wins, then we have to start shaping the world we want with our clicks, because clicking is a public act. So click responsibly.

Speaking of being a hero and speaking up when someone is being abused, author Chuck Wendig had the best response to the celebrity nude photo leak titled “A PSA About Nude Photos” (He changed my mind about the whole thing.):

I think people should be allowed to take nude photos of themselves.

I think nude photos are rad. I think not taking nude photos is rad. I think whatever you want to do sexually or artistically is a-okay as long as its enthusiastically consensual — stick a carrot up your ass, if you want, while banging your genitals with a tambourine. Whoever you are, however you identify yourselves, I live in a world where I want you to have both the freedom to do what you want in this manner while simultaneously possessing the privacy to do it as you see fit.

Any violation of that is just that: a violation.

It is a crime. An actual, honest-to-that-blind-lady-with-the-scales crime.

It is not rape, but it is deeply demonstrative of rape culture because it is an act that exploits a woman and her body without her consent. And then, as if to vigorously rub salt into the wound with the heel of one’s callused hand, the judgey-faced shitty-assed judgments of countless men follow in the wake of the violation: victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Puritanical finger-waggling.

“If you don’t want nude pics to get into the world…”

“Something-something security…”

“Sure, sure, it’s a crime, but still, you have to know realize that…”

Shut up.

Shut up shut up shut up shut up.

Thank you, Chuck.

And finally, something that made me laugh hard.  If you’re a food blog lover like me, you’ll love “All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog” from Mallory Ortberg at The Toast:

“I don’t have any of these ingredients at home. Could you rewrite this based on the food I do have in my house? I’m not going to tell you what food I have. You have to guess.”

“I followed this to the letter, except I substituted walnuts and tofu for the skirt steak, ditched the cheese entirely, and replaced the starch with a turnip salad. Turned out great. My seven-year-old boys have never seen a dessert and I’ve convinced them that walnut-and-turnip salad is “cake.” Thanks for the recipe!”

“Due to dietary restrictions, I am only able to eat Yatzhee dice. I made the necessary substitutions, and it turned out great.”

“I just started Paleo yesterday, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make this without the ingredients.”

Yatzhee dice.  I can’t stop laughing.

MM

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