six sets of twelve reps of staring at the ceiling, trying to find patterns in the popcorn
#1119; In which No One is Idle
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MISSIVES. (see all)

KICKSTARTER UPDATE: Initial goal reached!!

Thank you so much to those who’ve checked out the Kickstarter campaign for the new Wondermark book! I’m pleased to announce that we have met our initial funding goal and the book will definitely now be produced in the spring!

KICKSTARTER UPDATE: Initial goal reached!!

Now, the question is just “How many pages will the book be?” Any additional funds we raise will go toward making everyone’s book longer and contain more comics. I’ve been announcing updates in video form on the campaign page.

There is also a digital-only tier, if you don’t want an actual physical book taking up room in your life!

If you need to see a series of jokey graphs before deciding to back, well, I’ve got that too.

There are still a few weeks left to back the project, and as I write, we’re close to 15K, at which point everyone’s book gets 4 pages longer.

[ Wondermark Volume 5 on Kickstarter now ]



Podcasts Well Worth Your Time for Oct. 2018

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Here are some more podcasts (a couple individual episodes, and a mini-series) from my recent listening that I really enjoyed, and thought you might too!

(Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any transcripts for these first two episodes.)

Lexicon Valley: “The Rise of They” (Website / Overcast )

English pronouns are evolving. It’s time to embrace it.

Lexicon Valley is a podcast about language — often about how English has developed and changed — hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

In this particular episode, he traces the deep roots of the singular “they” in English, as well as the many ways “they” is used today.

Citations Needed: “The Media’s Bogus Generation Obsession” (Website / Overcast )

“Baby Boomers are bloating the social safety net!” “GenXers are changing the nature of work!” “Millennials are killing the housing market!”.

The media endlessly feeds us stories about how one generation or another is engaging in some collective act of moral failing that, either explicitly or by implication, harms another generation. It’s a widely-mocked cliché at this point, namely the near-constant analyses detailing what Millennials have “killed” or “ruined” lately — everything from Applebee’s to diamonds to top sheets to beer to napkins.

The first rule of drama — and by implication, the media — is to create tension. But what if tensions that actually exist in our society, like white supremacy and class conflict, are too unpleasant and dicey to touch — upsetting advertisers and media owners who benefit from these systems?

To replace these real tensions in society, the media repeatedly relies on dubious and entirely safe points of conflict, like those between two arbitrary generations. It’s not the rich or racism that’s holding me back — it’s old people running up entitlement spending or lazy youth who don’t want to work!

I appreciate listening to Citations Needed, because they cover issues and trends in media from a perspective far outside the mainstream of political thought. (A past episode on Modern Money Theory was particularly interesting.)

They’re very good at deconstructing “common sense” or “received wisdom” ideas — in this case the notion, so prevalent in mass media, that “generations” are any sort of accurate descriptor of anything, or useful for any purpose besides generating business for marketing consultants.

Mini-series Recommendation: Slow Burn (Website, with transcripts / Overcast )

Even recent history is rich with surprising subplots, strange details, and forgotten characters.

On Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh excavates the strange subplots and forgotten characters of recent political history — and finds surprising parallels to the present. Season 1 captured what it was like to live through Watergate; Season 2 does the same with the saga of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

I didn’t listen to the first season of Slow Burn (about Nixon’s impeachment), but I really enjoyed this latest season, about the Bill Clinton impeachment scandal in the late 1990s.

It’s eight episodes long (and some change), and describes the events surrounding the impeachment in methodical detail, including many new interviews with parties involved.

I was in high school during that time, and I remember hearing the broad outlines of the story as it unfolded without following many of the finer details.

The series walks through it in a way that clears up a lot of the blind spots in my recollection, which I think is useful just insofar as it’s nice to be well-informed about history — but it also looks at what happened with an awareness of how attitudes around sexual harassment and assault have evolved over the last 20 years.

Transcripts are available of each episode on the show page, and the season was introduced with an article in Slate.

BONUS LINKS: In a previous post, I recommended an episode of Futility Closet (a show which I still highly recommend, generally).

Last month, I also contributed a lateral thinking puzzle to this episode of Futility Closet, and submitted a piece of reader mail which was read in this episode.

I’m a participant!

[Previous podcast  episodes worth your time.]
[All previous things worth your time.]



Sick Elephant Notification Forms

Reaction to our current story arc (which starts here) has been fascinating to see!

Thank you for the many kind (and even the few less-than-kind) emails. And for your own sick elephant suggestions — though I am perfectly well stocked, believe you me.

I know this has been going on for a while. And I assure you that this plane is on a gradual and appropriate glide slope to its narrative conclusion.

HOWEVER, if you’d like to parachute out now, I UNDERSTAND. Put your email into this form and I’ll let you know when this storyline is over:

Sick Elephant Notification Forms

OR, if you happen to be of the opposite opinion, you can always put your email into this form:

Sick Elephant Notification Forms

What does this accomplish? WHO CAN SAY. Maybe, at some undefined future point, elephant fans might get something special in their email! THE WORLD IS UNCERTAIN.


Our Kickstarter campaign for the new book is proceeding apace!

Thank you to everyone who’s reserved a copy so far, I am very excited for you to get it in several months.

Sick Elephant Notification Forms

If we beat our funding goal, any extra money raised will go toward making everyone’s book longer, with more comics included – so please spread the word!

The new book will not, alas, contain any sick elephants; the contents come from a bit farther back in the archive.

(Though if you’ve read the past books, you know that Norbert, the hero of the present story arc, has made a small appearance in each.)

But here’s one thing I am including: over on the campaign page, there’s a link to a free download of my last book, Emperor of the Food Chain:

Sick Elephant Notification Forms

This is so interested parties can see firsthand what a Wondermark book is like, without me giving away too much of what’ll be in the new book!

You can download the book even if you don’t back the project — it’s just a “thank you!” from me for visiting the campaign page.