I think I saw an article in ELLE just recently about the phenomenon
#1426; Thick Skin, White Soap
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MISSIVES. (see all)

I’m doing a Reddit AMA on Tuesday 10/23 at 12pm PDT / 3pm EDT

On Tuesday October 23rd, I’ll be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything open question & answer session!

Ostensibly I will be there to promote the Wondermark Volume 5 Kickstarter (still chuggin’ along with a bit over a week to go!), but I will be happy to discuss whatever anyone asks. You might even say that folks can…ask me anything.

I’ll post the specific direct link on my Twitter once the session goes live — or just go to reddit.com/r/iama; there should be a pretty obvious link somewhere easy to spot.

The session will begin at 12 noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern / 7pm GMT and will go for an hour or two, probably, or as long as folks seem interested and keep asking questions.

This will be my third AMA! I did one in 2013 when the Machine of Death game was underway. You can read that one over if you’re interested in seeing what I had to say about things FIVE YEARS AGO!

Maybe my opinions have changed in the interim on a variety of issues, but then again maybe they haven’t! There is only one way to find out.

I also participated (as part of a larger group of Machine of Death contributors and other authors) in another one not long after that; there’s some good stuff in there too, I think.

SPEAKING OF Machine of Death, the book series of which I was one of the co-editors, I got the chance to share some pretty cool stuff (I think) on Twitter on Monday.

My co-editor Matt told an EERIE HALLOWEEN STORY about how we witnessed what appeared to be a SPOOKILY ACCURATE Machine of Death prediction:

(click through to read the whole thread)

I then used that story as a jumping-off point to tell another, similar story about how the Machine of Death, though fictional, often somehow seems to know more than you would expect about actual people’s lives:

(click through to read the whole thread)

I think it’s an interesting story, but I also used this thread as an opportunity to post a bunch of MOD-related pictures and videos that I’ve taken over the years just for archival purposes, without ever really having a place to put them or a purpose for posting them. I hope you check it out!

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

Embed from Getty Images

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.]