The Internet

Emptiness

Emptiness

Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves.

The narcissist is, according to the internet, empty. Normal, healthy people are full of self, a kind of substance like a soul or personhood that, if you have it, emanates warmly from inside of you toward the outside of you. No one knows what it is, but everyone agrees that narcissists do not have it. Disturbingly, however, they are often better than anyone else at seeming to have it. Because what they have inside is empty space, they have had to make a study of the selves of others in order to invent something that looks and sounds like one. Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves. They take what they think are the biggest, most impressive parts of other selves, and devise a hologram of self that seems superpowered.

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley

I would say more, but I signed an NDA.

The meeting begins without fanfare. They thought I was an amazing worker at first, working late every night, last out of the office, but now they wonder if the work was just too hard for me to begin with. They need to know: Am I down for the cause? Because if I’m not down for the cause, it’s time. They will do this amicably. Of course I’m down, I say, trying not to swivel in my ergonomic chair. I care deeply about the company. I am here for it.

Google and the G Thang

Google and the G Thang

Every year, I check in on the decline of Gary in the Social Security Administration’s baby name database. How I long for 1954, in the unrecognized cool Fifties of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis, when Gary peaked as the ninth most popular boy’s name in America. In 1954, we had Gary Cooper—originally Frank, before his agent from Gary, Indiana suggested a more unique name—just two years after his showdown at High Noon. Cary Grant, our elegant near anagram, was about To Catch a Thief. Oh, how we have fallen, to 560th place, with only 490 unlucky babies named Gary in 2014.

It’s So Great Coming Home To Your Message

It’s So Great Coming Home To Your Message

On Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark.

Each email is timestamped, with Acker and Wark’s nerdy ‘90s email addresses repeated over and over again, page after page. They map the unwinding and rewinding and unwinding again of tension, attention, and affection, telling the story-about-nothing of the first truly great collection of electronic love letters.

A Love Note to Our Folks

A Love Note to Our Folks

Alicia Garza on the Organizing of #BlackLivesMatter

When protests erupted across the United States late last year, after grand juries failed to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a friend who works for a prominent media outlet wrote to me wondering “if it’s all just the internet organizing itself.” The nationwide marches and freeway blockades seemed spontaneous, after all, with the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter being widely used to publicize gathering spots and share images of the demonstrations.

Teenage Riot

Teenage Riot

A Sentimental Education

The Hunger Games is a story about civil war over forms of government and control of the means of production. According to its own dialogue: a battle for democracy, justice, and the fruits of labor. But it also portrays a world in which a serious argument about politics is unimaginable, because politics, although worthy of a war, raises no hard or even interesting questions. It is just possible that this makes The Mockingjay: Part I the political movie for our time.

Episode 15: Rock Stars

Episode 15: Rock Stars

Joining us on this episode of the n+1 podcast are David Samuels and Frank Guan. First, David Samuels discusses his article in Issue 20 “Justin Timberlake has a Cold” about rock stars, the nine rules of hit songwriting, and the collapse of creative industries. Then, Frank Guan talks about the work of author Tao Lin and his reception from the literary community.

The Book of Faces

The Book of Faces

What’s on your mind?

In the beginning, Jordan Shell joins and you think, well, that’s good, and so you like this. Then you get his friend request. Do you want to be his friend? Don’t you want to be his friend? You remember that weird crush and the creepiness, but in a fit of generosity you accept.

Marybeth Sand wonders to the world if it is really only Tuesday. Seventeen people like this. Caroline Dwarf says: Indeed it is the second day, but do not fret! The day of rest approaches.

Facebook Adé

Facebook Adé

The average Facebook profile, with its many status updates, commented photo albums, notes, and posts, contains approximately 65,000 words of text. While photos quicken the game, a Facebook user is primarily a reader of text. Sixty-five thousand words is the length of a short novel; “profile” suggests already something character-driven; “status” may track the throes of heroes and antiheroes, “in a relationship”—a romance.

The Everything Warehouse

The Everything Warehouse

“It’s harder to be kind than clever.”

When Bezos pushed the company into toy distribution before it was ready, a pallet of Pokémon Jigglypuffs was lost in an overwhelmed warehouse. When they found the toys, the employees formed a conga line to celebrate. Sometimes, Bezos’s transformation of Amazon and its warehouse system reads like a triumph of calculating reason and force of will. At other times, it reads like the dream of a man who is still a boy.

The Friedmans

Jesse pled guilty. He spent thirteen years in prison, he was paroled as a Level 3 sex offender, and then he filed an appeal to vacate his conviction. He said he was innocent, that he had only submitted the guilty plea because of the impossibility of receiving a fair trial. A lower court had rejected this appeal, and on the second page of its ruling, the circuit court concurred. “We affirm the judgment of the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York,” the judges wrote, “because we conclude that the grounds asserted in the petition would not justify habeas corpus relief.” Jesse had waited too long to file his appeal.

Emptiness

Emptiness

Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves.

The narcissist is, according to the internet, empty. Normal, healthy people are full of self, a kind of substance like a soul or personhood that, if you have it, emanates warmly from inside of you toward the outside of you. No one knows what it is, but everyone agrees that narcissists do not have it. Disturbingly, however, they are often better than anyone else at seeming to have it. Because what they have inside is empty space, they have had to make a study of the selves of others in order to invent something that looks and sounds like one. Narcissists are imitators par excellence. And they do not copy the small, boring parts of selves. They take what they think are the biggest, most impressive parts of other selves, and devise a hologram of self that seems superpowered.

Uncanny Valley

Uncanny Valley

I would say more, but I signed an NDA.

The meeting begins without fanfare. They thought I was an amazing worker at first, working late every night, last out of the office, but now they wonder if the work was just too hard for me to begin with. They need to know: Am I down for the cause? Because if I’m not down for the cause, it’s time. They will do this amicably. Of course I’m down, I say, trying not to swivel in my ergonomic chair. I care deeply about the company. I am here for it.

Google and the G Thang

Google and the G Thang

Every year, I check in on the decline of Gary in the Social Security Administration’s baby name database. How I long for 1954, in the unrecognized cool Fifties of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis, when Gary peaked as the ninth most popular boy’s name in America. In 1954, we had Gary Cooper—originally Frank, before his agent from Gary, Indiana suggested a more unique name—just two years after his showdown at High Noon. Cary Grant, our elegant near anagram, was about To Catch a Thief. Oh, how we have fallen, to 560th place, with only 490 unlucky babies named Gary in 2014.

It’s So Great Coming Home To Your Message

It’s So Great Coming Home To Your Message

On Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark.

Each email is timestamped, with Acker and Wark’s nerdy ‘90s email addresses repeated over and over again, page after page. They map the unwinding and rewinding and unwinding again of tension, attention, and affection, telling the story-about-nothing of the first truly great collection of electronic love letters.

A Love Note to Our Folks

A Love Note to Our Folks

Alicia Garza on the Organizing of #BlackLivesMatter

When protests erupted across the United States late last year, after grand juries failed to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a friend who works for a prominent media outlet wrote to me wondering “if it’s all just the internet organizing itself.” The nationwide marches and freeway blockades seemed spontaneous, after all, with the Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter being widely used to publicize gathering spots and share images of the demonstrations.

Teenage Riot

Teenage Riot

A Sentimental Education

The Hunger Games is a story about civil war over forms of government and control of the means of production. According to its own dialogue: a battle for democracy, justice, and the fruits of labor. But it also portrays a world in which a serious argument about politics is unimaginable, because politics, although worthy of a war, raises no hard or even interesting questions. It is just possible that this makes The Mockingjay: Part I the political movie for our time.

Episode 15: Rock Stars

Episode 15: Rock Stars

Joining us on this episode of the n+1 podcast are David Samuels and Frank Guan. First, David Samuels discusses his article in Issue 20 “Justin Timberlake has a Cold” about rock stars, the nine rules of hit songwriting, and the collapse of creative industries. Then, Frank Guan talks about the work of author Tao Lin and his reception from the literary community.