Factual Dispatch 2021.1 - Best in Show
The Best Things We Read in 2021, Part 1 of 2
With the New Year fast approaching, we almost missed taking time out of the busy season to review, reflect, and reprise. So much writing didn’t get the recognition it deserved this year, so we’re going to give the best of he best another shout out. This Dispatch will shout out the best stuff we read from January to June, and tomorrow’s will be the best from July to December. Bookmark, Tab, record all these reads so you have something to read when ignoring your family in a week or two.
The hard work of imagining (ThingsCon) Our ability to predict the future is restricted by our ability to re-envision the present. The horrors this presentation details are both wildly dystopian and wildly doable, given the current environment.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Defeat (N+1) N plus 1 is one of those magazines we’d spend our days reading if we made a zillion dollars and could retire. Fantastic discussion of what we were doing to restaurants before COVID, and how it got so much worse.
We Freaking Warned You (Mischiefs of Faction) It’s almost as if the people who called Trump and his ilk trying to steal the election were 100% right. Given the recent text message leaks, is it possible to be 110% right about something?
100 Tips for a Better Life (Less Wrong) Fantastic tips, up and down the page. Each section provides at least one or two really good pieces of advice.
The Republican Retreat From Governance (New Republic) As predicted, the GOP has no platform and no plan to build a better tomorrow. It’s so odd how we’ve all just gotten used to “Because Fuck You, That’s Why” as the explanation for 100% of the GOP’s actions.
Lessons From the Disaster of Zoom Teaching (Current Affairs) Teaching over Zoom isn’t teaching, and we need to stop pretending otherwise.
(Editor’s Note: Hades is a great video game, and the Mountain Goats are a great band.)
The Great Shopping Mall: The market nationalist logic of Chinese social media (Knight First Amendment Institute) While we argue about cybernetic governance and high minded ideals related to the metaverse public square, the Chinese have been bulldozing digital liberty and creating the largest supervised shopping mall in history.
Money for Nothing (Real Life Magazine) So much good writing about NFTs, digital scarcity, and the bum rush to rip people off. If you don’t understand it, someone does and is profiting from it.
The only haven you can trust (DeadChannel) This narrative surrounding the idea that there is only one Goth club, that we all found our way to somehow, remains wonderful. Nation, the now bulldozed alt-haven in DC, holds a special place in our and many of our readers’ hearts. Pour one out for the venue next time you’re smoking a clove.
The Egghead Gap (New Atlantis) Like Operation Paperclip, but without the war criminals. To build a better world, we need an international coalition of engineers, scientists, geeks, and dorks.
What Every Parent of a Boy Needs to Know (InBetween) Fantastic discussion of how we’ve truly abandoned the emotional education of boys. Men are built, not born.
How Can We Make Men Stop Touching Us? (Jessica Valenti) Cuomo didn’t make it through the year, but thousands of men who can’t keep their hands to themselves remain in positions of power. This is why women don’t come forward.
How Neopets Predicted the Future of the Social Internet (The Ringer) Not even going to try to summarize this, but it is fantastic and we’re so mad we didn’t write it first.
Younger Democrats Are All Out of Fucks to Give for Republicans' Feelings (Rude Pundit) After two economic collapse events, the war on terror, an insurrection, white supremacist violence, and a COVID-related death count that just cruised past 800,000 people, facts don’t care about your feelings bruh.
Amy Fisher and the 1990s Invention of the Criminal Lolita (Jezebel) Stupendous read about a thing we were too young to understand. How the hell did Amy Fisher have control or power in that relationship? The answer is that she didn’t.
How America Segregates Drug Use (New Republic) Dispensaries look like Apple Stores. Amphetamines are a fast-track to jail, unless they’re given out in 30 day supplies. Opiates are perfectly legal if they come with a slip, but will get you charged with murder otherwise. This needs to stop.
America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison (ProPublica) We are vulnerable to disasters of so many flavors, the USA is a Baskin Robbins of suffering.
Is Horse Racing Still Too Big To Fail? (Defector) Horse Racing still gets over $1 billion in subsidies. Who knew, and why should it even still exist as a publicly funded activity?
Most People Don’t Actively Seek to Share Fake News (Scientific American) + Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows (NPR) Most people are legitimately not in on the grift, so we need to be empathetic before being elitist.
The Great Online Game (Not Boring) Essentially the bizarro version of the Real Life Mag NFT piece, but somehow more encouraging and dystopian. If there was a Digital Hunger Games, this would be in the rulebook.
Five Things My Roomba Does Better Than My Tesla (TheDrive) We really need to stop pretending cars can self-drive. Tarted up cruise control is not an industry defining innovation, and people are already getting hurt because of it.
I Thought My Job Was To Report On Technology In India. Instead, I Got A Front-Row Seat To The Decline Of My Democracy. (BuzzFeed.News) If you’ve not been paying attention to Modi’s Trump-like ascent & the Fall of India, this article has you sorted.
Manufacturing Consent for War: 70 Years of CIA Coups, Assassinations, False Flag Operations and Mass Murder (CovertAction Magazine) Can we please put the idea that the CIA is a net good for the planet, to bed permanently? Destabilizing forces do not earn medals or citations for bravery.
The American-Dream-as-a-Service (The Pull Request) Just because you got a good job at a tech start-up doesn’t mean you know how to be successful. Or even how to save, dress oneself, or act at a meeting. This piece needs to be put in the hands of every tech HR department on the planet.
America Is Better Than This: These Chairless People Are Being Forced to Fight Over A Constantly Diminishing Supply Of Chairs (Clickhole) & Nation Resolves Not To Forget Lessons Of Corpid-19 (The Onion) These two outlets not only Remain Undefeated, but they produced some of the best satire the internet has seen in a decade. Follow, subscribe, do whatever you have to so you don’t miss their posts.
It’s Time To Talk About Men and Miscarriage (Men’s Health) Miscarriage affects fathers significantly, and we need to stop pretending they just stoic themselves through it as if it was 1947.
You made it, get some rest. See you tomorrow for Part II.