Every debate on Twitter gets put through the platform’s peculiar distortion effect. The form’s inherent limitations—the 140 character limit and a fleeting shelf-life—reward volume, frequency, and fervor rather than nuance, complexity, and persuasion. This might feel unseemly to those who value a more refined conversation, but there is no denying the viral power of hashtag activists who capitalize on the speed at which a single tweet can multiply into something that resembles a protest rally. A new Twitter outrage seems to detonate every week, and, in many cases, the voices raised in these social media movements belong to groups that do not have equal representation within the mainstream media. But they should not therefore be immune to questions or criticism: If an activist hashtag becomes a trend, has a broad, important conversation taken place? It is no simple thing to determine whether Twitter outrage can itself expand the terms of discourse and challenge the status quo.
-The Campaign to “Cancel” Colbert, Jay Caspian Kang
Anonymous asked: Do you ever encounter writer's block? If so, how do you cope with it?
In those moments I try and force myself to remember that this is my job. House painters don’t get house painter’s block. Baristas don’t get barista’s block. I think some writers fuck themselves up by thinking of their job as high-minded philosophy for which one requires perfect conditions and a perfect headspace. It’s work. Treat it as work instead of an academic exercise.
White supremacy does not contradict American democracy—it birthed it, nurtured it and financed it. That is our heritage. It was reinforced during 250 years of bondage. It was further reinforced during another century of Jim Crow. It was reinforced again when progressives erected an entire welfare state on the basis of black exclusion. It was reinforced again when the intellectual progeny of the same people who excluded black women from welfare, turned around and inveigh against it through caricaturization of black women.
Jonathan Chait is arguably the sharpest political writer of his generation. If even he subscribes to a sophomoric feel-good rendering of his country’s past, what does that say about the broader American imagination?
-Other People’s Pathologies, Ta-Nehisi Coates
The new Brooklyn is easily mocked — and almost as easily embraced — as a utopia of beards, tattoos, fixed-gear bikes and do-it-yourself commerce. Everyone is busy knitting, raising chickens, distilling whiskey, making art and displaying the fruits of this activity in pop-up galleries and boutiques, farm-to-table kitchens and temples of mixology. “Brooklyn” might as well be a synonym for the Portland of “Portlandia,” or for the sweet, silly, self-important, stuff-white-people-like Gestalt that television series has come to represent. Its ethic is both countercultural and entrepreneurial, offering an aesthetic of radicalism without the difficult commitment of radical politics. The tension built into the “Brooklyn” brand is that it’s both a local, artisanal, communal protest against the homogenizing forces of corporate culture and a new way of being bourgeois, and as such participating in the destruction of non-middle-class social space. Its rebellious energies are focused largely on restaurants, retail and real estate.
-Whose Brooklyn Is It, Anyway?, A.O. Scott