Not Far From The Shallow Now

Agnes I am begging you to read a single poststructuralist.

I want to know who Agnes Callard’s publicist is, because they’re killing it. More than two weeks into the Callard discourse cycle and only perfunctorily hooked to her New Yorker profile, here’s Agnes in The Atlantic allegedly saying something about profundity. “Socrates hates the fact that writing is not conversational, that it tells you the same thing every time,” she says. Agnes I am begging you to read a single poststructuralist. And here she is again in this month’s Harper’s last March1, with yet another windy self-absorbed tale of yet another conventional bad relationship. And here she is again again in next month’s Harper’s with a Q&A about whether authors should speak or only write in which she completely misses the humor of a talk by Kurt Vonnegut, the original inventor of the fuck around / find out graph. At this rate of overexposure, Callard’s all-meat diet, benzo addiction, and Russian induced coma era should be along any minute.

It’s a big week for bullshit in Times Opinion, where yesterday investment banker and private equity lizard Steven Rattner argued that people shouldn’t work from home, because to him the vibes are bad. “Every senior executive of the several dozen with whom I’ve discussed this issue believes that operating from home is simply less productive than being in the office,” he writes, covering the full range of possible views on this issue. And you might think that’s bad, but here’s the drop:

Then there’s Silicon Valley Bank. Even as Covid faded, much of the bank’s leadership team remained dispersed around the country, which hindered communication and collaboration. The bank even warned in its annual report last month that it “may experience negative effects of a prolonged work-from-home arrangement.”

What could have saved SVB? Closer oversight? Better risk management? A diversified client base that wasn‘t susceptible to rumor and panic? No, you fool. Only spontaneous hallway conversations.

Then today, Claremont McKenna College government professor Jon A. Shields made the, let’s call it, eccentric argument that American conservatism is so far off the deep end that liberal college professors should take over teaching conservative ideas.

To make those awakenings commonplace, there must be a coordinated national campaign to broaden our curriculums. Every American university should offer a course on what is best in conservatism.

Well that should be easy, Jon, with all the extra space we have in the library now.

Is anyone over there reading these pieces? Is this a cry for help? Listen Times Opinion, I understand you might not feel safe speaking freely, so if you need to be rescued the signal is: publish Agnes Callard.2

NYT Guest Essay screenshot: “If I Get Canceled, Let Them Eat Me Alive” by Agnes Callard, from June 21, 2022.

Today in Tech: New Samsung feature: teeth? Safety tip: If an unknown USB device arrives in the mail, don’t plug it in. Here’s a $60 USB device “capable of performing 4 trillion operations (tera-operations) per second” to add cheap machine learning to your lappie. AI image generation has figured out hands and captured Donald Trump, now moving on to the “people eating spaghetti” problem. But WGA East says “plagiarism is a feature of the AI process.” Tax Heaven 3000 pulled from Steam. And TikTok is about to get banned by Joe Biden and Congressional idiots like this guy:

Aujourd'hui Dans Les Crabes: French protesters throw live CRABS at police during bloody clashes at fishing rally” [capitalization sic] proclaims The Mirror in a story that is sadly devoid of any pictures of CRABS, thrown or otherwise. Apparently les poissons are yet another thing the French are mad at Emmanuel Macron and Teacher about.

Finally: Delia found out how they produce Barbie’s eerily spot-on social media influencer performance.

Over the years, Barbie’s posts have gotten less blond, more photogenically diverse but also more, well, human, especially during the early months of the pandemic. McKnight tells me that the choice to lean away from Barbie’s conventionally glamorous lifestyle is actually what makes her online presence more likable. “We had her acknowledge that she was feeling a little isolated on certain days, feeling lonely and missing her crew,” she says. “We had her cutting her own hair. She made her own sourdough starter.…” McKnight’s theory is that it’s kind of like seeing your favorite celebs schlepping grocery bags into their car: inanimate objects! They got quarantine depression too!

I keep stumbling across these little reminders that three years ago we all went insane at the same time and never dealt with it. Ok see you Monday!

Today’s Song: The Chemical Brothers, “No Reason”

If you’re a paid subscriber I will actually see you tomorrow, in a little thing I just invented that I’m thinking about calling an “Open Thread.” Don’t worry, it’s very intuitive. If you’re not a paid subscriber yet, one way or another I’m gonna win ya, I'm gonna get ya, get ya, get ya, get ya. It’s just matter of when. Why not now, save us both the trouble? Just a thought.


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