Things I’m Verbing: Science deserts, ghosts versus bad houses and the evils of SEO

Wow, I sure just read that Jezebel piece about an SEO marketing team exploiting the personal essay industrial complex by creating a fake female identity who was successful enough to be invited to appear on television. Who doesn’t love proof of a system casually hating women across the board in the morning? I was planning on linking the New Yorker’s “Humans of New York and the Cavalier Consumption of Others” anyway, but if you’re conscious of paywalls, there’s always this.

  • So much more entertaining: Slate not only dug into the fantastic blog McMansion Hell, but writer Colin Dickey drew the comparison between the architectural atrocities of our suburbs and a long, rich tradition of haunted houses. I’m so pleased this exists!
  • Is Donald Trump Funny Anymore?” Saturday Night Live and the Washington Post wrestle with when to stop laughing.
  • It’s Nobel Prize week, and writing for the New York Times, Gabriel Popkin makes a strong case that the most pressing fields in science deserve consideration — because right now, there’s no Nobel for studying climate change.
  • This has been a big story in Chicago for a while: A Whole Foods finally opened in Englewood, a South Side neighborhood better known in the media for violence and tragedy. Ostensibly, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal is to bring dignity to residents and eliminate food deserts, but as the Chicago Tribune reports, it’s not as simple as bringing in one store.
  • I was going to choose an article about gearing up for the vice presidential debate tonight, but honestly, why not have something joyous in your life instead? Open Culture is a reliably great addition to my day — have a link about learning to swing dance from the original greats of the 1930s and ’40s.

Things I’m Verbing: Comedy, Cracker Barrel and gift culture

I’ll be honest: I went quiet for two weeks because I was grappling with a news story that was really tearing me up, and because it hit so hard, I was trying to figure out how to talk about it publicly. I wrote up an impassioned-but-reasoned (I hoped) post that languished in my drafts, and I’ve been collecting links from all angles until my tabs have utterly overwhelmed me. Ultimately, though, I realized there are only a few things I would want people to read about the anti-pinkwashing protests at Creating Change 2016:

I have a lot of friends and colleagues I admire greatly who speak out about identity and intersectionality all the time. I hope to be brave enough to write like they do, and I hope we’re all brave enough to listen to each other.

Okay. On to the other stuff.

  • Claire Fallon at the Huffington Post wrote “Virginia Woolf’s Guide to Grieving,” a personal essay I could relate to only too well.
  • At the New York Times Magazine, Jia Tolentino’s look at Cracker Barrels and belonging cracked open some things about the chain I’d never thought about, despite never being the target demographic for the restaurants either.
  • In just some good news, the Chicago Reader highlights a Kickstarter effort to digitize my hero Studs Terkel’s entire archive and put it online for the people.
  • After this Q&A with Transformative Works, I’m really looking forward to setting aside the time to read Olivia Riley’s thesis on fandom and gift culture. If you don’t know about the academic study of fandom (they’re called acafans!), you’ll find that the things media often mocks are at heart really punk rock.
  • If you really want to get lost in some amazing collaborative work, head over to Vulture‘s “The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy.” I just want to lose days in this, beginning to end.