"Anything I Can Mistake In The Dark For Being What I'm Looking For" Edition
Obligatory shilling. I wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about online porn and the bogus neutrality of tech.
I also wrote a short post for UnHerd about the use of blood as an anti-ageing treatment.
A protective bubble. Jacob Siegel writes for Tablet about the sinister, preposterous “wellness” industry:
In a recent ad directed by Spike Lee, Jennifer Lopez, wearing a white shirt and sitting on a white couch with a white lamp and white walls behind her, offers a way out of the pandemic darkness. “If you want to get back to your favorite places and feel confident they have put your health and safety first,” she says before the screen cuts to Michael B. Jordan, then Lady Gaga, then Robert De Niro, each one repeating the mantra to finish J.Lo’s sentence, “look for the WELL Health-Safety seal.”
In a post-pandemic world, “wellness” salesmen and their exploitation of heightened anxieties around physical and emotional health will reach ludicrous proportions:
It's a scary, virus-filled world out there, and a year is a long time to be locked down. Long enough for people to feel desperate to get out into the world again but terrified of what lurks beyond. Delos’ sales pitch reinforces the fear while presenting the company as a protective bubble and standard bearer in a world increasingly organized around biohealth regulation.
As childish as it is, and as much as I know there are opposite evils of indolence and unnecessary illness, this stuff makes me want to smoke a cigarette and chug a can of Tyskie.
Rest in peace, Prince Philip. A war hero, a loyal husband, a dedicated public servant, a good-humoured and charismatic man, and someone who never imposed himself excessively on the public consciousness.
An isolated tribe in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu apparently worship Philip as a God. That sounds like an elaborate joke but either way it has a pleasing sense of English adventure anand absurdity.
The angelic demon. Nick Cohen writes a rather good essay about authors and alcoholism:
The greatest lie alcohol whispers is that without me there would be no you; turn your back on me, and you turn your back on yourself.
I am unsure about this but it is an interesting idea:
The most perceptive doctors I have interviewed agree that alcoholics give up when they decide they love their partner, or children, or themselves more than they love to drink.
Loving, or at least accepting, oneself is perhaps the hardest part. Otherwise one struggles to accept the love of others.
Off the rose. At UnHerd, David Fuller profiles an interesting, entertaining case of an online scammer:
…at one point these courses were the business’s main source of income; eight-week courses titled “Business Accelerator” or “Podcast Yourself” were, for example, on offer for $3,000, while those who wanted to join his exclusive “Inner Circle” – for personal mentoring – could do so by coughing up $15,000.
$15,000? What does one get for that?
A few months ago, a letter signed by nearly every single person from the “Inner Circle” was sent to Rose, asking for their money back and complaining about the lack of value from the course. One of the signatories told me: “We had no mentorship whatsoever, it was a joke, we would have three minutes with him every 15 days and he would just talk about himself.”
Part of me - not a good part, perhaps, but a real part - loves this sort of character. Yes, they are terrible people. But the Internet would be a duller place without them.
Drama and detail. Not something you see in the Spectator every day - a tribute to the Book of John, by Esther O’Reilly:
The full picture John offers, in all its vividness, in its peculiar combination of high drama and mundane precision, confronts the honest reader with the same dilemma that confronted C.S. Lewis: Either its writer unaccountably created the modern realistic novel fifteen centuries early, or else we are dealing here not with fiction, but with history.
Could it be both? One finds high drama and detailed precision in Homer after all. I don't know. But it is a challenging question and one I intend to study.
Growing. At Persuasion, Keira Bell writes about detransitioning:
If you’re someone who regrets transitioning and decides to speak out about your experiences, you’re considered a bigot. You may be told that you’re trying to take away trans rights, that children know what’s best for themselves and their bodies, and that you’re ruining kids’ lives.
Newcomer. Addison Del Mastro, one of my favourite writers about place and the culture of places, has joined Substack.
Arc Digital, a pluralist opinion commentary platform edited by Berny Belvedere, I have written for many times and which has also featured interesting writers like Oliver Traldi and Bo Winegard, has also moved to Substack.
Tubes. Curtis Yarvin's wife has died. He writes a lovely poem about it. RIP Jennifer Kollmer.
A novel idea. I plan to spend this spring and summer working on a novel, and not getting too bogged down in more ephemeral stuff. The only problem is that that was my plan last year - and quite possibly the year before that. If anyone is interested, here are some earlier stories: “Between the Lines”, “Ersatz”, “Meeting Antonio Inoki”, “Piss” and “Sergei's Afternoon Out”.
Thank you. THE ZONE is now officially a year old. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my readers. I think sometimes writers can slip into a mindset where we think we are owed money and attention. We are not. It is a privilege our readers give to us. Again, thank you.
Have a lovely week,