"Looking At These Trees I Feel Affinity With Everything So Soft and Still" Edition
You might be wondering what goes into producing a professional operation like THE ZONE. Every morning I wake up at 1am and do 1000 goblin squats - great for the trapdominals. Then I meditate while drinking tea with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, basil, oregano, and milk. I breakfast on poached goji berries while listening to improving audiobooks like The Art of War, Sapiens or The Flashman Papers. Then I remember that I still have to write my damn newsletter.
Obligatory shilling. This week I wrote for Arc Digital about pathetic attempts to rationalise terrorist attacks in France and Austria.
I also wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about missing England, as an ideal and as a living place.
Thakes you mink. Hundreds of thousands of poor mink are being slaughtered in Denmark amid fears that inter-species infection has caused COVID-19 to mutate. Some world problems are tragically unavoidable. When people risk disaster for something as pointless and wasteful as an authentic fur trimmings, though, one has to laugh.
Unpersoning. Gavin Haynes reports for UnHerd about how far right activists appear to face not just “deplatforming” from social media but the denial of services by banks. This kind of corporate activism should be sinister to anyone who does not feel the blissful assurance that financial elites will always favour their opinions.
Matchmakers. Ever curious advice columnist Default Friend and lovably eccentric rogue scholar Justin Murphy have come up with a scheme to arrange marriages among their followers. My first reactions included “what”, “lol” and “when's the Netflix documentary coming out”. But then I remembered that popular alternatives include joylessly scrolling through acres of selfies in search of someone desperate enough to acknowledge your “swipe” and I thought, “One could do worse.”
Angels and demons. A typically striking piece by Jacob Phillips, about airports and modernity, which achieves the much aimed for, little arrived at goal of justifiably making the familiar weird.
Multitudes of America. A great piece by Jacob Siegel of Tablet on the appeal of Joe Rogan.
Viewing club. I listened to two fun documentaries this week: We Jam Econo, about the punk band The Minutemen, and The Man Who Souled the World, about the skateboarding entrepreneur Steve Rocco. Both were about succeeding on your own terms as an outside in an artistic industry, though We Jam Econo was more about creative success and The Man Who Souled the World was more about brutal, uncompromising business success.
Irreversible dame. At Quillette, Abigail Shrier discusses the censorship she has faced for writing a book linking trangenderism to behavioural contagion.
Pitching. One of Steve Rocco's business ventures was the infamous skateboarding magazine Big Brother. This also became the birthplace of Jackass when a young Johnny Knoxville pitched an article in which he would review self-defence equipment after testing it on himself: pepper spray, a stun gun, a Taser and a pistol. When I catch myself pitching a worthless piece of culture war bait I'm going to remember that level of commitment and originality.
Peregrinations. I don't read enough. I read stuff relevant to subjects I want to write about but after that, the writing, the day job,
browsing the TL et cetera
Have a lovely week,