The Inbox: A Scattered, Ad-Ridden Archive of Our Lives

“To examine our inboxes is to examine our lives: our desires and dreams, our families and careers, our status, our networks and our social groupings, our projects, our commerce, our politics, our secrets/lies/fetishes. Inboxes are anthropological goldmines, textual archives, psychological case studies, waiting to be plumbed and probed for the expansive cultural, ethical, epistemological, and ontological insights lurking therein.
On second thought: they are probably not waiting to be probed, but actually being probed, scanned and algorithmatized, by Google, Amazon, the National Security Agency, the Russians, Julian Assange, employers, ex-lovers who remember your password, current lovers who install surveillance software on your laptop to monitor emails to your ex-lover/next lover, hackers who create fake networks on any public wifi you log onto, and/or anyone else who cares to discover whatever “secrets” you are secreting into the tubes.

It makes more sense to assume your email is a public document than to cling to improbable expectations of privacy. The Post Office made a point of delivering our letters sealed, intact. But the email overseers can read through our inboxes at will without us being any the wiser, and they let others look too…”

—Randy Malamud, “The Inbox: A Scattered, Ad-Ridden Archive of Our Lives.” Literary Hub. October 9, 2019.

Every time I see something like this I can’t help wondering: does this person not realize that you can pay for email and by doing so, you can eliminate advertising and have a reasonably secure email archive? Off the top of my head, Protonmail, Posteo, Tutanota, and Lavabit are all reasonable choices for an email provider.

Reading Harry Potter as a Sacred Text

“What if we take this seriously? What gifts is it going to give us if we love something, and we love it with rigor, and we love it with commitment?”

Reading Harry Potter as a Sacred Text

Strikes me as an important question for many things in our lives that we trivialize because they aren’t “important” enough. What happens when we choose to love something, whether it deserves it or not, and how does it change it/them/us in the process?

The only caveat is to try to love wisely. It’s impossible to know where love will lead us, but if the chances are good a love will lead us down a bad path, perhaps it would be better to choose a different one.

What Really Happens When You Become an Overnight Millionaire?

“‘With some people an event like this would change them,’ says Shah, his Chicago friend. ‘And suddenly Peter’s life has changed — he went through a divorce, in every way Peter’s life has changed — but I feel like he is what he is.’”

—Stephanie Clifford, “What Really Happens When You Become an Overnight Millionaire? September 30, 2019.

The answer, apparently, is you start making bad life decisions because having heaps of money distorts your reality. Obligatory link to Reddit post on why winning the lottery is one of the most unfortunate things that can happen to you.

Low Impact Friendship

“I try to make every interaction with me require the least amount of effort. You don’t have to entertain me or plan something for me to do. You don’t have to travel to some preferred location, or engage in some activity of the moment. If travelling is hard for you, I’ll come to you. And while plans are fine, no plans rule the day. So quick texts when I’m in the area, or have a moment, or it just occurs to me to reach out. And the same for you.

Because I’ve been careful with my brain and heart lately, I have a lot in the storehouse. So I’ve been giving stuff away. My brain to people to bounce ideas off of or just unload. My heart to say I love you. I have the reserves and they’re not accruing interest, so the only sensible thing to do is give them away.

Whatever you have a surplus of, give it away.”

Thom Wong, “Emotional Socialism.” 100%. October 1, 2019.

Undone (Television Series)

Undone is a really interesting animation exploring what it means to be human, time, family relationships, and many other things. While it is like Waking Life, it’s really unlike any other series I’ve seen before. Recommended.

Note: It’s not complete. The ending is a cliffhanger for a second season. But, I liked it enough to recommend it for viewing now. Available on Amazon Prime.