Outrage and Its Opposites
Plus, a Clubhouse primer!
Hola! from La Paz, Mexico (again). Same homemade guac as last time in the fridge, no tequila-swilling though, there was quite enough of that last night...
My last letter was a quickie, telling you Liz Wolfe and I were doing a journalism AMA (Ask Me Anything) over on Clubhouse. Well, it was a hit! So we’re doing it again, Monday at 5pm EST (and every Monday if 400 people keep showing up). Join us!
A little Clubhouse primer, from someone who’s been on it all of a week: there are many things to do and you will not know how to do any of them! Though the app is dead-simple, how to find rooms you might to join is not. Instead, you will be given an “Upcoming for You” list that might make you wonder where the genome is getting its coordinates. For instance, right now, Clubhouse is telling me I might want join Amplify Black Creatives in Fashion (I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to), Trvp Music (Also I’m Friiiiiiied) (I don’t know what this means), and, The Walnut Group: Men’s Vulnerability and Mental Wellness. Yeah.
Instead, what you want to do is go follow people. Then, when you log into Clubhouse, you can see who is also on and what rooms they’re in. Click one that interests you. If you are followed back by any of the people who are hosting the room, you’ll appear in a tier right below them. (If not, you’ll be one tier down, as a listener. I promise this is easier than I am making it sound.) Raise your hand - by tapping the little hand icon - and you may be jumped to the top tier, which is where the hosts and other speakers are.
Clubhouse is audio-only, and reminds me of nothing so much as a dinner party. Some rooms are lively and packed, others peter out. Remember to silence your mic when you are not speaking so that participants do not have to listen to you opening candy wrappers and the dog barking. Hosting a room is about as easy as falling off a log: you click the little green cylinder that reads, “Start a Room.” You can schedule it in advance. As the host, you have the duty of picking the raised-hands people. Liz and I agreed on a hard-out at two hours, but some rooms literally go for days. Anyway, we will be talking about journalism tomorrow night so, again, please join us.
Sometimes I think the only media story these days is media people yelling about what a poor job other media people are doing. We’re yelling, too! Or maybe just getting a lil’ heated, on last week’s Paloma Media podcast episode 3, “More Times Talk.” A clip:
Matt Welch and I did another of our favorite things that day, going on Mornin’!!! with Bill Schulz and Joanne Nosuchsinky. Matt talked about his triumph on Bill Maher a few weeks ago…
… and I got on my soapbox about people’s addiction to being angry, how it just makes them go:
I’ve written about this, over and over, but the piece I was referring to was by Bari Weiss, “Gina Carano and Crowd-Sourced McCarthyism,” which opens:
It used to be possible to follow the allegations and cancellations. Remember when the cooking columnist Alison Roman lost her job at The New York Times because she criticized Chrissy Teigen? That sentence looks just as absurd now as it did then, but so could 10,000 others. And it’s hard to even remember if it happened last week or last month or last year.
It used to be possible to take in all of the apologies. But they have, in a kind of positive feedback loop, become so cringe-inducing, so self-abasing, so utterly Soviet — there is simply no other way to describe this sort of thing. (N.B.: If you find yourself accused of racism for, say, writing a piece in defense of football and a PR hack tries to convince you that a struggle session is the best available course of action, seek advice elsewhere.)
(NB: There is no firm edict about how in every newsletter I must mention Alison Roman, but I mean, why not?)
I for sure still have my panties in a bunch about the mob journalism being practiced at the Times (and just wrote another 33 billion words about it; stay tuned for that), a condition not helped by reading the statement in my tweet, below, from the Times Guild:
I was not told I'd staged this by the Times, but some guy I considered to be out of his gourd, someone who needed to see it that way to support his ideology or mission; something with which to disqualify my reporting or worth. He actually wrote that he knew it was filmed in a studio because of the way the lights reflected off the helmets, which, I mean…
Nellie Bowles, beautiful Nellie, published a beautiful and plum-honest piece this week, “Learning How To (and How Not to) Kill,” which investigates outrage culture, asks what part we play in it, and has deep lessons for us all. I promise you will be enriched by it.
And yes, even though the Times is driving me batty these days, they still do some of the finest journalism around, including from today’s Opinion section, a story of COVID and dementia, “We Are Going to Keep to Keep You Safe, Even if It Kills Your Spirit.” You have not read this story before, and it is absolutely crushing.
Recommendations! The podcast This is Criminal, which reminds me of the crime shows on A & E I used to watch - really, more listen to - when I did all the baking for my husband’s former coffee business. All of the shows seemed to be hosted and/or narrated by Bill Kurtis. You may not know his name but I guarantee you know his voice!
I brought a book of Matt’s, Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts, to La Paz and hot damn, it is one of my favorite books ever, so funny, all kapow, brilliant brilliant brilliant.
Speaking of, the Kindle version of my book To the Bridge, a True Story of Motherhood and Murder (look, not as good a subtitle as above but what could be?) is on-sale for 99-cents all month. Go get ‘er!
We dined two nights ago at Sputino Los Gabrieles, an apparently one-man operation, Gabriel doing everything, setting our table, mixing the drinks, making the pasta three feet from us in a sweet little open kitchen. Yes, the environment was magic, but the pasta, my god, it was incredible. If you are here, find yourself there.
Con amor y tarta caliente xx