Tom Scocca’s War on Smarm
Tom Scocca left his job, so that obviously sent me down a rabbit hole of reading his work and seeing what people have to say about him. Honestly, the idea of a goodbye roast is both thrilling and terrifying. I’m not nearly as good a writer or editor as Tom, but I can only hope to one day be the kind of editor who keeps everyone nervous. You know, like, I want my “Hm, this isn’t bad” to be the biggest compliment someone can receive on their writing. You have to set goals, and I guess these are mine.
Anyway, here’s the Goodbye Roast of Tom Scocca, which is absolutely wonderful. And here’s his infamous “On Smarm” piece which is one of the best things he’s written and one of the best things I’ve read this month. It’s long, but damn is it worth your time.
Death of The Awl & DFW
In other sad news, The Awl is no longer a thing. I really wanted to submit something to them one day. Everything about that website and it’s editorial choices appealed to me, but I’ve always doubted if I’m the type of person who would be published there. Their submission page used to say something along the lines of, “If you think you should be published here, you probably won’t.” Whatever I’m missing in terms of self-awareness I make up for in self-loathing, and that kind of balance would have increased my chances. I think.
There are many, many articles on The Awl (that I will get back to and highlight sometime later), but my favorite one this month was about DFW’s self-help library. As someone who’s constantly reading the free Kindle samples of all available self-help books, I’m always curious what other people read and what actually ends up helping/working for them. Reading this article about DFW gave me hope, but then also I know how his life ended, so ¯_(ツ)/¯.
While we’re on the topic of DFW—This is Water is something I re-read every couple of months. It calms me down, and it reminds me to put things into perspective. It’s a commencement speech, so I think hearing it in speech form is the best way to experience it.
Hunger by Roxanne Gay
Earlier this month I finished reading Hunger by Roxanne Gay (review coming sometime this month), and it’s probably going to be the best book I read this year. It’s so personal, so honest, so painfully real. If you liked Bad Feminist, I think you’re going to like this. If you haven’t read Bad Feminist, I honestly think you should start there. Hunger is better, and I suspect Bad Feminist just isn’t going to cut it after reading Hunger. It’s just too much.
Some Beautiful Poetry
Electric Arches, by Eve L. Ewing. First of all—if you’re not following Eve on twitter you’re missing out. Second of all, the audio version of this book is available on Spotify and Apple Music, so go listen.
I’m gonna get to writing a full review of Black Panther at some point, but that movie has a great screenplay.
Here are a few Black Panther-related articles you should check out:
A list of comic books that will give you a good introduction.