Welcome back to our weekly reading roundup. Before you see what we’re loving elsewhere, don’t miss Philippa Willitts on how Instagram can be both blessing and curse for communities seeking fellowship and company.
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What He Left Behind (Kira Martin for Longreads)
My doctor gave me a prescription to take at bedtime. It drew sleep over me like a heavy blanket. Each night I tipped a styrofoam-light yellow pill into my hand and stared at it, both grateful for and afraid of the relief it gave. “Do you think this is OK?” I asked my husband one night as I crawled into bed, my limbs already heavy from the pill, “Taking this so I can sleep?”
I Cut Facebook Out of My Life. Surprisingly, I Missed It (Kashmir Hill for Gizmodo)
With the purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has a stranglehold on social news and photo-sharing. By blocking them, I lose the ability to mass communicate with my social circle; I can’t brag that I won a journalism award on Facebook or post a video of Ellev feeding a giraffe at the zoo on Instagram.
What Jill Abramson Gets Wrong About the Future of Journalism (Josephine Livingstone for the New Republic)
Abramson even maligns young Times staffers, writing about “the more ‘woke’ staff” who see “social media feeds as platforms for free exchange, not to be monitored or censored by editors,” the kind of employee who “looked to younger, newer editors like the Style section’s Choire Sicha and the editor of the Times Magazine, Jake Silverstein, for inspiration, rather than to the more distant and older masthead.” It’s abundantly clear what type of journalist she understands and cares about insulting, and which she does not.
Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants (Ashley Feinberg for the Huffington Post)
My only real goal was to get Dorsey to speak in specifics, about anything. In almost every interview he does, he’ll lament his past mistakes and talk about his various high-minded visions for improving the platform: improving conversational health, reducing echo chambers, increasing transparency and about 10 other rote, buzzy phrases.
Switching Lanes With St. Vincent (Molly Young for GQ)
Although technically off duty after being on tour for nearly all of 2018, Clark has been performing the reduced songs here and there in small venues with her collaborator, the composer and pianist Thomas Bartlett. Whereas the Masseduction tour involved a lot of latex, neon, choreographed sex-robot dance moves, and LED screens, these recent shows have been comparatively austere. When she performed in Brooklyn, the stage was empty, aside from a piano and a side table. There were blue lights, a little piped-in fog for atmosphere, and that was it. It looked like an early-’90s magazine ad for premium liquor: art-directed, yes, but not to the degree that it Pinterested itself.
Photo: Mathias Apel