How a Simple Product Enhancement Could Alleviate Twitter’s Community Woes

This post has been in gestation for years. Whenever there’s a new flare-up concerning Twitter, which is comically often, I dip into my Drafts folder and dust off this post, but due to the exasperating complexity of the topic, never muster the polish to hit Publish. It happened last summer, during the public tussle over purported “shadow banning,” which induced John Herrman to write “Twitter’s Misguided Quest to Become a Forum for Everything,” and again during the fracas over Sarah Jeong’s tweets, which induced Ezra Klein to write “Twitter Is Not Your Friend.” These skirmishes arise at a steady clip…

This week in THE LEDGER: after a meandering setup about content for old people, a look at Buzzfeed’s crazy new web show, Future History

Have you ever had that feeling when some goddamn tweet pricks the edge of your consciousness, and the pang just hangs there, like a subcutaneous stinger, pestering you for days? I speak not of the latest Kanye witticism, but of this choice specimen, which has been needling me, gnat-like, since first poking my feed:

Ouch, that stings. Or as the kids like to say, It me.

As Rian diagnoses it, the onset of this affliction, in which one develops an inexplicable interest in historical content, begins circa The Big 4-0. In my case, some insidious microbe entered my bloodstream…

A Media Diary for the Week of April 16, 2018

If my life has a recurring theme, it might just be the aborted attempts at creating a public diary of media. Carve it into thy tombstone:

Here lies a failed blogger.

But if at first we don’t succeed, fail fail again. So one more time, with feeling: The Ledger, a weekly compendium of ideas, articles, videos, projects, and various linky ephemera.

Civilizations. New personal project: I am rewatching every episode of Civilization (Kenneth Clarke’s epic 1969 series about western art and philosophy since the middle ages) paired with each new episode of Civilizations (the updated, globalized version currently airing on…

It’s hard to keep up, so I’ll be updating this cheat sheet:

  • Secretary of the Treasury: Swamp guy; Goldman Sachs.
  • National Economic Director: Swamp guy; Goldman Sachs.
  • Chief Strategist: Swamp guy; Goldman Sachs.
  • Attorney General: Swamp guy; Senate.
  • Secretary of Transp.: Swamp lady; married to Senate Majority Leader.
  • Director of the CIA: Swamp guy; Representative.
  • Secretary of HHS: Swamp guy; Representative.
  • Ambassador to China: Swamp guy.
  • Secretary of Defense: General.
  • Secretary of Homeland Security: General.
  • National Security Advisor: Crackpot general.
  • Secretary of State: Oil Guy; ExxonMobil.
  • Secretary of Energy: Swamp guy, hates his department.
  • Administrator of EPA: Oil guy; hates…

During summers in college, I used to fly up to Alaska to work in fish canneries, where in a month I could make almost enough money to live for another year. I chronicled the events in the diaristic story “Dreaming of Dead Fish,” published in the Fall of 1995 in the alt-weekly that I co-edited, the High Plains Reader (which is still around).

Below is that article, the longest thing I had published at the time. It is reprinted completely unedited, despite how much it desperately needs editing. The sentence structure is clunky as fuck, packed with trite phrases like…

Below is the mammoth 75-page questionnaire that potential jurors in “The People v. O.J. Simpson” had to answer. It must be one of the longest personality quizzes in history.


1. Age?

2. Are you male or female?

3. What is your race? (please circle)
a.) White-caucasion?
b.) Black-African-American?
c.) Hispanic-Latino?
d.) Asian-Pacific Islander?
e.) Other (please state)?

4. Marital status:
— Single and never married?
— Single, but living with non-marital mate. For how long?
— Currently married? Length of marriage?
— Divorced? When divorced? Length of previous marriage? Did you initiate the divorce? Yes? No…

Courtney Barnett

This week’s comprehensive media diary, with the usual recommended items in bold:



  • TV: The McLaughlin Group | PBS



This week’s comprehensive media diet diary of everything I watched/read/heard:


  • PODCAST: Slate Money, “Hogmanay Edition”


  • MOVIE: Call Me Lucky
  • TV: The People v. O. J. Simpson, “From the Ashes of Tragedy” (s1 e1) | FX
  • TV: The People v. O. J. Simpson, “The Ruin of His Life” (s1 e2) | FX
  • TV: The People v. O. J. Simpson, “The Dream Team” (s1 e3) | FX
  • PODCAST: Slate Culture Gabfest, “Checkin’ It Thrice



This time of the year, people make lists: Top 10s, Best 20s, Superlative 50s. These lists are seldom definitive: Who really saw everything in the list category? And why include only the top items in your list? They fake their authority.

I can truthfully say this list is definitive — it contains every one of the 53 narrative feature films that I saw that were released this year. (An additional list of 20 documentaries will be published next week.)

In the process of ranking, one factor superseded all others: enthusiasm. I found myself asking: How many times did you recommend…

Rex Sorgatz

creative technologist, author, entrepreneur, designer, consultant

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