Between travel and getting ready for the holidays, media time is at a low for me these days. But I found some good things and wanna tell you about them.
Ok, so this one isn’t a recommendation per se because I’m not sure how many people other than me will love this, but hands-down my favorite thing from the week was Vulture ranking the Original Kings of Catchphrase Comedy. This is one of my all-time favorite series of SNL sketches (watch them here, here and here) for its perfect combination of outright silliness and pitch perfect skewering of niche comedy archetypes. It’s perfect in so many ways and I’m glad to see it get the listicle treatment. I have my issues with the rankings, but it’s all made up for by the fact that this article introduced me to the real world inspiration for Slappy Pappy.
On the comedy deep-dive note, this visualization and analysis of Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra special is so cool. I love to see the form of comedy dissected like this, and giving it the fully interactive data viz treatment takes me to my happy place.
On the tech side of things, Derek Thompson on how Gmail’s autocomplete makes you feel bad is just a smart tech take that I hadn’t considered. It’s so important to consider the ways that technology makes people feel and this is a perfect case study.
And then last week I recommended a Buzzfeed article on the role of Facebook in the riots in France. Well this week, Max Read had a super smart take on how that’s actually not the case. It introduced me to a helpful framework for thinking of the role of technology in social movements and politics: Facebook is a critical part of the fabric in which politics happens, but it’s probably not right to think of it as a direct cause.
Aisling McRrea on how debate is stupid is just a fun read for breaking down how our particular notion of debate—with its emphasis on point-scoring—is unhealthy and not well suited for actually functioning in the world.
Over the weekend I was introduced to Bee and Puppycat, which is so strange and delightful. It’s a Kickstarted cartoon that currently has 10 episodes on YouTube.
And the “Janet(s)” episode of The Good Place from last week was one of my favorite episodes of the series and of recent TV. D’arcy Carden nails each of the core characters in an amazing way.
Started playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate last weekend. I’m not much of a fighting game person at all, but holy heck it’s fun. It’s taken some studying and practice to start to feel competent enough to enjoy it beyond the superficial spectacle, but now that I’ve got my bearings I’m really digging it.
Life odds & ends
This week started in Oceanside, CA and ended in Oceanside, OR, two parts of the Pacific coast that couldn’t be more different: sprawly, sunny Souther California on the one hand, and wet and grizzled Oregon on the other. Had a great time in both.
Till next week!