Reading List 001 + hey again
on declaring newsletter bankruptcy, your stocks when you're sad, mind-reading machines, and mac'ing the cheese.
For as long as I’ve had BLANK, I’ve had a newsletter in some form – whether it’s more of a practical marketing-related newsletter, whether it’s just thoughts like this iteration… it’s always been there.
I’ve long struggled with writing a newsletter because 1) running a business is hard and time-consuming in all the ways the Internet never tells you and 2) because I’ve in some way, shape, or form always believed that no one wants to hear my ideas. The first is obvious, but the second is really more about the constant loud din of the social Internet and what it leads you to believe about every single person’s constantly extraordinary life. With this, I get overwhelmed and don’t write for like six months and hit the drawing board again. I call it content bankruptcy.
Early on in the pandemic, I got to work and finally actioned a zine idea that I’ve had for a long time; while I sadly have to sunset the platform, only because I am a woman, not a media brand it made me more comfortable with the vulnerable act of writing.
So here I am again, re-starting in some way, shape, or form. You’ll notice that this newsletter used to be called Thoughts On – I’m now re-christening it as Thinking Out Loud. And here’s why: the idea of being a thought-leader has been kind of irritating to me, but the idea of being publically curious is more appealing. Thinking is messy, thinking is loud, thinking is imperfect, thinking is a continual work in progress: and so, I choose to think out loud.
The actual contents and intentionality of this newsletter won’t change very much: the goal will be to share:
Thoughts: Longer form takes on marketing and cultural topics, through a theoretical, future-forward lens.
Chats: Interview-style conversations with interesting people, theorists, academics.
Reads: This! Regular reading lists/curations of the most interesting things I’ve read this weekish.
Advice: If and when you need it. Shoot me an email.
So here’s to sharing more and appearing in your inbox a little bit more regularly.
And here’s your reading list for the week:
Wellness Culture is Over and Now I Can Finally Relax [Vogue UK]:
Wellness and optimization culture is just diet culture in eco-friendly hemp clothing. It's appropriative, it runs the risk of colliding with alt-right conspiracies cloaked under the guise of 'independent or alternative' thinking. It's also just another way to perform wealth, beauty, femininity.
The pandemic showed us the limits of wellness and where it falls short.
"What started fairly harmlessly with spa days and quinoa, has become an industrial-level parasite feeding on (mainly women’s) insecurities and vulnerabilities, too often predicated on the idea that there’s something “wrong” with all of us, “toxins” that need flushing out. Wellness has created a whole list of problems to which it purports to be the answer – overcomplicating where many things are simple."
You Say You Want a Devolution [Vanity Fair]
This piece is from nearly a decade ago(!) and yet still resonates. Yes - we do have a 20-year trend cycle, we ‘always’ have - and yes, it’s flattening. It’s funny to watch nostalgia happen and have it be divorced from the actual thing people are nostalgic about; a friend and I were talking about people calling 90s Vivienne Westwood corsets ‘Y2K’ recently. When we all use the same 20 images of the recent past to moodboard…we end up way off the map.
Love Should Be Digestible [Arabelle Sicardi]
A moving meditation from Arabelle on rest, love, identity, and chosen families.
Machines can read your brain. There’s little that can stop them. [Politico]
We need a more responsible version of disruption and innovation lead by a broader coalition of people from varying backgrounds - across race, class, and gender.
It’s no secret that technologies aren’t neutral, they carry the biases of their creators, and ensuring that a variety of perspectives are represented in the development of new technologies will help us from going down this route. We need an ethical charter. Or like, literally anything that isn’t the current state. Jussssssst saying.
Neurotechnology could be transformative in a medical context, but in the hands of policing and private corporations, it could have disastrous implications that uphold discrimination and allow employers to creep further into our private lives.
A few more things:
I get creators and influencers wanting more of a say and equity in what they attach their brand to, sure, but can we stop pretending curating a landing page is anything other than more involved ambassadorship?
Anyways, that’s all for now. Look for more exciting announcements from BLANK soon 👀