The Present Age Weekly Recap: June 10, 2022
There's just so much going on in the world.
Welcome to the weekly recap. In this post, I’ll be linking to my work from the week, sharing some stories from others I thought were interesting, and providing a few casual thoughts on [gestures at everything]. If you’d like to receive this weekly email ONLY, please go to your account page and under “Email notifications” uncheck every box except “TPA Weekly Recap.” If you don’t want to receive the weekly recap, leave all boxes except “TPA Weekly Recap” checked.
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From me this week: Yashar Ali, Ilya Shapiro
On Tuesday (which was the one-year anniversary of The Present Age, btw!), I published a story I had started working on last week about Yashar Ali, whose life was turned upside-down after Los Angeles Magazine published an unflattering profile about him.
And on Thursday, I wrote a bit about the latest example of a “victim of cancel culture” getting massive media coverage despite not actually being “canceled” (whatever that means these days). I plan on writing more generally on the topic next week, so stay tuned.
Reflections on year one.
Rather than publish a recap, last week I focused on sharing some of my favorite stories from the first year of TPA. You can read those here:
When I first started out, I was nervous about using Substack. To be totally honest, I’m still nervous about Substack. There’s not a day that goes by without something happening that makes me go, “Jesus Christ, please just stop,” especially when reading some of the corporate communication that comes from over there. “Please don’t accidentally drive away my subscribers” pops into my head quite a bit.
That said, I’ve kept my work here for a few simple reasons:
As far as the tech side of things is concerned, it’s really nice to not have to worry about fixing glitches or wondering whether or not my emails will actually get where they need to go. A big subscriber list doesn’t matter a whole lot if I can’t escape the dreaded spam folder.
As far as features are concerned, Substack just keeps on innovating. That’s great for someone like me. In the year since I started publishing The Present Age, Substack’s branched out to include audio and video in posts, released its own app (which functions as an RSS reader for non-Substack newsletters), gave users the option to add paywalls further down in the posts, and added a bunch of new updates meant to make it easier to both share content and consume it. By comparison, Twitter’s Revue option remains pretty clunky, Patreon hasn’t done much in the past few years, and Facebook (er, I mean Meta)’s Bulletin doesn’t stand out.
The best part of running my newsletter on Substack is that I have complete creative and editorial freedom, which includes the freedom to promote other Substack newsletters I enjoy through the recently-released recommendations feature. It’s really neat to see how many subscriptions I’ve driven to other publications (and how many subscriptions other publications have driven to me). It creates a sort of community, entirely of my own making. How cool is that?
Add on the fact that I keep 90% of all revenue I bring in and I’m actually getting somewhat close to being able to make this my full-time job, which means I’ll be able to devote more time to things like guest posts (see the recent piece the great Michael Hobbes wrote for TPA recently) and actually hire an editor. If year two keeps up at the pace of year one, I’d definitely be okay with that.
Feel free to, you know, subscribe, if you haven’t:
Stories from others I’d like to highlight
Once again, it’s like Lyz Lenz is taking the thoughts right out of my head and putting them in word form (but better than I could do it). Check out the latest edition of her “Dingus of the Week” segment.
I’ve long admired Marisa Kabas, and I was happy to see that she started up a new newsletter! This story about being a woman in media is great (I mean, the situation she describes is not great, but you get the idea).
As usual, Teddy Wilson has some great watching-the-January-6-hearings companion reading for you:
As you may know, I’ve been a big fan of these new artificial intelligence art tools. I wrote a piece about my early experiences with Midjourney a while back. Over at Platformer, Casey Newton has a story about a week of using OpenAI’s DALL-E tool. I applied for the beta to that, but haven’t gotten it. If anyone has an in at OpenAI who could help out… send them my way, please.
And finally, Dan Pfeiffer has a great breakdown of the Republican plan to whitewash the attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
“Something Loud” by Jimmy Eat World