Welcome to January 2021’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of opinions and experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
- Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? (Worth My Time): Uneven production and storytelling about a fascinating subject. What separates successful politicians from the rest of us is their monumental confidence.
- Command Line Heroes (I Liked It): An inclusive, entertaining show about coding and hardware. In Season 6, Saron Yitbahrak shares compelling, well researched stories about BIPOC inventors.
- Fiasco: Bush v. Gore (I Liked It): In a corrupt system led by broken people, political catastrophe is inevitable. Leon Neyfakh of Slow Burn (I Loved It) documents these breakdowns in interviews and restrained exposition.
- Floodlines (A Personal Favorite): I was wrong about Katrina; it wasn’t about the storm. Vann R. Newkirk II’s humanities-centric journalism returns an indelible story to its owners.
- In the Dark (A Personal Favorite): Madeleine Baran combines forceful narratives with fearless, exhaustive research about corruption and incompetence. The concluding episodes of Season 2 are heartbreaking and gratifying.
- Lolita Podcast (I Loved It): Jamie Loftus is everywhere, including My Year in Mensa (I Loved It). She reveals her genius for nuance in this series about Lolita’s genesis and afterlife.
- The Shakeout (I Liked It): A Canadian running-themed show hosted by Olympic-hopeful Kate Van Buskirk. Topics include social justice, doping, and community building. I skip the race results episodes.
- Somebody (I Loved It): Shapearl Wells searches for justice for her slain son, Courtney. A beautiful, painful, unpredictable story about racism, agony, and determination. He should still be alive.
- Two Minutes Past Nine (I Loved It): Leah Sottile first covered fascist bigots in Bundyville (I Loved It). In this series, she tells the story of Timothy McVeigh and the seeds of Trumpism.
- Who We Are (I Loved It): Carvell Wallace's Closer Than They Appear (A Personal Favorite) is a masterpiece of self-exploration. Who We Are is about context: the omnipresence of structural racism.
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Personal Finance and Investing
For Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, BlackRock has the best screens and the lowest prices. Also, they're a Problem of Twelve superpower. Decisions, decisions.
- Peter J. Fitschen and Cliff Wilson, Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook (2019) (Worth My Time): Yes, there's a xenophobic, arbitrary distinction between body modification and Hollywood aesthetics. Reading about physique competitions (cf. models and actors) makes everyone's vulnerability more tangible.
- Matt Levine's "Money Stuff" newsletter (I Liked It): Wonky financial news spun into pleonastic fables for adults. While none of the individual elements work, somehow the whole redeems the parts. Perfect bedtime reading.
- Laura Olin's newsletter (I Loved It): "I dislike curated newsletters," writes your hypocritical correspondent. Laura Olin is the exception; my aim here is to brighten your day like she brightens mine.
- Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy (2014) (I Loved It): “In their broken state, they were judged and condemned by people whose commitment to fairness had been broken by cynicism, hopelessness, and prejudice.”
A Demi-Abecedarian Enumeration
- “…and more”
- “from [X] to [Y]”
- Intimate (as a verb)
- Jam (indicating preference)
- Killer (indicating superiority)
- “May or may not”
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.