What I Read on Thursday, February 28, 2019

Archived Articles

I didn’t read any! The day was hella busy and I was like, social at night. So now I have gone from 351 articles in Pocket back up to 399. This project is frankly insane and also Pocket should make it easier to see how many articles you have saved.

New and Interesting this Week

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain – Kevin Roose

New York Times – February 23, 2019

In lieu of archival content to review I am gonna go a bit longer on this. I tend to ignore this genre of article, because it seems pretty paint by numbers at this point. But my friend Adam sent me the link, and since we’re both trying to be a bit more intentional about how we consume digital media I gave it a read. I’m glad I did, and in honor of him, I am gonna talk about how it made me feel for a second and hold the critique for later.

About halfway through the article, Roose worries to his wife about what he’s been missing online. Her response, “I’m sad that you’re having trouble with this, because it’s been great for me.” is probably the most interesting thing in the article. I have been an extreme screen boy for more than half of my life at this point; At 16 I ruined a family vacation by insisting we stay somewhere with internet access. I needed to check my girlfriend’s LiveJournal to see if she was breaking up with me. In retrospect I think camping in Monument Valley would have been the better experience.

So I’ve been “phubbing” (cubbing? dubbing?) people, which wow I did not expect to see that word in an article in 2019 for close to 20 years. And it’s not until now, as I am starting to come out of it, that I realize how much it sucks. When we first moved in together, my then-girlfriend complained, often, about how much time I spent “staring at my phone.” I thought she was being unreasonable. But now I’m coming out of it, and the last thing I as I fall asleep is her face, blued by the night’s last scan of Instagram. I can’t in good conscience begrudge this; few things are more obnoxious than the proselytizations of a reformed addict. But that doesn’t mean things don’t look different from over here

Anyway, sorry Adam but the piece itself has problems. Either Roose or his editor must have been uncomfortable taking the premise too seriously. Lines about feeling like a human again post phone detox are interspersed with mockingly captioned photos like this:

It’s a reasonable defensiveness. Sincerity is terrifying, and we still tear people down for it after all these years of arguing about snark and smarm. But if you’re gonna live by a self-help guru’s edicts for one of these NYTimes almost advertorials, you have to buy all the way in. Acting like you’re in on the joke just highlights how transactional the whole thing is.

Also New, Interesting


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