THE NEW YORK TIMES | Welcome to CringeTok, Where Being Insufferable Can Be Lucrative
During a three-part special examining the crimes of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer that aired last November on “Dr. Phil,” Phil McGraw, the host of the daytime talk show, played a TikTok video of a 27-year-old woman named Stanzi Potenza as evidence that true-crime fandom had gone too far. In the video, Ms. Potenza said she was so obsessed with Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” that she stayed home from work in diapers to binge the series uninterrupted.
As it turns out, Ms. Potenza had made a video satirizing true-crime obsessives and Dr. Phil mistook it as sincere.
BUZZFEED | “Grace And Frankie” Is A Great Show That I Find Deeply Disturbing
I’ve always found Grace and Frankie uniquely disturbing. At first, I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. I initially chalked it up to me watching 100% of the first five seasons while 100% stoned. In this Netflix series about two women and their ex-husbands who left them for each other, there are plenty of opportunities to think too deeply about mortality. Lily Tomlin (who plays Frankie, a freewheeling Deadhead) and Jane Fonda (who plays Grace, a type A, martini-drinking entrepreneur) are now 80 and 82, respectively. So it makes sense that I might fixate on the too-close-to-real-life quality of Grace getting a knee replacement or Frankie having a stroke. The possibility of dying at any moment isn’t so much a conceit of the show as it is a sobering reality.
VICE | How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven
In the early '90s, Ash Blackwood (who goes publicly by his pseudonym, Ash Astaroth) was an openly gay teen looking for community in his tiny Ohio suburb—and he found it when he stumbled upon Satanism. With his piercings and blue hair, he found empowerment by embracing his own brand of weirdness—something that brought him routine high school bullying, but seemed to be embraced by the Church of Satan. Without a physical church to visit, he said he'd spend a few hours each day at his local library, logging onto online Satanic forums and chatting with like-minded souls. For several years, those virtual chats sufficed.
AUTOSTRADDLE | “Love Is Blind” Is Basically a Lesbian Reality Show for Straight People — and I Can’t Get Enough of It
Our first date lasted six hours. As the bar got louder and more crowded, my focus on her sharpened, blurring everything else around me. We talked about our careers, upbringings, past relationships, and what our alternate universe selves were doing that very moment. Two dates later, Melissa wanted to know what I was looking for and I told her, a little sheepishly, that I was looking for a partner I could share my life with. Exactly one month after our first date, I was relieved to tell Melissa I loved her because I physically couldn’t contain it any longer. A month after that, we were talking about marriage.
THE OUTLINE | My Summer at the Saddest Apartment Complex on Television
It didn’t take long to realize this would be no ordinary summer camp. Instead of tucking into warm cabins at night, we’d be wandering the beige halls of a furnished apartment complex. Our bunkmates would be newly divorced dads, and low-rent bachelors dreaming of someday seeing their names in credits. In lieu of lakes and tennis courts, we had an abandoned yet perpetually humid gym and a bean-shaped pool chlorinated of all life. Summer camps are commonly referred to as microcosms of real life, but here we plunged into the deep end of adulthood at its saddest.
GOOD | "Get Out" Got Everything Right About Racism. Here’s What They Nailed About Hypnotism, Too
Jordan Peele may not have set out to accurately depict hypnotherapy in a film that so profoundly depicts racial conflict in America today. But according to professional hypnotherapist Richard Barker, who’s been treating clients with hypnosis for more than 20 years, Peele’s sinister portrayal of the therapeutic technique is surprisingly dead on, while also commenting critically about persuasion and mechanics of the mind.
GOOD | Before #Calexit, There Was 1975's Ecotopia
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election night win, progressives across the country have struggled to understand how they fit into a large swath of the country that expressly rejects liberal values. Californians seem particularly at odds with red state priorities, as evidenced by the fact that Hillary Clinton’s 2.6 million popular vote lead largely came from the Golden State. As a result, more Californians are seriously considering the option of seceding from the nation, rallying behind the “Calexit” label both on social media and in the street. Watching #Calexit create a firestorm online reminded me of a book published in 1975 that predicted this very idea. In Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach tells the tale of a West Coast utopia that secedes from a nation consumed by capitalistic greed.
GOOD | “It’s Like Airbnb, But For Eating”: Dining With Strangers Via BonAppetour
For the first hour I’m there, Vasta toils over a juicer, pressing fresh carrots, oranges, ginger, beets, and lemons into a coral-colored elixir. At first, I think we’re sticking with liquids for dinner—again, this is L.A. But when she finally transfers the mixture to a pitcher, she says, “Now I’ll start cooking real dinner.” This is how I know I’m in it for the long haul. I pour myself another glass of lukewarm sparkling water and sort through my mental Rolodex of appropriate small talk subjects. At this point, we’ve already covered books, music, our hometowns, and the weather. We dipped our toes in politics only to swiftly retreat with a mutual lack of interest. I panic thinking there isn’t anything left to ask when I remember why I’m here in the first place.
GOOD | There’s An Easy Solution To Curbing Hate Online, And It Has To Do With Porn
In the aftermath of violence that left one dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, in early August, the web hosting service GoDaddy shut down The Daily Stormer, the white supremacist website that promoted the rally there. Many outlets reacted to the decision with applause, while others posited that the decision set a dangerous precedent, threatening the free speech of us all. For Lux Alptraum, a sex writer and educator, the decision reinforced a troubling disparity in digital privilege, as she outlined an issue of The Lux Letter, her weekly newsletter about sex in the media. As Alptraum wrote, censorship has defined the internet whether we realize it or not, and for those who work in sex-related fields, censorship and barriers to entry are the norm rather than highly publicized exceptions.
LIFEHACKER | Get Your Kids A Pet Chicken
Watching Victoria follow my mom around the garden and respond affectionately to a back scratch kind of blew my mind as a kid. I’d previously assumed domesticated meat animals lived robotic, semi-conscious lives. Interacting with chickens opened my eyes to the depth and variety of experiences happening among every living creature around me. Caring for chickens past their egg-laying days taught me to empathize with animals that weren’t necessarily cuddly or fluffy or young or cute. Had I not grown up with chickens, I’m sure it would have taken much longer to understand the process my food goes through before landing on my plate. It’s not a stretch to say Victoria—and all the chicks who came after her—helped shape me into an inquisitive, compassionate adult.
PROPER | This Guy Wants To Hack Your High With Rare Cannabinoids
THCA, CBG, Delta-8, CBD. This is not a chemistry quiz answer but an ingredient list. With the exception of CBD, they’re all little-known, often-ignored cannabinoids that didn’t mean much to me when I tried LEVEL’s Hangover ProTabs for the first time. Sure, I’d read up on the pain-relieving properties of CBG and the anti-anxiety benefits of THCA because being informed is part of my job. But even I could not have expected this cannabinoid cocktail to fundamentally alter my view of the plant—and rock my body in the process.
Evergreen Educational Content
PROPER | Can Weed Help You Sleep? Yes, But It's Complicated
You’ve likely been warned that missing out on a solid eight hours of sleep is a recipe for disaster—and for good reason. Beyond obvious consequences like irritability, drowsiness, and slow reaction times, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says consistently skimping on sleep increases your chance of developing high blood pressure and heart disease. While we sleep, our bodies produce the hormones needed to help us build muscle mass, repair cells, and prevent infection. Point being, sleep provides us with a lot more than wacky dreams.
Still, most of us aren’t getting enough of it. So what’s a sleep-deprived person to do?
WEEDMAPS | These Three Acts Weaponized Weed Against Black Americans
Those of us who consume weed, work in the industry, or benefit from the plant in any way have a responsibility to know its place in American history. Knowing how politicians have used marijuana to divide us is the first step in fighting for a more just future.
Literary Fiction & Non-Fiction
HOBART PULP | First Week of April, Los Angeles
got crab and salmon sushirritos with the ex and put on planet earth 2 right at the moment sir david attenborough says the crab eats the dead skin off the marine iguana's back. i think i'm gonna be sick the ex says. at the movies i leave halfway through to pick up some lotion-y body wash at the downstairs cvs. the cashier asks the man in front of me if he’s going to a party. no the man says. i'm european and this is a normal day for me.
THE MAINE REVIEW | Goodbye, Annie
It was too hot to be out, but no one complained because our good friend Annie was dead and we didn’t know how to talk about it. We sipped tall cans of sweet tea and ate unshelled peanuts, tossing their crepey husks in a vacant clay pot that once held a kumquat tree. There should’ve been a pool in this unfenced yard bordering the steaming golf course, but there wasn’t. In fact, it was the only home in the whole desert subdivision that didn’t have one.
PRAIRIE SCHOONER | Me and All the Other Sevens of the World
My mother was born 31 years and 49 days before me. In that time, I burrowed into her core like a ticking time bomb, or so she likes to say in so many words, before I erupted into this water-hungry world nine pounds round and she restored herself with a mocktail of tropical juices. All of this went down on a bright blue winter afternoon—the birthing, the bombing—just a mile’s drive from the Pacific Ocean. Her mother was there, the smallest of us Russian dolls, chatting nonstop to her seventh and best husband in the lobby, her squeals trailing down the laminated halls. Before trading in the seashell-patterned hospital gown for an oversized crew-neck and leggings, before coiling her long, root beer bob into a clip and packing all the lip tints and powders she hadn’t touched for days into her lumpy leather purse, my mother would enjoy a moment of silence with her newborn baby. She sat upright in bed with her hands folded in her lap like a choirgirl and waited for the nurse to arrive with the best possible parts of herself mopped up and bundled. When the nurse arrived at last, my mother sighed in the politest possible way and said, “Cute baby, but it’s not mine.”
KELP JOURNAL | First Week in Quarantine, Santa Monica
we go to three different bars because my father the lawyer acts like rona won’t get him but he might die if he listens to me. santa monica’s shelves and streets are empty but in surf city people are drinking out of coconuts and eating chicken tenders like it's beach week per usual. i tell my father i’m taking a mediation class and he says no offense, but i think that’s a little out of your league. your talent is writing, he says. writing isn’t valued, i say. why don’t you write for the new yorker? he says. i’ll call them first thing in the morning, i say.