data journalism

Wake Up, Woke People: Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age

Wake Up, Woke People: Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age (2019) is the debut novel of author Kiley Reid. A novel about race, class, and privilege in America, it is a profound take on the effects of self-delusion. Emira, a college graduate in her mid-twenties, begins nannying for the successful Alix, Continue…

A Quarantined Reading of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation

A Quarantined Reading of Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation

The unnamed protagonist of Ottessa Moshfegh’s second novel should be interesting. After all, her art-industry peers in My Year of Rest and Relaxation are ejaculating onto paintings, keeping murdered dogs in freezers, and jet setting on a dime definitely not earned through their day job. Continue…

Lavender is Chill AF & Other Commercial Solutions to Your Isolation Woes

Lavender is Chill AF & Other Commercial Solutions to Your Isolation Woes

As emptiness surrounds us, it is easier than ever to hear the hollow echoing of the companies continually pinging our inboxes, yearning, ever desperately, to fill our newfound space with evermore portals into the consumer void. Many of these products fall under the umbrella of “self-care.” Through investing in oneself, one ostensibly offsets the larger societal burdens weighing heavily on our hearts, such as the school-to-prison pipeline, or the merits of universal healthcare. The salve for your deep sense of uncertainty and inkling to question deeply ingrained societal norms? Bath salts. Buy 2, get 1 free.

Relief from a sense of impending doom may be far from us, but at least we can hit “pause” by focusing on our Seamless order. Perhaps it is through the exploitation of a low-wage worker that one regains a sense of reassurance. A more likely outcome of this pursuit of security through the relentless stockpiling of canned goods and hand sanitizer is simply an increased drive to consume driven by a continued absence of meaningful connection. By the way, hand sanitizers with less than 70% alcohol don’t really do anything. Only soap breaks up a viral cell to degrade proteins. We’ve done a bunch of research on stuff like this and we know how soap works, but whatever. You should order that lavender-scented 6-pack of spray hand sanitizers from Whole Foods because lavender is chill AF.

Thinking of some deep personal reflection that risks triggering years of guilt before pivoting your entire way of life? Never fear. Alternative options abound. Our society has become masterful at branding impressive swaths of tinctures that claim to ease our woes. Just check Twitter. The dynamic instability of the news cycle recalls the mechanism enabling microtubules, polymers that support cellular structure, to stochastically switch between shrinkage and growth with near-perfect synchrony. In other words, modern technology has enabled the news cycle to literally come to life, and with no cessation in its constituency. Technology is absolutely fascinating, but if it raises your blood pressure to unhealthy levels, the mindfulness app Headspace is offering free memberships to healthcare providers in the public health sector. If this isn’t you, just google something like, “how to breathe”. Just as microtubules display non-equilibrium that exhibits randomness while providing structure, Twitter unrelentingly provides us a forecast of the chaos unfolding before our eyes. Chilling!

Still tense? Consider probing how your internalized misogyny is inhibiting the intimate relationship you’ve always wanted, or use code “QUARANTINE” for 20% off all sex toys at Bellesa Boutique. Did your solo orgasm leave you dissatisfied? Maybe it’s the years of repressed shame, or maybe you need a sex pillow. The sex pillow, 15% off at the women-owned Dame Products, is, like all their products, developed to facilitate connection. Also, it’s called “Pillo” and it’s $80.75. Amazing.

By the way, if you’re feeling disconnected from others, it’s probably because you haven’t Zoomed with your coworkers recently. Still feeling it? It could be the fear of a no-severance lay-off, or it could be because you haven’t enabled the cool backgrounds on Zoom. They really make a difference.

Laid off? You could sue your employer or organize with your union, or could do something fun, like take up an Ivy League Machine Learning class while you’re figuring out how to pay next month’s rent. Just because we’re experiencing a global pandemic doesn’t mean you‘re released from the pressure to self-optimize based on the arbitrary standards of an illusionary meritocracy. If you’re questioning where you belong in society and have never finished Calculus, take solace in the free introductory coding class offered by General Assembly.

If your 8th grader didn’t learn geometry due to high teacher turnover or school closures, never fear. A printable schedule for visual learners was just promoted on the Today show. It goes from 7:15 AM to 4:00 PM, and was created by, “The Reading Mama.” This means that only mothers can homeschool, and also that if your female children are not brazen math wizards making their own robots, you’re probably a bad feminist.

What did you do today? I live-streamed the Met opera while watching a cooking class and learning more about what Adobe Creative Cloud has to offer before trying out the known-discriminatory dating app, The League, which is offering a free 2-week trial. Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over your screaming children.

Don’t be sad that the Met is laying off all union employees at the end of the month, sweetie. Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor will be available to stream until Sunday, March 22nd.

If you’re struggling to be efficient in your new work-from-home routine, that only reflects poorly on you, honey. Microsoft, Google, LogMeIn, Cisco, and Zoom are offering free trials of their service during COVID-19. What more could you need? And, who says big corporations are not generous?! It’s times like this where we can really come together, especially on Slack, where teams working on the coronavirus get free upgrades! You really shouldn’t be having a tough time.

There are so many ways to stay connected and ignore that gnawing feeling in your stomach. If you don’t have anyone to chat with, now you do. Simply go to to get started. See? There’s really no reason to feel alone, except that you are alone. #socialdistancing

Nothing could capture the irony of our tragic individualism more than the incessant messages that prompt us to seek answers in our own particular concoction of fun house mirrors. That said, Nordstrom is having a 25% off sale, and do you think it’s weird to call the store to make sure the employees are all wearing like, full personal protective equipment?

If you are saddened by the rather stark and rapid manifestation of societal inequity and the truly dystopian nature of corporate state capitalism on the well-being of people in an autocracy a democracy, we can have a Netflix party later! Black Mirror?