Best Of The Web
“EVERY DAY WE FIND NEW WAYS to be online. One man’s refrigerator texts him alerts about a coolant error. Another’s baby monitor sends photos of his child in night vision. People wielding phones chase apparitions in the park — Pokémon Go, a layer of childhood pixel monsters draped over physical reality — streaming trails of data behind them. There are tablets at the airport, browsers in rental cars. No screens yet on the subway, we think, and examine print ads for a chat-based pharmacy. But then, as if summoned, the screens appear! It’s our stop, crumbling and dirty as ever, newly outfitted with luminous displays shilling an expanding internet of things. Out on the street, a row of boxy storefronts displays the same pastel objects that have been following us around the social networks via tracker pixel. It’s as if the Instagram square has leapt from the screen. We look around, do a double take. Is this the internet, too?
We accept it, we guess. We like the internet. And really, we’d be online all the time if it weren’t for our eyes, those sensitive organs. Sidewalks fill with blue-light protection ads (on screens, of course) while we wait for our phones to learn to track eyestrain. In the meantime, we tear ourselves away to do the laundry and wash dishes, to drive to the grocery store or navigate on foot via . . . our screens. These activities demand the attention of our eyes and hands, for now. But we still have ears and mouths. Alexa! Play the Goldberg Variations. Actually, no — play the Song Exploder episode about Fleetwood Mac!
This is why we love podcasts: they are the internet for our ears. Now we can be on the internet all the time.
Every corner of the internet has its corresponding podcast. We can’t read left Twitter when assembling Ikea furniture — at least, it’s not in the instructions — but we can listen to The Dig’s deep dive on The Eighteenth Brumaire. Reading the New York Times while attempting Times recipes isn’t recommended, but those who want the Gesamtkunstwerk experience can queue up The Daily. If all you watch on TV is basketball and Top Chef, you can listen to a podcast about Top Chef hosted by two basketball journalists. Or say, just hypothetically, you fell off your bike trying to take a selfie, concussing yourself, and the doctor said not to watch anything on a screen, not even Making a Murderer. Luckily for you, podcasters love murder. A woman we know just posted on Facebook, “FAVORITE MURDER PODCASTS??” and the recs go on for days. The gray ellipsis is still bouncing.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"At 12:42 a.m. on the quiet, moonlit night of March 8, 2014, a Boeing 777-200ER operated by Malaysia Airlines took off from Kuala Lumpur and turned toward Beijing, climbing to its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. The designator for..."
"“I hereby sentence you to death.” The words of Judge Clifford B. Shepard filled the courtroom in Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 27, 1976. Shepard was sentencing Clifford Williams Jr., whom a jury had just found guilty of entering a woman’s house..."
"The video footage of Jewish Israelis dancing with Palestinians at a wedding should be something to celebrate. It should be an expression of joy and joint faith in the future. Instead, it has brought danger and disgrace to Radi Nasser, the mayor..."
"In 2013, I was executive editor of the NY Daily News, and we, like every other publication in the country, were covering the series finale of Breaking Bad. As one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows in history, the finale was..."
"Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tells us that wealth inequality is at grotesque and immoral levels. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a plan to tax everyone lots and lots to solve this. The slight problem is that the Federal Reserve tells us that..."
"For much of World War I, Sir Phillip Gibbs was one of the few journalists the British War Office permitted to correspond from the Western Front. Gibbs’s mission was to describe, in terms that would be acceptable to government censors, the..."
"In the 1940s, sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who was on the verge of publishing his first major report on male sexuality in the US, enlisted a photographer named Thomas Painter to investigate gay subcultures. Painter, a white, openly gay man, had..."
"What was Postmodernism? In the 35 years since Fredric Jameson’s New Left Review essay “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” — and the 40 years since the publication of Jean-François Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition..."
"My husband and I are proud fathers of a 5-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. I was grocery shopping with them last week when I saw a sign that made me cringe. Attached to a basket of free fruit, the sign reminded kids to “Ask Mom” before taking a..."
"Family farms are central to our nation’s identity. Most Americans, even those who have never been on a farm, have strong feelings about the idea of family farms — so much that they’re the one thing that all U.S. politicians agree on. Each..."
"The Big Bang is the defining narrative of modern cosmology: a bold declaration that our universe had a beginning and has a finite age, just like the humans who live within it. That finite age, in turn, is defined by the evidence that universe is..."
"After a protracted siege by the Roman tenth legion, the situation of the Sacarii, the Jewish rebels holed up on the mountain fortress of Masada, became hopeless. The Jewish rebels led by Elazar Ben Yair decided to kill themselves rather than be..."