The Journal of Messy Thinking

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  1. Hello hello. It's all over the place this week.
  2. So. Erratum: Turns out that Brenda Tent’s obituary was most likely written by Keaton ‘I Forced A Bot to Write This Book’ Patti. Shoulda known. If you don’t know Keaton Patti, this gloriously detailed piece by ABC is an unexpected primer on the history of human-robot improv comedy. (Thanks to @gray for the heads up).
  3. This week, all roads on my particular corner of the internet have been leading to Slime Mold Time Mold’s super-interesting blog about the obesity epidemic. It’s one massive in-real-time-meta-analysis-and-open-pondering of decades of obesity research, on the hunt for a better explanation for the sudden rise in obesity since 1980. This interview with The Browser is a great way in. Among the many fascinating asides is the story of Angus Barbieri, who fasted for over a year.
  4. Also: Notice how SMTM's advice for others looking to do similar projects is largely pay close attention to the tone of your writing.
  1. The phrase ‘preferred pronouns’ has always felt a bit off to me, (‘This is Nick, his preferred pronouns are he/him’) but I’ve never been able to put my finger on why. This advice from Ashlee Fowlkes helpfully nails it: enjoying saltwater fishing over freshwater fishing is a matter of preference, whereas for most people, pronouns are a statement of fact. (h/t @ettiebk)
  2. Am I really mixing the metaphors ‘Putting finger on it’ and ‘nailing it’? Ouch.
  3. Blogger gallusrostromegalus likes to ask educationalists – teachers, museum curators, etc – ‘what’s the weirdest question someone’s ever asked you?’. The questions are indeed pleasingly weird. The answers they give are often unexpectedly thoughtful and moving.
  4. Last week I heard the phrase ‘I’d like to double-click on something you just said…’ for the first time. A horrible bit of corporate jargon, or an entirely reasonable metaphor for the idea of ‘focusing on something’ given the pervasiveness of digital in our lives? When I mentioned it on Twitter, most people disliked it. But will it become a mainstay of how we communicate or is it just a flash in the pan..?)
  5. You know how so many tech start-ups look and feel utterly blandly the same? That style has a name: Corporate Memphis. You’ll see it everywhere now. You’re welcome.
  1. Arts Emergency, the charity that helps people from traditionally under-represented backgrounds find work in the creative industries is expanding, and they need more mentors. They asked me if I’d ask you if you’d consider it. You mentor one person, for one hour a month, for one year. Interested? Sign up quick – training is in October!
  1. If this piece by Debra Fried about her first job in New York advertising and her friendship with Lou ‘last of the great fucks’ Colletti doesn’t make your heart ache with all the best kinds of nostalgic yearning-feels, then, well, fuckin read it again, you heartless fuck.
  1. Great piece by Guyliner on the gentrification of chips, how it's not enough for the rich to have all the things, they also want pity, and other related malarkey.
  1. A lot of my clients are rightly interested in making things short, condensed, concise. I have a whole load of creative constraints to help. (Need one? Hit me up.) So I luxuriated in this about the joy and importance of the shaggy dog story. Which references American comedian Norm MacDonald’s classic shaggy ‘moth joke’. Which I'd never heard. And, it turns out, was the result of an unexpected creative anti-constraint
  1. Enough! Tip for Arts Emergency? Link below. Pip pip.
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