Best of: Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance


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The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."

Yeah, me too.

My conversation with Tolentino was one of my favorites of last year -- and it has become all the more relevant in the midst of a pandemic that has collapsed most human communication into Zoom calls, Twitter feeds, and Instagram stories. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are.


The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)

Book Recommendations:

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

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374 episodes