All The Cool Kids Spend Their Long Weekends Contemplating The Deleterious Impact of Cultish Language, Right? RIGHT?!

Poppets! I hope you had a restful break, if you were able to get one, and didn’t blow off any of your digits whilst setting off a firework (and yes, I do spend my free time reading the CPSC’s “Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2020” report, if that weird?) Because at least in SF, it seemed like everyone and their cat was playing with fire(works) on the Fourth, which makes sense considering how many miserable canines there were across the region. Can someone remind me to next year invest in whichever holding company makes doggy Xanax? Appreciate the teamwork.

I had an extended long weekend filled with seeing friends and chosen family, eating lots of food, and walking every which place in the fog (nothing says SF Fourth of July like nonstop 55 degrees F / 13 degrees C and misty.) Hope you all got to rest a bit (Canada had a long weekend too!), and that the return to work hasn’t been too jarring.

To the internet!

  • So I binge-consumed two major pieces of content over the long weekend. The first was Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell, which I listened to in its entirety in two and a bit days. It’s an easily-devoured book that looks at the spectrum of coercive language in higher-control groups, from SoulCycle to corporate America to Jonestown, making the point that while “cultish” language doesn’t always lead to disaster, it’s important to recognize and anticipate the linguistic tricks used by these groups to shape thought and stifle debate (her discussion of “thought-terminating cliches” seemed especially relevant to anyone who’s ever faced and shared mental illness with someone who responds “everything happens for a reason.” So glad my lifelong anxiety is serving a purpose…) Written accessibly, it’s an easy and enjoyable read, and now I’m wondering if “Be kind to yourself” is my attempt at building a cult of Missive (bwa ha ha ha haaaaaa).

  • And my second binge was the podcast Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen. Recommended to me by Friend of the Missive Viggy, it’s a bonkers story of a scam targeting the movie industry working class that involved trips to Indonesia and the impersonation of Hollywood’s most powerful women. Named one of the best podcasts of 2020 by Rolling Stone, so I’m sure y’all have already listened, but if you haven’t, definitely add it to your roster. And then check out the Vanity Fair piece the authors wrote on the entire process.

  • Thank you Mads for sending this one in: Four-day week 'an overwhelming success' in Iceland. (BBC). And omg WANT but there’s no way American companies will adopt this approach, despite the diminishing returns of workaholism, as brain-shrinking performative busywork is the hallmark of the cult of capitalism #bossbabe

  • This is interesting, and leading to some very predictable self-owns amongst the right on Twitter: Facebook tests prompts that ask users if they're worried a friend is 'becoming an extremist' (CNN)

  • And finally, got some McSweeney’s for ya: We Apologize For Getting Married In The Gingerbread House From “Hansel And Gretel”.

You’re lovely. Get outside if you can, go for a walk, drink some water, and how about we all try 5 min of meditation today? 

Xoxo Amy