Links - 99D #68

I’m wondering what to do about the naming convention since moving to Substack, whether or not it makes sense to do the numbering, start the numbering over, or do something else entirely. This may fall decisively within the category of “no-one-gives-a-shit-but-me.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Go See: Sorry to Bother You. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. It’s darkly funny and imaginative with tons of style, and hits you with a message about race and capitalism in America like a train to the chest. Seriously, go see this movie. (Trailer)

  • Follow: Onejob, a newsletter from the Chief of Staff at Capsule with one NYC tech job and direct access to hiring managers a couple times a week. Mostly chiefs of staff, ops, business development (not technical). (ABC 123)

  • Listen: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life by tUnE-yArDs. It’s a bit darker/weirder than what they’ve done in the past but I dig it. tUnE-yArDs also did a lot of the music for Sorry to Bother You (soundtrack tk).

  • Follow: @MidTownUniform on Instagram and read this WSJ profile of How the Fleece Vest Became the New Corporate Uniform”

RuPaul remains the queen of the hill - Justin Curto, The Outline

There’s a tight script to the beginning of the runway portion on an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, in which the competing queens show off the looks they developed around a certain theme. A snippet of RuPaul’s song “Cover Girl” plays as the eponymous host walks down the runway, wearing the big hair and gown she’s chosen for the evening. The judges cheer and compliment her, even if her outfit isn’t quite at eleganza-level. “Welcome to the main stage of RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she says, before turning the focus away from herself. The audience wants to see what the competitors brought for the week, but moments like this remind us: At the end of the day, it’s RuPaul’s show.

Hunting for fossils in the quirks of language - Johnson, The Economist

Much of the gunk and irregularity of language begins to make sense when approached as a kind of fossil hunt. Why does the commonest verb in English—“to be”—have the wildly irregular conjugation am-is-are-was-were? Nobody would design such a verb, and indeed no one did. It is in fact a mash-up of three proto-Germanic roots, one of which produced am-is-are, one of which yieldedwas-were (replacing the past tense of the am-is group, in a process called suppletion), and one resulting in be itself. It is the duck-billed platypus of verbs, an odd hybrid of features. But just as evolutionary biology explains the platypus, historical linguistics shows how the three verbs piled up on each other.

As Memes Evolve, Apps Are Struggling to Keep Up - Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic

Someone pitch me a memer app. I will give you money. Seriously.

As memes have increasingly dominated social platforms like Instagram, the methods for making them remain largely rudimentary. Many large accounts on Instagram treat Twitter as a content-management system for laying out images with text, but that comes with huge limitations. As memes become increasingly visually complex, they’re forcing meme makers—from professionals who run massive pages, to amateurs, to those just starting out—to rely on a patchwork of unreliable photo-editing tools.

Last Call at the Coffee Shop - Joshua David Stein, Village Voice

Twenty years ago, the Coffee Shop beckoned like a shiny object does a crow. Opened in 1990 by a trio of Wilhelmina models — Charles Milite, Eric Petterson, and Carolyn Benitez — the Coffee Shop trafficked in physical, some might say superficial, beauty. The pleasingly retro dining room and bar operates under a Byzantine system of seating, no less codified than such tony redoubts as the Four Seasons, Michael’s, and Elaine’s. But unlike in those restaurants, where power was determined by wealth, position, or publishing numbers, at the Coffee Shop, beauty was the only salient metric. For an unsure nube like me, the appeal was evident. One didn’t just receive a Sesame Chicken Salad. The order of the world and your place in it was revealed. The maître d’ was God, and how we trembled waiting for judgment. 

How Producer Jason Blum is Disrupting Hollywood - Alex Bhattacharji, Wall Street Journal

The cornerstone of Blum’s business model is a rule that all original films have a budget of $5 million or less, which ensures he can produce three features for the cost of a single Game of Thrones episode. Give Blum $50 million for a film, and, he insists, “I would still make ten $5 million movies.”

Boobs, Muscles & Fairy Wings: Everything I Know About How Humans Design Their Avatar Selves - Hunter Walk

For context, Hunter Walk was one of the creators of Second Life.

In a world where you can “be” anyone, what do you want to look like? Some people had a fixed appearance and rarely deviated, while others tried on new personas daily. New users, especially those unfamiliar with avatar construction from RPGs, usually went down this decision tree:

  1. Photo Realistic Like My Real Self or Not?

  2. If Photo Realistic, How Close Can I Get

  3. If Not Photo Realistic, Then Aspirational, Exploratory or Extreme?