We all stare into the infinite scroll. Sure, it was once a questionable UI solution that created an even more dubious UX for surfacing content on websites — don’t like what’s on the menu, well, what if that menu were endless — now defines how we consume content online, interrupted only occasionally as the timeline lags. It’s an exhausting, indiscriminate way to interact with media, but what’s the alternative? We literally look at mobile devices hundreds if not thousands of times a day and the social web waits to scratch an itch our brains have to be constantly entertained.
Ever since the election, I’ve striven — unsuccessfully- to change my media diet. As someone who consumes a ton of content that streams through my various timelines for professional reasons, I’m trying to be more mindful of and intentional about my media consumption and the habits that enable it.
I’ve long admired Jason Kottke’s work and lately I’ve appreciated how he’s documented his media diet in much the same way one might keep a food journal. Here’s a recent example.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of things I’m engaging on purpose!
- Yo La Tengo — There’s a Riot Going On. Seriously just what the doctor ordered to start an unseasonably cold spring. I didn’t think they’d match the brilliance of Fade, but this is a great coda on a wonderful career.
- Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks — Sparkle Hard. Ever since I heard the first single, “Middle America,” which sounds like it would fit comfortably on Terror Twilight, yet still sounds fresh.
- The Breeders — All Nerve. Ugh I know this has been very “Remember the 90s” but the new Breeders has so much attitude! “Nervous Mary” is one of my favorite songs of the year.
- Kamasi Washington — Heaven and Earth. A perfectly defiant record. It’s how I start Sunday morning in 2018.
- Abbott. Saladin Ahmed’s phantasmagoric thriller set in the ’70s about a Detroit reporter investigating murders in Cass Corridor is reminscent of Lauren Bewkes’ fantastic novel, Broken Monsters, but less nouveau Detroit.
- Reddit. I remember when Reddit was castigated as being the internet’s cesspool, but now the notion of self-moderated communities that you can visit intentionally feels pretty great.
- Everything trail and ultra running, starting with The Barkley Marathons: The Race that Eats Its Young. The Barkley Marathons aren’t an insane race, they’re an existential crisis. A friend of mine from high school went this year to observe the race and he witnessed its brutal majesty firsthand. There were no finishers this year. Check out The Year Barkley Won in Trail Runner Magazine, too.
- Babylon Berlin — Jason wrote a bit about the music here, but I was positively spellbound over 16 45-minute long episodes. “Zu Asche, Zu Staub” is a showstopper. Babylon Berlin is thrilling and punctuated by fantastic song and dance numbers.
- The 2018 Philadelphia Phillies. I’ve been bullish on the Phillies’ rebuild, but had not expected them to lead the NL East in the first half. I also didn’t expect the Braves to be at the door so quickly either.
I’ll try to update this on a quarterly basis. How do you manage your cultural consumption habits?