Jif and Dukes on White

June 14, 2018

A Forgotten Southern Sandwich – Garden & Gun

Through the hardships of the Great Depression and the lean years that followed, peanut butter and mayonnaise kept many struggling households afloat. They were also the ingredients in a sandwich that was once as popular as peanut butter and jelly in parts of the South.

I remember being introduced to peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches by my grandfather. At home, sometimes the mayo would be Miracle Whip, giving the sandwich a bit of a sweetness. I haven’t introduced the delicacy to my boys yet, but it’s about time.

Facebook Is a Terrible Gatekeeper

June 5, 2018

Stop Reading What Facebook Tells You To Read – Mashable

By going to websites as a deliberate reader, you’re making a conscious choice about what you want a media outlet to be—as opposed to letting an algorithm choose the thing you’re most likely to click on. Or! As opposed to encouraging a world in which everyone is suckered into reading something with a headline optimized by a social media strategist armed with nothing more than “best practices” for conning you into a click.

There was a time when prevailing minds on the Internet debated about “The Cult of the Amateur” and how any Tom, Dick, and Harry having a website or publishing an ebook or posting a song on MySpace was going to be the end of culture as we knew it. Facebook has made all of that seem quaint.

Before publishing houses, record labels, newspaper editors filtered the noise, acting as gatekeepers and sorting the good from the bad, the legitimate from the meh, the real from the fake. Now culture is driven by data and algorithms spurred by sensational headlines.

In 2001’s Republic.com, Cass Sunstein feared the creation of a Daily Me as the result of a democratic Internet. The concern was that the online world promoted isolation into tribes, choirs, and echo chambers insulated from competing thought. Facebook is a result of that – it’s a way for users to digest the firehose that is the World Wide Web through a one-stop-shop, often in a way tailored to fit however we have defined ourselves through our friendships, our likes, our comments, our shares. For many it is a primary means of getting news (67% of Americans somewhat relied on social media for news last year). And when Facebook identifies you as a thirty something white guy with right leaning political views, guess what angle it’s going to feed you? Or who they’re going to sell access to your feed to?

Breaking free of that requires work. It requires manual typing and visiting sites that look different from one another or update at random times throughout the week. Or using an RSS reader like Feedly. Yeah, you’re probably still going to stick with what you know and like, but you’ll at least challenge yourself to go beyond a format that rewards sensationalism and outrage to reach the lowest common denominator in as few words as possible.

Actually browsing the web doesn’t just allow you to be a better reader, it asks authors to be better writers. Clickbait headlines and regurgitated Reddit thread listicles are lazy writing, but profitable. If you put your time toward quality work you reward quality effort.

[Y]ou’ll give them a reason to be different, and interesting, and independent, and to carry out some kind of mission that isn’t aping what everyone else does just to stay alive in the 2018 media climate. You’ll make everything just a wee bit better. You’ll incentivize them to keep you coming back for more. And you’ll be taking more control, and opting less for the control Facebook takes from you, and everyone else.

UPDATE: Old favorite Kottke.org had a great post back in April about how “Blogging is most certainly not dead” and had a great quote from Kari at karigee.com:

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.


June 2, 2018

Why No One Answers Their Phone Anymore – The Atlantic

Not picking up the phone would be like someone knocking at your door and you standing behind it not answering. It was, at the very least, rude, and quite possibly sneaky or creepy or something. Besides, as the phone rang, there were always so many questions, so many things to sort out. Who was it? What did they want? Was it for … me?

Technology is much to blame. As the author points out, there are just so many easier ways to reach someone today – text, email, Facebook, Twitter. Honestly, a lot of that has eroded many old customs from phone calls to chance catchups with old friends to high school reunions – my 20th was supposed to happen last year, it passed with barely a shrug while all my old classmates liked the latest photo of my newborn son on Facebook.

Spam calls are of course a problem too. But more because the infrequent ringing of my phone has picked up thanks to any number of recorded voices over spoofed numbers trying to sell me extended warranties, timeshares, new lines of credit, and who knows what else.

Ultimately, we already hold conversations every day at our own pace and time instead of having to commit a half hour block to actually talking. Phone calls are tedious by comparison, you actually have to focus on the person on the other end of the line, heaven forbid!


August 8, 2001

Movies: Okay, here’s what I’ve seen this summer and what I think.

What’s coming up that I want to see: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (sigh, last J&SB in View Askew movies.), The Lord of the Rings (this is gonna rule!) and a bunch of movies next year, but I’ll talk about them later.