Week of July 15, 2019

A few things of note from around the Internet t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶ the past two months:

A 14-Year-Old Girl

🤦

“Susan, I’ve known your address since last summer,” Soph said, directly addressing YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “I’ve got a Luger and a mitochondrial disease. I don’t care if I live. Why should I care if you live or your children? I just called an Uber. You’ve got about seven minutes to draft up a will. ... I’m coming for you, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.” A far-right child comedian threatening to murder the executive of the video site that has made her famous, for trying to protect her from pedophiles: the state of YouTube in 2019.

Ultrawomen

I bet this makes some very fragile men very upset.

“Running economy and fatigue resistance are places where women seem to have a bit of an edge,” says Bearden. “And, with those two factors, the longer the distance of the race, the more important those two factors are.”

Indexing, etc.

A conversation with NYU Professor Aswath Damodaran who writes the great Musings on Markets blog.

If I thought more of equity research analysts, I would worry more about indexing. If I really thought equity research analysts actually went out and collected information and did research and unearthed stuff about companies we did not know, then I’d be worried about indexing taking away that research. But unfortunately, that’s not what I see equity research analysts doing. They listen to management spout platitudes about the company, and mostly they take them at face value. They take an adjusted EBITDA, they slap a pricing multiple on it, they call it research. That’s not digging up anything about a company, so nothing is lost by those equity research analysts being pushed out of the business.

😢 Hard

I think there’s something to be said about the truly monumental challenge of moderating all of the content that is uploaded and shared on the Internet every day.

But few could have predicted how Mr. Schroepfer would react to our questions. In two of the interviews, he started with an optimistic message that A.I. could be the solution, before becoming emotional. At one point, he said coming to work had sometimes become a struggle. Each time, he choked up when discussing the scale of the issues that Facebook was confronting and his responsibilities in changing them. “It’s never going to go to zero,” he said of the problematic posts.

Dark

Drew Magary’s brain exploded and he lived to talk about it.

Not only did my wife have to deal with my sudden and terrifying predicament by relocating the entire family to New York for a month, but she also had to assume all the parenting duties (my youngest son, naturally, came down with strep throat immediately) AND she had to serve as my de facto advocate while I was comatose: answering my phone, dealing with employers and doctors and insurers and workers comp boards on my behalf, handling fucking Christmas alone, and planning for all contingencies should I live or die.

I wasn’t awake for any of that. But she was, and she and my family are all that matter.

Mayor Pete

The ebb and flow of who is currently the Democratic darling is fun to watch. Here’s a profile on Mayor Pete:

Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay. Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of “democratic capitalism” has to be a whole lot more “democratic.” If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian, Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano. He’s actually terrifying. What mother wouldn’t love this guy?

Masculinity

An introspective story about the relationship between a man and his cousin and how it almost cost him his life.

As a teenager, I gravitated toward an archetype embodied by my cousin. I envied the power that he seemed to command and the fear he didn’t possess, but my effort to renounce that persona in my 20s left many others to face. Conventional models of male identity are everywhere around us. They linger in the air we breathe and infuse the culture. As a father and husband, I slipped into the antiquated role of provider, protector, patriarch — assuming the position and entitlements of another male archetype. What I see now is that I haven’t fully escaped from either. The challenge is not to believe that I have. It’s not to imagine that I will. It’s to watch for the dogmas of masculinity taking root in myself each day, to acknowledge whatever virtues they contain and disavow the rest. It is to seek and find, again and again, what does and ought to guide me.