Outside Reading — Untruth Social edition

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How Disinformation Splintered and Became More Intractable by Steven Lee Myers and Sheera Frenkel

Much as I know that bigotry, cynical propaganda, and bald-faced lying have long been welcome in our broader political discourse, I swear there was a time when the truly outlandish fools were generally prevented from spreading their brain poison. No more, gang. There’s a whole media infrastructure devoted to amplifying batshit theorizing on insidious, almost mystical forces preventing conservatives from getting their way on absolutely everything, and the Republican party happily subscribes to, or at least exploits, all that nonsense. Around half of Republican candidates for major office this cycle are proud proponents of the obvious falsehood that the 2020 was stolen. Writing for The New York Times, Steven Lee Myers and Sheera Frenkel explore the deliberately broken social media apparatus that allows all the lies to spread and be disguised as truth.

Review: Insomnia by Molly Young

With customary comic insight and sparkling turns of phrase, Molly Young writes about the misery of sleepless nights. I recognize so much of what she writes about here, including the constant bargaining and other mental gymnastics in the face of an escalating inability to find the way into the rejuvenating stasis of slumber. Young wrote this for her own Substack, The Life and Errors of Molly Young.

77 Sunset Me by Peter Schjeldahl

Peter Schjeldahl died this week. Best known as an art critic — for The New Yorker and before that The Village Voice — Schjeldahl’s passing was not a surprise, not just because he was at the relatively advanced age of eighty. He wrote about his diagnosis of lung cancer and his therefore turbocharged sense of mortality three years ago in the article linked to above. Published in The New Yorker, of course, the piece is a stunner, leveling Schjeldahl’s customary candor and sharpened comic sensibility at his own being and soon-to-be lack thereof. The online version of this article bears the alternate title The Art of Dying, and that’s just about perfect.

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