Five things on Friday #359

Things of note for the week ending Sunday February 4th, 2024.

INTRO

Sup fam. It’s been a while.

All being well, this shiny new first-of-2024 edition of Five things on Friday is winging its way to your inboxes by the lovely people at Buttondown.

After everything that happened with MONETISING THE NAZIS over on Substack, I figured it was about time to close down that account, import EVERY SINGLE PAST EDITION over to my original wordpress website (hi whatleydude.com) and then get a decent PAID FOR and NAZI-FREE email provider set up.

After a fair amount of research (it was a quiet Christmas in the Whatley household) Buttondown turned out to be the best paid solution for my needs. My subs are a little over 4k (4194 to be precise – and you’re all gorgeous) and Buttondown is $29 pcm for anything under 5k – so not abhorrent cost-wise – for an ENTIRELY FREE newsletter.

PLUS, and crucially for someone of my occasional newsletter needs, Buttondown has the option to switch off payments if you’re not using it. Given FToF goes 3-6mths sometimes without an edition going out, this is a VERY GOOD FEATURE.

I’m still figuring out a few things (look and feel, branding, etc) but so far the support has been ACE and the setup has been relatively breezy.

What else can you ask for?

If you’re an occasional newsletter writer like me, and you’re looking for a good, nazi-free service, then I can recommend Buttondown. Use THIS REFERRAL LINK to get $9 off your first month (and I get a kick back too) x

Right then, that’s the housekeeping out of the way. With New Year celebrations a distant memory, and dry (damp?) Jan equally so, I think it’s about damn time we got to the things.

Shall we?

TO THE THINGS!


1. LET’S KICK OFF WITH SOME RAT SELFIES

Say cheese!

‘Oh great James, an animal experiment – that’s what I need from you today!’

Well, yes – and no. Per CBC:

“When Augustin Lignier built a photo booth for rats, he was really trying to point the lens at humanity.

The French artist trained two pet store rodents to take selfies in exchange for sweet treats. But over time, he says, they started doing it purely for the pleasure. 

He says it’s not unlike the way people engage with social media — at first for the likes, but eventually just to trigger a flood of feel-good chemicals in our brains.”

Purely for the pleasure.
Purely for the dopamine hit.
Purely for the… sorry, why are you scrolling again?

Read more, here.


2. CONTENT MUKBANG

Related to the above… If you’re reading this and you don’t know what Mukbang is, I’d probably recommend you NOT googling it (although Gia’s hard-hitting piece on FAME a while back landed it hard for me). It’s not nice. Having been involved with a few plagiarism-shaped things over the past few years (one guy I just had to have it with him over a bizarre exchange via Linkedin message – ‘ARE YOU OK?’, ‘PLEASE STOP’, – etc), the idea of folk (especially Linkedin folk), mukbanging themselves out for content has been kicking around in my head for a while now.

And then this article appears from Vox.

Why why why why why

It. Is. Excellent.

You’ve got to actually spend your time doing this stuff on the off chance that the algorithm picks it up and people care about what you have to say.

You’ve got to spend your time doing this even though it’s corny and cringe and your friends from high school or college will probably laugh as you “try to become an influencer.”

You’ve got to do it even when you feel like you have absolutely nothing to say, because the algorithm demands you post anyway.

You’ve got to do it even if you’re from a culture where doing any self-promotion is looked upon as inherently negative, or if you’re a woman for whom bragging carries an even greater social stigma than it already does.

You’ve got to do it even though the coolest thing you can do is not have to.

You’ve got to offer your content to the hellish, overstuffed, harassment-laden, uber-competitive attention economy because otherwise no one will know who you are.

Pitch perfect.
Clarifying.
Embarrassing.

Truth.

Read ‘Everyone’s a sellout now‘ via Vox.


3. THIS WEEK IN… INCREDIBLY SMART WRITING

In a stunning turn of events, the longstanding ‘This week in…’ has moved away from gaming and is instead usurped, inspired, and happily cast aside for what is easily the best thing in this newsletter this week.

Jenny Chang is BACK y’all

Not the first time I’ve shared @Jayemsey’s work here and I doubt it’ll be the last.

This time, Chang gives us THE BIMBO RENAISSANCE: The Weaponized Performance of Hyperfeminity. Writing about the history of Bimboism, its journey from inception through MeToo and arriving at modern-day Barbie era, Chang is ON. FORM.

The part about the Heroine Journey was revelatory for this hetero-cis-white-male.

Honestly, I can only dream of this level of generosity and brilliance of thought.

Read it.


4. A NIGHT IN THE SOCIAL CLUB IN 2009

Growing up on (never in) Canvey Island, I know the scene of a social club well. Labour Club, Cons Club, Corner Club, Social / Boat Club – if there was a club (read: ‘members’ club where the drinks are cheap and the bands are great).

Thinking back to them now I remember: Christmas lights all year round, gold jewellery, red faces – smiling, friendly people, singing and dancing… if you’re lucky there’d be a band or karaoke. There was always snooker table out back (but the lights were dim and it was filled with smoke – you never went in there).

The point is: the memories even now are seared into my mind. Be that as it may, even if I walked out of one of those clubs five minutes ago, I doubt I could do as good a job at describing what it’s like in a social club than Mark Hadfield does when he talks about a night at Owlton Manor Social Club in 2009.

Read this and be transported to another time. Another place. Another world.

A proper planner – doing the work.


5. THE SIMPLE SABOTAGE FIELD MANUAL


Declassified in 2008, the Simple Sabotage Field Book was published in 1944 and distributed by the Office of Strategic Services (now known as the CIA).

Circulated by Allies during World War II, the pamphlet was meant to act as a guide to sympathetic citizens, giving the more rebellious ones instructions on how to weaken their country by reducing productivity in the workplace.

Bear in mind, these specific tasks were asked of workers in enemy countries to purposefully reduce productivity in the workplace.

The handbook contains such humdingers as:

  • Talk as frequently as possible and at great length
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions
  • Refer back to matters decided upon
  • Be worried about the propriety of any decision

I say again, this is from a SABOTAGE HANDBOOK.

Any of it sound familiar? Unnecessary Process. Endless meetings of talking. Miscommunication. Debating long-discussed and decided decisions. All signs of a perfect quiet saboteur.

Do you have one in your business?

Read the whole thing here

(See Section (11): General Interference with Organisations and Production for the good stuff).

And thanks to Robbie for the initial inspo – you all follow Robbie, right?).


BONUS SECTION

THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.

TAB EXPLOSION IMMINENT.


YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.

Because it’s been a few months since the last edition, I’ve been stocking up a bit on the CONTENT.

Coming soon in future editions:

  • Love, life, and loss – a few words on fallen friends.
  • The fallacy of branded experiences in Fortnite – yes, we’re going back.
  • And I’d say it’s a fairly good bet ‘This week in gaming’ will return.

I don’t know how well this new edition will land in your inboxes, if at all, but do please feel free to hit that reply button and let me know.

Until next time,

Whatley out x

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Author: James Whatley

Experienced advertising and communications strategist working in brand, games, and entertainment. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x