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A Book Giveaway, A Pre-Announcement Announcement, And A Tweet That Haunts And Concerns Me
Do you like books? Everyone likes books!
At some point, maybe in a month or two, I’m going to turn on paid subscriptions for Singal-Minded. I’m in the process of figuring out exactly what the newsletter will look like after that, but the general idea is to have at least half of all new posts remain free and viewable by everyone, while the rest go behind the paywall. Paid subscribers will get a handful of hopefully enticing perks — access to occasional ask-me-anythings and group chats and book giveaways, for example, as well as opportunities to more directly influence what subjects I cover. If you’ve always wanted to see me write a limerick about Sebastian Gorka’s pet llama*, this could be your big opportunity.
Before I flip the switch, I’ll write a longer appeal laying out my plans in much more detail. In the meantime, it would be useful to get a very rough sense of how many of you current subscribers, based on what you’ve seen so far, already feel as though you’d be willing to sign up for a paid subscription at — this is the provisional plan — either $5 per month or $50 per year (which translates to about $4.17 per month). If that’s you, just send a quick email with the subject line ‘subscriber’ to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re on the fence, and could see yourself signing up if doing so got you this or that perk (or if I got a damn haircut for once), that would be useful information, too, so don’t hesitate to email if that’s the boat you’re in.
Even in this mini-pre-appeal, I want to make sure I’m being as honest and transparent as possible: I have been exceptionally lucky, professionally speaking, and in light of my book and freelance situations, barring some catastrophe I will be comfortably affixed to the underbelly of journalism, like a stubborn barnacle, for at least a few more years — which is really all that any journalist who isn’t a superstar can ask for at this point given how tumultuous the field is. Starting a paid newsletter is primarily a way for me to 1) hedge myself against various forms of journalistic uncertainty, some endemic to the field itself at the moment (or maybe forever) and some specific to the more controversial subjects I write about; and 2) potentially shift some of my workload from freelancing to newslettering, which is sometimes a more fun and flexible type of writing. I don’t want anyone, in deciding whether to sign up, to get the false impression that I’m about to fall off the face of journalism if I don’t build up a huge newsletter. Again: I’ve been lucky, and that luck has brought with it the time and freedom to experiment a bit.
Whatever happens with this paid-content experiment, it has been a blast writing Singal-Minded. I’ve loved griddling up my hot (well, sometimes lukewarm) takes, I’ve loved hearing from my very smart readers, I’ve loved making asinine grammatical errors due to a lack of sleep, and I loved, last week, diving into the swampy and piranha-infested murk of young-adult-fiction Twitter. If it weren’t for the enthusiastic response I’ve gotten to this newsletter, which has been genuinely humbling, I never would have put this much time and effort into it. It’s still weird to me anyone cares about my dumb words — I’ll always have a bit of that desperate early-twenties wannabe blogger in me.
On that note, here, in no particular order, are a handful of my favorite posts I’ve published so far:
With many more to come, I hope!
This Stefan Molyneux Tweet is Scaring Me
I feel like Stefan would benefit from a nice, relaxing walk, or maybe one of those meditation MP3s. To have a thought like this pop into your head just isn’t a great sign. I wish him the best — I wish him serenity.
Singal-Minded’s First-Ever Book Giveaway
I have some extra books:
That’s because a couple publishers goofed. A while back, Taylor & Francis sent me three extra copies of The Politics of Social Psychology, edited by Jarret T. Crawford and Lee Jussim, and more recently, Viking sent me one extra copy of Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, by Jennifer L. Eberhardt.
I’d like to give away these extra books via a random drawing: Send an email to email@example.com with either “social psych” or “biased,” and nothing else, in the subject line. (Feel free to enter for both books, but make sure you do so with two separate emails.) Once I’ve picked the winners I’ll reach out to them for contact info and ship the books out as soon as I can. And sorry, web-visitors — you gotta be an email subscriber to enter. I’m capping entries at midnight tonight, Eastern Time, meaning when the clock turns over to March 14th.
The Politics of Social Psychology is great if you’re into behavioral science. Really great. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from it — one chapter birthed an article I wrote on the (possibly misunderstood) psychology of conservatism I remain quite pleased with, another is playing a pivotal role in my own book, and more generally it has seriously improved and clarified my thinking about how to best cover behavioral-science controversies. “This will become assigned reading for my introduction to social psychology course,” reads one of the verified-purchase reviews on Amazon. “It should be required reading for all graduate students in social psychology.” I agree completely.
I can’t say anything about Biased, to be honest, because I haven’t read it yet — unfortunate given that the review I was assigned is due Sunday — but Eberhardt is a very highly regarded, MacArthur-Grant-winning social psychologist and if anyone has an informed, bird’s-eye view on the subject of discrimination, it’s her.
(* Sebastian Gorka does not, to my knowledge, have a pet llama, but if he did I am positive his name would be Commander Knickerbocker and that he would wear an adorable red scarf.)