Discover more from Singal-Minded
Win A Copy Of "The Status Game," Which Isn't Even Coming Out In The States Until Mid-2022
I blurbed this book and it's GREAT
Hello! Hope you’re having a good Friday. This is one of the sporadic checking-in free emails I send out. As is often the case, it’s a rundown of the recent stuff I’ve written for premium subscribers followed by a book contest.
What You’ve Missed If You’re Not A Premium Singal-Minded Subscriber
From oldest to newest:
Some Mainstream Outlets Can't Even Perform Basic Newsgathering Functions Anymore - How Andy Ngo’s coverage of the Wi Spa controversy humiliated Slate, The Guardian, and other outlets. Really bad moment for mainstream journalism.
Did The Guardian Censor Judith Butler's Vital Gender Insights In A Misguided Attempt To Appease Incorrigible Bigots? - Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
The Spat Between Graham Linehan And Laurie Penny Shows Why U.K. Defamation Law Is Very Silly And Counterproductive - The U.S. is bad at a lot of stuff compared to the rest of the developed world, but man am I thankful for our very writer-friendly defamation laws.
On The Toll Of Living In An Age Of Endless, Ubiquitous, Exhausting Bullshit - As AOC Dress Discourse shows, privileged people are doing everything they can to benefit, materially, from a ‘reckoning’ that was supposed to be about truly oppressed people trapped in poverty.
The Phrase “Pregnant Women” Doesn't Exclude Anyone - I think people are looking at this the wrong way, and what’s driving this controversy are deeply unclever word games.
What It's Like To Be A Pedophile's Psychologist - An in-depth interview (audio and written out as a Q&A — take your pick) with a fascinating clinician working in a very fraught area.
Aurora James, The Designer Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's “Tax The Rich” Dress, Said She Started A 501(c)(3) To Help Black Businesses. Her Organization Is Not A 501(c)(3) - This one’s actually free but I didn’t send out an email because it seemed too niche. Little bit of the ol’ Journalism though.
Liberal Organizations Should Not — And Boy Is It Crazy That I Have To Type This — Explicitly Denounce Objectivity And Rigor - It’s very hard to fully understand some of the strangeness going on in liberal institutions right now, but an example from the esteemed Urban Institute can help reveal the myriad downsides to reciting certain empty mantras for the sake of appearing enlightened.
What's The Difference Between Normal Tears And “White Women's Tears”? Popularity - Reflections on a very silly and easily weaponized meme. I was legally obligated to do at least one post about the Bad Art Friend.
We Don't Have Good Data About Social Media Harming Teenagers, But We Shouldn't Write This Off As A “Moral Panic,” Either - I heard you like nuance on your nuance so I nuanced your nuance. (No but social media isn’t quite the same as TV or video games.)
Social-Justice Blowups Are Mostly About Intraelite Jockeying - On the ridiculous campaign against the composer Bright Sheng, which is being led by opportunistic strivers who smell blood in the water.
So What's The Strategy Here, Exactly? - On the Netflix walkout and leftist protesters' tendency to give their opponents exactly what they want. With a Milo Yiannopoulos subplot!
It Probably Makes More Sense To Banish College Admissions Essays Than To Banish SAT Scores - It just so happens that a shift being made in the name of equity is quite likely to benefit the prospects of wealthy kids who can easily buy better essays.
Read all this and more by becoming a paid subscriber, or give the gift of Singal-Minded to a friend (or enemy):
Win A Copy Of The Status Game, Which Won’t Even Be Out In The States Until Next Year
‘Blurbing’ is a very strange and awkward process in the book world. Basically, someone reaches out to you and asks you to read their finished but not-yet-published book so you can provide a blurb, possibly emblazoned on the book itself, for publicity purposes. Or if you write a book, you have to do the same thing, but in reverse: Please read my book and say nice things about it publicly! I did not enjoy that process but was very grateful for the folks who agreed to blurb The Quick Fix.
So when the journalist Will Storr reached out to me to ask me to blurb his new book, The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It, I was nervous! I loved his previous work and drew heavily on Selfie in my own book’s chapter on self-esteem, but still: There’s no guarantee any given book is going to be good, regardless of the author’s skill level and past accomplishments. What if Will swung and missed with this one? What would I tell him?
Not an issue! This book is fantastic. For real. I zoomed right through it. Here’s the version of my blurb the publisher, William Collins, went with: “A wonderfully written, instantly gripping investigation of how humans yearn for, accrue, and respond to status — and how we wither from a lack of it … It is a vital exploration of the evolutionarily wired game that underpins so much of our culture and politics.” This book really did make me look at human life in a different, more informed way. I can’t recommend it enough.
More info from the publicity language:
What drives our political and moral beliefs? What makes us like some things and dislike others? What shapes how we behave, and misbehave, in a group? What makes you, you? For centuries, philosophers and scholars have described human behaviour in terms of sex, power and money. In The Status Game, best-selling author Will Storr radically turns this thinking on its head by arguing that it is our irrepressible craving for status that ultimately defines who we are. From our days as hunter-gatherers to our modern roles as workers in the globalised economy and citizens of online worlds, the need for status has been wired into us. A wealth of research shows that how much of it we possess dramatically affects not only our happiness and wellbeing but also our physical health - and without sufficient status, we become more ill, and live shorter lives. It’s an unconscious obsession that drives the best and worst of us: our innovation, arts and civilisation as well as our murders, wars and genocides. But why is status such an all-consuming prize? What happens if it’s taken away from us? And how can our unquenchable thirst for it explain cults, moral panics, conspiracy theories, the rise of social media and the ‘culture wars’ of today? On a breathtaking journey through time and culture, The Status Game offers a sweeping rethink of human psychology that will change how you see others - and how you see yourself.
Unfortunately, The Status Game, while out now in the U.K., will not be published in the States until next year (Will estimates July). So your only option if you’re an American and want to read it now is to order it on Amazon through a third party, which can sometimes be dicey.
WAIT THOUGH: William Collins has very generously offered me five copies for book-giveaway purposes. They will ship them to you wherever you are. Send an email with the subject line STATUS to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day Sunday, Eastern time. On Monday I’ll pick five winners at random. For the first three drawings, whoever I pick wins a copy as long as they’re at least a free subscriber to this newsletter. For the final two, it’s premium subscribers only. So, as always, becoming a premium subscriber gives you extra chances to win books. What could be better?
Have a great weekend, everyone.