Kickoff For May 21, 2018

I often quote Bill Murray playing Hunter S. Thompson in the movie Where the Buffalo Roam by saying It still hasn’t gotten weird enough for me. That doesn’t mean life is boring. It definitely doesn’t have to be. Life can be an interesting mix, much like what I’ve been reading these past few weeks.

Let’s get this Monday started with these links:


There Are More Than Six Ways to Tell a Story, wherein writer Matthew Baker thumbs his nose at an AI’s contention that stories rely on six major emotional trajectories, and explains the techniques he used to write his latest short story collection.

This Is What It Was Like Learning To Report Before Fake News Was The Biggest Problem In The World, wherein a now-seasoned journalist takes a look back at his on-the-job education — warts, mistakes, missteps, and all.

How Do We Write Now, wherein we learn how one writer breaks the shackles of distraction to start, and finish, her work.

Politics and Finance

The junhu and the art of everyday politics in Imperial China, wherein get a glimpse of how military households (called junhu) operated in Ming dynasty China, and how they helped hasten the decline of that dynasty.

Bitcoin: Mt. Gox Villain Mark Karpeles’s Surprise Redemption, wherein we learn a bit more about the story behind the collapse of the largest bitcoin exchange, and how the fallout from that collapse is still happy slapping the exchange’s former CEO.

1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution, wherein we discover how divided the factions on the left wanting change truly were in that year, how those divisions scuttled a potential revolution, and how the failure of that revolution changed French politics in the decades that followed.


The Dawn of Dining, wherein we’re treated to a short history of the concept of dinner. It’s actually a lot more fascinating than it sounds.

Made in Taiwan? How a Frenchman Fooled 18th-Century London, wherein we hear the story of a mysterious individual who briefly enchanted London society with tales of manners, language, ritual, and cannibalism from a far-off land that didn’t exist.

The Prequel Boom, wherein Adam Kotsko examines why studios keep doing prequels if fans hate them and why fans hate them so much in the first place. Yet no matter how much they whine, those fans still pay money to see those prequels.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt