Tab Clearing

Some stories worth your time.

Below are some articles I’ve come across the last few days that I commend to your attention despite not having time to do justice to them with deep analysis.

In “The 1619 Project started as history. Now it’s also a political program.,” Carlos Lozada, the WaPo nonfiction book critic, looks at the journey a Pulitizer Prize-winning essay series from his paper’s chief rival has taken on its way to a quasi-academic tome. As the title suggests, some of the initial claims have been walked back a bit while, at the same time, the policy agenda has become more pronounced and direct.

Atlantic technology writer Kaitlyn Tiffany shares with us how “I Made the World’s Blandest Facebook Profile, Just to See What Happens.” It’s an interesting look into the bizarre world of algorithms and yet, oddly, does not match my 15-year experience with the platform. It may be that the blandness—and means she chose to create it—was as much the problem as the algorithms.

Veteran journalist Dave McKenna provides a touching look into the last hurrah for a rock band that’s been around almost as long as I have in “A frail but in command Phil Collins guides Genesis in a potential farewell.” The interwoven contrasts between the band’s most popular lead singer and its enigmatic original frontman is perhaps the most interesting piece.

In “One Chaste Marriage, Four Kids, and the Catholic Church,” the writer Geoffrey Leavenworth reveals a family secret and thereby takes us into a religious practice I can only describe as truly bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Re: Kaitlyn Tiffany, more evidence that FaceBook is evil.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Sleeping Dog: But here’s the thing: I get none of that crap on my Facebook feed. Instead, I get posts from people that I intentionally follow and a lot of interesting music videos. She was feeding the algorithm junk and got junk in return.

  3. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    My experience is similar to yours, except that I don’t get the music videos.

    Most of the friend “suggestions” I get relate to people who know people I’ve already friended. But some are from total strangers living thousands of miles away from me.

    It helps, I suppose, not to list any relationships, schools, jobs, or interests, which I don’t. And I’ve liked almost no pages.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Check out the sources of the top 10 performing posts on Facebook, skim over the last few days, and then ponder if the algorithm has a bias.

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    The most offensive thing on my FB thread recently was a picture my cousin sent me of Jesus knocking on a door asking if I would let J into my home.
    I clicked on hide post or snooze or something.

  6. flat earth luddite says:

    @James Joyner:
    Ditto. Most of my Farce Book contacts are through my professional organization and my specialty cancer groups. With a smattering of stuff from a few friends and family. OTOH, I don’t seem to be inundated with tons of spam urging me to overthrow the gummint, or buy the latest turnip-twaddler (h/t to Berkeley Breathed). So for me it works. As always, YMMV.

  7. EddieInCA says:

    Another day that I revel in the fact that I don’t have Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: I’ve got a facebook account open only to friends, and it seems most of us don’t do much more than post pictures of our pets and whatever cooking/quilt/DIY project we’re working on. Oh, and insider-baseball complaints about computer parts and antique computer languages. (Does anyone still program in Algol or Fortran?)