CONTENTS & COMING ATTRACTIONS
A portal for navigating HER OWN DEVICES. Continually updated with links to each new piece and previews of future pieces. Helpfully organized by category.
Anyone new to this substack should start with the About/FAQ. That’ll tell you who I am, and roughly what I’ll be getting up to. You can then return here for a sense of what this substack will be like over the next year.
Effective October 5, 2021, I paused billing on this Substack. All posts are free for the month of October.
THE LATEST & NEXT
A New Liberal Conspiracy Theory
Get Me into Sports 1: Baseball. Coming soon
Welcome to Contents & Coming Attractions! This is the portal I’ll be updating with links to each new piece as it drops, and previews of upcoming pieces.
I’d love it if subscribers made a habit of stopping here. Otherwise I worry my stack’ll get confusing. I’ll be running an abnormally wide variety of work, in no fewer than eight categories. I realize this sounds ambitious, and may in fact be insane, but bear with me.
The categories, listed below, are a bit like the “verticals” of online magazines. Or like an old print magazine’s “departments,” if the same megalomaniac wrote and edited them all.
And while some pieces will stand alone like normal Substack posts, others will reach your inbox as parts of an extensive Inquiry, or chapters from an extra-long “long form.”
These serials are where I expect this page to be most helpful. One glance here and you’ll see the trajectory of each series. You’ll know whether you’re caught up, or if a precious sequential post got lost in your daily shuffle.
And who doesn’t love coming attractions?
Series of posts that tackle a subject in depth.
A) THE KAMALA FILES. Even with her recent spurt of negative coverage, our Vice President attracts less scrutiny than a candidate for NYC mayor. As a result we know distressingly little about a person more likely even than previous VPs to wind up Commander-in-Chief.
What feeds our collective Kamalamnesia? Why haven’t journalists cured it? And can a pseudonymous substacker save her country from ignorance just by reading everything there is to read about Kamala, and thinking real hard?
KAMALA FILES 1. How the VP’s Personality Interacts with Politics
B) BILLIONAIRE GURU-QUEST. Gather round, subscribers, for one woman’s epic search for a guru worth at least one billion dollars. Each letter will profile a different guru-like billionaire, reviewing their most prominent book on how to get rich and live well. For years I’ve heeded the words of impoverished gurus. Is it time I submitted to a billionaire’s tutelage and got filthy rich?
BGQ 1. The Quest Begins.
BGQ 2. Ray Dalio’s “Idea Meritocracy”
C) THE VIRAL-VIDEO FALLACY Even the smartest, most media-savvy people I know fall for the Viral-Video Fallacy. This is my term for the mental blunders provoked by footage of strangers caught unawares. In theory, we know we’re looking at messy human behavior. Yet we can’t help processing the images through the narrative and gestural conventions of film and TV. How did this happen? What are the blunders? What can we do to see real people clearly?
VVR 1. How Hollywood Broke Our Eyes
VVR 2. The Viral-Video Fallacy at Work
D) NEOLIBERAL DEATH-WATCH. Many influential leftists believe that Biden and Trump killed neoliberalism. Most think this a good thing. Many influential conservatives think Biden and Trump killed neoliberalism. Most think this a bad thing.
Is either side correct? From what I’ve seen, both mistake a state of emergency for a paradigm shift. But I could be wrong. With facts on the ground still developing, and Discourse about it not yet devolved into slogans and posturing, the subject is ripe for an Inquiry.
DEATH WATCH 1. Why would anyone think our political economy has changed?
DEATH WATCH 2. If neoliberalism died in a forest…
E) BOOMER NOTES. As everyone knows, Millennials hate Boomers. As everyone also knows, Millennials love their parents, who are Boomers. Would it kill us to be consistent? Or are we onto something? And aren’t the 1960s due for a re-reappraisal?
IT’S A LONG STORY
Well-told, ample tales. In chapters.
THE ALICE ORIGIN STORY. I started a pseudonymous Twitter account. What happened next may intrigue you.
A TOPIC OF YOUR CHOICE. Colleges de-emphasizing standardized tests are making the application essay more important than ever. This means the business of “helping” rich kids write these essays will boom like never before. What happens to a nation that selects its ruling class this way? What happens to the ruling class? I’ve worked in this industry, and have a story to tell.
BETTING CHICKEN LITTLE. “Cranks” used to refer to outsiders, people who held beliefs outside of a mainstream defined and fed by elites. No longer. In January, I won $4000 from a high-paid lawyer who honestly believed Trump’s election-fraud claims would prevail in federal court. Next January, I’m bound to win another bundle, this one in crypto, from an elite coder who thinks Weimarian hyperinflation imminent. How did we land in this new age of elite crankery? And will the elite cranks meme their fantasies into something real, the way Trump’s crankiest supporters memed themselves into a riot at the Capitol?
Extremely hot if premature takes on what “everyone’s talking about.” With close attention to the media narratives you may wish to see through.
ALICE’S UNDERRATED / OVERRATED
Every so often, I’ll declare something underrated or overrated, and explain why. My Under / Over improves on older versions in that the explanations will be more interesting, and I’ll always be right.
There’s one more improvement: a contest. The subject of the following Underrated / Overrated will be announced as each one drops. To enter the contest you simply declare in the comments your own judgment of the upcoming subject—underrated or overrated—before I settle the issue for all time by revealing the correct answer.
After three months, the subscriber with the most accurate record of declarations wins a special prize. Anyone who declares correctly each week for three months can marry me.
UNDER / OVER 1. A comic who used to be famous.
(Contest begins when Under / Over 1 drops)
THE FOREVER STUDENT
Horrid confession: I love school. I just do. I love it so much that if it looks like I can’t make a living here l’ll be applying to grad schools this fall. This would of course be a financial and vocational disaster. The only way I see to prevent it is to both a) get rich on Substack; and b) go back to school here, on the stack, engaging in shameless acts of public learning. Join me for lessons from experts in tech, politics, law, finance, medicine, literature, film, history, gardening, cooking…
NEW YORK REVIEW OF WHATEVER PARTS OF THE BOOK I GOT THROUGH
Reviews of what I read, no more, no less. Some review only a book’s first sentence. With reviews of whatever parts of a TV series I watch before spacing out and checking Twitter.
Professional critics who may be anonymous join me to discuss writers who may not be very good.
THE ART OF THE TWEET
Interviews with people who are exceptionally good at Twitter. Most will have small or medium-sized followings. What makes them good at this new literary form? Are they good at anything else? What makes them want to tweet? What happens when they don’t? Meet any weirdos on Twitter? And what’s their whole deal anyway?
PERSONAL ANATOMICAL (@collnsmith)
EDWARD SNOWDEN (@Snowden)
For reasons I don’t understand, a lot of you find my real life interesting. While I’m determined not to turn HER OWN DEVICES into a cesspit of trauma confession, goat pics, and recipes, I am kind of an oversharer, and there’s a demand for this, so...
DIARY. Jottings and pics from my real life.
GET ME INTO SPORTS. In which subscribers passionate about pro sports try to interest me in one of them, and I misunderstand before tuning them out and forgetting everything. Guests will include legendary New England NBC commentator Tom E. Curran (on football AKA the Pats), Dad (baseball AKA the Red Sox), and some Twitter politics bro (basketball AKA I don’t even know… Is it the Knicks?)
ASK ALICE. Ask or tell me anything. Sometimes we’ll argue, mainly we’ll blab. As always, I’ll be endlessly patient, exceedingly polite. (Honestly I can’t wait to start ignoring my Twitter replies and chat here instead.) Soon as I’ve posted enough stuff.