The right to give up

Moths & more

Hi friends.

First things first: an update on the moths. There’s been a serious de-escalation. We are down to basically zero thwips per night.

If only the same could be true of other aggressors.


Disclaimer things second: I started writing this email a few weeks ago so some of the links below are obsolete in internet time. BUT STILL WORTH CLICKING ON THANKS.

I’ve been absent from your inbox because I’ve felt suffocated and ineffectual. I’ve been suckered into some super addictive algorithms, and the outrage and the grief has hamstrung me.

In particular, the crisis of reflexive groupthink feels exhausting.

Two people helped me reset this attitude. A friend’s news sits heavy on my heart even as her response to it moves me to show up better. And Kelly, your pep talk sealed my deal in terms of directing my energy to more meaningful places.

I don’t feel that I have the right to consider giving up hope.

- Jia Tolentino


Now down to business. Today I want to talk about the humanity of assholes.

One asshole in particular. (Not you, this person doesn’t subscribe, and no, not you either: this person is not family).

This person enrages me (or did, before I snoozed them on every online platform). I find literally everything they contribute to the digital commons either abhorrent or whiny. My reactions are typically either: you are a heartless, self-centered, hateful human, or, find something better to worry about, you petty, negative, jerk.

If I didn't know this person in real life, and in different contexts, they would fall deep into the canceled stratum in my personal hierarchy of humans.

This person is not canceled, though, because I don’t get to cancel someone. And, more to the point, in real life, I appreciate this person. We don’t see eye to eye on most things, and we’ll never be bffs, but we have a relationship. They are not an unkind person. They are not without compassion or vulnerability. They pleasantly surprise me with their generosity.

What is more rewarding than our relationship is that they give me some glimmer of hope that some of the other hate-filled meatsacks out there are likewise more complicated—tempered, even—by real life personhood.

It’s a scant hope, a hope proportionate to the relentless bludgeoning of these times.

Cancel culture and the freedom to be an asshole

[cw: obsolete content]

Speaking of who gets to speak and who gets to cancel, here are some of my favorite responses to the Harper’s letter about cancel culture.

J.K. Rowling seems intent on tweeting her disapproval of transgender people. Certainly, a closer examination of the critics of cancel culture confirms the suspicion that many of these self-appointed defenders of free speech prefer monologue over dialogue.

-Pankaj Mishra

Media I’m glad I consumed

Media that gave me a tummy ache

Consume this, too!

  • Last week, we hosted a workshop all about inclusivity and access to fitness and wellness, featuring four women I have learned so much from over the years. Their perspectives and stories were generous, thoughtful, funny, and damning. The content is tailored to fitness people but it speaks to anyone who’s worried about saying or doing the right thing, struggling to find their voice, or wondering how to most effectively support BIPOC, protesters, and racial justice efforts. You can watch the recording here (password: 44U8^rYL) or listen to the podcast version here. Make sure to follow our panelists, too: Tasha @hiphealthychickBrittany @fitxbritTiffany @coachhenness, and Katrina @fittykat_.

  • My brother got to be the first ever guest on our podcast and it was a joy to have him on. Plus he told my all-time favorite story about a surprise chemical reaction … one that happened all over a potential investor’s fancy table. 😬

A+ on the vocab quiz

Initialism (n) is an abbreviation pronounced one letter at a time (ATM, DVD). An acronym is an abbreviation pronounced as a word (NASA, YOLO).