On Form, Israel, and the Death Athletic
Welcome to today’s issue of Other Life:
Why Writing on the Internet Still Hasn't Been Tried
Israel and the US Congress
The Death Athletic
Announcing The Independent Scholar Video Course
On November 8, I will release a super-concentrated and practical tutorial video covering my personal systems for reading, writing, teaching, and earning money online as an independent scholar.
It will not make you a million dollars in a year. You will build a meaningful body of independent writing in the public sphere, slowly and authentically, with a modest but high-quality audience of peers. From there, some will go on to build bigger audiences and earn money with their work; some will carry on with their day-jobs and continue their research as a passionate avocation. I’m proud to say the Other Life community has produced successful case studies of both.
Expect a series of video modules about 1-2 hours total, focused on specific processes with screencasts. This is the fruit of about 5 live group courses I’ve taught to a few hundred participants in the past couple years. The live cohorts have given me a lot of data about what works best for our type of people.
The cohorts are great but quite demanding for me. With this new self-paced video course, I can impart all of the key information at a lower cost for you. The next time I run a live cohort, the price will go up to $800. I’m only going to run them a few times each year. The video course will be $200 when I publish it on November 8.
If you’d like to pre-order before it’s published, I’m happy to open the pre-sale today at $125. That’s about 40% off.
On the Forms of Internet Writing
In a recent podcast, David Perell interviewed Marc Andreessen on the art of writing in the internet era. I found it rich with non-obvious observations and arguments.
The best writing reflects how the author talks.
Quickly create an outline with bullet points. Write it up in a second pass.
Curate group chats creatively and carefully to converge on the truth about current affairs.
Group chats with four to eight people who have high trust can lead to genuine discussions, while larger groups tend to become performative.
Have multiple chats with diverse perspectives and delete/recreate them periodically.
Selection of participants is crucial, as each person can greatly impact the conversation.
There exist platonic literary forms—for instance the aphorism and the essay—which go out of fashion for temporary reasons but inevitably resurface. That's what we're seeing with Twitter/X and blogs/newsletters.
Literature and software engineering are united by a common medium, which is often overlooked. AI increases the salience of this overlap.
There is a strange undersupply of high-quality writing on the internet, given the ease of writing and publishing today.
Advertisement for a tour of Copenhagen, focusing on the work of Fritz Hansen (2017).
On Israel and the US Congress
Earlier this week, Congress passed a resolution affirming support of Israel. When it passed 412-10 in the House, many people were shocked.
It is not widely understood that the US Congress is nearly unanimous in its unconditional support for Israel. It has been for a while.
It is peculiar. The US is highly polarized, but here Congress acts in lockstep. Why?
There is no secret conspiracy, just old-fashioned, interest-group politics. There probably are conspiracies, too, but in this case, the explanation has been well documented.
One cannot just blame "The Jews" because evangelical Christians are some of the biggest players in the Israel lobby.
In 1997, Fortune surveyed Congress and their staff to name the most powerful lobbies in the USA. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC, the biggest official pro-Israel interest group) was ranked second behind only the American Association of Retired People. National Journal came to the same conclusion in its 2005 ‘muscle rankings.’
The Israel lobby has included influential Christian evangelicals such as Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson, Tom DeLay, and many others. They all believe that Israel’s rebirth is destined by biblical prophecy and therefore the United States must do whatever it takes to protect the state of Israel.
How does it work? All the usual mechanisms. It just does them incredibly well. Campaign contributions, supplying aligned staffers, punishing candidates who step out of line, etc.
In Issue #83, I wrote about Cody Wilson on the Death Athletic.
Jessica Solce's film Death Athletic is out now on Amazon, iTunes, and from the filmmaker directly.
This seven-year project explores the 3D-printed gun movement.
I got to watch the film early and really liked it. Definitely recommend.