The end of 2018 is upon us. The government is on the verge of shutdown. The stock market is collapsing. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, one of the last “adults in the room,” has resigned, an ominous sign for the days ahead. It’s all just par for the course in a year that has felt, for many of us, totally exhausting.
2018 has taught me many things about myself, but one of them is that it is totally acceptable to set limits on your own intake of media and (bad) news. Sometimes, self-care means stepping away, disconnecting, and recognizing that keeping up with every minor political development, every outrage, every hot topic, every meme can actually be exhausting and damaging.
There is often no nobility to be found in subjecting yourself to things that will only serve to deaden you inside and tire you out for the battles you need to fight. It’s important to optimize your intake so that you strike a balance that works best for you. But above all: think about what you put into your mind, and what that in turn causes you to put out into the world.
On that note, this year has also taught me that there’s virtue in silence. I built much of my online persona on expressing my opinions loudly and strongly, but frequently this year we’ve seen that there are other voices that need to be heard who’ve often been drowned out by louder voices around them.
There’ve been many moments when I’ve seen folks celebrating the breakthrough of bold new talent, or a song/film/show that has resonated with them deeply. A much earlier version of me might’ve thought to share my disagreement, but there is no inherent virtue in simply sharing an opinion. Sometimes it’s best to just hear what others have to say. There’s nothing wrong in letting people have a moment over something. If you don’t agree, there’s a million other things to pay attention to.
As we enter the new year, I hope you’ll consider what is necessary for self care, and when to amplify the voices of those who might not have one as big as yours.
Some other interesting things from the week:
- This year has been a great year for Asian representation in popular culture. Check out Inkoo Kang’s write-up of it, and see also Siddhant Adlakah’s top 20 films born from the Asian diaspora.
- We reviewed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on the /Filmcast.
- When people are exonerated for crimes they were falsely convicted of, the media often frames this as a success story. But as this story by Pamela Colloff for ProPublica shows, the aftermath is often much more complicated and unfortunate.
- Ariel Fisher has a wild take about how the throne room scene from The Last Jedi is really about online dating.
- Abraham Riesman spoke with cinematographers, directors, and VFX folks to learn about the hardest effects they ever pulled off. Great piece, but starting with Rogue One…oof.
- Mark Rober made one of the greatest internet videos of all time, although significant parts of the original turned out to have been faked. Still, worth checking out.
- M. Night Shyamalan is going to have a very interesting year. I’m fascinated with his rise and fall and rise again, and this profile by Brian Hiatt helps capture part of that crazy journey.
- Listen to this great Charles Barkley story about an unlikely friendship.