Why are supposedly serious and profound fiction often difficult and boring to read? Is there a necessary connection between the two? I argue yes, a bit, but it's hard to tell when the connection is illusory and fake. Read more (23 min, 5700 words).
I wrote a spontaneous piece on the tensions between cultural/intellectual accessibility and ambition that under later scrutiny wasn't quite up to snuff. Instead of publishing something sub par or discard it I used it as a jumping off point for discussing the nature of creative work, writing and thinking in general. Read more (13 min, 4200 words).
I pick up the "hit" concept "decoupling" from my article about Sam Harris and Ezra Klein and develop it further. There are five different ways to describe it, four categories of disagreement that builds on it, three factors that determine whether someone does it or not in a given case, two ways to handle dangerours ideas, and one new ideology needed to save political egalitarianism when the importance of biology becomes undeniable. Read more (22 min, 5500 words).
The Eurovision Song Contest: A Meaning-Making Machine
My third yearly article about the Eurovision Song Contest, where I argue that the contest is set up in a way that maximizes return on investment in terms of meaning experienced in context vs. real world meaning out of context. Read more (17 min, 4300 words).
Voices On the Genius of the Bit Artists
How a book about two late 20th century artists convinced me that they are the greatest in history. Read more (11 min, 2700 words).
Six Kinds of Reading
"The Elephant in the Brain" had an interesting effect on me, which made me think up a typology of ways reading can change the structure of your mind. Read more (10 min, 2500 words).