Ahoy! This is the Weekly Churn, where every Sunday I post about what I’ve been reading, watching, and thinking about over the previous week.
On a personal note, my father is doing better. He had his surgery, and while the outcome is not entirely what we’d hoped, he’s doing better and should have improved quality of life in the long run. It was a stressful time, and I’m glad I was able to be there for him. A few years ago I would not have been able to, and given how stressed I still am five days after getting home, I can only imagine how difficult that would have been.
I’ve gotten back to reading. I’m just shy of 200 pages into The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, by Shoshana Zuboff. It’s a fantastic book, although I’m not sure it’s what I was expecting. So far it’s primarily a deep dive into the history of how Google makes and has made its money. What I’m learning is an order of magnitude scarier than anything I’ve read about Facebook, including what I’ve read about Facebook in this very book. I’ll certainly have more thoughts about this in future, but right now I’m kind of dumbstruck by all the things I didn’t know. The sheer scale of it. Frankly, Facebook’s surveillance program looks like amateur hour by comparison, like what Google would be if it was run by someone who had a big idea but didn’t know how to keep his fucking mouth shut. It’s appalling, and also required reading. For right now I will add only this: this book is an enormous pain in the ass to read on the subway.
I have given in to whatever the mass culture version of peer pressure is and am watching the final season of Game of Thrones. I usually wait until all the episodes have aired and watch it then; this is the only season since the first that I’ve watched more or less live. It’s not clear to me how I feel about it; as always, it’s less satisfying the farther it gets from the books, but it does understand how to do spectacle. I also plan to see the next Avengers film tomorrow, and then Shazam! sometime after that.
Having spent so much time in Nova Scotia lately I’m a bit behind on, well, everything, really, so I’ll be unusually busy for the next few weeks. It will be nice if I can find a way to get some more writing done in there. Speaking of writing, my short story “Tobacco Hand” finally appeared in print. It’s in the Winter 2018 issue of The Dalhousie Review. Being published in this journal was an interesting experience; it started with a very productive discussion with the editor about how to make a few minor adjustments to the story to make it stronger—adjustments that I definitely agreed would make it stronger—but when I saw it on newsstands last week I learned that some very heavy line edits and other changes were made to the piece after I reviewed the proofs, so the final version isn’t at all what I’d have wished to see in print. I’m both irritated and confused, but at least it’s out there. I’ve been trying to sell the damned thing since 2005.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!