‘Congratulations! You’ve Been Fired,’ and 5 Other Stories You Should Read
The New Republic: It Mii: The Rise and Fall of Miitomo
Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor
Last Friday I was sitting at home, slightly inebriated and scanning my phone, when I came across Miitomo, gaming giant Nintendo’s first foray into social apps. My nostalgia overwhelmed any analytical part of brain not already dampened by alcohol, and I downloaded it immediately while also forcing the two people I was with to download it as well.
Not surprisingly, the app was weird—really weird. You set up your “Mii” network with friends, then the app asks you basic questions about yourself (which are then sent to your friends). That’s basically it. There’s a photo editor that people have used to great effect, but it seemed hidden and didn’t really add anything to the core experience.
It was a great reminder why popular social networks are popular in the first place: They’re public, easily accessible, and full of stuff to do. Increasingly, that “stuff” is content… You’re watching it, reading it, scanning it, sharing it, and so on. In comparison, Miitomo felt empty and pointless. Because as pointless as aimlessly scrolling Twitter may seem, it doesn’t compare to buying clothes for your fake avatar with real money.
Selected by Jess Black, customer marketing manager
After much talk about the Bechdel test, the creators of this article decided to gather some hard data and reveal the true status of gender equality on screen—and the result is fascinating.
Because I have a heart and was born in 1990, I grew up idolizing Disney princesses. But because I have a brain and am a feminist, I was pretty disheartened to learn that my childhood heroines were vastly underrepresented in the films they starred in. It’s not that I was expecting Cinderella and The Little Mermaid to rank as feminists icons, but it was shocking to discover that males have a majority of the dialogue in 22 of 30 Disney films.
Selected by Carly Miller, editorial intern
To celebrate the release of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s fifth installment of My Struggle, John Freeman, executive editor of Lit Hub, interviews Knausgaard about his prolific writing process.
My Struggle, the wildly successful 3,600-page autobiographical series of novels, intimates Knausgaard’s life, relationships, and thoughts in such detail that The New Republic’s Evan Hughes said it’s “like opening someone else’s diary and finding your own secrets.” The most interesting moment of this interview, for me, is when he reveals that he completely threw away a whole book in the series just because it felt forced. He was trying too hard to recreate his childhood rather than completely relive it.
Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief
Also applies to demo requests.
The Walrus: I Don’t Care About Your Life
Selected by Erin Nelson, marketing editor
When you read a critical essay, are you interested in the personal history of the writer? According to Jason Guriel, there should be far less “I” and far more consideration of the cultural and historical foundation of the piece in question.
While Guriel uses the first person in his criticism of first-person critics (meta on fleek), he makes a decent point that with the “mass exodus” of writers and role models like David Foster Wallace, deeply cathartic reflections have infiltrated essays originally meant to examine something outside of the self. In either case, he raises the question writers hate to confront: When do my experiences enhance my storytelling ability, and when should I leave my baggage with the shrink?
The New York Times: Congratulations! You’ve Been Fired
Selected by Sam Slaughter, vp of content
Former Newsweek editor Dan Lyons, who’s a sometime friend to Contently (he’s spoken at our events and written for The Content Strategist), has a new book out about his time at the inbound marketing company HubSpot… and not to spoil the ending, but his experience was not exactly positive.
He writes here about being shocked at the importance of the sales team, the Orwellian language (firings are called “graduations”), and being “bossed around by undertrained (or untrained) managers.” As an untrained manager at a SaaS company that gives out quarterly “Awessie” awards and has a big sales team, I can relate. But while I love Dan personally and plan to read his book, I think he’s turning a bit of a willful blind eye to the realities of how companies work. Every company has a culture, and given my druthers, I’ll take startup culture over the available alternatives any day. Newsweek, of course, has a sales team too.Image by Getty Images