You Say I’m Putting You On But It’s No Joke

I write a weekly column for Wired which is, ostensibly, a summary/explanation of five things that people have been talking about online over the last seven days. It has, over the past couple years, transformed into a weird record of political events as the world has become swallowed by the news (or, perhaps, since I have become swallowed by the news). It’s one of the most exhausting things I work on, every single week.

I mean that in multiple senses. Practically, it’s a lot; it’s probably the longest thing I’ll write in most weeks, coming in around 2000 words every Friday morning before edits, and researching it is a bear, taking up a chunk of every week. I spend hours looking on Twitter and elsewhere throughout the week to find what people are talking about, and then trying to backtrack to find what the shape of that conversation was, how it started, how it evolved, not to mention external (online) sources to back up the social media of it all.

I hand it in every Friday somewhere between 7 and 9 am, and have from then until Monday as a break to not continually be searching for potential fodder. Otherwise, I’m on it; looking for what stories are trending, what interests me, who’s saying what and if there’s anything to it. It’s exhausting in that sense, too.

And then there’s just the sad fact of, there is rarely any good news. It sounds almost like a joke, but in the last few years — I want to say, since Trump got elected, but that’s not the whole truth — the news has just been overwhelmingly, oppressively, bad. People get hurt. Institutional and societal mass cruelty spreads across the world like a virus. Bad people get more and more successful, get away with more and more shit. That is exhausting, too. Writing about that, every single week.

I’m writing this instead of looking at social media right now. When I’m done, I’ll go back to see what people are talking about, and try to decipher what’s right for the column, and what is just people venting on Twitter. But I’m tired.

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