105 minutes | Aug 26th 2019

Jia Tolentino on what happens when life is an endless performance

The introduction to Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, hit me hard. In her investigation of how American politics and culture had collapsed into “an unbearable supernova of perpetually escalating conflict,” she became obsessed with five intersecting problems: “First, how the internet is built to distend our sense of identity; second, how it encourages us to overvalue our opinions; third, how it maximizes our sense of opposition; fourth, how it cheapens our understanding of solidarity; and, finally, how it destroys our sense of scale."

Yeah, me too.

What sets Tolentino’s work apart, though, is that it’s not about the internet — it’s about how people are living their real, everyday lives in the age of the internet. This is a conversation about what happens when technology combines with the most powerful forces of human psychology to transform the nature of human interaction itself. It’s about how we construct and express our core sense of self, and what that’s doing to who we really are.

References:

The art of attention (with Jenny Odell)

Book Recommendations:

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

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