200 words about 200 Words About Culture

The problem with pretty much everything is that it's too long. The average Hollywood movie seems to start at 130 minutes. Every month a new TV show is apparently a sleeper classic. Games perch precariously atop a "side mission bubble." Email newsletters are no different. The impulse is to insist upon themselves: thousands of words, roundups, recurring sections. Wasn't the idea behind the shift here that these might provided a simpler, quieter, ecosystem? (Perhaps also the faint promise of monetization, but let's not be churlish.) Culture writing, particularly, prides itself on the "long read," the "deep dive," a tendency only exacerbated by the internet. But good culture writing can also be allusive, angled, surprising ... and short. Those who remember poring over print encyclopedias and monthly capsule reviews know well how a few short insights can rattle around much longer than a dozen galactic paragraphs. And so why not treat the email format as a challenge -- not in surplus, but in service? How about this: A recommendation (or reflection) in your inbox as frequently as manageable; an email that serves as a wormhole into the life of ideas offline; a complete thought that never dreams of exceeding 200 words.

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A micro-newsletter by a rotating slate of writers condemned to blurb every pop culture artifact ever. They will be freed upon completion.


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