May 16, 2016

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is convening a meeting of conservative media figures this week to address recent stories that the social media site has suppressed right-wing news sources from its “Trending Topics” section. Glenn Beck, one of the invitees, phrased his concerns with typical acumen: “If [Facebook] is to be as ubiquitous as Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, it must remain as unbiased as the telephone, otherwise it too will fracture or fall apart over time due to competitors who will carve out their own place without agenda.” As Zuckerberg says, and spending ten minutes on Facebook reading a stream of comments like Beck’s always confirms, “the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences.”

Beck et al. might want to pick up a copy of Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz’s Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley on their way to Facebook HQ. This Kickstarter-funded book is a guide to the “cool, geeky, and often inane words” used by tech startups. Unicorns and dogfooding, growth hacking and viral loops—it isn’t just the book’s quaint print presentation that makes us nostalgic for another California valley’s gnarly idiom.

The arduous search for “one boy to laugh with, joke with, have a Coke with:” Reviews of Moira Weigel’s Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating in Harper’s Magazine and the New Yorker consider the idea that courtship has always been just another job, especially for women.


Max Porter

The Toast, Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg’s Internet corner of comedy genius, is ending on July 1st. Slate picks some favorites from the publication’s three-year run including “Liberal Dude Erotica,” by Charlotte Shane, “Let’s Make Meat Loaf a Lesbian Icon,” by Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart, and “Emails Where Shit Got Real” by Michelle Dean.

This Saturday, Max Porter won the Dylan Thomas Prize for his book Grief is the Thing with Feathers, a meditation on mourning featuring a grieving father, two children, and a bird imported from the Ted Hughes poetry book Crow. Porter’s novella has received rave reviews in the UK and will be published in the US in early June.