Stanley Kubrick knew some things.

As we head to the polls tonight for what will be the most contentious and delirious election of my lifetime, I’m strangely distanced from it all. I’ve sworn off red and blue and I don’t see either party as more, or less, of an existential threat. Instead they form a uni-party with buffoonish figureheads. People screaming that “You must pick a side! The fate of our nation depends on it!” have either been living under a rock, or are willfully ignoring what is right in front of them: a farcical “choice” between what amounts to two actors in the same…

On June 8, 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published. Seventy years later, Orwell’s warnings still ring true.

Orwellian. Not many people can claim an adjective, and I’m sure if George Orwell were alive today he’d have mixed feelings about it. “Orwellian” has become synonymous with “dystopian” — humorless, drab, authoritarian, all-seeing, all-disrupting, anti-human. We see references to Big Brother — the surrogate God of Nineteen Eighty-Four — all the time in pop culture. We even have a reality show unironically named after it. The whole premise of the show sets the viewer up to spy on a household full of people with conflicting personalities. The more drama that erupts in the household, the higher the ratings. As…

Fifty-five years ago, on this day in 1963, Aldous Huxley passed through a psychedelic portal to the other side. His death was overshadowed by the assassination of JFK on the same day, but the legacy of his most popular novel, Brave New World, lives on.

Even fifty-five years after his death, Aldous Huxley’s best-known work, the satirical dystopian novel, Brave New World, has a message which resonates. It was published in 1932, a tumultuous epoch between two world wars, when totalitarian ideologies gripped the world’s nation states and intellectual elite. The idea of utopia didn’t seem too farfetched for many…

Image credit: Fightland — Vice

It may seem strange to start a story about my encounter with Anthony Bourdain with an anecdote about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but if it weren’t for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu — BJJ for short — I don’t think I’d ever have appreciated him in the way I do. Because of BJJ I met the man first, then discovered his art, and really the only way to make sense of this is to start from the beginning.

In late 2014 I joined a BJJ gym in Los Angeles under the Renzo Gracie banner. It was opened a few years earlier by one…

Social media allows us to monetize anything. But should we?

Warning: the video below contains explicit content.

The video starts with a close-up shot of a woman’s bare torso. She’s in the passenger seat of a moving car, being filmed by the driver. As she faces the back seat, screaming and moaning, it soon becomes apparent she’s about to give birth. The driver (male voice) says:

“Can you wait like two minutes?”

She sputters out something unintelligible. More screams and moans.

“Hold on, hold on… she’s coming out?”

It’s hard to understand the woman in between her heavy breathing…

How The Real World, OJ Simpson and Kim Kardashian paved the way to our tabloidized lives on social.

Kim Kardashian once described taking photos of herself as the “the purpose of life.” From the reality show which she helped launch, to her sisters following in her footsteps, the tabloid-like buzz the Kardashians create about themselves has penetrated our culture. Millions of their followers aim to do the same on a micro-scale.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which has just launched its 15th season, wasn’t the first reality show, but its enormous influence has massified what can only be called the…

A small change to an algorithm is at the heart of fake news, tribalism and extreme behavior on social media.

In October 2009 Facebook made a fateful change to its algorithm which has had profound and polarizing effects on society. It’s a lesson in unintended consequences — for, on the surface, this tweak to the platform was made to improve user experience. However, it was really a strategic shift towards hyper-monetization, and this drive to turn the free social network into a money-printing machine also ended up exacerbating the worst human tendencies.

What happened was a decision to change the…

Drew Minh

Author of NEON EMPIRE, a near-future thriller about influencers, coming out in September 2019 (CCB/Rare Bird Books)

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