Where in the world is Default Friend?

Man—okay—so trying to re-launch this ahead of a major move and before I took several vacations probably wasn’t my brightest idea. I still have faith in this Substack and still, believe it or not, intend to regularly update it. I just haven’t had the bandwidth, lately. As some of you have pointed out, it’s not that I’m not writing, it’s just that I’m not writing here. I’ve been publishing almost everywhere but Substack.

So here’s what I’ve been up to this summer:

  • My friend Emmet Penney and I are working on an exciting project together. No spoilers, but if you like my more recent work, you’ll really enjoy what we’ve been jamming on. More details to come on this. In the meantime, I highly recommend his podcast ex.haust, and his recent essay in The American Conservative, “Political Life in the Lottery of Babylon.”

  • Ann (or as you may know her, The Personality Girl) and I are still recording After the Orgy. We’ve shifted the focus from the more narrow critique of sex positive feminism to desire. We’re hoping this will allow us to have a more interesting scope of topics. We also launched a Patreon—money from that will go to things like better audio equipment, editing capabilities, and well, all the stuff that makes podcasts polished. We also launched a really cool series, Interviews with Cancelled Men. Our first guest was the writer Stephen Elliott, who you may be familiar with through his website, The Rumpus, which helped build the careers of writers like Roxane Gay.

  • As noted earlier, I’ve also been publishing almost manically. Here are some highlights:

    At The American Mind, I wrote about how women are becoming more skeptical of hormonal birth control (h/t to the always brilliant Mary Harrington whose previous writing and guidance helped this piece come into existence). I also offered a rebuttal to the idea that the American university system underpins the explosion of what we now call ‘wokeness.’ I have a couple of other pieces out with them later this month, about university celibacy clubs like The Anscombe Society and tradwives, respectively.

    Over at The American Conservative, I wrote my longest and most in-depth piece to date. It’s about Tumblr and its longer term impact on American culture. I’ve more or less memed myself into becoming a Fan Studies researcher this summer, and spend most of my days interviewing people about their experiences within fandoms, including and especially on Tumblr. Want to chat? Hit me up on Calendly, which I now begrudgingly pay $15/month for.

    I’ve also written for The Washington Examiner, about how Sex and the City is really a satire and more recently, about the rise and fall of Milo Yiannopoulos, The Spectator, once about OnlyFans, and another about slashfic, and Unherd, about digital social contagions and the coming wave of sex negativity.

    I have about a half dozen Tumblr or tech-centric articles being published throughout the next month and into the fall in these publications and others.

  • I’m retiring the advice column, and I’m done with the dating beat more generally.

    It’s partially a bandwidth reason, partially because I don’t feel like inviting trolls back into my sphere by re-opening my CuriousCat, and partially because I don’t think I’m the right person for it.

    Not because I don’t believe in it, but because I don’t want to end up being viewed as some kind of “romance expert.” I’ve been invited on a handful of podcasts with respect to this already, and it’s always this weird thing. I’m no expert on dating—far from it. I think it’s just the weird combination of being in a longterm relationship and having opinions that are perhaps more rare in this corner of the Internet. Or maybe not they’re not rare, but rather, because I’ve got one foot in both camps (normie-world and online-world), I’m able to reframe well-worn talking points in more normie/online-friendly ways, depending on who I’m speaking to.

    All this said, I am more than happy to continue amplifying the voices and projects of people who I do think are better suited to this kind of thing, like my friends Justin and Raven, who are running a really cool arranged marriage project.

    I have one final advice-oriented article coming out, but from here on forward, all engagements with romantic topics will be through the lens of contemporary or historical internet trends.

Finally, I have one more big project in the works that I’m afraid to say too much about it for fear of jinxing it. But suffice to say, it’s an exciting development, and might explain a couple of things...

That’s all for now, friends. Don’t be strangers!