#242: Full-Timing Families 🚐
It’s Thursday, loyal readers, which means it’s time for another installment of great articles on race, education, and culture. Thank you for being an important part of our reading community!
Today’s issue explores two trends emerging from the pandemic. The first is the growing desire to escape our cooped-up conditions and to branch out into the wider world. The second is the increasing reliance on technology and its questionable impact on identity and humanity. If you want more lighthearted, go with the first pair of articles; if you want more serious, go with the second pair. As for my favorite this week, I can’t decide between “The Rise of Full-Timing Families” or “What Happens After You Get Rich Quick?” They will elicit various emotions. Please enjoy!
+ Congratulations to Nikole Hannah-Jones for winning her first Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Her winning essay was the lead article in Issue #205 last August. Ms. Hannah-Jones is, in my mind, the best writer right now on race and education.
+ I’d like to see more of you try out Article Club this month. Go ahead, take the leap! We’re discussing “Lost in Summerland,” by Barrett Swanson, a powerful story about two brothers, mental illness, psychic powers, summer camp, and painful secrets. You can learn more here and sign up for this month’s discussion.
The Rise Of Full-Timing Families
Are you tired of shelter in place? Maybe it’s time to buy a van or trailer (like two of my friends did this past weekend), hit the road, and explore the great outdoors! Better yet, you may opt for a more permanent solution, like #vanlife. If you’re really advanced, becoming a full-time traveling family might be right for you.
More than 1 million Americans now live in their RVs. For Robyn and Victor Robledo and their five children, the decision was simple. Feeling empty, like something was missing, they chose to “focus on what’s truly important,” to go “against the grain.” After all, full-timing families say, the true American dream is to seek freedom and adventure, not to accumulate property.
But if you join the movement, be sure to get a blog, jump on Facebook, establish your YouTube channel, and have a plan to monetize. Also, remember that your RV chugs gas and that it’s better to be financially independent (and a white evangelical) before you head off. (14 min)
What Happens After You Get Rich Quick? The World Of The Retired Dropshipper
If you really want to get away, maybe dropshipping in Bali is the best way to go. Mike Vestil can help you buy junk on Alibaba, sell it to Europeans over Instagram, learn about “sexual transmutation,” and spend the bulk of your time shirtless by the pool with the ladies. (The remainder of your time goes to YouTube.) But if you’re like most dropshippers and go bankrupt, you can leave your villa in Canggu and settle on Bukabuka, like Thomas Despin, and have the island’s 20 residents build you a bathroom with electricity and running water. It’s all about being a man and reinventing yourself, right? (17 min)
VIP Mahogney reminds you: It’s almost the weekend, loyal readers. Rest up, curl up, and get in a rewarding reading session while sipping your favorite beverage from your esteemed Highlighter Mug. hltr.co/membership
Queer Visibility At The Self-Checkout Line
Alyse Burnside likes to take selfies with her partner in the Target self-checkout line. She’s done it with every partner she’s had. It’s irresistible, she says. It’s her act of resistance, a way of being seen as a queer person in this digital, capitalist world. As queer people become more mainstream, and marriage is legal, Ms. Burnside feels more invisible — that belonging means giving something away. Taking selfies and posting them online “feels in some small way like taking back my own image, to reframe surveillance as something other than an attempt to monitor consumers, to create collective experience by sharing it online.” (14 min)
Test Anxiety: When Someone Watches You While You Take Your Final Exam Online
No matter your feelings on the topic, online learning is here to stay. This means plenty more Zoom, Google Classroom, and challenges to the humanity of teaching and learning. One creepy trend is the rise of online test proctoring, where a representative from Examity or Proctorio watches you (and you alone) while you take your exam online. “We closely watch the face of the student to see if there is something suspicious, or if the student is trying to mumble something to somebody else outside the room.” Students aren’t pleased, calling the experience “creepy” and “invasive.” (15 min)
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