matt has an entire paragraph, with a footnote, talking about basis points and apparently at no point looked up what a basis point is because he's off by a factor of 100. https://t.co/A2ACWCMIvQ
— your himbo boyfriend (@swolecialism) January 11, 2023
Detail-heavy, unintentionally revealing beat sweetener from Dan Zak, at the Washington Post:
Matt Yglesias can talk about supervolcanoes and about Habsburg federalism and about the semiconductor industry in Taiwan vs. China. He can talk about regulatory sensitivities around geothermal drilling. He can talk normative ethics and the Ghent system and occupational licensing and maritime commerce in Westeros, the fictional realm of “Game of Thrones.” He can talk about all these things and, perhaps more importantly, he can sound like he knows what he’s talking about…
When enthusiastic or challenged in conversation, Yglesias’s speaking voice can reach a cartoonish tenor reminiscent of Jiminy Glick. His writing voice, however, remains flat. He is a “logic machine” at the keyboard, according to friends. He is a parody of artificial intelligence, according to haters.
“It’s the best time there’s ever been to be somebody who can write something coherent quickly,” Yglesias says, over coffee. “I find it relaxing to work. I put things out. People yell at me. I will write again the next day.”
Yglesias, 41, has been writing online nonstop since he was 20. In the aughts, he was an insurgent, liberal blogger who helped turn prolific posting into an industry standard. In the 2010s, he co-founded Vox to institutionalize this ethos and to bigfoot old-guard media. Now he’s struck gold on the newsletter platform Substack, where at least 13,000 people each pay Matt Yglesias an average of $80 a year for access to his Yglesiasms, and to a robust comment section about moral relativism and windowless bedrooms and child tax credits and storm-water runoff. On Twitter, Yglesias has more than half a million followers, and a habit of exasperating people with his contrarian stabs at wit. But his Substack is a place where a fractious world is rendered logical, where self-proclaimed moderates and rationalists find refuge from so-called purists and radicals…
Among the political newsletters on Substack’s leader board, which is stocked with Gen-X reactionaries to what Yglesias has called the “Great Awokening,” he is No. 8 in readership, between the conniptions of Glenn Greenwald and the braying of Andrew Sullivan. Yglesias’s is one of a few Substacks that earn north of $1 million per year in subscription revenue. Yglesias named his Substack “Slow Boring,” after a 1919 lecture by the German sociologist Max Weber titled “Politics as a Vocation,” wherein “boring” is not an adjective of dullness but a gerund of diligence…
Celebrated public intellectual attempts math, falls down open manhole: https://t.co/k7KJtwFGxy
— Defector (@DefectorMedia) January 11, 2023
Much more entertaining explainer / rebuttal from Chris Thompson, at Defector:
If there is a professional blogger out there who hasn’t made a regrettable, excruciating error in one of their blogs, please tell that person that I hate them. Certainly I have had to correct many published errors… Volume blogging, and especially volume blogging without a careful, professional editor, is like sprinting along a balance beam while tired and distracted and out-of-shape. You are going to slip, and sooner or later one of those slips will have extremely embarrassing consequences. And that’s not even getting into the times when you get an innocent stranger killed by your unwise mocking of lightning.
Matt Yglesias performs as a big-brained public intellectual, but what he really is is a volume blogger, and a social media provocateur. Yglesias’s gimmick is the appearance of rigor and rationality, which he accomplishes mostly by affecting a tone of patronizing superiority. But his real talent is for triangulating positions that will be maximally annoying to what he has identified as a liberal consensus, and then doing just enough Wikipedia-surfing of the issues at hand to launch half-assed arguments and inflame online discourse. These salvos are very popular among people who identify as politically moderate, because the smoke-and-mirrors esotericism guarantees that the ensuing discourse will only grind any productive conversation to a miserable halt. In a very good Washington Post profile of Yglesias, published, rather hilariously, Wednesday morning, his whole fuckin’ deal is summed up very beautifully:
The affect is one of solution, of authority, of “aha!”
The effect is vaporous, curious, “huh?” – Dan Zak, Washington Post
… Relative to the rest of the blogging world, Yglesias is making bank, but for that bank he has to do all the blogging himself. It’s a big undertaking—his only editor, Zak reports, is Kate Crawford, who is his wife—and one that necessarily requires that Yglesias ride the razor’s edge every day, of churning out content without necessarily always having time to make sure the content is, ah, factually accurate.