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#278: The Zoom Gaze

The Highlighter
When I launched this newsletter six-ish years ago, I didn’t think I would be highlighting articles exploring the long-term consequences of video conferencing software. But such is the pandemic, and such is technology, and this week’s smart lead article, “The Zoom Gaze,” succinctly summarizes how our digital lives have changed. If you already Zoom enough that you don’t want to read about Zoom, you’re in luck, because today’s issue also includes Isabel Wilkerson on the intractability of caste, M.H. Miller on the recalcitrance of student debt, and John Calapinto on the uniqueness of the human voice. Please enjoy!
+ Loyal readers, I had this thought the other evening: At this point, as The Highlighter has grown, most of you have never met me, and know little about me — and vice versa. First of all, thank you for trusting me to bring you articles every Thursday, and I hope you find value in them. But second of all, please feel free to reach out, say hi, and ask me anything. Our reading community is a tight, thoughtful one, and I’d like to welcome you to it and encourage you to participate in it in the way you find most comfortable.
+ Article Club’s momentum continues to grow, thanks to last Sunday’s discussion of “Motherland,” by Jiayang Fan. We welcomed new members Angie, Bora, Lauri, and Phoebe, and facilitators Sarai and Summer led thoughtful conversations. (Mine was good, too!) What’s funny is that some Article Clubbers don’t know about The Highlighter (but might like it), and many of you don’t know about Article Club (but might like it). Who knows, maybe we should all be friends? Here’s more info if you want to check it out!

The Zoom Gaze
America’s Caste System Is 400 Years Old. That Doesn’t Change Overnight.
Keno, who belongs to VIP Vanessa, enjoys drowning his toys in his water dish and thrives on face scratches, but only in the morning or afternoon. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter?
Keno, who belongs to VIP Vanessa, enjoys drowning his toys in his water dish and thrives on face scratches, but only in the morning or afternoon. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter?
An American Family’s Struggle For Student Loan Redemption
The Day My Voice Broke: What An Injury Taught Me About The Power Of Speech
+ Reader Annotations: This week, the hubbub surrounding the bucatini article (#276) continued apace. Correcting the record, VIP Phoebe confirmed her adulation for the article but clarified that she feels less love for the pasta itself. “My 4-exclamation-mark enthusiasm was for the article, not for the pasta,” she wrote. “I like bucatini, but I will save my single and multiple exclamation marks for other types of noodle products.”
Loyal reader Monica, who claims 0 percent Italian blood, nevertheless weighed in on my follow-up prompt about pesto’s proper ingredients. “As for walnuts vs. pine nuts: JUST SAY NO TO WALNUTS,” she wrote. “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.”
Thank you very much for your contributions, Phoebe and Monica. Loyal readers, if an article strikes a chord, don’t keep your feelings trapped inside. Share them by hitting reply!
Unfortunately, what is good must come to an end. Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you thought by hitting reply or by clicking on the thumbs below.
Also, let’s welcome our reading community’s three new subscribers: Gabriel, Lauren, and Barnabas. I hope you find the newsletter a solid addition to your email inbox.
If you like The Highlighter, please help it grow. I appreciate your support. Here are a few ways you can help:
On the other hand, if you don’t like that this newsletter arrives in your inbox every week, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am PT!
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Mark Isero
Mark Isero @iserotope

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