In May, 2016, a group of friends hatched a get-rich-quick scheme that made them poor even quicker. The Daily Distiller was an email newsletter with a little news and a little booze. It shot up to 15k subscribers within the first four months and maintained its buzz with an open rate of 40% through its short, bitters life. But all publications eventually sink, or swim in pools of ad money, and we sunk—fast. This media ain't free.
I edited the business and technology section of the newsletter and wrote original content for the site. Check out some samples of my work below.
Shots from the newsletter
Peter Thiel to donate $1.25 million in support of Trump
Silicon Valley billionaire and aspiring vampire, Peter Thiel, is putting his money where his unnervingly smiling mouth is. According to the New York Times, Thiel plans to donate $1.25 million in support of Trump through a series of super PAC contributions. Thiel is one of the only figures in tech to support Trump, who has only raised around $300,000 from the tech community in total.
Twitter to stop including links & photos in character count
A picture is no longer worth any words. In two weeks, Twitter will reportedly stop counting links and photos in its infamous 140 character limit. They currently count as 23 characters each, so tweets about over-intellectual-ization just got a whole lot easier to write. Twitter has been less-than-privately flailing to increase its user base and profits after disappointing revenues in the first quarter. But who’s counting?
Long pours from the site
Apple-y Ever After?
I don't want optimized dome switches. Not like this...
Apple, we need to talk. No, it’s not about the Apple Watch. Please stop talking about the Apple Watch—nobody wants to hear it.
It’s just that something’s changed. And it’s not a bad thing; it’s great! I think you’ll agree that no one’s been more patient in waiting for your Macbook Pro update. And though it did take you a long while to get around to it, they’re great—really… thin.
But I feel like you’re starting to go off on your own a lot more. Sometimes it’s really sweet, like how you went off to make your screens way brighter and more colorful. I didn’t expect it, and it’s really lovely. It almost hurts to look at, honest to God. Or like how you de-mechanicalized your trackpad. I didn’t even notice! And you make me feel more secure than ever with your fingerprint scanner. It’s perfect though a little creepy, if we’re being honest here.
But sometimes you take all the ports out of the house and then charge me $70 to use them. That’s not how relationships work. And I’m still mad about the headphone jack. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, most of the time, you have been right. I do remember when we fought about getting rid of your firewire. And I remember sulking for a year when you killed the optical drive. I was wrong, okay?
So it’s not just you, it’s—wait, no no. It’s totally you this time! I didn’t ask for a retina “Touch Bar” or a MacBook Air Pro Frankenstein thing. I didn’t ask you to ruin your keyboard and call it "optimized dome switches." I don’t want optimized dome switches! Not like this.
Maybe you forgot, but I’ve been with you since the 90’s. I remember when no one wanted you, and no one thought you were beautiful or cool. I remember in 2006 when your battery started just exploding, for no reason. So just remember: you’ve been lucky to have me have you.
But It’s okay. I understand—really. This isn’t the end for us. Not yet. I know that you’re always there for me, and you’re oh-so attractive. You’re lucky that you’re so attractive, or who knows? But this is strike two. The first strike was the headphone jack, obviously. But you’ve been good to me, Apple, and I love you.
All I’m saying is don’t piss on me and call it a Touch Bar.
Future Sex Book Review
The future of sex is here, but no one is talking about it.
No, it’s not JT’s long-awaited companion ‘zine to FutureSex / LoveSounds. Nor is it a manifesto, new New Journalism, or faithful voyuerism; it’s not at all porn-y. Future Sex is a captivating and deeply personal exploration and analysis of sexual phenomena of the modern world. And it’s Emily Witt’s project of naming, understanding, and perhaps reconciling them.
Witt opens with a familiar fragmentation—her mind and body are talking to each other, but it may as well be pantomime. Her subconscious plays third, instilled with societally prescribed desires that unfailingly undermine her stated carnal and intellectual pursuits. Trapped in this cacophony, the only thing her future sex is moving towards is an inevitable but frustratingly interminable conclusion.
What follows is a series of abrupt dives into seven modern, sexual phenomena. Witt turns a powerful critical eye on everything from Internet porn to Burning Man. She provides plentiful context and lightly, though rigorously, grounds everything back with herself. Her greatest asset is her ability to be honest while avoiding self-seriousness. She can discuss a topic from a great distance and then whip into intimate focus. She also deploys a delightfully droll sense of humor in lines like this one: “The pornography we have now is either the nadir of human civilization or it’s pushing the boundaries of human experience.”
Witt ends without a narrative catharsis but a new perspective: “A futuristic sex was not going to be a new kind of historically unrecognizable sex, just a different way of talking about it.” But it’s not this earned wisdom that makes her book exceptional. It’s Witt’s stunningly honest representation of her own resistance and anxiety. It’s her familiar stumbling through a sprawling, throbbing web of sex. It’s her reassurance that sometimes you can be free and still stuck.