1 December 2019

“You are the equal of the idol who has given you your inspiration.”

This Week

Coming out of a holiday weekend, so here’s a fashionably late newsletter edition for you all. Paid subscribers, your monthly essay will ship soon. Next week, there will be some new writing on the website to share. Also, there are some new speaker mentoring sessions available for the taking.


Neil Gaiman on the magnificent Gahan Wilson, who recently passed away at age 89.

Gahan Wilson at the New Yorker.

Class warfare is all the rage at the movies: Alison Willmore on Knives Out, Parasite, Hustlers, et al.

John Waters’s top films of 2019. I’m less personally aligned with this list than his previous ones, but, as always, I appreciate individuals making lists like this from their unique perspectives. (Addendum: I just watched Climax recently—streaming on Amazon Prime now—and it made me really glad to be old and sober.)

Do teenage girls’ bedrooms mean what they used to? A film examination.

The fate of the Scrappers and what the potential demise of the minor league baseball team means for Ohio’s Mahoning Valley.

Cory Doctorow on Disney’s Carousel of Progress and lost optimism.


  • Knives Out: I was predisposed to like this film: I like murder mysteries, I like this cast, I like this director. And I did like the film very much. But I also feel confident in saying that it is also just a pretty great film, full stop. Rian Johnson has always been skilled with intricate plots and, in that sense, this is a masterwork, with plenty of wit, emotional warmth and social satire to keep the machinery running smoothly.

  • The Imagineering Story (Disney+): As is no surprise to regular readers, I’m a fan of Disney parks. So I like stories about the Imagineers who made the parks. This series (directed by Leslie Iwerks, the granddaughter of the animator who worked with Walt Disney on Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks) is not exactly groundbreaking for those already familiar with the history of Disney parks, but it’s an entertaining review for them plus an excellent introduction for everyone else. If you’re interested in storytelling, this is a form of storytelling that might seem obscure but can provide insight on how to distill principles like emotional resonance and attention to detail, principles that can be applied to virtually any other medium. It also does a good job of spotlighting the various women who worked on projects behind the scenes, which is an aspect of history population that often gets overlooked. I suspect that as the series catches up with the current day, we’ll get more glimpses of things not yet known as well or at all.


  • I’ve opened up two virtual mentoring sessions for beginning tech speakers from underrepresented minorities on next Friday, December 6. If you or someone you know is interested in having a chat with me about what it’s like to speak at tech conferences or meetups, head over to my mentoring page to sign up: jenmyers.net/mentoring/ If you’re not in tech but would like to talk about speaking in other contexts, I’m happy to help if I can, so also feel free to jump in.

Stay cozy.




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This week’s quote is from Jack Kerouac.