Slate Plus

Potentially Toxic Information Chunks

The Slate Plus Digest for Oct. 13.

It’s been one of those weeks when it’s hard to consume and synthesize information about current events with the kind of professional distance you need to make it here in the content business. (Good thing we don’t work at the New York Times!) If you’re reading this newsletter it’s likely you’ve spent a good portion of the past week thinking about entrenched sexual predation, the early signs of environmental catastrophe, and the looming threat of nuclear war. All I really have to say about this is that while the facts on the ground are genuinely bad in a way that feels unprecedented, we also have more efficient information-delivery networks than ever before, so you’re getting a larger and more concentrated dose of those unusually bad facts. So … take that into account, I guess, when you’re assessing how anxious and depressed to feel about everything, and maybe revise that assessment marginally downward as a result?


Still, if you’re going to continue consuming potentially toxic information into the weekend, we have some specific information chunks to recommend for your mood-poisoning needs, which I hope is a useful service in some way.

From Slate

Dana Stevens kind of sums up this week, with a report on how the revelations about Harvey Weinstein have changed the way she thinks about the movies. And New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor tells Isaac Chotiner how she and her colleagues broke the Weinstein story after so many journalists had tried and failed.

In the wake of the Weinstein news, women in the media industry started sharing a spreadsheet listing so-called “shitty media men” and their alleged sexual misdeeds. Christina Cauterucci lays out her mixed feelings about this strategy.


Did Trump just kill Obamacare? It’s a little more complicated than that.

Is Ivana Trump’s new parenting memoir a work of self-serving garbage? It’s a little more complicated than that.

Is Donald Trump really a “fucking moron,” as his Secretary of State put it, for wanting to increase the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal? It’s— No, actually, that’s pretty much how it is.

And do yourself a favor and read Seth Stevenson’s perfect dismembering of Seth Moulton, the 2020 hopeful that no one actually wants to vote for.


Not from Slate

I’m going to keep it to just two more pieces on Harvey Weinstein, although there have been many good ones: Jia Tolentino’s clinical dissection of the experience of sexual harassment, and comedian Megan Koester’s blog post, which starts with Weinstein and goes on to explain why predators are so hard to unseat.


Also two pieces on Facebook: Alexis Madrigal on the company’s stealthy undermining of American democracy, and Max Read on the fact that it’s now too complex to be understood even by the man who created it.


George Soros is like a cursed mirror: He “reflects back onto a country what it most hates.”

East African countries are starting to reject the hand-me-down clothing dumped on them in huge quantities by the U.S.—and the U.S. is punishing them for it.

And I’m pretty sure no one will write a better piece about Olive Garden, certainly not one that begins with a brief biography of Paul Gaugin.

I hope these content nuggets have helped or at a minimum not hindered your emotional self-regulation. Now: Take a break. Go outside or do a crossword puzzle or spend some time with someone you like. Thank you, as ever, for supporting us in our efforts to gather and analyze and synthesize the flood of information that threatens to drown us all.

Gabriel Roth
Editorial director, Slate Plus