MWD39 - On the Apocalypse

Or something about every new beginning being some other beginning's end?

Welcome to Midweek Dinner. If this is your first time here, feel free to poke around and ask questions (but wear a mask, ok?). Perhaps you’d be interested in seeing the very first edition? If you like the look of the place, stick around! You can sign up here to receive a new issue every Wednesday, delivered piping hot, right to your doorstep.


If you have joined in the last few weeks, you should know that in a typical week, this space lets me extend my thoughts, offers a way to wrestle with current events or weightier topics, ideas that don’t fit into a book review or freelance timeline. There might be links to pieces you might find interesting, and I share links to whatever I’ve published that week. And usually, there is a moment of Unexpected Joy.

Recognizing our collective exhaustion, my last few notes have been more random, less writerly, and bordering on the absurd. With that shift in mind, please accept this week’s craziness, which may or may not be the last one until January, and which may or may not indicate I have gone over the edge.


The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is totally one of the 12 Days of Christmas, right?

The Horseman of Hope:

—Alexi Sargeant via Breaking Ground on seeing the “Small Apocalypses” all around us.

The Horseman of Moving On:

—Stella Bugbee via The Cut on how Instagram lost its appeal and won’t be a thing in the AfterDays.

The Horseman of the Ordinary:

—Indi Samarajiva via Medium on living through the collapse.

The Horseman of Prognostication:

—Elizabeth Kolbert via The New Yorker archives on James Hansen, the climate scientist who has known everything for a very long time.

(Unrelated thing I learned from that James Hansen feature: the Seinfeld diner is the same diner from Suzanne Vega’s famous song. Did everyone else know this?)


Published this week:

It took ages, but I finally got a review of Dan Barber’s The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food published. This is an extraordinarily good look at where our food systems are and where they could be, a thoughtful look at the whole idea of farm-to-table:

The Third Plate

And, of course, the “Thread for the Turn of the Year” keeps going:


Thanks as always for reading and thinking with me. Have comments, suggestions, or questions? Reply to this email, and I promise a response.