And still haunted by the basics
Exciting and sad! In the decade+ that I've been aware of your work, this newsletter has been by far the most real-time access we've had to your thinking, and it's been my most thought-provoking and illuminating source on how to think about our thinking around the pandemic.
As you did with your work on the Arab spring and social media, you've expanded my thinking about another area of human interaction.
I hope for all our sake you able to continue sharing your thinking as the book takes shape.
Congrats on the NYT gig. Please donate my subscription. Please consider keeping a presence here. I, for one, would love to see you editorialize and give backstory to your columns, and share the “deleted scenes” and ideas you didn’t have time to explore. Thanks fir your voice.
Zeynep -- like many others I discovered your writing in the early days of the pandemic and have been a regular reader ever since. You're a voice of great reason and considered thought, which I feel we are in desperate need of these days. I'm personally thrilled that that you will now be a regular contributor to NYT Opinion, and look forward to your continued insight (pun intended!) during these strange and often confusing times. Thank you for your contributions! (And no, I don't want a refund; this was money very well spent!).
This newsletter has been my go-to for attempting to make sense of Covid controversies. I joke to people that I have outsourced my opinions in this area to Zeynep. Itself a really interesting and complex issue - who can we trust and what makes us trust enough to proxy our sensemaking. Hoping to write something coherent on this, in time. But thank you for everything and good luck with the book.
I would _not_ like a refund. I've thoroughly enjoyed your newsletter, I'm glad I subscribed, and I'm thrilled that the NYT hired you. I felt more like a patron than customer, anyways.
I look forward to reading that book!
Congratulations! As someone who respects the NYT much less than I used to (it got to the point that I honestly thought some headlines were satire), I'm thrilled that you will be there. Your voice is much needed in that space and I might even resubscribe to the Times to be able to read your work there. Wishing you the best with this.
congratulations on your new role at the New York Times. Kathleen Kingsbury had a lot of good and true things to say about you.
Hello, Zeynep. I am one of your admirers, though not subscibers.
Your way of thinking will raise the professional level of NYT a lot, but beware of losing your independence. At least keep the free version of your Substack alive. With your bosses aware that your NYT job is not your only option, they will be less likely to put serious pressure on you.
No doubt the NYT's vastly larger subscriber base will increase your readership immensely, which is surely a good thing. You have a lot to say that people need to hear. So congratulations are clearly in order and I hope it works out well.
However, that's you and John McWhorter leaving Substack to join the NYT within a week of each other. I can't help wondering who's next. McWhorter says the NYT wants him exclusively, so he can't continue to write on Substack and is freezing all subscriptions so they won't run out while he's not writing here. I'm not sure what the point is, since he doesn't seem to have plans to return. Is your deal similar? Well, I guess we'll find out Sunday.
I think I'll stop paying annually on Substack. Paying monthly will simplify things when it turns out one of the writers I follow would really rather be working for the mainstream media, as opposed to writers like Taibbi and Yglesias, for whom Substack was a way to get OUT of the mainstream media.
What is the English equivalent to the Turkish "iyi ki varsın"? Something like "how lucky we are that you exist!"
Nice to see a shout-out for the Covid Tracking Project -- i used their API to hack up some pandemic data visualization efforts for what turned out to be an interesting hobby project for me. I switched to other data sources when they shut down.
On the topic of dashboards and metrics, I recently discovered the NIH's "pandemic vulnerability index" dashboard, which looks interesting. There's a preprint https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.10.20169649v3) I'm digging into that details how it was put together and what it's about. It seems to primarily be about having cross-county comparable data to assist public health officials in planning. I am hoping to use it to help me make some decisions about travel this fall, but it's not (yet) obvious whether it's suitable for that.
And lastly, let me again encourage Zyenep to write that book on socio-epistemology (or episto-sociology, perhaps).
Looking forward to hearing more. A genuinely sociological analysis of our knowledge systems and how they performed is plainly needed. I tried very modestly to do something just on the media system early in the pandemic: https://www.liberalcurrents.com/can-we-afford-freedom-of-press-in-a-pandemic/
I read your Opinion piece this am in NYT. Agreed with most all of it, as I usually do, but was dismayed to read toward the end a sentence essentially blaming the Trump administration for the whole mess, followed by your comment that Biden hasn't been able to do much "in a few months." It's actually been 8 months, but my main point is this. Enough with the politicizing of it all. I get my fill of that from NYT. I get their message loud and clear. Let's instead stick to finding solutions for the data confusion. Gratuitous Trump-blaming hasn't been your style and I hope it won't be going forward. But I'll admit. I'm concerned.
Congratulations! I think a major problem with pandemic reporting is that there is a tendency for some people in the press (as in really a lot of people) to simply regurgitate what vocal researchers say when it comes to science reporting. This became more of a problem during the pandemic (it honestly doesn't really matter much if we misunderstand findings made by the Hubble Space Telescope). With the pandemic, there's not nearly as much critical analysis by the press as there needs to be, and the press is really a big input to decision makers. Lack of critical analysis can happen with political reporting too, but there the journalists are generally closer to their comfort zone. You've done a great job of supplying the critical analysis that was missing.
The New York Times is a big bully pulpit, and I'm sure you'll be able to use it effectively.
The institutional, epistemological, and societal failures that held us back despite our having all the pieces in place—that is the big question. I’m looking forward to any light that Zeynep can shed on this!
I too am a paying subscriber who will miss your unobjective and clear thinking. I also enjoyed reading the comments, many of which were high-quality. But I guess we can't have you all to ourselves, and now is the time to acquire a larger readership who will surely benefit. One hopes. (...so many of the responses to your NYT article made me cringe!). I eagerly await your next article and book!