Zoom, zoom, zoom: this week on Fresh Powder

Zoom, zoom, zoom.


There’s a pandemic, but you know that. The New York Times is offering high school students and teachers unlimited digital access to its news through July 6, so you definitely don’t need us spamming you a bunch of virus links (literally). Instead, we have just one: On Best of SNO, we’re publishing excellent, essential coronavirus coverage that’s being done by student journalists all over the world. By now, we honestly hope you’ve found a few local and national sources that you’re comfortable with providing your daily virus updates. We don’t think it’s necessarily our place, in these times, to pop into your inbox once a week and make suggestions about the hard news you should or should not be reading to stay fully informed. So while we will continue delivering Fresh Powder weekly, we will not be including any direct, informational coronavirus news. Instead, our goal will be to deliver other content — content you may not have the time to find. Some of it may be loosely tied to the pandemic, as so much of what we talk about and write about these days is, but mainly we hope the articles referenced in this email, about journalism, pop culture or something out of left field, will allow you to think about something different for at least as long as it takes you to read one of them. Be well, be safe, be kind, and try to stay busy.


“Living rooms that were once a sanctuary from people-filled offices, gyms, bars, and coffee shops became all those things at once. Calendars that had been cleared by social distancing suddenly refilled as friends, family, and acquaintances made plans to sip ‘quarantinis’ at Zoom happy hours, hold Netflix viewing parties, or just catch up over Google hangouts.” MIT Technology Review (or, an entry from my diary): Lockdown was supposed to be an introvert’s paradise. It’s not. “People are coping with the coronavirus pandemic by upending their lives and attempting to virtually re-create what they lost. The new version, however, only vaguely resembles what we left behind. Everything is flattened and pressed to fit into the confines of chats and video-conference apps like Zoom, which was never designed to host our work and social lives all at once. The result, for introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between, is the bizarre feeling of being socially overwhelmed despite the fact that we’re staying as far away from each other as we can.”

. . . There are Multitaskers, Screamers and Pet People, the Formally Dressed and Technologically Dependent, the people trying to have side conversations and those obsessed with changing their background. There’s always one Tyrant Tony Reali. These Are the Eight People We Become on Zoom (The Ringer). “Have you ever watched ‘Around the Horn’? Great! Now you’re living it!”

. . . The best satire is rooted in reality. The Onion: “Zoom CEO Reclines Back In Chair In Front Of Massive Wall Of Screens Displaying 10 Million Live Video Feeds”

. . . What to listen to while reading about Zoom: “Supernova Girl” by Proto Zoa. (Come to think of it, Zenon Carr should have prepared us for this.)


Taking the train halfway across the country wasn’t an outdated luxury to writer Lauren Markham. The train was a place she could find solitude, a retreat where she could sink all of her focus into writing. It was her method, and now it’s out of reach. In an essay for Freeman’s, Markham recounted “The Last Train Trip Before Everything Changed”: “I always like being anonymous and alone within a crowd. When I needed to stretch my legs I’d go to the observation car where I could overhear people chatting about the view outside or their lives at home or what they might have for dinner in the dining car. I heard no mention of the virus decimating Wuhan at that very moment. I didn’t even think of it.”


Is your aptitude for discovering new music as absent as your willingness to learn how? Pitchfork says it’s science: “Listening to new music is hard. … It feels like lifting a couch.” You might even think it’s breaking your brain. Why Do We Even Listen to New Music? (If there’s one reason to read this article, it’s for the part when an angry mob starts chucking heads of cabbage.)

. . . To that test, the most recent music added to my “Liked Songs” Spotify playlist: “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. (1997)

. . . While we’re on music, name that movie: “You’ve destroyed music! Thanks to the Queen of Pop, we’ve all lost our music! History repeats itself: Pop has ruined everything!” Wrong. It’s “Trolls World Tour.”