How YouTube Gives Us Love Without the Messiness

“It was, for me, a wholly new idea of what our devices can deliver. I knew that online porn had become a fact in many people’s lives, but I’d been slower to recognize a culture of autoromance. This burgeoning arena includes an army of chat bots trained to offer companionship and conversation. A service called Invisible Boyfriend (along with its sister service, Invisible Girlfriend) also offers text-based interactions with actors who pretend to be your romantic partner for $25 (US) a month. You never meet the guy, but you can choose his name, age, and the face that pops up when he messages. And a real, live person somewhere (presumably male, but who knows) will message you about how your day went, how good you look in those jeans.”

Michael Harris – The Walrus – January 2020


The Benefits of Solitude

“We abhor the disconnection that the woods, the desert, the glacier threaten us with in their heartless way. Our culture leans so sharply toward the social that those who wander into the wild are lucky if they’re only considered weird. At worst, they’re Unabombers. The bias is so strong that we stop thinking about that wilderness trek altogether; besides, we tell ourselves, surely we aren’t capable of such adventures. We’d wind up rotting in a ditch. And even if we could access the wild, we probably don’t have the fine kind of soul that would get something out of it.”

Michael Harris – The Walrus – April 2017