← Return to all blog posts
Listen to this article on Spotify or use the audio player below. Recorded by Listle.
What is art?
I believe artforms improve over time. The more art that came before, the more you can assess what worked and what didn't—and iterate on it. Movies, music—all of it—is often better than it was.
I know that's controversial. I know nostalgia and wanting to signal your refined, studied taste blinds us to this.
Granted, all new art isn't consistently better than all prior art. Economics and culture often pressure new art into optimizing for vanity metrics.
But the best art of each era often trends to being better than the best art of the prior era. If you keep your eyes open and don't dismiss newcomers, that is.
And so I present to you my favorite media, without shame that there isn't a greater representation of older art.
- Make Happy — A truly original comedy special that doesn't forget to be funny
- True Detective (S1) — Atmospheric, intellectual, and exhilarating storytelling
- Rick and Morty — Inspired, inventive storytelling that pulls no punches
- Making a Murderer — Masterful affinity-building and long-term storytelling
- Jones vs. Gustafsson — Two great UFC fighters going toe-to-toe for 30 min
- Between Two Ferns — Wildly bold and inventive self-indulgent comedy
- Counterpart — Brilliant plotting, brilliant character study, and very slick
- The Boys — Rich characters, rich perversion of culture, and unafraid
- Tiger King — Masterclass in how to space out the release of information
- Others — Sherlock, Barry, Altered Carbon (S1), Westworld (S1), Death Note, Daredevil, The Office, Who Is America?, Patriot, Star Trek: Discovery (S1), Nathan For You
- Sam Harris — The most articulate and rational communicator I've come across
- Eric Weinstein — The best thinker-by-analogy I've encountered; eye-opening
- Joe Rogan — The best interviewer of all time? Curious and patient
- Searching for Sugarman — A triumph of documentary narrative storytelling
- The Matrix — Intellectual, philosophical, and visually dazzling storytelling
- The Prestige — A great example of stimulating plotting and character building
- Whiplash — A great example of character-based, emotional arc storytelling
- Free Solo — The filmmaking is fine, but it's Alex Honnold who's fascinating
- Finding Frances — An absurd documentary about the human condition
- Into the Spider-Verse — A dazzling feast for the eyes, and original fun
- Others — Heat, Edge of Tomorrow, Nightcrawler, 500 Days of Summer, Man on Wire, Moon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Collateral, MacGruber (for not caring), Peanut Butter Falcon, Punch-Drunk Love, Zootopia
- Wild Beasts
- The National
- Death Cab for Cutie
- Frank Ocean
- Brand New
- Hippo Campus
- The Weeknd
- Bon Iver
- John Mayer
- Ben Howard
- Kendrick Lamar
- RY X
- Zero 7
- Matt Corby
- "If you gave him an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox." —Christopher Hitchens
- "You're telling me I can dodge bullets?" "I'm trying to tell you that—when you're ready—you won't have to." —Morpheus
- "In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." —Douglas Adams
- "The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself." ―Carl Sagan
🚨 Something went wrong. Please check that you're still connected to the Internet and that you have privacy/adblock extensions temporarily disabled. If that doesn't fix the problem, please alert me on Twitter.