Exolymph is a weekly newsletter about how subcultures grow and function in the age of the internet. We examine fragmented communities as they engage in the turf disputes that comprise a huge culture war. The world is a giant patchwork of ideological and aesthetic Venn diagrams. Do you know where you fall?
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Subcultures gather power to themselves and release it again when they’re destroyed. The sizes vary widely. Sometimes factions arise; sometimes factions shake apart. It’s interesting to watch ingroups interact with their outgroups, and vice versa. This newsletter is about exploring those interactions.
The email dispatches are supposed to arrive on Mondays, but “early in the week” is a more reliable expectation. The author is a business journalist by day and she doesn’t always have the mental bandwidth to prioritize this project, as much as she wishes she did.
“Exo” as in “exoskeleton” and “lymph” as in “lymph nodes” — feel free to puzzle out the symbolism for yourself.
Exolymph started out as a general cyberpunk newsletter before narrowing its focus. You can read about that transition if you like. The legacy homepage is preserved below for the sake of posterity (and SEO).
Today’s futurism is tomorrow’s status quo.
Exolymph is a cyberpunk newsletter. A cynical take on how technology is changing the world — in your inbox on Monday mornings. Exolymph’s Grand Theory of Cyberpunk is laid out in an essay on Ribbonfarm.
You’re welcome to hang out in the Cyberpunk Futurism chat group.
The archives are here on the website and syndicated through Medium. Sometimes we share updates on Facebook; the creator is active on Twitter. A cyberpunk newsletter is necessarily distributed across many platforms — the future welcomes a multiplicity of media experiences.
“Cyberpunk examines the way computing changes power relationships. Asymmetric information warfare has become the norm, as foretold by our pulpy sci-fi prophets. The technological changes that have been snowballing over the past fifty years now mean that anyone can talk to anyone, anywhere, with their identity hidden or not.” — “The Cyberpunk Sensibility”
“A human is a complex and finicky device. You can’t just buy one and let it be. They need daily care and maintenance. A responsible owner also has to keep an eye out for patches — security updates and plugins for boosted functionality are available frequently. It’s important to stay current! Listen, I’m not trying to discourage you. Just consider your level of commitment before making a purchase. These are very special gadgets.” — “Anti-Nausea Luxury Engineering”
“We talk about our IPO like it’s the deus ex machina coming down from on high to save us — like it’s an inevitability, like our stock options will lift us out of our existential dread, away from the collective anxiety that ebbs and flows. Realistically, we know it could be years before an IPO, if there’s an IPO at all; we know in our hearts that money is a salve, not a solution.” — “Uncanny Valley” by Anna Wiener
“Surveillance has become so normal — you’re being watched constantly, all the time. Watched and recorded. It’s mundane. No one pays attention to most of the footage, but your presence and your actions are preserved.” — “We’re All Watching, But Why?”
“Granting that we’ve kind of dropped the ball on the ‘most righteous’ possibility, I think the wickedness option really plays to our strengths.” — Unsong by Scott Alexander
“Coercion is a basic component of societal structures that accomplish things and manage to self-perpetuate. Are fear-based incentives good? Are they virtuous? No, of course not. But they get the job done.” — “I Swear I’m Not A Statist”