Why is this interesting? - The Monday Media Diet with Rembert Browne
On lists, Georgia, and savvy thrifting
Rembert Browne (RB) is a writer who has covered everything from sports to culture and politics. We first noticed his writing at New York Magazine, and now he’s doing a limited edition, five-episode podcast on on his home state of Georgia. We’re pleased to have him on the page this morning. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
Most nights, I make a list of things I have to do the next day. The lists used to be very long, but now they’re a bit more focused. Some of the items on these nightly lists have time stamps (zoom recovery meeting: 7:00am or 6:30pm), others are essential tasks (pay x bill), and a handful are hopeful (write out the notes that you scribbled in that book you’re reading). Depending on how I’m feeling -- which is a complete rollercoaster -- there are nights when I have to write down things like “floss” and “laundry” and other times it’ll be like “outline the book.”
During the next day, things pop up.
[I should note, at this point, this is all handwritten. No electronic lists. Ever.]
Sometimes I add these things to the list in front of me. Sometimes I save them for the next day. And sometimes, if they’re super simple and take 5 minutes to complete, I’ll write them down and then immediately cross it out, just to feel that sense of accomplishment.
Increasingly, I’ve been adding names of friends and family, as a reminder to check in on my people -- not wanting too much time to go by, which it so easily can. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, the likelihood of me doing anything that I didn’t write down has become very low. And I want to do right by the people I love, the work that I care about, and the tasks that are asked of me. So making lists is part of who I am.
I’m also a writer, I like to make magazines, I like to write scripts, I like to write essays, I like to make brackets, I like to make comics, I like to write profiles, I love to do projects that have a clear end before they begin, I love to make things with my friends, and I love to blog a blog. Currently, I’m making a podcast Gaining Ground: The New Georgia (which ends in one week -- hence the above statement on projects) and working at Twitter.
Describe your media diet.
I deleted Instagram off my phone in July. Re-downloaded it for 2 days at the end of the year to post the podcast. And then deleted it again. Twitter is my main source of news, and it’s also my employer -- so I feel very in the know. But it’s also entirely overwhelming (working there and being someone that is on Twitter), so I’ve moved the app to my second page of apps, because boundaries. I get the New York Times daily newsletter (twice, for some reason, who knows), and I read that most mornings. And between my 4 active group texts, I read any link that gets sent around, which is very helpful.
I pay for about 4-5 newspaper/magazine subscriptions. I don’t read them all, all the time, but it feels nice to pay for them. And I hate hitting paywalls. Sometimes the paywalls really work on getting me to subscribe. Other times, it’s like -- you know what, maybe I’m fine never finding out.
I feel very “in the know,” but I haven’t been this in the dark on certain pockets of culture in probably a decade. I feel like, eventually, I find out about the things I need to care about, but it isn’t as rapid as it used to be. And it’s okay. Maybe, once we’re all outside again, I’ll feel that urge to know everything immediately (maybe not, tho). But for now, I’m fine spending a significant portion of my life watching The Blacklist.
What’s the last great book you read?
Die, Nigger, Die by H. Rap Brown. I re-read books. Re-reading it for the fourth time. Slaps.
What are you reading now?
BLACK FUTURES -- BY KIMBERLY DREW + JENNA WORTHAM. BUY THIS BOOK.
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
My favorite publications are magazines. I love magazines. So, for magazines, I stare at the cover for a while, and then I open it up and look at the first page. If it’s a photo -- especially if it’s a fashion ad -- I look at the outfit. And then once I hit a page with words, I go from top to bottom, and then turn. And if there are multiple columns on a page, I do the left column first, then the right one. And I do that until I reach the end of the magazine. And if the magazine is great, I keep it, forever.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
Jewel Wicker. She’s an Atlanta native, reporter, and my co-host for Gaining Ground: The New Georgia. She’s got it.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
“Famous app” has broken me. I’m just sitting here, looking at my phone, realizing that when I turn it off it might turn into Toy Story, with a whole class hierarchy. Wow. Famous app.
With that said, ParkMobile.
Plane or train?
What is one place everyone should visit?
The Salvation Army thrift store in West Lebanon, NH. Strictly classics.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
Honestly, I know this is cheating, but just CLICK.
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Rembert (RB)
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