Bug-eyed and Shameless is a newsletter that asks: Where are we, and how did we get here?
I am your newsletter captain: Justin Ling. I have spent the past decade covering disinformation, conspiracy theories, extremism, national security, and the weird places where all of those things intersect.
In recent years, the glue holding our collective reality together has come unstuck. QAnon runs in the halls of power, anti-vaccine convoys occupy major capitals, Moscow says jump and our compatriots at home ask “как высоко?”
Once (or more!) a week, Bug-eyed and Shameless will pop into your inbox with a single, exclusive, story that helps us understand our new weird world. There will also be a helpful guide to all the writing I’ve been doing elsewhere, and a curation of good reading from elsewhere.
Russian propaganda, the QAnonification of America, the darkest parts of the internet, and updates from Canada, Europe, and further afield: All for one low, low price.
Understanding why people become deranged in our society — and how powerful people can weaponize untruths — can tell us an awful lot about what’s actually wrong, and might even help us fix it.
Who are you, again?
I’m a Montreal-based freelance journalist. I hosted The Flamethrowers: The story of how right-wing radio radicalized America. I write frequently for Foreign Policy, WIRED, The Guardian, and a host of other publications. I also tweet and toot. There’s more info about me on my website.
So why should I subscribe to this, then?
You’ll get some exclusive content, for one — interesting stuff you won’t find elsewhere. It will also be the easiest way to keep up-to-date on all manner of interesting content about misinformation, disinformation, extremism, and the internet’s terrifying influence on our society. It might even be funny.
The more paying subscribers that come aboard, there may even be additional projects in the future — podcasts? Q&As? In-person events? Who knows!
Also, it’s a great way to give money directly to a journalist.
What’s with all the cool graphics?
All my header images are generated by Midjourney, an algorithmically-generated art bot. Yes, I have conflicting feelings about using AI to do art, but this newsletter would never have the capacity to hire an artist to do art for each post. For more on using systems to do art, I recommend reading this great piece by Charlie Warzel.
Will there be spelling and grammar misteaks?