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The Great Watchmaker In The Sky

12:16 PM EDT on October 26, 2022

An illustration of several people, each one passing some juicy gossip on to the next one.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

Programming note: Normal Gossip is doing TWO live shows on December 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C. Tickets for night one are SOLD OUT, but tickets for night two (and streaming from home) are now available! Come join us!

One of the things I miss the most about the early internet is the colors. I know that I sound like an old man shaking a fist at the sky when I say this, but it's true. I miss how there used to be purple backgrounds, and sparkling sidebars, and cursors that looked like butterflies. I miss the creativity that used to exist online, and the range that people felt comfortable playing in. Now, there are algorithms and statistics to tell you exactly what shade of white readers like, and how long they will stay on the page if you make them find the pause button for the My Chemical Romance song you have auto-playing. But in the early aughts, the internet was lawless.

There were some bad things about this, but one of the good things is that instead of every hobby having a Reddit thread, every hobby had its own website. Inside the forums, all sorts of drama was happening. People were marrying other people in the forum. People were making enemies. People were pretending to be hobbyists entirely in order to have fun and hang out.

So I was thrilled when this week's story was about a community like that: with a niche community, bold online aesthetics and a whole slew of people brewing up drama. I was even more thrilled when I learned that part of the drama had to do with a death! Spooky!

Joining me in this week's episode to discuss the drama of the pocket watch community is Tuck Woodstock. Tuck is a journalist and educator based in New York. He is the host of the podcast Gender Reveal, the co-founder of Sylveon Consulting and a founding member of the Trans Journalist Association.

Tuck and I discussed how it's always worth it to shoot your shot, and how sometimes your friends know your gossip-desire level even better than you do. We talked about how gossip can be used to protect you, and how you can use gossip to protect yourself.

Then we dove into a story about pocket watches and early-aughts internet and finding new friends, and finding new enemies. There is love and mystery and intrigue and death! What more could you want in a season finale?

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(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you do have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 2-6-7-9-GOSSIP.

Normal Gossip will be back in 2023! We will miss you!

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