Are you a bad enough dude to read What I’ve Been Reading? Then read on!

  • Two pieces this week about the failure of Google+. The first, from Seth Fiegerman of Mashable, paints a portrait of a clueless company that is terrified of Facebook easily swayed by (now former) executive Vic Gundotra’s warnings of the social network’s dominance. The second, from Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica, laments that Google always seems to pick the wrong social products, dropping its Google Reader service and failing to capitalize on its Hangouts feature. Back in 2011, I blasted Google+, even going as far as to name it my biggest pop culture disappointment of 2011. It has always been a shitty, confusing, difficult-to-use product. If it wanted to unseat Facebook, it had to be better than Facebook. It wasn’t even close to being as good as Facebook. Google+ deserved to fail, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Jillian of Femhype writes about the character development of Victoria Chase in Dontnod’s episodic adventure game Life Is Strange. (Warning: The piece contains spoilers for the first four episodes of the game.) She contends that there’s more to Victoria than her “alpha bitch” fa├žade. I don’t find Victoria’s development as compelling or original as Jillian does – meanness being driven by insecurity is a common trope – but the piece is a compelling read nonetheless, and its points about Victoria’s relationship with Nathan are worth noting.
  • Katy Waldman explains how we frame creative works as “sneakily” or “subtly” feminist in order to make them go down easier, as if feminism is some sort of nasty but necessary vegetable. This is something often said of comedian Amy Schumer’s work, which is often pretty explicit about its feminist messages. Waldman makes an important point, but it should also be noted that often, people call things “subtly” feminist when a work’s feminist elements are surprising or unexpected. Nobody calls Legally Blonde “subtly” feminist, because its feminism, while not overt, is expected, given that it’s a movie about a woman trying to make it in a male-dominated profession.
  • In honour of Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show, Katharine Trendacosta of io9 dug back through the entirety of his run, noting how the show transformed under his tenure. After 16 years of political frustration, it’s no surprise that Stewart wants a change.

Alright, you made it! It’s time for burgers with President Ronnie.