Numlock News: A sneak peek at You Are What You Watch
A Numlock exclusive!
Lots and lots of you have, pretty much sight unseen! That’s really encouraging. Today, I want to give everyone a sneak peek into the book, show you why you should order this thing, and give you a look at why I think you’re really going to love it.
For readers of Numlock, I am especially confident that you will enjoy digging into all of the numbers and science behind pop culture!
The book really flows from the pop culture stories I was writing at FiveThirtyEight, and explores a big question I came across time and time again over the course of writing there, namely, just how does pop culture really affect the world? It’s got over 100 awesome data visualizations, charts, and pictures in it, so it’s a really breezy and fun read.
The first part of the book is all about how movies can affect our bodies and our minds. Besides some fun experimental stuff where I used eye-tracking devices to learn how people watch movies and Galvanic Skin Response devices to measure how people feel over the course of watching movies, I also talked to scientists about what goes on in your bloodstream while watching a horror movie, what the deal is with kids and screen time, and what’s actually going on in the visual parts of your brain when you watch a movie.
Next, I look at how movies can affect, you, the viewer, why we find superheroes and action movies so compelling, what it is about heist movies that we just can’t get enough of, how comedies and sitcoms track social mores, and what superhero play can do for kids.
Now we get to the the real heart of the book — tracking the ways in which we can see how a movie has a direct impact on society. We can see that movies affect what kinds of dogs people adopt, what they name their kids, what sports they want to play, and what kinds of parties they host.
We see how movies can have ramifications when it comes to crime, and the perception of it, of science, and what research gets funded, and of the military, government, and espionage services, and how we perceive them. For instance, in this two-page spread, I’ll show you what internal Pentagon documents actually thought of movies that included the U.S. military, and if and how they supported those movies.
We can see economic and global impacts of movies, such as where people want to take a vacation, how genre tastes evolved, how the tax code affects which movies even get made in the first place, and how we got to this point today where the movie merch industry is a multi-billion dollar colossus.
The book dives into the history of theme parks and gift shops, the intersection of the toy industry and the movie business, the relationship between loneliness and nostalgia-based entertainment, and why everything is a sequel or a remake these days.
The book also dives into the geopolitics of movies and entertainment, how pop culture and soft power have changed the geopolitical standing of not just the United States but also places like the United Kingdom, Japan, and South Korea.
You Are What You Watch dives into why we actually like what we like, how your brain thinks about what it enjoys about movies, and what you can do to get in a headspace to enjoy pop culture more. It talks about what making art and being creative do to the people who create this stuff, whether it’s the movie industry or fanfiction or even wrestling.
I am so, so proud of the book, and I think if you enjoy the newsletter, if you enjoyed any of my other pop culture journalism, or if you just downright enjoy data or pop culture or learning fun facts that make you sound cool at parties, this book’s for you.
It would mean a tremendous deal to me if you considered preordering it. Preorders get counted in week one of a book’s release, and convey to booksellers that a book is worth promoting and stocking. They really are a huge deal, and every single one of them counts, no matter where you order from.
It would be huge for me if you ordered it from your local bookstore, from Amazon, from Barnes & Noble, really from wherever. It looks like a few places are selling it 7 percent off today! You can also get that free print gift if you order now and fill out the form.
So please, order it. If you have ordered it, tell your friends. If you’ve told your friends, post about it. Share these wherever. I’m in the final push now, so any help is immensely appreciated.
Thanks so much for your support and consideration. I’m so proud of this thing, you’re going to love it.
I’m also going on the road to promote it, and if you’d like to come here are some of the events I’m hosting! It would be outstanding to see you there. Get tickets for New York, Chapel Hill, Austin, and Washington DC today. The last one is also hybrid, you can stream it if you like!