My Internet: Charlie of Evil Female
The Substack blogger worries Web3 will further divorce value from labor.
Every Friday, we quiz a “very online” person for their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Charlie of Evil Female, a heady, funny, provocative Substack blog that features posts like Contending With The Buzzfeed Bildungsroman, The Ontology of Womanhood, and In Defence of Critique: Let People Enjoy Not Enjoying Things. (They just launched a paid subscription option, and are also available for freelance or other work.)
Charlie used to skip class to read The Wall Street Journal at Starbucks, prefers listening to Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You on cassette tape, and uses eBay to cultivate a personal style that's equal parts Sally Draper and Megan Draper. —Nick
EMBEDDED: What’s a recent meme or other post that made you laugh?
CHARLIE: This TikTok.
EMBEDDED: Do you tweet? Why?
CHARLIE: Oh, I tweet. I see Twitter as the place that I can put all my one-off jokes or rants or funny pictures, things that would probably typically be relegated to either a diary or to a text message to a hypothetical best friend. I’ve made so many Internet friends who have become Real Life friends (though at this point I think it would be silly to say that the Internet isn’t real life). I met my lovely boyfriend after being Twitter mutuals for four years, mutuals to IRLs stemming from 2018 Rose Emoji Weird Left Matador Records Twitter.
EMBEDDED: Who’s the coolest person who follows you?
CHARLIE: Emilia Fart follows me on TikTok. I don’t think she’s the most famous person that follows me, but definitely the person I am most honored to know they find me interesting enough to follow.
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EMBEDDED: Who’s someone more people should follow?
CHARLIE: I’m beyond obsessed with Hannah Traore. She’s recently opened up her own namesake gallery in New York City at 20something years old, which is impressive enough in its own right, but also her fashion sense is impeccable. She’s always got the coolest eyeglasses. Or Alvaro Chavez (@hot_girl_jennifer on TikTok), one of the funniest people I have ever met.
EMBEDDED: Where do you tend to get your news?
CHARLIE: I listen to NPR most mornings and I get an embarrassing amount of my news from Twitter. When I was in high school, I’d skip class to read The Wall Street Journal in the nearby Starbucks every morning because I thought it would make my own, far-less-conservative rhetoric more well-rounded. I have now realized how insufferably pretentious that is, so I think I’ve since balanced it out by falling for some social media misinformation once or twice.
EMBEDDED: Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What are your favorites?
CHARLIE: Yes! I think all my Substack writer friends have much larger audiences than I do, but I always feel the need to reiterate their brilliance. Rayne is of course the post-feminist it-girl and maybe my favorite Canadian; Haaniyah, Caroline, and Kennedy both write so brilliantly about media culture; and my dear friend Malchijah just started his Substack. There are no posts yet, but it’s one to watch—he’s a brilliant interdisciplinary artist and UMass MFA candidate and endlessly thoughtful and insightful.
EMBEDDED: Are you playing any games right now?
CHARLIE: I played Clue a few weeks ago. Somehow, everyone lost. I was Miss Peacock. I always want to play Risk and no one ever wants to play Risk with me, but I think it’s because they see how insanely competitive I get over the crossword.
EMBEDDED: Do you think Web3 will mean a better internet?
CHARLIE: No. One of the most grim stories I’ve seen about internet finance was the news that investors were beginning to start speculative real estate markets in the metaverse. Not only does it eerily recall the dotcom bubble (a domain is as much digital real estate as anything else!), but continues to divorce value from labor in a way that I think is ultimately harmful for our conceptions of markets and how we understand the idea of commodity. It’s a simulacra of labour theory of value. At one point, a builder would develop property or a painter would paint a painting and from that act of labor, value would be generated. Then, we began to understand real estate and fine art (and many other things) as not only having value in what they are, but what they could be sold for. We’ve removed ourselves a step farther by buying further into financialization without any product at all. I think it’s grim, but I also think that these technologies will remain relatively limited in who seriously interacts with them, so it’s not my largest concern.
EMBEDDED: What’s a playlist, song, album, or style of music you’ve listened to a lot lately?
CHARLIE: Every summer is Ceviche Summer!
EMBEDDED: Do you pay for a music streaming service, and if so, which one? When was the last time you bought a music download or vinyl record, CD, or tape?
CHARLIE: I have Spotify and I love listening to full-length albums on YouTube (some of my favorites right now are are Nucleus [1975, funk] by Alleycat and Love Trip [1982, lounge] by Takako Mamiya). The last record I bought was The Summer I Got Good At Guitar by Fresh, a gift for my brother Aidan. I love cassette tapes too, my most-played right now is either Daniel Johnston’s Hi, How Are You (such a perfect album for the tape format) or Horse Jumper of Love’s Demo Anthology.
EMBEDDED: What’s your favorite non-social media app?
CHARLIE: I’ve been loving Curb, a rideshare service run through the official New York City taxi system, so the drivers are able to take advantage of labor regulations that contract workers often aren’t entitled to. Plus, it’s way cheaper. I opened an account with Fidelity through their app and invested $75 in the stock market in April which is now worth $55. I mostly bought stock in the company that makes Durex condoms, but as it turns out “sex sells” is not sound investment advice.
EMBEDDED: What’s the most basic internet thing that you love?
CHARLIE: My Instagram explore page. It’s exclusively borzois, capybaras, meerkats, and fun illustrations from small artists. I love the Reels videos I get of raccoons and tapirs and anteaters drinking smoothies or wearing shoes. This dog named Rupurt is my favorite of the dogs I follow.
EMBEDDED: Is there any content you want that you can't seem to find anywhere online?
CHARLIE: The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.
EMBEDDED: Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What’s a recent thing you've bought or sold?
CHARLIE: I love eBay. I wear almost all vintage / thrifted clothing, lots of Space Age mod clothes and Western revival stuff—my personal style is very late 1960s/ early 1970s (somewhere between Sally Draper and Megan Draper). I’ve been keeping a close eye out for an affordable copy of an old issue of Esquire in which the featured article is Sharon Tate on Mao.
EMBEDDED: Have you recently read an article, book, or social media post about the internet that you’ve found particularly insightful?
This article, “Aside Effects” by Lauren Michele Jackson, covers how contemporary journalism tends to forgo specificity, leaving behind marginalized people to become footnotes rather than to examine narratives holistically. I think it’s really brilliant and moves between contemporary cultural analysis and literary analysis seamlessly. Glitch Feminism by Legacy Russell is endlessly fascinating, relevant, and provocative. I think Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium Is The Message from 1964 is paramount to understanding the internet today.