Since 2010, when I got my first editing job, I’ve been using the same trusty bookmark to spot head-turning news stories and slice-of-life anecdotes for story pitches. It’s called the New York Ti— lol, just kidding. It’s a bunch of weird shit on Reddit.
Reddit is possibly the most old-school of the new-school news platforms, like Twitter. It hasn’t changed much since the mid-aughts, when it amalgamated online forum culture, creating a massive directory of affinity pages. If you geek out about (or get horny for) anything — anything at all — there is a subreddit for you. Opossums? Check. Screaming at succulents? Why not. For anyone interested in niche subcultures and digital anthropology, Reddit remains a gold mine. Browsing it can feel like chaperoning a high school field trip or wiretapping a confession booth.
I have collections (or “multireddits”) of subreddits for news and politics, offbeat stories, memes, tech-geek stuff and various “Ask ____” communities for overly honest Q-and-A’s. Along those lines, two of my favorite latest finds are r/PaintSwirls and r/GonWild, a parody of iconic gettin’-naked forum r/GoneWild that’s dedicated to — you guessed it — trippy polygons.
But alas, the “front page of the internet” is always growing and changing, and a married white guy in his 30s can’t always grow with it. So I asked some younger, cooler, more in-the-know colleagues what they’ve discovered lately.
Here’s what we’re reading to get us through this maddening, never-ending year…
Quinn Myers, Staff Writer: Reddit genuinely deserves all the bad press it gets, but I will admit there are a few smaller subreddits that remain nice and decent places to hang. I’ve staved off a few panic attacks looking at r/RetroFuturism, which is a subreddit dedicated to historical theoretical depictions of the future. For some reason, that really pulls my attention unlike anything else and chills me out.
I’ve enjoyed dipping into the faux drama and general weirdness of r/HaveWeMet, where everyone pretends to belong to a small town where everyone knows each other. And recently, I’ve had a good time reading through the story of r/Cinderblock, a subreddit originally intended for posting pictures of cinder blocks (?). It pivoted to being dedicated to a cat named Cinder’s weight loss journey. It’s now just… both.
But if you want to get in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming subreddit that I love, check out r/Anime_Titties. The minute I found it, I immediately subscribed. I check it for updates at least two or three times a day, and at least once before going to bed — even though it usually keeps me up later than I’d like. Doing so has really expanded my overall worldview for the better. [Editor’s note: It’s not about anime titties.]
Ian Lecklitner, Staff Writer: Whenever I need a brief digital getaway, I head on over to r/TreesSuckingOnThings, a subreddit devoted entirely to images of trees absorbing nearby objects into their ever-expanding tree bodies. As strange as it sounds, it soothes my soul knowing that someday the entire world could ultimately be consumed by lively timber, even though it may be aflame now. I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been moments lately when I craved the sweet, woody embrace of a swelling tree trunk. Oh, how I wish I could become one with the trees, a forest nymph worried about nothing but the friendly caterpillars crawling along my branch-arms. For now, daydreaming about the images on r/TreesSuckingOnThings will have to do.
Eddie Kim, Staff Writer: This is a fitting year for my own love of surrealism and anti-humor, and lately, I’ve been escaping to the hinterlands of r/Ooer to, uhhh, completely confuse the hell outta myself in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. The shitposts and conversations in the comments are so shitty that they start to look like some sort of hieroglyphic insight if you keep staring. I imagine this is the content the id of an Extremely Online™ Zoomer would conjure up during a fever dream. I mean, what the hell, man:
(And when I just want regular ol’ horrifying surrealism, without the inscrutability? I go to r/ImSorryGarfield, where bizarre, nightmare-fuel cartoons of the world’s blandest cat owner reign supreme.)
Magdalene Taylor, Staff Writer: I love a conspiracy theory that’s just good, wholesome fun. No anti-Semitism, no deep-state pedophilia, just innocent people being snatched up in the woods by ancient cryptids that the government is too afraid to investigate. r/Missing411 is part Bigfoot discourse, part r/NoSleep spooky stories and part complex investigative reporting from people who literally spend all of their free time reading about missing-persons cases relating to National Parks. This is truly one of those subreddits with complete rabbit-hole potential. If the endless DIY-investigating on the subreddit itself isn’t enough for you, there are a dozen or so books from former police detective David Paulides on these disappearances, as well as documentaries on Hulu. But the basic premise is that way too many skilled hikers and experienced outdoors-people go missing in the woods under highly suspicious circumstances, only to have their shoes be found, like, at the top of an inaccessible cliff. At the very least, this subreddit has convinced me that I will never go hiking or camping solo.
Miles Klee, Staff Writer: It’s not new, but a great subreddit for this era of mass unemployment is r/antiwork — it hosts any and all content about capitalism’s death grip on the human identity, and thoughtful discussion of how to free ourselves. Even if you have a job you like, it’s undeniably good to imagine a future without work, and this is a more productive way to do so than daydreaming about a mega-millions lotto jackpot. Go ahead and kill some time here while you’re technically on the clock. The radical labor memes alone are worth the click:
Andrew Fiouzi, Staff Writer: I don’t typically buy things online, considering it’s impossible to get my sizing right. But occasionally I come across a pair of second-hand boots or shoes at a deal that I can’t pass up. It’s in these times that I find myself browsing through the subreddit r/malefashionadvice searching for sizing information that is so wholesome and comprehensive that, frankly, it gives me butterflies. There’s no trolling, no shitposting and hardly any negativity. It’s just guys giving their bros page-long book reports, often with images, on how a pair of leather boots fits on their feet. There’s compliments, curiosity and a sincere effort to help a guy wanting a new pair of Red Wing boots figure out whether he’s a size 8D or 8.5EE in any given style. Just pure brotherly-fashion-advice love.
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