From Mustafa's Desk Survey: Help Me, Help You Be Entertained + Max's Response
Name that movie.

From Mustafa's Desk Survey: Help Me, Help You Be Entertained + Max's Response

Mustafa Shaikh
3 min read

I need your help in figuring out what I should write about. Let me fill you in.

I'd love to be able to get more subscribers over time, and potentially more paid subs, which is a high bar to hit. ("Hmmm, alright I can spend $5 a month with Mustafa, or I could get an extra venti pumpkin spice latte.") For the most part, writers that have developed followings on Ghost/Substack are providing information in a specialized area.

For instance, they send a daily newsletter on major political news or a weekly update on what's happening in crypto.

I, on the other hand, am jumping between a few different topics. It occurred to me that from a reader's perspective it might be jarring to one week read about me getting drunk with a Shaolin monk, to the next talking about how much you drinking out of a single-use plastic water bottle irritates me.

I've decided that I'm going to try to treat "From Mustafa's Desk" like Netflix. I'll be developing different content series, and releasing them at different times. I'll view each essay as an episode, and collectively they'll make up seasons of content.

For instance, in January I might start season 1 of "Enter The 36 Chambers," in which I share 5 episodes of my time working with Wu-Tang (new episode would drop each week). And then in mid-February, I may start season 1 of a 4 episode series about being a first-generation Pakistani-American.

I'll collect feedback at the end of each season and determine which content series should be renewed and developed further.

What I'd like to think this strategy will enable is if you really enjoy a certain topic, you know to tune in. And if you're like, "Eh, this ain't for me," you can come back around when a new series drops.

So if you have four minutes, please fill out this brief survey. I'm looking to find more information about what content series I should prioritize developing. You'll also be asked questions about when/how you would prefer to receive emails from me.

In lieu of an essay written by me this week, I'm actually going to be sharing an essay written by my buddy Max.

If you missed last week's essay, you'll have to read it first to understand what Max is referring to. So without further adieu, a special installment of From Max's Desk:

Sometimes I wonder, how will I be perceived or judged by future generations? I think about statues taken down and the extent to which historical figures have been "canceled."

I think about canceling Abraham Lincoln, like the San Francisco school district has been considering. The rationale was that during his term there was a robbery and genocide of indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, those terrible actions were inevitable no matter who happened to be president at the time.

I'm thinking about that as a parallel to environmentalism; I see environmentalism now as what Civil Rights was in the '60s. I have a sneaking suspicion that by eating as much meat as I do, my hypothetical "statue" will be torn down.

Like, is it possible that flying in an airplane might be grounds to be “canceled” in the future? Flying in airplanes contributes to greenhouse gas emissions more than anything; if you fly more than once a year, you're already contributing more than the "average" person around the world (many of whom can't afford to fly).

Driving a non-electric car, and eating unnatural amounts of meat also qualify you for being above average by this rubric. The point is that these activities are normal now, but may be judged quite negatively in 100 years.

Your point about it not being an all-or-nothing situation is really important. If people make small, incremental changes, that will help a lot (e.g. Meatless Mondays)

I watched the documentary "Seaspiracy," which is pretty bad journalism, but it was effective in making me seriously reduce my consumption of sea life.

I haven't seen Cowspiracy yet and maybe giving that a watch will similarly provide a new perspective on my consumption of cows. (On a related note, have you seen the sign in The Local Butcher Shop? And yes, of course, it's in Berkeley.)

Anyway, thanks for keeping the pressure on me. I'm grateful to have thorns in my side like you. Now that I've been on blast publicly, it has yes indeed already reduced my consumption of beef. Good job.