Welcome to testset.

Artwork by @serg_nehaev

This project was founded by multiple creators scattered across Houston, Philadelphia, Berlin, Beirut, and New York with one common objective: To test our own curiosity across the various mediums we submerge ourselves in. We had a target launch date set for May of 2020, but the Coronavirus had other plans for us. Shackled to our desks, watching the world become more dangerous by the day, the next logical step was to ‘dance with who brung ya.’ For those of y’all that don’t know, that’s Texan for ‘remain dedicated to your raison d’etre.’  For those of y’all that don’t know, that’s French for ‘the reason for something’s existence.’ 

So here we are—a few disparate voices with a lot of ground to cover. Our ‘editorial direction,’ or rather lack thereof, is directed more-so by what we exclude rather than what we include. No pseudoscience, no partisanship, no virtue signaling, and no sanctimony. 

We fancy ourselves journalists time to time, but sometimes dwell on the limited humanity of such a title. Imagine, for a moment, there was somebody who ignored you until they needed something, then disappeared forever…unless or until you had something they wanted again. So goes the life of a ‘parachute journalist,’ a seemingly harmless term and title that is now saddled with the sad reality of what journalists are in a human context. Human to human, person to person, ‘journalists’ make formal, temporary relationships with those they milk for information, then disappear back into the Serengeti like the hyenas they are. 

We seek long term relationships with our subjects and subject matter and friendships that allow for candor that is otherwise withheld. We won’t spare you from hearing that we would rather be storytellers, archivists, ethnographers, and even activists. Though we’re not sure what that even means anymore. We are firm believers that gallows humor is important shit, and we have laid out a few expectations to help you better understand where we are going with this ‘thing.’ Until then, be kind to each other and yourself.

Our writers prefer cacophony to harmony. This ain’t no fuckin’ chorus.

People here don’t agree with each other on just about anything. If you seek homogenized, congruent world-views, this is not the place.

We have no boundaries.

Nothing is off limits. If some necromancer could bring Genghis Khan back from his grave in Khentii Aimag, we would interview him.

We’re not promising anything.

We can’t promise when we will update this site. We can’t promise that it will be good. We can’t even promise we will try our best.

What we can promise you is that we won’t promise you anything at all.

No need to lower your expectations.

We see the stuff the other guys around these parts are churning out and it seems your standards are already pretty low *sometimes*. We are going to fit right in. Just not in the way you think we will.

We’re all in deep shit.

If you are old enough to have lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, you are a lucky son of a bitch. That was the apex of the Pax Americana and it is not going to get any better than that. It is probably true that if we do not get our planet in order, we will at least need to get our affairs in order.


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