Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova at SXSW. The Daily Dot newsletter logo is in the bottom right corner.

Daysia Tolentino

Newsletter: Pussy Riot at SXSW: ‘F*ck Putin’

In today's special edition of the 'Internet Insider' newsletter, we report from the ground at SXSW.


Andrew Wyrich


Ramon Ramirez

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 14, 2022   Updated on Mar 30, 2022, 12:43 pm CDT

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Hey readers! Andrew here. Welcome to a special edition of Internet Insider.

I hope you are enjoying our coverage of SXSW. We’ve got our team of reporters on the ground filing reports about the weird, interesting, and cool things they are seeing. 

Meanwhile, our News Director Ramon Ramirez, shares with you some thoughts about the future of work after attending some panels at SXSW. 


In Body Image

Two chairs on a stage. Behind that, a sign says 'SXSW 2022'

Finding humanity in the future of work at SXSW

The future of work is an evergreen topic at South by Southwest, but it’s top of mind this year.

As Curbed observed recently, there are two emerging classes in the pandemic age: People who can work from home, and people who bring them stuff. You will definitely believe which bucket SXSW caters to, and so the conversations here are centered on the 67% of white collar workers who’ve done some work-from-home. It’s a bit of a philosophical bubble though.

The progressive lens is that if you can do your job at home, nothing else but the consistency and quality of your work matters. I believe that. 

At the Daily Dot, I never badger my team about coming to the WeWork. Frankly, it’s unpleasant because I have to spin music in order to drown out the deafening silence of bloggers generating content in tandem.

Now, I like my co-workers a great deal and it’s nice to talk about our shared journalism stressors; it’s nice to carve out some dedicated hangs which can be opt-in and not about coming to a desk and pretending to be busy. (Are happy hours problematic? Absolutely. I do not have all the answers beyond “keep it G at all times” when socializing. That’s of course shorthand for trying to build a safe and inclusive culture that all workers deserve).

If you zoom out, the work-from-home problem seems to be that this ideal is undercut by the reality that downtown economies crumble when no one comes to your sandwich stand. However, I have not observed SXSW unpacking these problems. I have observed SXSW unpacking theoretical realities where we all work in the metaverse.

At a “Gen Z and the future of work” panel, Hundo Careers Founder Esther O’Callaghan (a self-described xennial) argued that getting, say, teenagers in Moldova to understand cryptocurrency and how to apply for jobs where they exist as worker avatars in digital realms was going to shape global economies. That sounds like it’ll definitely happen in the next 10 years, tbh.

At the “future of newsroom leadership” panel, however, I learned much more urgent lessons from the editor-in-chiefs of USA Today, Axios, the 19th, and an audience strategist at Conde Nast:

  • Work settings feature too many men making decisions on behalf of women. Do something about it.
  • Your underlying mandate as a manager is to build a work culture that your employees deserve.
  • Listen to your employees and let them guide benefits conversations.
  • Managers should all specialize in empathy as a core job skill. Even in journalism, you can’t just be a tough-nosed news editor. There is the work and there is the empathy and both are equally the job
  • Culture is everything. Your workplace should never be about employees having to personally navigate around a prevailing culture that does not consider human feelings.
  • It is hard to find specialists from non-white background. So maybe start a fellowship and coach-up someone to become one.
  • When opportunities present themselves, be selfless and dish ‘em out. Ask yourself: “Who can grow from this?”
  • Slack or Teams, or always-on chatroom workspaces, are inherently cold. It’s on managers to normalize flexibility, treat their team like adults, and set good examples such as “Hey guys I’m gonna go to the grocery store back in the afternoon.” (I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said that I’m “pausing for a quick lunch” and as a leader that makes people hesitant to pause).

— Ramon Ramirez


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Our team of reporters are on the ground at SXSW in Austin, TX. Here are some of the notable, interesting, and weird things they are seeing.  

🌙 At Sunday night’s premiere of Richard Linklater’s new animated Netflix film about growing up in Houston during the 1969 moon landing, Apollo 10½, the filmmaker revealed that the film screened on the Space Station a few days ago. — Tiffany Kelly

🎤 “Fuck Putin,” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova said at the top of her performance during Sunday’s Patreon activation. “I want war to stop immediately.” Nadya T’s rave-like set was a queer, feminist spectacle with high energy dancers, songs by LGBTQ artists, and bass so heavy you felt it in your chest. At one point, she took a moment to pay tribute to Ukraine, putting her fist up and encouraging the audience to do the same. “That’s it,” she curtly concluded at the end of the night. “Thank you for supporting political prisoners.” — Daysia Tolentino

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova at SXSW
Daysia Tolentino

🎥 Be sure to check out Laiken Neumann‘s review of Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, a full-length feature based on the viral short film that was released 12 years ago

❓ Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the “Creator Economy: Is Media Doomed or Democratized?” panel was actor and performer Sarah Jones’ constant accent switching throughout the event. She even introduced herself as a British woman before revealing she was really doing a bit. Was it distracting? Yes. Did it help me get the point of the talk? Not at all. In fact, I didn’t find the panel to be all that forward-thinking. In addition to Jones’ stereotypical “millennial” character named Bella, performed with the nasally Valley Girl accent and faux-wokeness jokes that were funny in 2015, the panel itself seemed a bit out of touch with younger millennials/Gen Z and how they consume and create content. — Daysia Tolentino

🙅‍♂️ Who would have guessed a semi-famous (his words) former teen soap star would become one of the most vocal crypto skeptics in the space? The O.C.’s Ben McKenzie has become a prominent critic of crypto and the blockchain, and his panel about the subject was a grounding presence amid the hype and fervor around the blockchain all weekend. — Daysia Tolentino

🍿 Nicolas Cage is a beloved cultural figure. If you agree, you should check out Tiffany Kelly‘s review of his latest film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Tiffany thinks the movie will almost assuredly spark more Nicolas Cage memes. 

🍲 “Anyone can cook anywhere and you don’t need a perfect kitchen or beautiful ingredients or access to equipment or fancy things,” cook and author Alison Roman said of her new CNN+ cooking show. “There’s not a ‘best,’ there’s not an ‘only,’ cooking’s personal, it’s emotional, it changes all the time, and you’re good enough.” Possible title for her next cookbook? — Mariam Sharia

🎧 I got the chance to speak with a few of the guys from Chapo Trap House yesterday after their searing live podcast performance, when they took savage shots at Texas politicians, tech bros, and the White House. Their chat with me was much more chill and down to earth, and they had interesting things to say about pursuing creative careers, getting involved in politics, and using social media. I’m looking forward to sharing that interview with everyone soon.  Grace Stanley

Chapo Trap House performing at SXSW.
Grace Stanley

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*First Published: Mar 14, 2022, 6:00 pm CDT