The Insteadness You’ve Been Waiting For! Now Online!

The other day, my wife and I went to hear this writer, Jonathan Lethem, speak at the Portland Arts & Lectures series.

Mr Lethem gave a very interesting—and funny—talk about a variety of things. I think I’ll read some of his books. But what really happened was his talk made me start a new website:

The most interesting thing to me in his talk was when he started explaining this word/concept he had made up: insteadness.

As I understand insteadness, it is the thing we focus on when we should maybe focus on something else. Jonathan told a longish—but funny—joke to explain it, but I don’t think it would be that funny to repeat here. It involved a conference of parapsychologists and a goat—you get the idea.

Suffice it to say that Jonathan’s idea of insteadness was pretty rich: you could see insteadnesses as bad (they distract us from what we should be paying attention to) and as good (maybe all art is really the creation of insteadnesses).

So I decided that maybe this whole idea of insteadness needs more work, and, for lack of a better idea, I set up a website at so we can get started.

I invited Jonathan to weigh in/help out at, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. He’s probably busy with something else instead.

I put up one insteadness already as an example, but we need more.

Posted by Nate Angell

Wandering IQ. Raised by wolves. Friend to cheese. Working to bend the arc of justice. Learn more about my professional and educational history on LinkedIn and on this blog, or if you really want to get to know me, follow me on Twitter.

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