“Is the ‘fear of being an individual’. Let’s face it: being an individual is a lot of hard work, and these days I’m unsure human beings are cut out for the job. Individuality has become about as much fun as dental flossing; no wonder it’s easier just to subcontract your identity to QAnon or Antifa. You may not get a million hits for your own Instagram post, but your newly adopted fringe group will get them on your behalf. It’s going to be easier to feel utterly alone and also part of a planetary movement.” Douglas Coupland
“Stupidity is saying two plus two equals five. Elevated Stupidity is doing the same thing, except you invoke Pythagoras, decry cancel culture when someone corrects you, then get a seven-figure book deal and a speaking tour out of it. Elevated Stupidity has permeated all facets of life—reality TV, social media, Congress, your group chat, and your softball team. Elevated Stupidity stems from the idea that being good at arguing is the same thing as being correct. That rhetorical skill—or at least a degree of big debate-club energy sufficient to wear out one’s opponent—is the equivalent of intelligence. If being a good arguer is the same as being smart or correct, then do you know who is the smartest, correct-est person in history? Every Scientologist. (…) There are eight podcasts for every man woman and child on the planet and too many web publications to count.The machine needs fuel, and the cheapest option is consistently The Idea Nobody’s Heard Yet. Express a fresh idea for the first time and it might juice up your YouTube subscriber numbers or get you on Joe Rogan, put your name in people’s mouths. But cheap fuel is dirty fuel. Sometimes the reason an idea has not been expressed publicly before is that it’s bad. Dave Holmes
“One day in 1995, a large, heavy middle-aged man robbed two Pittsburgh banks in broad daylight. He didn’t wear a mask or any sort of disguise. And he smiled at surveillance cameras before walking out of each bank. Later that night, police arrested a surprised McArthur Wheeler. When they showed him the surveillance tapes, Wheeler stared in disbelief. ‘But I wore the juice,’ he mumbled. Apparently, Wheeler thought that rubbing lemon juice on his skin would render him invisible to videotape cameras. After all, lemon juice is used as invisible ink so, as long as he didn’t come near a heat source, he should have been completely invisible. Police concluded that Wheeler was not crazy or on drugs—just incredibly mistaken.” Kate Fehlhaboer
“Cool, once narrowly delineated and foisted upon us by marketing cherry-picked from hip kids, has been blown apart for the new generation. In a world where everyone, not just the most interesting youths, is under a kind of constant surveillance — where our individual information is more valuable than any short-lived idea of collective cool — demographics give way to data. Gen Z might willfully defy categorization, but each disparate bit of their bizarre taste stew can still be marketed to. Cool — and by extension, taste — just isn’t all that useful anymore. It all feels like a case of Alice in Wonderland syndrome, like our shared experience of culture and our perception of it might be distorted. Many of the enthusiasms and affinities I once regarded as hip and cool are now nostalgia porn at best, and “cheugy” at worst. I feel like a trainspotter, noting the distinct edges and grooves that make the shared enthusiasms of Gen Z infinitely more interesting than whatever media and culture fueled my own aesthetic snobbery. Still, I can’t help but feel exhausted. Consumer identity is old news when everything is cheap and available, and everyone is buying.” Safy-Hallan Baran
“‘Green Acres’, ‘Beverly Hillbillies’, and ‘Hooterville Junction’ will no longer be so damn relevant and women will not care if Dick finally got down with Jane on ‘Search for Tomorrow’ because the revolution will not be televised.” Gil Scott Heron
“I hate mankind, for I think of myself as one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am.” Dr. Johnson
Sure glad I didn’t say ‘motherfucker’
Boy howdy, did this week suck. Monday was the worst. It started with a phone call from some boiler room. Per the kid on the phone, many of the customers visiting our e-commerce site had registered complains with his boss because our site did not allow for voice search. Without hesitation I told him that he and I both know that was bullshit as I do not have an e-commerce site. Undaunted he started from the top and I once again told him that his pitch was bullshit.
That’s when the fun began.
SCAM BOY: This word, this word buhll…
SB: Buh shu – I don’t know, could you spell it?
SB: Would you say this word to my supervisor?
Scant seconds after I hung up even more grief arrived. A guy in Chicago working for a very well known p-r firm, that has offices across both North America and Europe, phoned because he needed my help. His latest client was a company that makes toothpaste for dogs (No, really.) and he was looking for “bloggers like you” to try out this miracle of the modern age and send him 2000 words on the results. When I told him we don’t have a dog he shot back with, “WELL FIND ONE!”
The incentive in all this?
We get to keep the unused portion.
As Mom said at the time, “Be still, my heart.”
In all fairness it’s not a completely impossible task. While we don’t have a dog I could go a few doors up and borrow the neighbor’s rather amiable and laid-back Rottweiler, Snooks. Snooks has long been a patent soul who is more than happy to sit quietly in her yard and let very small dogs throw one coniption fit after another without every paying them one iota of attention.
But does Snooks want her teeth brushed?
I’m guessing that she’s no more interested in having her teeth brushed than I am in brushing her teeth.
But the whole idea brings up a couple of problems. First, there’s the small matter of writing a review. The only one in this situation with first-hand knowledge of what the stuff is like would be Snooks. It’s her review to write and I really don’t think the average keyboard can accommodate Snooks’ very large paws. Second, and more importantly, when was the last time you saw a dog eagerly sniff the front end of another dog?
Seems to me that whoever came up with the stuff is workin’ the wrong side of the street. Maybe they should some up with something bacon or tennis ball scented that comes in an aerosol can. Run a little of that around and Snook’s dance card would fill up in no time.
Not that any of this matters and it’s strictly out there as context for a week that you wouldn’t wish on well… a dog. And it wasn’t just limited to last week, there’s been no end of chaos that has kept me from coming to you with dread news. While America might have turned 245 years young this month, it has become obvious that something is very wrong. We’re about to go into uncharted territory and it seems very clear.
America is about to suffer from an Outrage Shortage.
For two solid weeks in June this small item dominated my Twitter and FB feeds.
Per Ray Flook:
“Speaking with Variety for a piece on how superhero shows are subverting the genre (yup, another one), Halpern and Schumacker explained how having a series populated by DC’s villains gives them a ton more leeway to take a deep dive into violence, cursing, sexual scenarios, etc. But if they were heroes? Well, let Halpern explain what happened when they were going to have Batman get up close and personal with Catwoman’s kitty from an oral perspective (we’re way more proud of that line than we have any right to be). “A perfect example of that is in this third season of ‘Harley’ [when] we had a moment where Batman was going down on Catwoman. And DC was like, ‘You can’t do that. You absolutely cannot do that.’ They’re like, ‘Heroes don’t do that.’ So, we said, ‘Are you saying heroes are just selfish lovers?’ They were like, ‘No, it’s that we sell consumer toys for heroes. It’s hard to sell a toy if Batman is also going down on someone.'”
First let me say, I’m no prude.
None of this should come as a surprise. You’ve got two people who’ve taken on outsized personas who wear tactical armor so they can perform no end of dangerous stunts in the dead of the night. We really shouldn’t be surprised that two people with so much in common might strike up a romance. Obviously, scratching her behind the ears wasn’t getting the job done so Bats went his Plan B. Besides whatever two people – who don’t really exist – do in a loving, committed, albeit more than a little weird, relationship in the privacy of their lair/cave/abandoned warehouse is their business.
So why all the commotion? What’s causing this?
Critical race theory.
As Alaska Wolf Joe like to point out, 99.9% of the people who go on and on and on about CRT have no idea what they’re talking about. He has this inverse corollary that the more you talk about CRT the less likely it is that you’ve read Baldwin, West, or Kendi. That said it should be noted that the people who talk about it repeated most likely watch the Carlson Tucker guy every night.
Then there’s the small problem of The 1619 Project vs. The February 1971 Project.
On February 23, 1971, America had a televised identity crisis. Just before 9:30 p.m., on CBS, Buck Owens and Roy Clark led the cast of “Hee Haw” in the same singalong that closed every episode — “May your days be bright, may your thoughts be light, ’til we meet again” — before signing off, “We’ll see you next week, right here on ‘Hee Haw’!”
Cue the banjo, the shots of the cast laughing, the women in gingham dresses, the men in plaid shirts and bib overalls, the cartoon donkey rolling its eyes around and around. Fade out. A few ads and . . .
Fade up on Archie and Edith Bunker sitting at their piano in Queens, singing in a new episode of “All in the Family.”
Boy, the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us, we had it made,
Those were the days …
It had been like this all month. CBS went from its silliest show to its most satirical — “All in the Family” talked about race and sex, “Hee Haw” had rubber chickens. But this time, there would be no next week for “Hee Haw.” It was canceled, along with two shows that had aired earlier that night, “Green Acres” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” By 1971, all the other rural-themed CBS shows were headed for cancellation or already off the air: “Mayberry RFD,” “The Jim Nabors Hour,” “The New Andy Griffith Show,” “Petticoat Junction” and “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” In their place, CBS would put more shows like “All in the Family,” and “Mary Tyler Moore.” The ’70s were to be a decade of realism and relevance on TV the same way the ’50s had been a decade of Cold War suburban idealism.
Last week there was all that stuff about the Carlson Tucker guy being the voice of white grievance, but people were aggrieved before he was born. (See the above.) What he and the various conservative movers and shakers don’t understand is that they’re putting all their eggs in one basket right now. For every minute they spend on CRT that’s time lost when it comes to oiling up the daily outage machine.
Soon CRT will suffer the same fate as flag burning. For the better part of 30 years flag burning was the go-to when there was a lull in the outrage. Whenever the outraged were at a loss you could always count on getting everybody stirred up to pass legislation to ban flag burning since there were so many burning flags that you’d think that a gender-reveal party had gone bad and caught the whole damn state of Oregon on fire. It was the evergreen standby. When the Piss Christ or something Andrea Dworkin said no longer brought outrage you could always rely on flag burning to run roughshod through America’s intestinal tract. But over the course of 30 years flag burning outlived its usefulness and went by the wayside. Right now CRT is white hot and likely to burn out at any second. The longer it hangs around the more likely that it won’t live out the year.
Don’t believe me?
Then tell me what happened to Cultural Marxism?
So go ahead – talk CRT for as long as you want – get as bent out of shape as need be, but mark my words – you’re gonna get out of bed one morning in the not too distant future and have nothing to be mad about. Or you’re going to have to live with outrage that bubbles up from the oddest places. The people who could gain from ginning up the hustings will have to thrash around looking for the Next Big Thing and those people will then find out they’ve lost control of the outrage. Sure, outrage will happen, but it will come from amateurs, people who have no idea what they’re doing because they’re mad at something that cannot economically or politically benefit even a single one among them.
You know, like Bats and Cats.
If I were you I’d look around for something else to get mad about. Leave CRT and cultural Marxism to us pointy-headed innnalechshuls who can’t even park a bicycle straight.
You’ll thank us for it.
Identifying as a cool kid
Much of what follows should be expanded on at a later time, but here’s something to get started.
Besides Bats and Cats my various social media feeds have also been overrun once again by people working like dogs (sorry Snooks) to make sure their musical taste also matches their consumer choices. Not that I understand any of it and God knows, that while Mom goes around the house in oversized sweats, it does not mean she owns Billie Ellish’s Greatest Hits. The subject even came up away from the computer while watching Alex Winter’s (Bill of Bill and Ted fame) outstanding documentary about Frank Zappa. Somewhere about 2/3rds of the way into the movie Frank says he has no used for kids whose musical taste is connected to what they wear. His gripe centered around the launch of MTV and pretty much summed up the griping in my current feeds.
Since my childhood coincided with the end of the Jurassic it would take a little thinking to scare up any memory of coordinating fashion and music. Growing up in a small town seriously limited the number of places to buy clothes so we all dressed more or less alike.
Put another way, to answer Frank’s old question, it’s a Sears poncho.
But you could still get The Mothers records through the mail!
Which pretty much negated any chance of being one of the popular kids.
I was young and more willing to take risks, what can I say?
Now go out there and promise me you’ll get mad about something new today.