“Laugh while you can, Monkey Boy!”

“In 1964 the Lavongai people of the occupied Papua and New Guinea territory sabotaged the elections organized by their colonial masters by writing in the name of President Lyndon B. Johnson, electing him as their king and then refusing to pay taxes to their Australian oppressors. On similar grounds, midcentury Indian and African religious sects sometimes deployed avatars of Britain’s enemies—in India, Hitler was seen as the final coming of Vishnu, while Nigerians worshiped ‘Germany, Destroyer of Land’: My enemy’s enemy is my friend. … The salient point is not that such hopes were untethered from reality, but what they expressed. For what can the powerless do? To what can they appeal to restore the rightful order of things, in the face of endless loss? ‘Do you know that America kills all Negroes?’ a Papuan skeptic challenged one of LBJ’s apostles in 1964. ‘You’re clever,’ the apostle replied.’But you haven’t got a good way to save us.’” Fara Dabhoiwala

“So it’s probably safer to look at something we all but certainly know will happen: By Census Bureau projections, between 2022 and 2037, about 23 million baby boomers — almost exactly one-third of the total cohort — will die. The generation that has enjoyed smothering dominance over the culture and the economy since the mid-20th century is going to melt away like a warming glacier. What might disappear along with all those people? Television in general, and cable news in particular, assumes that viewers will always be there passively sucking down the medium, the way the postwar babies were habituated to do.By 2037, most Americans won’t have been alive for TV monoculture; fully fragmented video consumption will be the natural order of things. Across all media, the inertial weight of the last mass audience (and the grasping hands of the moguls who took control young and never let go) will suddenly lift. What direction will things fly off into? Don’t ask me. I was born in 1971; no one ever asks.” Tom Socca

“In ancient Athens, public speaking was understood primarily as a means of persuasion; learning to convince others was the duty of a democratic citizen. For Confucius, refined speech was the embodiment of refined ethics. In nineteenth-century America, popular lectures delivered in lyceums up and down the East Coast were seen as a form of moral uplift, raising the nation’s cultural standards and satisfying the middle class’s rapacious appetite for useful knowledge. The primary function of TED, by contrast, is to predict the future. … The story goes like this: there are problems in the world that make the future a scary prospect. Fortunately, though, there are solutions to each of these problems, and the solutions have been formulated by extremely smart, tech-adjacent people. For their ideas to become realities, they merely need to be articulated and spread as widely as possible. And the best way to spread ideas is through stories — hence Gates’s opening anecdote about the barrel. In other words, in the TED episteme, the function of a story isn’t to transform via metaphor or indirection, but to actually manifest a new world. Stories about the future create the future. Or as Chris Anderson, TED’s longtime curator, puts it, “We live in an era where the best way to make a dent on the world… may be simply to stand up and say something.” And yet, TED’s archive is a graveyard of ideas. It is a seemingly endless index of stories about the future — the future of science, the future of the environment, the future of work, the future of love and sex, the future of what it means to be human — that never materialized. By this measure alone, TED, and its attendant ways of thinking, should have been abandoned.” Oscar Schwartz


“When Florida is underwater we’ll still be listening to the greatest hits of the 80s.” Alaska Wolf Joe

“Of all the Griefs that harrass the Distrest, Sure the most bitter is a scornful Jest.” Dr. Johnson

S,T, F, and You!

Time for a little exercise in desk cleaning here in our waning days of happiness. No, I’m not going to go on and on about our slide into oligarchy. Instead I’m talking about the scant handful of days there are left before the New York Times fully takes control of Wordle. Very soon you’re going to sit down to Wordle only to find out that you have to watch a pharmaceutical ad between each guess. You’ll be bogged down with so many things you have to ask your doctor about that you won’t be able to remember where you left off.

Not that it makes any difference to me as I ain’t doin’ so hot (38% success rate) since I become easily distracted. Last week I gave up after two guesses because I was dumbfounded that Politifact discovered chemtrails just a couple of weeks ago.

Chemtrails?

I can’t remember how many years it’s been since one of my relatives sent me a forwarded email about that one.

Maybe it seems out of date simply because our household is hyper-informed, as the kids say, when it comes to conspiracy theories and woo-woo metaphysics. Not that we believe any of it. OK, we don’t believe any of it except for Mom’s theory that says cats are creatures from another dimension who are here to study us.

Those times you can’t find Mittens anywhere?

Per Mom – that’s when they transport back to that other dimension to file reports.

As some of you know we recently got a new cat who Mom thinks is the chief scientist in that other realm. For a creature who rarely lets out a peep he has remarkable communication skills. He can read us like a book which lead Mom to say, “If he’s not the big brain for another world then how do you explain it?”

Maybe he was Lex Luthor in his previous life?

But I have to agree with her, any day now the cat will probably be leaving us post-it notes.

Sarcasm in another mammal is so unbecoming.

Moving along –

I Am Joe’s Rogan

The hyper-informed among you are already aware that the punditry has been bending over backwards to give Joe a real left-handed Marc Anthony send off only to find he’s not going anywhere. What they failed to mention in that metric ton of verbiage is that if he were to go away there’d be another Rogan or Rogan-ish personality to take his place.

Why?

Because he’s a really unlikable asshole.

And he’s not the only one.

Being an unlikable ass-wipe is a skill set sort of like being really good at math. If you’re really good at math there’s all sorts of things you can do. Being a total asshole is much the same as you can take your unfortunate God-given gift and apply it to politics, the corporate world, or as in this case, show biz. Agree with him or not what’s going on here is that Joe Rogan most likely has termites in his smile and all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile and he makes it work for him.

And that has made him very rich.

Along those lines – while Rogan holds the number one spot for peoples’ reason to cancel Spotify hot on his heels is concern over what Spotify pays it’s artists. Interesting when you stop to think that the underlying assumption of the second reason is a general belief that the music biz exists on a level playing field.

Like it was ever a level playing field?

The whole history of pop music in the 20th Century is littered with shady managers, greedy record companies, and the mob. You don’t have to look very hard to find a one-time star who died a pauper because he or she never saw a penny out of all those records sold.

And more recently – what was that whole psychotic Freudian drama surrounding Britney Spears all about?

But I can see why people cancelled Spotify. Rogan is part of a larger issue and if you can’t get Uncle Ed, who recently quit watching NewsMax as he thinks they’re a little pinko, to shut up at Sunday dinner you can cancel Spotify. Last week someone on th’ Tweety said cancelling Spotify was performative and hollow and I find that a bit harsh. Cancellation is an act of helplessness along the lines of making Lyndon Johnson your king. (see the above) So much is out of your grasp that you go with what’s been left to you and take what little solace you can.

Meanwhile there was an outcry, “Where’s Dylan? Where’s the other rock icons? Why aren’t they leaving Spotify.”

David Crosby summed it up when he said he wanted to do what Neil Young did, but he doesn’t own his catalog anymore. Neither does Paul Simon, David Bowie and a raft of others.

Why?

As stated above:


“By Census Bureau projections, between 2022 and 2037, about 23 million baby boomers — almost exactly one-third of the total cohort — will die”

Dylan, like the others, saw an opportunity to cash in and perhaps have something to leave behind for the progeny. God knows, at this rate it’s now or never and the people who bought those catalogs knew that too. The new owners are not going to shut off any channel which might recoup their investment. Even if the graphic above is correct you still have to keep the catalog out there even if it’s on a platform the Boomers don’t understand.

This begs the question, “Did you cancel Spotify?”

No, and I don’t have any particular reason other than I have a whole lot of time and effort that I’ve put into it and I have no interest in duplicating my efforts elsewhere.

And where are you supposed to go?

Amazon has no end of professionally published and self-published titles that are no more than School of Rogan and Apple does business with dubious firm in China.

If you’re looking for idealogical purity you might want to avoid the moral cul-de-sac that is music streaming.

Speaking of pure thoughts – Alaska Wolf Joe gave me his copy of American Marxism by Mark Levin. It was assigned reading for some class he was taking on how to spit on everything your parents hold dear. A week or so ago he asked me to read the two pages about NYU media pundit Jay Rosen. I said that it was largely accurate save for about six words that flushed the rest of the section down the toilet. If Levin has avoided about half a sentence he was on to something, but to make a point with his end users he blew it.

AWJ says the ongoing message of American Marxism is that everybody left of center is a hard-core Marxist ideologue up to and including your Aunt Mille who went door-to-door for Bobby Kennedy. Levin would tell you she’s a Bolsheik at heart and that goes double for her “Wednesday bridge club” too.

Before I get around to Levin I have to finish up Ross Dreiblatt’s I am not Brad Pit. The book is three novellas which – allegedly – when combined form a meditation on fame. The first involves one of Brad Pitt’s clones who commits first-degree murder. The public is shocked as no one can believe a clone of Brad Pitt could do such a thing. I find it to be a reasonable assumption as some of us have a family history that include some one named “Junior” who no one ever accused of being a stellar Eagle Scout.

The second novella is a threadbare retelling of Faust which works forward from the premise that Keith Richards is a vampire.

At this point those of you are of a certain age are gently nodding your heads and saying to yourself, “Makes as much sense as anything.”

While I go read you can sing along.

You know the words.