This Is How We Ended Up With Trump

A friend posted this to his instagram feed- it’s a picture of the super bloom in California:

If it wouldn’t hurt the wildlife and park rangers, I’d suggest putting in a minefield before next year’s bloom.

Also, is it just me or does this look like something from the Far Side?

Doesn’t Mean That Much to Me to Mean That Much to You

This twitter thread by Catherynne Valente gets it pretty much right:

Last night, Bill Maher went on a rant about comic books & those who love them & the generation (it rhymes with Schmelennials!) that uses words like #adulting & doesn’t want to give up the things they loved as kids or grow up

Well my name is Miss Valente & I got something to say

First of all, Mister Bill Maher, I’m not sure how smugly bloviating, smoking pot, and screwing people way too young for you is any more mature than reading comic books but okay buddy. Secondly, I’m not even going to get into the literary merit of comic books. Some are great art. Some are ridiculous trash. Kind of like every other genre & medium out there. It’s not worth discussing as it’s obvious on the face of it that adding pictures does not subtract value. I want to say this.

Do you know why millennials “refuse to grow up”?

Because we finally figured out that the whole idea is bullshit designed to suppress human joy enough to keep them grinding for an uncaring company for 50 years in unhappy marriages until death is a mercy. The reason my generation still plays in ball pits & reads comic books & plays dress up is that contemporary society has made most of the good parts of adult life financially unreachable: home, family, travel, even theater is $500 a ticket

All that’s left is the crushing despair! In the vacuum left by the loss of reachable life goals, we 80s kids kind of figured: fuck it.

Why the hell should we give up what is good & joyful & rich of the art & accoutrements of childhood in exchange for a yawning grey void? How was that ever considered a fair deal? What Maher and his peers cannot understand is that even their generation returned to the beautiful well of childhood—to share it with their own children.

The problem is, many in my generation cannot afford to have kids, or must wait until very late. You are not superior because you collect items from the Sharper Image catalogue rather than Comic Con. You have just allowed what others think of you to dictate a narrow range of joy you are allowed to experience.

Unless you really love $5000 massage chairs I guess. Adulthood has always been a trick played on the whole of humanity. Convincing us to give up magic & beauty & fun for their own sake in exchange for our labor & loyalty to whatever boss is going around

Only recently has society become decentralized enough to re-examine the terms

When complaining that millennials refuse to grow up, it might behoove the media to stop referring to 35 year olds as though they’re hapless children who don’t know what’s good for them. Companies will give us nothing but a company store. Governments sell out to each other and burn the planet. Markets offer no safety. There is almost nothing left of our parents’ world.

So read a fucking comic book if you want to, life is so heartbreakingly brief. Maybe, just maybe, consider the idea that the millennials got this one right.

It was always a bad deal that only benefitted the masters.

You get one life on this rock. Why in the hell would you give up something you love just because you got old enough to really appreciate it? Give us back the social contract, make the hallmarks of adulthood remotely reachable for us, and maybe we’ll consider putting down the comics.

Probably not, but we’ll have a house to read them in.

Boomers like Maher who reflexively dunk on the young, who have been fucked out of many of the social benefits that boomers take for granted, deserve this and more.

Happy New Year

Defying all odds, Lily and I both made it to 2019, for which I am very grateful. I actually went to bed at 9pm, because I am super cool, and Devon woke me up for the stroke of midnight. I kissed my dog, hugged my sister, posted on the blog, and feel like all my duties have been fulfilled and I can go back to bed.

Happy 2019.

Late Night Open Thread: Social Media Is A Bad Place for the Clueless

Since I use this blogging platform largely to share online links and embed twitter posts, I can hardly condemn social media as a concept. But as the saying goes: Nothing can be made foolproof, because the fools are so ingenious.

Although I suppose it’s some kind of progress when, if a tween girl must be pimped out to support her family, it’s done through virtual reality. Allow me a ‘kids these days’ moment over a world where Buzzfeed and Netflix collaborate on a documentary series “Inside The World Of Teenagers With Millions Of Followers”

Being an adolescent is inherently awful, but the best thing about it may be the complete lack of shame teenagers feel for the things they love. The breadth and depth of their fandom — say, for some online influencer with millions of underage fans — might be perplexing for those of us older than 18, but it makes perfect sense for teens who love whatever they love with their whole being…

Danielle Cohn is one of those teenage curiosities that most of us old enough to vote (have you registered yet?) don’t know much about despite her alarmingly potent online popularity. At the wee age of 14, she already has a startling 2.6 million Instagram followers and 11.2 million on an app called TikTok. (You might know TikTok better as, the app where the youth lip-synched and bopped around in front of their phones in 15-second video clips. It changed its name to TikTok in early August.) Cohn’s videos don’t exactly sound worthy of millions upon millions of followers: They’re largely just her, in full hair and makeup, lip-synching in front of her camera phone and a bright ring light, shaking her hips and smiling wide. And yet.

Cohn looms large online, but in person, she is teeny tiny. Her Instagram is, like a lot of young girls, seemingly curated to make her appear older, but in person she just looks like a pubescent girl with a remarkable amount of hair extensions. When I met her earlier this year, she was living in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles with her mom, her brother, and a gray puppy named Silverpom who was suffering from an eye infection. She and her family are from Florida, but moved to LA so Cohn’s career as an influencer could really take off, and eventually be parlayed into a Hollywood career, as attempted by so many internet celebrities before her.

Cohn’s burden is twofold: Not only does she have a hungry and demanding fanbase to appease, but she’s a significant part of her family’s financial backbone. There’s online popularity to maintain, but also new clothes to buy, agents to compensate, and of course, the family rent to pay through her live events and sponsored posts…

Ultimately, there’s nothing explicitly sexual about Cohn’s act online, nor is there when she shows me how she makes one of her videos in person. She mostly mugs for the camera and flips her hair and points and cocks a hip and acts out sassiness. It’s a reminder that our anxiety about a girl like Cohn being sexualized comes only because we, as adults, are sexualizing a child. I believe her when she says her work is chaste…

And now I am, in my own small way, part of the problem (am I wrong to assume kids like Cohn attract as many older male followers as they do other young girls — or that the platforms monetizing them don’t really care?) Excuse me while I go find a new onion for my belt…

Interesting Sunday Read: Something About Bob (Woodward)

Olivia Nuzzi, professional journalist-assassin, sizes up Bob Woodward, professional journalist-legbreaker, in NYMag“Bob Woodward on the ‘Best Obtainable Version of the Truth’ About Trump”.

IMO, she did a really good job of getting past the old man’s practiced patter and demonstrating just how cozy the Beltway Media Village expected to be with this season’s Temporary Oval Office Occupants, whether or not that warmth is reciprocated — or deserved:

Entering the author’s home required walking past a stack of the books on the floor. It’s a warm and colorful place, full of eye-catching paintings and, at this particular moment, lots of people and one medium-size dog. Woodward introduced me to his wife, the journalist Elsa Walsh, and then ushered me into a dining room. Over the course of 50 minutes, we discussed his philosophy and methods. But first, my tape recorder malfunctioned in front of America’s most famous journalist…

Nuzzi: I am but a humble newbie, visiting the Great Master…

I wanted to talk to you about how you decide who is credible. It is difficult for me, sometimes, to determine who is credible, even at the most senior levels of the administration at this White House. Mostly at the most senior levels in some ways.
Particularly if it is on the record and public. It is kind of a press release.

I agree to a large extent. But I am curious how you decide who is credible. Because somebody like Rob Porter, he is obviously very present in this book. I won’t guess about your sourcing. There is a lot to suggest that his character is — there is a fundamental flaw there.
In what way?

Well, by some personal accounts he is a very flawed human being. He is allegedly abusive. There is a lot to call into question his honesty.
Say that again.

There is a lot to suggest that he may not be an honest individual, right? So why do you decide to trust somebody like that?
Well, I am not going into the sourcing but there are — you test it with other people and documents and notes and it makes a big difference when somebody tells you something and you get your hand on the document itself. So because I had the luxury of time, of essentially two years to work on this, not quite, even. Ever since Trump was elected you can cross-check and see…

Woodward: I review theatrical performances on the world’s most important stage. Why should anyone expect me to take an interest in the actors’ personal hobbies?

In a review, Isaac Chotiner at Slate asked if you were perhaps the last optimist.
Really? I have not seen this.

He had a lot of criticisms of the book and one of them is there is this sort of view, a bias towards the people who cooperated, and they are presented in an almost heroic way.
But see, he does not know that. No one knows that except for myself and my assistant Evelyn.

Do you think that is true?
I know it is true.
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