Category: Humor

Weekend Links

Guys, I just

I mean…

The thing is…

I can’t. Have some links. Let’s catch up in the comments.

See, the American right needs its viewers and product consumers absolutely livid with rage and grievance…but not enough to actual riot over it. That’s a tricky balance, and I’m not surprised they lost control over it. That’s always the end result of rabble-rousing. I wrote about this back in 2016 and the last four years have only reinforced my thinking on the matter.

Hells yeah, and I’m one of ’em. Shout out to my doctor who explicitly said she didn’t want to take me off my meds in winter in a normal year and she definitely wasn’t going to do it in 2020. Bless her.

A story about emeralds, the best gem:

Indeed, there are things from 2020 we need to retain, and righteous anger is one of them. And activism, which is not at all what the storming of the Capitol was.

This story is bizarrely engrossing.

America under Trump became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader. It also became more delusional.” Yeah…but he owned the libs, so…

I know we shouldn’t be surprised by anything this may does anymore, but still – HOLY SHIT.

A grim assessment.

Locking the barn doors after the horses have stormed the Capitol….

Who cleans up after the coup?

When you feel betrayed by your messiah figure, what happens to belief? Well, you despair, you hold out hope, or you wait for a sign. MAGAland is bang on target. But I feel obliged to repeat, this is also bang on target for fascist movements which will stay enraged and look to the next guy to lead them to victory. Apart from his personal failings, which are legion, the long term risk of Trump was that he would pave the way for someone much better at the authoritarian dictator gig than he was.

Starting to think misinformation is bad and dangerous, fam…

Understanding the new mutations of the coronavirus.

Recapping the Year of Back to Basics

Time to do a brain dump, buckle up!

Longtime minions know that I don’t like resolutions but find a lot of value in yearly themes and tracking the current one was a long running series. It fell off in the last few months – and I have zero guilt about that – but I’m going to be resurrecting it because it’s fun, it keeps me writing, and I’ve learned a few things worth documenting.

The Year of Back to Basics…oh hell, is this whole thing my fault?

Never could I have imagined that the universe would take me so spectacularly at my word. It’s hard to be more back to basics than literally being locked in your own small space for nine months with only your significant other for company, and an utter loss of the sense of time. That’s pretty basic.

I tried to be consistent in my blogging and goal keeping but towards the end of summer I just gave myself permission to not worry about progress. For someone with my personality type, this is huge. Being extremely goal and achievement oriented in a situation where a lot of the kinds of growth or change I wanted simply wasn’t possible (on a global scale) was A LOT. I struggled mightily.

No one is driving this bus!

A sense of control. L. O. Bloody. L, amirite?

Nobody is in charge. That has honestly been one of the great revelations of adulthood for me, and while upsetting, it’s also pretty freeing. 2020 was one long exercise in watching people, whole governments, and industries really just do the best they could–or stubbornly refusing to. There is no grand design, no comforting conspiracy theory, and no cheat code. Shit just happens sometimes.

I think my generation was sold the idea of formulas for success: do X, Y, and Z and you will be successful. Our entire adult experience has been debunking that notion over and over again and while that’s cosmologically scary, there is also some strange benefits to finally letting go of this idea

Accepting that “control” is too often a myth and you won’t prevent shitty things from happening releases you (or me at least) from the vast amounts of energy expended trying to control various situations. Bad stuff happening isn’t a punishment for a lapse of character, failure of skill, or faulty plan…it’s often just the universe doing its thing. Meaning that doing the best you can to manage the circumstances you are in is okay. It doesn’t keep you from making goals or progressing, it just makes setbacks or failure so much less wounding than previously felt.

It took me months to find some kind of balance and come to terms with the fact that far from losing weight, I gained it. That’s what happens when you go from walking two to three miles a day just living your life to being confined to a one bed apartment. On the other hand, my relationships thrived and our money situation improved – for the moment! I don’t preclude the possibility of future disasters!

In a year where we couldn’t go anywhere or do much, this was an important personal lesson from me and one I want to explore more in 2020. To slightly adapt the words of the motivational poster that probably resided in your middle school guidance counselor’s office somewhere, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail because failure is a faulty construct anyway?”

Setting down the psychological load

One of the most concrete realizations I’ve had as a result of the Year of Enforced Basicness was that there are a lot of things I just don’t want to have to carry around with me anymore. I’ve been thinking a lot about this thanks to therapy–and being confined in a small space for the better part of a year has certainly kicked this along too. My world has gotten very small. This has had a lot of unexpected positive benefits. In a similar way that reducing your physical space helps you understand and prioritize what you truly value and what’s just junk, reducing my psychological space has undergone a similar examination.

Like most people I have a small bundle of traumas that I like to keep a close and watchful eye on, cuddling some of them tightly because the known pain feels more secure than the great unknown of what could slide into their places if I let them go. This is, of course, a supremely stupid way to live but in my defense I don’t know a single person who hasn’t done some version of the same thing. I just think I’ve done it for too long and don’t want to expend energy in this way.

There’s a lot of negative self imagery that feels, with the benefit of hindsight, more like emotional masochism than anything.

There are a lot of old grudges or anxieties – some more valid than others – that have too much power over my day-to-day psychological state. There is a difference between symptoms and habits and with mental health, it’s really important to understand which is which and what you’re actually experiencing. My anxiety and depression are real and managing them takes a lot of effort. But I also have practices or habits that are within my control, and a lot of them are thought patterns which I’d like to break.

At the end of the day…

Like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected 2020 but even though my regular posts on the topic dried up, I’m going to call the Year of Back to Basics a success.

Did you have a theme? Did 2020 force you to change it, recontextualize it, or update it?

Weekend Links

HAPPY NEW YEAR, KITTENS!

We starting 2021 with a COVID diagnosis (seriously. We got the results on Christmas morning which is just so…on point…), and another lockdown that Britain is refusing to call a lockdown. Let us all hope this is not a case of beginning as you mean to go on! I hope your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations were safe, rewarding, and a welcome break in the midst of the bleak midwinter. Glad for another year around the sun with you all, even if it’s another weird one. I like our little corner of the internet together.

Horrible plot, and yet still horribly on brand for 2020 in its camp elements…

Between rulings on revenge porn, upskirt shots and more, things are moving in the right direction but it’s truly staggering to consider how much mere existing in the world opens women up to unique threats that have to have legal recourse for protection.

Well thank god for this because it’s been the totality of our social life since March.

Truly getting the last laugh:

The uber dark and compelling world of mommy influencers and conspiracy theories.

What on earth is wrong with people?!

Resolutions are for suckers. And mostly have been commercialized past the point of usefulness to us.

Not much, as it turns out…yikes.

Ed Yong has done some of the very best reporting and writing on the pandemic and his piece on what needs to happen in 2021 before anyone so much as hints we’ll get to the other side of this is worth your time.

Weekend Links

Greetings from a new Tier Four lockdown (in a three tier system. Shhhhhh, don’t ask questions). We’re spending the weekend trying to squeeze as much holiday cheer out of the circumstances as we can. Thus far we’ve had a Zoom family recital with all our nieces and nephews performing Christmas songs and jokes, and we’re likely going to spend a good chunk of Sunday baking up a storm. It’s a garbage year, but carols will be sung and The Muppet Christmas Carol will be watched!

What a story

Yay, another semi-lockdown – excuse me, Tier 3 – just in time for Christmas. /s

This is a long overdue change to a medical practice based in outdated social science, and which contributes to harmful stereotypes. In a year where a lot of LGBT+ communities faced new stigmas and challenge, it’s a nice win.

2020 in pictures.

This woman knows how to divorce and I love it. Redistribute that wealth, gorge!

Because, TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS DOESN’T WORK AND NEVER HAS.

RIP, Lipstick Index.

McCay Coppin’s latest at The Atlantic on Mormonism as the quintessential American faith is a wonderful read. He punts on a few topics, such as LGBT issues, but as per usual I think he does a really good job in making the highly bespoke world of mormonism accessible and understandable to sympathetic outsiders. “What happens when a religious group discovers that it’s spent 200 years assimilating to an America that no longer exists? As their native country fractures and turns on itself, Mormons are being forced to grapple with questions about who they are and what they believe.I thought, in that moment, about the difficulty of [church president] Nelson’s job—about trying to steer a 200-year-old institution in a world that refuses to sit still. Mormons like to say that while the Church’s policies and programs may change, the core of the gospel is eternal. But identifying that core can be hard. What do you keep, and what do you jettison? Which parts are of God, and which parts came from men? What’s worth preserving in the endangered Americanism that Latter-day Saints have come to embody, and what’s best left behind? These are the questions that Nelson faces as he tries to figure out what Mormonism should mean in the 21st century. And he knows he’s running out of time to answer them.

Oh look, grifters be grifting. God these people make me so angry. They are leaving a trail of ruin in their wake and are going to face zero consequences for it.

It’s become commonplace to measure the virus’ death toll in terms of the casualties of war: In the United States alone, the fatalities already amount to five Vietnams, more than 40 Iraqs and Afghanistans and upward of 95 9/11s. Americans could mark all those past losses together, with hugs and handholding, collective tears and tender mercies, candlelight vigils and choruses of “God Bless America.” By contrast, in bedside farewells via FaceTime, drive-by burials as under-attended as Jay Gatsby’s, and digital funerals on Zoom, we’ve been forced to mourn the victims of the novel coronavirus in a numbing new way: more or less alone.”

Of course people aren’t having babies right now, is anyone shocked by this research? Pandemic aside, if you want people to have families, you need to make sure that having a family is feasible. Healthcare costs that start at 10 grand for birth, through to decades worth of debt for the typical college experience, and a lifetime of wages not meeting cost of living and you want people to breed? The pandemic was the crap icing on the social insecurity cake.

I loved this interview from Anne Helen Petersen about how Bro Culture relates to the “fall of empire” worries and mentalities of masculinity and honestly, a lot of things make more sense to me now because of it.

The kids may be alright, but they are often still quite weird.

I’m so excited for this Shondaland adaptation of a Romance world classic series. I’m sure it’s going to be scandalous and fun:

Future Imperfect

One of the much-remarked on psychological phenomena of this year has been the flattening of time. The lack of traditional breaks or transitions, whether holiday breaks or normal celebrations, has made it harder to mark the passage of time in the ways that make it feel as though we’re moving through it intentionally. Instead many people, occasionally including myself, feel like we’re not living so much as existing.

I recognize that this is a privileged position to be in and that we’ve been spared the personal tragedies (thus far) that have demarcated this year for so many, but thinking about how I’ve spent the vast majority of a year in a single desk chair is staggering tome. I try to remember what happened this year (Australian wildfires, anyone? Holy hell, Tiger King was THIS year?) and stuff sort of blurs together into a messy collage rather than a timeline.

2020, the year that wasn’t. But also, horribly was. We have the collective casualties to show for it.

Trying to look ahead is also difficult. We seem so desperate for change that we look to future deadlines as though they are going to be some kind of magical reset button. January 1, 2021–as though a global pandemic and all its satellite disruptions is going to magically vanish. Brexit on the same day, as though it’s going to reset British and European politics to something more healthy and serviceable. A new US presidential administration as though the climate and policy impact of the last four years will simply vanish into smoke instead of requiring years of lived impact. A vaccine delivery–as though we haven’t been told time and again that the roll out will take months.

I’ve been trying to visualize the new year in some sort of intentional way, and it keeps slipping through my grasp. Setting goals for it is hard – professional and financial risks abound, most of them utterly beyond my control. Preparing for possible dangers is hard – on the one hand what could top this year, and on the other, let’s be real a LOT of bad shit could. Trying to identify motivations is hard – most of the things that incentivize me like travel are still frustratingly dangerous and out of reach, and more humble motivations for day to day life and health feel burdensome and sloggish. Partially due to a bout of depression which seems to land this time of year like clockwork, but mostly due to the General State of Things.

Trying to come to terms with a year steeped in tragedy, even if most of it is experienced at a distance, is rough. At work I’ve been responsible for helping to draft and distribute the words that tell people their jobs are at risk–horribly grateful to not be among them yet, and deeply conscious of the fact that I may be soon. We had to cancel a trip to see Jeff’s family, meaning he hasn’t seen them in person in two years, something that I know weighs on him differently than it does me. Reading the updates every day for two countries about death tolls, lockdowns, economic impact…just like time, my brain struggles with the sheer scale of it all.

This isn’t the part where I wrap up with some sappy insight into myself or the wider culture, and it certainly isn’t where I get some breakthrough or personal clarity, the wisdom of which I’m able to distil. I’m struggling. I’m a person who thrives on change and forward momentum, trying to process a year of being stuck in a time loop like a twisted Groundhog Day and failing. And I can’t imagine I’m the only one.

Weekend Links

It’s the last really logistically logical shopping weekend before Christmas so excuse us while we dash to run the necessary errands, kittens. The world is still wacky. I suggest watching The Muppet Christmas Carol to help.

I’m amazed and the sheer amount of people who are perpetuating this dangerous bullshit. I am also angered by the Venn Diagram overlapping of people doing so who have been spouting off about “states’ rights,” the “rule of law,” and any number of other now-clearly-revealed-to-be-dog-whistle positions over the course of my lifetime. It’s only about power. And those who only love a system because it retains their power, will be the first to work to overthrow it if they perceive it’s no longer doing so:

Alas, not aliens.

Let’s all hope we only get one year of the Quarries, but as far as pop culture goes, they are spot on.

Shock. Surprise.

You make the call: Here Comes the Sun, or The Yellow Wallpaper?

WHOMST COULD HAVE GUESSED THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?

Reader, I CACKLED. “The judges felt that the public had been subjected to too many bad things this year to justify exposing it to bad sex as well. They warned, however, that the cancellation of the 2020 awards should not be taken as a licence to write bad sex.”

If Small Dog Nation loves anything, it’s an archaeology discovery.

My most consistent of hot takes is that in order to understand modern society, one needs to understand internet culture. How memes took over politics, how forums and subcultures develop into offline dittos, and now, how shitposting should be considered with much more seriousness than heretofore. It’s the artform of a particular kind of nihilism:

Taylor Swift gave us a whole second album before the actual government managed to do anything remotely resembling a second wave of COVID “relief.”

This is a niche story but Jeff had to explain it to me twice because it sounded so dumb to me. You’re going to express “concerns” about a person’s religious and ethnic background in a job situation…towards a Mormon, Polynesian man in Utah? The dominant faith of the region and, that rare thing in America, a truly beloved minority community? Are you just begging to lose your job, ma’am?

I’m trying to try and put together a post on this tweet by itself but let’s just say I think we’re well past numb.

Let’s on a nice note, eh? NPR has released its 2020 Book Concierge list, go forth and add to your Goodreads profile!

Weekend Links

Kittens, I’m in a rut. Nothing serious, no need to fret, but from time to time the 2020-ness of it all gets to me and the past week and a half has been one of those stretches. I’ll return to finer form shortly, but in the meantime, have some reading material!

Someone call Kubrick. (Don’t worry, it got weirder. Or more profound, depending on your POV.)

Trump’s presidency has been a four-year war on many people’s assumptions about what was and wasn’t “American”—what a leader can call people in public, which institutions really matter, whether power lies with elites or masses. And it has forced serious arguments about what information, and what version of our history, we can even agree on.”

Oh wow, what a find!

The universe is vast and overwhelming and beautiful when we are able to glimpse it.

Fiction is a mirror and I found this piece really thought provoking about how 2020 is going to impact literature for a long time to come.

The first sentence in this piece in the New Statesman is a punch to the jaw and it doesn’t get much easier to read after that. I’m running out of countries to move to.

Jeff 100% does this and I’m delighted to have a scientific term for it!

Oh hey, Carly Sleigh Jensen gave us a video for the most accurate Christmas sentiment song of 2020.

Weekend Links

Let’s get straight to it! No, we aren’t talking about legal shenanigans today, it’s all just so incalculably stupid and depressing. It’s American Thanksgiving this week, and we plan on celebrating with Indian takeaway and wine in our own home without fear of becoming infected or being a vector of infection. We strongly encourage you to do the same.

Medieval history to kick us off, shall we?

Things that feel like feminism, but aren’t. Or are they?

Speaking of aristocracy, call me nuts but I hope these two crazy kids make it.

So the transition is going well

Treasure is a very specific legal term here in the UK (and continuing in our theme thus far, the privilege of the Crown). In the US, things are a bit more complicated

Social media as a profession is just as perilous as it can be for individuals.

Of course Mercer is behind Parler. Of course she is.

OF COURSE they are going out as they came in. OF COURSE.

And on the other side of the coin, of course this Iconic Queen continues to be a force for good in the world.

On the one hand, they are so bad at this. On the other hand, it’s clearly only incompetence that keeps our society safe and I, for one, would prefer a more secure safety net.

Apparently His Holiness hired an ex-Ted Cruz staffer…(/sarcasm)

Yes, the holidays are going to suck this year. Stay home anyway.

The moral and emotional mathematics is just too costly to do otherwise.

Weekend Links

As Helena Fitzgerald put it in her latest newsletter, “If nothing else, 2020 has certainly made it clear that to live through history is mainly a curse. Nobody wants to live in interesting times.”

For many of the president’s followers, the past four years have been one long, quasi-religious exercise in suspending disbelief. To adhere to the Church of Trumpism was to reject anything that might challenge its orthodoxies. The news was fake. The polls were fake. The investigations and scandals and fact-checks were fake. It only stood to reason that if Trump lost his bid for reelection, the defeat would be fake as well.”

For further reading, “This is not what you thought winning would look like,” he said. “But trust me.” It’s a cult.

Trump isn’t going anywhere. (On the same theme…)

And on the same theme for his favorite platforms…

That being said, how fitting that it was with a whimper and not a bang.

Oh no!

I never grow sick of these stories. I mean, they’re awful, but I can’t stop looking at the sheer chaotic energy.

Other countries have socials safety nets. The US has women.” I felt this in my BONES.

Unexpected Douglas Adams. (Don’t let my snark fool you, read the story!)

Too fucking late, my dude.

Cool glass ceiling to crack, my lady.

Of course there is no plan, only vague media ambitions (my bet is still on a media company attempt, though I’m not willing to bet on a successful one…) and the continuing grift of announcing hilariously pathetic lawsuits as an excuse to ask for money from their supporters multiple times a day.

It’s fascinating – FASCINATING – to see everyone in government, media, global politics and so on just sort of slide their attention away from Donald Trump this past week. Of course, he’s apparently lying low for once which is certainly helping, but the discipline the Biden team is showing by simply not validating (or even acknowledging) the Trump team antics is telling. It’s the equivalent of an adult not giving the screaming toddler attention…and it’s working. Which is all the more damning for the way so many institutions have handled the Trump years, especially after every good faith effort to engage with him as though he were a normal president, abiding by and upholding the expectations of his office. He isn’t, and he never was.

Weekend Links – Mentally it’s Still Tuesday to Me. In April.

I have to say, the media is doing a better job this time around of not jumping to be the first to call the results and insisting on vote tallying.

I also have to say, for anyone declaring that “This is not who America is,” in response to any of the bullshit of the last four years…have you learned nothing? This is, in fact, who we are. It’s who half of our voters are. If you aren’t all in on the cruelty, the norm breaking, the manipulation of legal privileges for profit and gain, the attempted/successful coopting of members of government for private gain, the cozying up to enemies, breaking of faith with our allies, the breaking of our treaties–and that’s to say nothing of the petty, vindictive toxicity of behavior including sexism and accusations of assault, racism and coddling of actual Nazis, and the slow, grim slide into stupid fascist

You might not be all in on any of the above…but none of it was a deal breaker. For half of Americans. #MeToo, #BLM, indigenous peoples’ protests, the Womens’ March…all of this is happening for a reason.

And to anyone who thinks fascism-lite is acceptable because it’s happening on “their side” forgets that sooner or later, everyone ends up on the enemies list. Everyone.

Whew. Okay, some links that have little or NOTHING to do with the election. Britain is in Lockdown 2.0

Bond out. RIP.

A piece that simply must be read, not explained.

Poland has been rocked by almost constant protests for months now, and I’m amazed at how little attention it gets. It’s a major front in the western culture wars, including horrible LGBT crackdowns and now additional restrictions on abortions. I salute those in the streets.

What a time to be alive.

Let’s have one more nod to Halloween, shall we?

I mentioned this in my Sunday post, but that sensation that time is a flat circle? No, you’re not imagining it, and we have no idea what the long term effects are going to be. Normally things that mark the passage of time like holidays, weekends, birthdays, regular appointments, or even just scheduled dates with friends or family help you feel that life is being lived. You’re moving forward in someway. Absent that, we’re all kind of just…existing.

It’s not an accident that, every cycle, the boogeyman of the Democrats is a woman,” says Ocasio-Cortez. “A couple of cycles ago, it was Pelosi. Then it was Hillary, and now it’s me.”

On the flip side, it’s hilarious watching the male establishment fail to land a knockout punch on this woman. All of the usual tricks aren’t working. Long may she endure and rise above their bullshit.

Does anyone else get shades of Douglas Adams here?

Nope, I don’t remember fun.

Oh, I bet they are.

White suburban women turned out for Trump in greater numbers than 2016 (ugh). I know this is not incidental because they are both superconsumers and spreaders of very specific disinformation.

Homelessness in a modern society is a choice–and not for the homeless. We have the money, we have the rooms and the land, we just lack the collective will.

I mean, our pop queen isn’t wrong…