Good morning. Hello. How are you? #511

My outrage cup runneth over.

Good morning! Hi there! Sup. I didn’t oversleep today, that is nice. Probably helped I went to bed an hour early. I also noticed, upon opening the curtains in the morning, that the reason I was oversleeping probably has to do with the diminishing sunlight in the morning. It’s so dark outside right now. I am a winter fan but this is depressing. I do not like it. I had a nice, long, dream about downtown hotel development in the Rockport-Fulton area of Texas, since a bunch of friends and I were planning a long holiday down there. It was a lovely thought. Second night in a row with dreams of travel with friends. I sense a pattern.

I didn’t take any photos in the last day or so, so you get a lotta weird meme photos today, and a photo of some rocks. Gotta stick to the format.

I’ve been thinking lately that I am not a person going through an ordeal, a pandemic anymore. I am a changed person and this is a new reality. I’m not saying I like it, but it’s just… it’s reality now. More and more often, I subconsciously think of this as permanent. I can’t say I am happy about this. It is offset by the personal growth I’ve experienced in so many different areas of my life over the last year and a half, but. Yeah. The note I wrote said: “It’s like I have an alternate lifestyle now. It’s not a pandemic anymore. It’s like I’m a swinger or something but my kink is isolation.” The pandemic is what distinguishes us from the other families of suburban America hidden behind identical doors — Nabokov had some poetic passage about the weirdos behind the doors of suburban America but I can’t find it right now. I think it was in Lolita during the road trip but I may be wrong. We interact with our friends on a seemingly normal level, some don’t know our kinky secret, some know but pretend we’re alike. It makes the whole thing feel more exotic and less depressing. Might run with it a while.

Finished my re-watch of Tony Scott’s (RIP) The Hunger, one of my favorite movies as a kid. The pros: The soundtrack is still fucking awesome, David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve are still gorgeous, and so is Susan Sarandon, whom I forgot was once gorgeous because, you know, she was a mere mortal and did not stay gorgeous until her death like Bowie and Deneuve. I still love the absurd, atmospheric cinematography. The interplay between the science aspect and the supernatural is clever and mostly well done. The blood is too fake red. But really, the plot just kind of peters out, and goes off the rails at the end for no discernible reason. I never really noticed as a kid — you trust your elders to know more than you. But Tony Scott wasn’t even 40 when he made The Hunger, so I am the elder statesmen of the two now and, yeah, that ending is dumb. I’ve never bothered to read Whitley Strieber’s novel of the book — I read his Communion back in the day and it was a good rollicking sci fi book but I could never countenance his insistence it was real, and it was pre internet and wikipedia so I couldn’t, like, learn about Strieber and how he insisted some of his books were real, like Communion but not others, like The Hunger. I did find this amazing 9-page “research paper” on Research Gate examining the book vs the movie but I haven’t read it yet. Hopefully tonight.

Also IMDB tells me that Susan Sarandon and David Bowie had an affair during the making of this movie. Good for them, get your revenge on Miriam any way you can.

I am reading now a book about the racist history of UNC, called To Drink from the Well: The Struggle for Racial Equality at the Nation’s Oldest Public University by Geeta N. Kapur. What I am realizing in reading this book is that my sense of outrage is so acute that, god, I can just get completely overwhelmed and lose the ability to think straight in day-to-day life when I consume too much media that talks about injustice. It is… hard. I’m sitting here reading this book, about how UNC owned slaves, about how it made its original money by selling off indigenous lands, then reading about the KKK patrolling up and down Franklin Street during reconstruction because they could not handle the fact that black students were attending the university. And I just get so angry. It makes me dislike the whole state, even now, a hundred and fifty years later. Emma has to remind me that it was bad everywhere in the past, and of course it was, but my god. I just get so upset. It’s a hugely informative book but there’s something about learning that virtually every place name around you is a slave holder. It’s just so depressing.

Then, on top of that, I was following along with the Netflix walkout yesterday. And the protests outside their headquarters, and the smug-ass counter protesters, because you know Dave Chapelle wants and needs people to go hand out in front of the Netflix office with signs saying “I like Dave.” If you haven’t read the list of demands from the employees at Netflix, I encourage you to do so. Most notably, they do not call for Netflix to “cancel” Chapelle or remove his content. The shit they’re asking for is completely reasonable: more consultation with minorities when developing content, a trans creator content fund, remove David’s posters from the walls of their workspaces and… well, that’s about it. But people who have zero skin in the game feel it is their duty to go and counter protest this eminently reasonable set of demands.

And then! One artist whom I deeply respect, who is hugely involved with worker’s rights activism around the country, called the protesters and their demands lame. I believe the word they used was “twaddle.” And I’m like what the fuck? When near full-time labor activists can’t get behind trans labor activism, when yet another major, A-list celebrity on this planet feels the need to attack the trans community, maybe that community’s on to something when they say they don’t feel safe? The whole thing just seems so fucking… insane to me. It makes me feel crazy to think that people are like this.

On top of that, I see supposedly “reasonable” people on Twitter decide that their contribution to the discourse is to pounce on a video of the protestors taking away a “I like Dave” sign from a protestor and deciding that one act in this whole ecosystem of misery is the thing that needs to be pointed out, to be highlighted, so they can smugly sit there and talk about hypocrisy and cancel culture (again, no one is asking for a cancellation here) and not be bothered to do any deep thinking about power dynamics, crowd dynamics, or anything else. Because if you cannot maintain MLK-levels of discipline in your protestors, your cause is inherently invalid, and I am going to sit here at my home pouring over video clips to find an infraction so that I can invalidate your actual cause all while pretending I am reasonable and impartial, like the world fucking asked for your refereeing.

Hanna Gadsby had a great diss for Netflix, posting an Instagram post when Netflix’s CEO decided it was a good idea to rope her into the whole kerfuffle, holding her up to defend their airing of Dave Chapelle, without giving her a choice.

A post shared by Dr. Hannah Gadsby (@hannah_gadsby)

“Amoral algorithm cult.”

Love it.

Finally we have Joe Manchin. Again. That fucking guy. So every morning I read the Politico daily email about how things are going in Congress, and every morning for months it’s just been this depressing thing of watching the progressives slowly accept that none of their shit is going to get passed, and that we are going to squander our last chance at doing something about climate change, all because a coal-fueled multi-millionaire decides he doesn’t want to fix the environment, because seven whole percent of his state’s income — with a population less than Brooklyn’s — still runs on coal. And then the dude dog whistles that he might just take his toys and go home and leave the party over this shit, leaking a very detailed plan of how that would go, and then denying it all, no no, I didn’t do that, I would never. And we need this fucking guy for his judge confirmations — even though, you know, he says that he is an independent guy and doesn’t believe in playing politics with judge confirmations but of course if he left the party I’m pretty sure that would just go away. So we’re stuck with him even though everyone so desperately wants to say to him “fine don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

I actually have a slim about of hope about the Senate in the mid-terms, but no one else does and everyone tells me we’re definitely going to lose the house too, and since we can’t seem to pass election reform, because Joe Manchin doesn’t want it, we’ll probably not get it back until the next census in ten years, and I’ll be fucking sixty and my kid will almost be an adult, and the planet will be in even worse shape.

And, so, three topics, three topics that are always going on in America, racism, bigotry and power corrupting, and I could feel my even keel slowly tipping over, my outrage pot boiling over. And then of course you think these are just three issues and there are so many more issues. And, shit! One of my issues that was getting my outrage worked up was more than a century old! Except not really because, surprise, UNC is still in the hands of racists. Talk about an amazingly timed book, by the way. Working on it for eleven years and then to put a book out about UNC’s racist past right after their recent, modern-day, complete, abject failure at being not-racist. Thinking in detail about just three issues and I start to lose my balance, feel myself slipping back into depression.

Then I think of the people who thrive on it and… man. They’re just like different animals, I cannot fathom it. I was reading about the statements of Jay Jacobs, a NY Dem leader, who said some stupid shit when explaining why he is not under any obligation to support any individual candidate, which is obviously true. I mean, yeah, okay, David Duke was a dumb example, except why was it a dumb example, when your point is showing that no, the whole point is that we do not have to support anyone because such a rule would be dumb. I mean I’m not saying there wasn’t something offensive or dumb here but the whole thing did not need to rise to the level of national-attention outrage. But of course no one was really outraged that much, it’s just a good opportunity at performative outrage in the hope that it would shame a few politicians into not taking sides in the actual battle, the mayorship of Buffalo. It reminds me so much of when your kid is caught performatively crying. Like they know they’re not gonna get their way, but they still cry anyway, just to snipe, just to remind you they can, just in case the one in a million chance happens this time, and it works. Can’t hurt to try.

Except it can hurt to try because most people have only a finite capacity of outrage and maybe it should be focused on actual outrageous things instead of the political tactical battle of the day.

(Also I can never take any Jay Jacobs news seriously because it just makes me think of the 80’s mall store.)

Actually, just the whole compare as an offensive act thing. God, it needs to end. Look, I am going to compare Hitler and Jesus: Hitler was bad, Jesus was good. I made a comparison. It is not inherently wrong to compare a good thing with bad things. Headlines that say “Jay Jacobs compares Dem candidate to David Duke” are stupid. In this case, they’re factually incorrect as well. But please. Let’s stop saying comparing things is wrong.

Okay I best stop now this is a nice, long rant, and the whole point is that it really is amazing how little it takes to fill up my indignation and outrage tank, and I need to let it drain a little bit.

I have taken to cracking my windows in my office, now that it’s autumn and the weather is so close to room temperature out there and my god it is the greatest thing, it makes me so much more happy. The smell is amazing. The fresh air, the fresh air. I miss places where you can always leave your windows open. Just wonderful.

Also, June of 44 is touring next year. That is very exciting. No show around here yet, but we can dream.

Mix time. I’ve been cleaning out the “to investigate” playlist, re-listening to everything, so the playlists have been filling up nicely. Which is good because I intend to basically listen to nothing but Nina Simone for the next few days.