Sir Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport), a senior presence at the Foreign Office, whose demeanor is modeled on a Rolls-Royce crunching lightly but implacably up a gravel drive…

Lane, A. (2017, February 13). “A United Kingdom” and “Land of Mine.” Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/13/a-united-kingdom-and-land-of-mine


Life knows two miseries; getting what you don’t want and not getting what you want.

Max Payne. Written by Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.


Dick Justice

The rain was comin’ down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time.

Max Payne. Written by Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.


Safe Space

The Trump phenomenon didn’t make sense to me until some writer pointed out that his campaign–its rhetoric, his rallies–offered the equivalent of a safe space to a certain kind of angry white person. I think it’s fair to say Trump is president only because of his success in nursing his supporters’ hurt feelings.

There’s no other way to parse it. His supporters admit they don’t take him literally. They show no more interest in policy-making than he does. Many of them effectively voted to give up their healthcare in his honor. They don’t care that he contradicts himself and doesn’t keep promises. They don’t care about his absurd cabinet, the lobbyists, the Russia stuff, the obstruction stuff, the apparent violations of the emoluments clause, the absence of his tax returns, his classless treatment of allies, his bluster, or the fact that his erratic behavior has rendered his government ineffective. When he says he’s been a tireless signer of new legislation, they believe him, despite the evidence [in front of] their eyes.

This only makes sense if we assume his supporters value their feelings above everything else. They like the way he makes them feel, even if he does things that go against their interests–taking their healthcare, wasting tax dollars on golf, lowering taxes for the rich–and dishonors our country before our allies. They like his stories, his romanticism (the only explanation for his economic platform), and his attitude. They’re like the lotus eaters from Odyssey.

Jeremy (2017, June 14). Re: How ‘Snowflake’ Became America’s Inescapable Tough-Guy Taunt [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/13/magazine/how-snowflake-became-americas-inescapable-tough-guy-taunt.html?action=click&contentCollection=magazine&module=NextInCollection&region=Footer&pgtype=article&version=column&rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Ffirst-words


Immense Managerial Apparatuses

If you set aside his long-running TV show “King of the Hill,” which is much too loving to be considered satire, Judge’s corpus of work cleaves neatly into two pieces. In one, people are driven nearly to ruin in their efforts to escape the crush of immense managerial apparatuses (“Office Space,” “Extract”). In the other, we see the opposite — imbeciles left completely and terrifyingly to their own devices (“Beavis and Butt-Head”, “Idiocracy”).

Staley, W. (2017, April 13). Mike Judge, the Bard of Suck. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/magazine/mike-judge-the-bard-of-suck.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=image&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news


Indigestible Garbage

6. Most Music Sucks

Honestly, most of everything sucks. Most architecture sucks. Most visual art sucks. Most writing sucks. Falling in line with this noble, sacred truth, your music also probably sucks. Do you really think you deserve to get paid for sucking, just because you took the time to suck?

Here’s a parallel for you: Your friend decides to go to culinary school in Paris. He trains for a year with some of the most prestigious and proficient chefs in the entire world. When he comes home, he offers to cook you a meal for the modest price of just the ingredients required for the meal. Then he makes you a dish made of chocolate-covered sardines that have been marinating in duck blood for a week, garnished with Pizza Rolls that are frozen in the middle.

Should you pay him for this rancid mess? Because that’s what 99 percent of all bands are — indigestible garbage, meticulously crafted with clueless pride.


3. Feeling Pain Makes You Better

You can’t trust an artist of any medium who creates with the absence of genuine pain. That’s what this stuff is all about — communicating profound emotions through the cathartic process of creation. Contrived as it may seem, genuinely beautiful and memorable art (unless constructed by a brilliant and hollow master manipulator or impersonator) stems from an indescribable rawness that lacks a vehicle yet begs to be released. By keeping you miserable on some level, you’re being granted a favor. You don’t deserve to get compensated; it’s going to make you into a boring chump. If you don’t descend into illness and unrecoverable poverty, maybe later you’ll thank the world for screwing you over.


1. You Care Too Much

There are few things more rewarding than denying someone who cares entirely too much about something trivial. Rather than being content in doing the thing you supposedly are in love with, you choose to focus on things like financial compensation to indicate your success. If being validated by an outside force is what creates love and worth in your art, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason, and so you get nothing. You lose. Good day sir.

Ailes, D. (2015, February 3). Six Reasons Musicians Don’t Deserve To Get Paid. Retrieved from http://www.citypages.com/music/six-reasons-musicians-dont-deserve-to-get-paid-6617842


Graveyard of Failures

Don’t start a podcast. You’re going to get discouraged within a year when nobody gives a shit about it and then you’re going to give up. After you give up, it will sit in your personal graveyard of failures and inadequacies. Its creative corpse will forever gaze at your future corpse.

Ailes, D. (2015, February 11). Kindly Think Again Before Making a Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.citypages.com/music/kindly-think-again-before-making-a-podcast-6629436


Inexpressible Tedium

During the day, “educational sessions” on topics of inexpressible tedium—“Wave Goodbye to Low Volunteer Retention”—droned on, testament (as are the educational sessions of a hundred other conferences) to the fact that the growth field in higher education is not Elizabethan literature or organic chemistry but mid-level administration.


O, Utopia. Why must your sweet governance always turn so quickly from the Edenic to the Stalinist? The college revolutions of the 1960s—the ones that gave rise to the social-justice warriors of today’s campuses—were fueled by free speech. But once you’ve won a culture war, free speech is a nuisance, and “eliminating” language becomes a necessity.

Flanagan, C. (2015, September). That’s Not Funny! Today’s college students can’t seem to take a joke. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/thats-not-funny/399335/


Create a Yearning

But it is the first move in the game: create a yearning for that which others cannot have and you can sell it at any price.

Gold, T. (2015, September). [Criticism] A Goose in a Dress. Retrieved from https://harpers.org/archive/2015/09/a-goose-in-a-dress/4/





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