25

iPod

Pointless, Impotent Power

Consumption in absentia. Like having a hit song you recorded decades ago still occupy the mind of a Chinese sweatshop worker you’ll never meet. It’s power, but a kind of pointless, impotent power.

Palahniuk, C. (2011). Damned. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.


FilingCabinet

If You Don’t Like It…

Several former Weinstein employees told me that the company’s human-resources department was utterly ineffective; one female executive described it as “a place where you went to when you didn’t want anything to get done. That was common knowledge across the board. Because everything funneled back to Harvey.” She described the department’s typical response to allegations of misconduct as “This is his company. If you don’t like it, you can leave.”

Farrow, R. (2017, October 23). From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories


Rose-Red

Fragility

Whatever her intent, The Beguiled is a curious reckoning of the myths of white womanhood — how they use fragility as a shield for deviousness and insulate themselves from the horrors of a world that they too are responsible for.

Bastién, A. J. (2017, July 10). How The Beguiled Subtly Tackles Race Even When You Don’t See It. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2017/07/the-beguiled-subtly-tackles-race-even-when-you-dont-see-it.html


 

Formula

Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

I know the Brandolini’s Bullshit Asymmetry Principle that “the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

Hulk, F. C. (2017, August 4). Film Crit Hulk SMASH: On Criticism In The Intersectional Age. Retrieved from http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2017/08/04/film-crit-hulk-smash-on-criticism-in-the-intersectional-age


Server Rack

Indifferent to Getting Rich

By all accounts, these programmers turned entrepreneurs believed their lofty words and were at first indifferent to getting rich from their ideas. A 1998 paper by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, then computer-science graduate students at Stanford, stressed the social benefits of their new search engine, Google, which would be open to the scrutiny of other researchers and wouldn’t be advertising-driven. The public needed to be assured that searches were uncorrupted, that no one had put his finger on the scale for business reasons.

Cohen, N. (2017, October 13). Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/13/opinion/sunday/Silicon-Valley-Is-Not-Your-Friend.html


Swipe

One-Line Dismissal

That’s why I find it frankly cringe-inducing when someone sits back with a smug grin on their mug after uttering a lazy one-line dismissal to a thousand-word review, not to mention the site in general. Whoever does that – you didn’t just “win” at anything. Quite the contrary.

Mancuso (2017, Oct 4). Re: Blade Runner 2049 (A Review) [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/blade-runner-2049-2017


ClassicTypewriter

Done Before and Better

Imagine that everything even remotely clever in them has been done before and better by someone else. Imagine that each one flaunts the kind of “research” that can be achieved by leafing through a trade magazine for 30 minutes and is riddled with grating errors. Imagine that these books traffic in the half-baked nihilism of a stoned high school student who has just discovered Nietzsche and Nine-Inch Nails.

Miller, L. (2003, August 20). Diary (A Review). Retrieved from https://www.salon.com/2003/08/20/palahniuk_3/


Sieg Heil Arm

Social Duress

He was the cause of all this mayhem; it was the people who were unable to deal with their social duress, who put one authoritarian figure at the top to control them.

fda (2014, Aug 19). Re: Fight Club(A Review) [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/fight-club-1999


BeerBottle

In Command Now

His rambling, awkward, cliché-ridden eulogy/I-am-in-command-now-speech tells us right away this guy isn’t qualified to command a beer run, which makes one wonder exactly why he was even given the XO post in the first place.

Narm / Alien: Covenant. (Accessed 2017, Dec 03). Retrieved from http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Narm/AlienCovenant


TopHat

Then Sir Topham Hatt, the railway director, who is also known as the Fat Controller, arrives on the scene. (He looks like Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags but with eyes that have almost surely witnessed murder.)

Tolentino, J. (2017, September 28). The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.” Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/the-repressive-authoritarian-soul-of-thomas-the-tank-engine-and-friends

14

✈️

Make it Look Effortless

At 28, I can say that sometimes I feel like an adult and a lot of the time, I don’t. Being a Millennial and trying to adult is wildly disorienting. I can’t figure out if I’m supposed to start a non-profit, get another degree, develop a wildly profitable entrepreneurial venture, or somehow travel the world and make it look effortless online. Mostly it just looks like taking a job that won’t ever pay off my student debt in a field that is not the one that I studied.

Eleusiniotis, M. (2016, January 5). When Are You Really an Adult? Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/01/when-are-you-really-an-adult/422487/?single_page=true

🧠

Plasticity

At about age 22 or 23, the brain is pretty much done developing, according to Steinberg, who studies adolescence and brain development. That’s not to say you can’t keep learning—you can! Neuroscientists are discovering that the brain is still “plastic”—malleable, changeable—throughout life. But adult plasticity is different from developmental plasticity, when the brain is still developing new circuits, and pruning away unnecessary ones. Adult plasticity still allows for modifications to the brain, but at that point, the neural structures aren’t going to change.
“It’s like the difference between remodeling your house and redecorating it,” Laurence Steinberg, the distinguished university professor of psychology at Temple University, says.

Beck, J. (2016, January 5). When Are You Really an Adult? Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/01/when-are-you-really-an-adult/422487/?single_page=true

Nostalgia Voters

Trump’s campaign—with its sweeping promise to “make American great again”—triumphed by converting self-described “values voters” into what I’ve called “nostalgia voters.” Trump’s promise to restore a mythical past golden age—where factory jobs paid the bills and white Protestant churches were the dominant cultural hubs—powerfully tapped evangelical anxieties about an uncertain future.

[…]

The clearest example of evangelical ethics bending to fit the Trump presidency is white evangelicals’ abandonment of their conviction that personal character matters for elected officials.
In 2011 and again just ahead of the 2016 election, PRRI asked Americans whether a political leader who committed an immoral act in his or her private life could nonetheless behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public life. In 2011, consistent with the “values voter” brand and the traditional evangelical emphasis on the importance of personal character, only 30 percent of white evangelical Protestants agreed with this statement. But with Trump at the top of the Republican ticket in 2016, 72 percent of white evangelicals said they believed a candidate could build a kind of moral dyke between his private and public life.

[…]

And Donald Trump’s installation as the 45th president of the United States may in fact temporarily prop up, by pure exertions of political and legal power, what white Christian Americans perceive they have lost. But these short-term victories will come at an exorbitant price. Like Esau, who exchanged his inheritance for a pot of stew, white evangelicals have traded their distinctive values for fleeting political power. Twenty years from now, there is little chance that 2016 will be celebrated as the revival of White Christian America, no matter how many Christian right leaders are installed in positions of power over the next four years. Rather, this election will mostly likely be remembered as the one in which white evangelicals traded away their integrity and influence in a gambit to resurrect their past.

Jones, R. P. (2017, July 4). Trump Can’t Reverse the Decline of White Christian America. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/robert-jones-white-christian-america/532587/

🐍

Irretrievably Depraved

“Developments in psychology and brain science continue to show fundamental differences between juvenile and adult minds,” the [Supreme] Court wrote in its 2010 decision. “For example, parts of the brain involved in behavior control continue to mature through late adolescence… Juveniles are more capable of change than are adults, and their actions are less likely to be evidence of ‘irretrievably depraved character’ than are the actions of adults.”

Beck, J. (2016, January 5). When Are You Really an Adult? Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/01/when-are-you-really-an-adult/422487/?single_page=true

Gavel-300px

Pre-hate

One site I will not be doing anytime soon: the Faces of Judge Judy. Possibly because people would think it consisted entirely of 47 screen grabs of JJ scowling or making that happy-harpy face when someone really steps in it. I love her show, but not for the usual “reality” TV show reasons. It’s the only show where people who have never been told off in their life get told. Hard. In a world that regards Judgment with the same terror a Lutheran has in church when the new preacher instructs the congregation to turn left and hug the next person in the pew, the bestowal of stern, sharp, and un-appealable judgment for personal behavior is wonderfully bracing.

Sometimes the people’s behavior is so uncouth, so selfish, so clueless that she hates them before she comes out; you can tell when she shoots a death-glare at a defendant when taking the bench. It’s also just nice to see people who got by their whole lives on what they presumed to be charm being instructed that they are simply not that impressive. It’s a good experience for people who have been tossing their hair and giggling all their lives and thinking they’re just adorable.

Lileks, J. (2014, May 15). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0514/051514.html

Piercing our Complacency

Comedy, in the hands of gifted artists, is a weapon that pierces our complacency, that forces us to acknowledge the absurdity of Nazism, of goose-stepping, believing that orders given to you by your superiors must be followed without question.

Anker, D. (Director). (2004). Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust[Motion picture]. USA: Anker Productions.

📱

Exponential Growth Potential

I have an ex who has been emailing/texting me for four years. I haven’t responded in all that time and did take precautions to make sure that he wouldn’t be able to find out where I live (set my legal address to my father’s house, etc.). Eventually, I realized that he doesn’t expect me to respond, he just wants to feel heard in a world where he has no one to listen. Sort of like that friend everyone has who stream-of-consciously vents and wants everyone to sit silently and listen to their catharsis. They need an audience for their insecurities and outbursts, even when they’re really just talking to themselves. They aren’t dangerous, per say, just an annoyance with exponential growth potential.

Shouraku. (2013, January 4). Stalker, No Stalking! Retrieved from http://ask.metafilter.com/232431/Stalker-No-Stalking#3364521

🏛️

Doubling Down

When it takes 20 months to build one thing, your skill set becomes less about innovation and more about navigating bureaucracy. That means the longer you stay, the more you’re doubling down on staying even longer.

Sulzberger, A. G. (2014). New York Times Innovation Report, 88. Retrieved from https://www.scribd.com/doc/224332847/NYT-Innovation-Report-2014

🏖️

Vagaries of Passion

There was a nice view of the beach though and you can use the binoculars to observe much younger people and I stood there for a while trying to reconcile the advantages of wealth and experience against the pleasures of the flesh now denied to me, but I realized that the denial was my own doing, that I had not succumbed to time but run into its dry, brittle embrace, feeling from the vagaries of passion to the rote expectations of comfort and routine.

Lileks, J. (2014, May 21). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0514/052114.html

🤡

Ceaseless Parade

If you knew nothing of earth you might assume there was a plague of light-sensitivity, or perhaps a human mutation that made people so horrible to behold everyone bricked up the windows so they wouldn’t have to gaze on the ceaseless parade of nightmares.

Lileks, J. (2014, May 22). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0514/052214.html

💨

Opposite of BS

Whatever the opposite of bullshit is, I think that’s what James Gandolfini was searching for.

flamencow. James Gandolfini Tribute to a Friend. Online video clip. YouTube. Youtube, 22 Jan 2014. Web. 14 May 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ_XzlIvgEQ