7

🎩

Talking-Point Armor

If Ryan and McConnell tried to remain boxed off from the earthquake, Priebus occupied another shelter, constructed of talking-point armor, alternate reality and denial.

Leibovich, M. (2016, June 21). Will Trump Swallow the G.O.P. Whole? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/magazine/will-trump-swallow-the-gop-whole.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

😠

Pre-outraged for Your Convenience

Now. What have I done wrong today? What did I just do wrong up there? This is the Internet, after all, and for those people who come pre-outraged for your convenience, there’s much that requires frant-O-type fulminations about other people’s innumerable deficiencies. I’m sure I should GET A GRIP and I’m sure I need to be told that NO ONE CARES LOL and it’s quite certain that a very, very motivated Steve Martin fan is angry that I criticized him in a dream, because his sense of self is bound up with a college identity that included enjoying “Let’s Get Small,” and attacking the work is an attack on him, and his critical faculties.
Someone is mad because their dog died after it ate chocolate, and THAT’S NOT FUNNY. I didn’t say it was. I just said I was worried about the dog in my dream. I had a lady yell at me in the grocery store for writing “I almost had a heart attack” in a column” because her husband had just had a heart attack and THAT’S NOT FUNNY.

[…]

There are civil places. But the miserable bitchery of the comments in sites that have no particular reason to exist other than barfing out clickbait chum into the canals – it’s just extraordinary, and Facebook is the tool that lets people wander in to any site and pop off.

[…]

The Internet didn’t change people. People changed the internet. We always thought it would empower everyone to have a voice, but those were the early heady days. As it turned out, we underestimated the extent to which self-righteousness, ignorance, historical illiteracy, and the utter confidence of perpetually adolescent brains would form a free-floating thundercloud of perpetual contempt. We all know this. In some way I think we all hate the internet.

Lileks, J. (2016, June 23). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/16/0616/062316.html

🔮

Safety of Obscurity

Ironically the vagueness of abstract words is one reason for their popularity. It is harder to be precise. We are often tempted to prefer the safer obscurity of the abstract.

Prowriting Aid User Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2016, from p. 51 https://prowritingaid.com/docs/ProWritingAidManual.pdf

🦂

Watch the Claw

When you follow all the Hot Issues of the Day Everyone Is Furious About, you’re looking the scorpion in the eye, thinking you can glare him down with your indignation. Big mistake. Watch the claw. Beware the tail.

Lileks, J. (2016, November 10). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://www.lileks.com/bleats//archive/16/1116/111016.html

👑

Oligarchs-in-Waiting

Guliani is like those things that leap out of people chests in the Alien movies. Gingrich, Christy, Bannon, Ailes, are all like characters in the bar scene in Star Wars. The First Family are like robots programmed for monarcho-fascism. So, put a bunch of paranoid crackpots, oligarchs-in-waiting and desperate has-beens in a gilded palace to divvy up unimaginable power, and place at the center a terrified, clueless, instinctively cruel narcissist who never dreamed in his worst nightmares that he would be in such an impossible position, what could go right?

(2016, November 15). Re: Why Rudy Giuliani Shouldn’t Be Secretary of State. Editorial. [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/opinion/why-rudy-giuliani-shouldnt-be-secretary-of-state.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

🍕

Postmortem

When the fall of the United States is written about by future historians, the Internet will figure prominently in the postmortem. The time of the slow, deliberate spread of information is over. There is no filter, nothing to confirm or verify reports, nothing to prevent people from seeking out and occupying a narrow silo of information that merely amplifies their foolish beliefs.

No one in prior decades would have taken a rifle to a pizza shop based on a column in The Times. All the poisons that lurk in the mud are hatching out, courtesy of your local ISP.

Krugman, P. (2016, December 19). How Republics End. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/how-republics-end.html?action=click&contentCollection=World&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

🎭

Don’t Try to Make It Funny

Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.

Lewis, D. (2016, August 29). Gene Wilder Dies at 83; Star of “Willy Wonka” and “Young Frankenstein.” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/30/movies/gene-wilder-dead.html

☂️

Safe Choices

You’ve made just enough safe choices to stay alive but not enough to matter. Is that what you want? You can be more. You want to be more, don’t you?

The window of opportunity is closing. This is your chance. This is not about not losing. This is about you finally having the confidence to walk out on the ledge and know that you’re not going to fall.

Halt and Catch Fire. Directed by Juan José Campanella, performance by Lee Pace, AMC. June 1, 2014. Amazon Prime, https://www.amazon.com/I-O/dp/B00KCXIHJG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498408932&sr=8-2&keywords=halt+and+catch+fire+season+1

🔗

Populist

Many reporters are using the term “populist,” which seems both inadequate and misleading. I guess racism can be considered populist in the sense that it represents the views of some non-elite people. But are the other shared features of this movement — addiction to conspiracy theories, indifference to the rule of law, a penchant for punishing critics — really captured by the “populist” label?

Krugman, P. (2016, December 23). Populism, Real and Phony. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/populism-real-and-phony.html?action=click&contentCollection=Travel&module=Trending&version=Full&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article

🏭

Contempt and Dim Prospects

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, whose 2012 “Twilight of the Elites” called for rethinking the entire ethos of liberal “meritocracy” — a system, he argued, that tends to fuel self-congratulation and incompetence at the top while offering little but contempt and dim prospects for those at the bottom.

Gage, B. (2017, January 3). How “Elites” Became One of the Nastiest Epithets in American Politics. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/magazine/how-elites-became-one-of-the-nastiest-epithets-in-american-politics.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=mini-moth&region=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below

👫

Attachment models

Indeed, researchers said, people who have insecure attachment models tend to be drawn to those who fit their expectations, even if they are treated badly. They may subconsciously act in ways that elicit insensitive, unreliable or abusive behavior, whatever is most familiar. Or they may flee secure attachments because they feel unfamiliar.

Murphy, K. (2017, January 7). Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/yes-its-your-parents-fault.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

👙

Luck

You’d find that Lady Luck was really a hooker, and you were fresh out of cash.

Max Payne. Dir. Sam Lake. Remedy Entertainment, 2001. Video Game.

2

torn-map

Timeless Poverty

After scouting locations with Walon Green and John Box, the production designer, they chose La Altagracia village as the main location. Friedkin described the place as “a prison without walls” with a “sense of timeless poverty and persecution.”

Sorcerer (film). (2017, June 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:31, June 19, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sorcerer_(film)&oldid=786489978

leaf-book

Unburdened

young (adj.): Unburdened by the knowledge that it would be better to never have been born.

Sottek, T. (2015, April 5). The New Devil’s Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/a/new-devils-dictionary

small-television-retro

Ideally Psychotic

Reality TV is about placing dumb and ideally psychotic but physically attractive people in ridiculous, contrived situations and feeding them alcohol and scripted lines until they fight or sleep with each other with commercials in between for energy drinks, diet pills and tanning products featuring people from other reality shows. It’s a glorious feedback loop in which entertainment becomes even more mean-spirited and shit. Yes, I hear you say, but isn’t that a bad thing? Well, not if you’re making money out of it, hand over fist. Production companies love reality TV because it’s cheap. A few shirtless douchebags, a fresh batch of yeast-infected sluts, a few bottles of bottom shelf liquor and you’ve got yourself a show.

From Grand Theft Auto V in-game parody website: www.therealitymill.com/about

🔃

Disappointed

Repeat until disappointed in mankind.

Rio, C. (2016, June 1). 6 Bands Who Followed Up Their One Hit With Drooling Insanity. Retrieved from http://www.cracked.com/blog/mmmbop-to-aliens-insane-songs-albums-one-hit-wonders/

3D-factory

Nail Cutters

Marx might have called this kind of work “estranged labor,” but the phrase isn’t quite right. My experience working in fine dining was marked by hard, repetitive and often meaningless work. But it wasn’t completely “estranging,” not at first. To the contrary, I found that hard, repetitive work, however “estranged” in some abstract or theoretical sense, could be incredibly affirming. Executing the same tasks with machine-like precision over and over and over again, like one of Adam Smith’s nail-cutters, offered a special kind of enjoyment. There was no reflection, no question about what my job required of me, and I could indulge, for hours, in the straightforward immediacy of action.

Frame, E. (2015, August 22). Dinner and Deception. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/opinion/sunday/dinner-and-deception.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

book-stack

Of What Use Would I Be?

At the time of the story, the region was largely agrarian and peasant, and many were skilled craftsmen, artisans, and laborers. I thought, ‘I’m also an intellectual. Of what use would I be in the forest?’ The film works in a way as a cautionary tale. Most of us live in a precarious balance above the bedrock of physical labor.

Ebert, R. (2009, January 14). Review: Defiance (2009). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/defiance-2009

police-cruiser-retro

Motel Shootout

The class clown, the guy that gets up and sets the clock ahead twenty minutes, that guy always dies in a motel shootout.

The Howard Stern Show. (2015, February 25). Sirius XM Radio.

file-cabinet-with-files

Lawsuit Avoidance

The videos seem well-made and valid, and I wish we did far more unpacking of bias in our lives. Perhaps I am being uncharitable, but this (at least in a vacuum) feels more like corporate lawsuit-avoidance than it does a meaningful set of resources. I’d personally think that a proper treatment of biases in decision-making would be a little broader than this list, if only because it feels like “these are some lawsuits we keep getting hit with because we could be doing better in this space.”

(2015, July 28). Managing Unconscious Bias. Comment posted at 9:44 AM by Phyltre. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/151616/Managing-Unconscious-Bias

🎥

Rails of Celluloid Cocaine

Sex was okay—so was an R rating. Adults were treated as adults rather than as overgrown children hell-bent on enshrining their own arrested development.

Then came Top Gun. The man calling the shots may have been Tony Scott, but the film’s real auteurs were producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, two men who pioneered the “high-concept” blockbuster—films for which the trailer or even the tagline told the story instantly. At their most basic, their movies weren’t movies; they were pure product—stitched-together amalgams of amphetamine action beats, star casting, music videos, and a diamond-hard laminate of technological adrenaline all designed to distract you from their lack of internal coherence, narrative credibility, or recognizable human qualities. They were rails of celluloid cocaine with only one goal: the transient heightening of sensation.

Harris, M. (2011, February 10). The Day the Movies Died. Retrieved from http://www.gq.com/story/the-day-the-movies-died-mark-harris

🍝

One Way to Feel Special

The narcissism of minor differences finds expression in the food-intolerance explosion: Having a special dietary requirement is one way to feel special in the prevailing “me” culture. But I don’t want to show the intolerance of the omnivore for faddish food particularism, however overblown it may be. There’s a lot that’s good in food fetishes.

Cohen, R. (2015, October 19). This Column Is Gluten-Free. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/opinion/this-column-is-gluten-free.html?action=click&contentCollection=Books&module=MostPopularFB&version=Full®ion=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article&_r=0

🚥

Blur of Traffic Passing On the Highway

sonder, n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Johnny Wallflower (2016, April 3). Re: Haters gonna hate, baby. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/158345/Haters-gonna-hate-baby#6468195

👺

Lazy Excuse

The term “hater” is just a lazy excuse to avoid having to address any criticism. It ends up hurting yourself, too, because if you refuse to engage with any criticism you’re never going to get any better.

Sangermaine (2016, April 3). Re: Haters gonna hate, baby. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/158345/Haters-gonna-hate-baby#6468083

👋

I am right and have always been right because I’m a member of a victimized sex/race, and therefore hold no responsibility for my actions.

Amazom.com customer (2001, January 18). Re: The way forward is with a broken heart (1st ed.). Random House. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2STFIIZ9IP5IA/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_viewpnt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0345407954#R2STFIIZ9IP5IA

🐺

Hear it Panting

The wolf isn’t at the door, but you can hear it panting out there in the woods.

Garner, D. (2016, April 5). ‘Disrupted,’ a Tech Takedown by Dan Lyons, a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/books/review-disrupted-dan-lyons-fake-steve-jobs.html?action=click&contentCollection=Book%20Review&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article%3E

🔫 🔫

Permanent War

The movie offers no answers to the problems it presents—rampant street crime in poor neighborhoods; a gun-worshiping American culture tied to capitalist rapaciousness that’s hooked into the country’s culture of Permanent War; the lure of machismo, which makes violent confrontation seem “sexier” than negotiation and de-escalation.

Seitz, M. Z. (2015, December 2). Review: Chi-Raq (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/chi-raq-2015

📑

Impeccable Mediocrity

Into his classroom every autumn come several dozen would-be Harvard law graduates, who fall into the categories we all remember from school: (a) the drones, who get everything right but will go forth to lead lives of impeccable mediocrity; (b) the truly intelligent, who will pass or fail entirely on the basis of whether they’re able to put up with the crap; (c) those with photographic memories, who can remember everything but connect nothing; (d) the students whose dogged earnestness will somehow pull them through; and (e) the doomed.

Ebert, R. (1973, October 16). Review: The Paper Chase (1973). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-paper-chase-1973