🛥️ Mild

A [United Nations] Secretary-General in the eighties, Javier Perez de Cuellar, was said to be so mild that he could fall out of a boat and not make a splash.

Osnos, E. (2014, December 22). In the Land of the Possible. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/22/land-possible

🏡 Financial Albatross

Instead of seeing home ownership as a reliably safe investment, many of today’s young adults may now see some risk that houses could become financial albatrosses due to events beyond their control.

Brainard, L. (2015, April 2). Coming of Age in the Great Recession. Retrieved from https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/brainard20150402a.htm

Gavel-300px Parade of the Clueless and Entitled

WHY oh why, daughter asks, do I watch [Judge Judy]? Because it’s fascinating. Not the yelling at people in need of a dressing-down, although of course that’s part of it. It’s the parade of clueless and entitled people who’ve never been told that it is not bad luck that put them here, but bad choices. Last night JJ barked at someone a remark that her son shouldn’t have gotten a young girl pregnant, and that the kids had behaved stupidly.

Mom was appalled. That’s judgmental, she said.

That’s the worst thing you can be in her world.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 13). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0614/061314.html

🍸Ease of Suicide

If your economic thrust is based on all the debaucherous things bros can do when frittering away their life savings, your city may need to rethink itself. It looks like that time is coming for Las Vegas, as the gaming industry struggles with the rise of online gambling and other cities are jumping on the casino bandwagon as a bulwark for their local economy.

One local writer, struggling to come up with the ten best things about the city (after listing gambling and entertainment in the top five), opted to choose “ease of suicide” for the number nine slot.

Gallagher, B. (2013, March 15). 10 Most Overrated Cities in America. Retrieved from http://www.complex.com/city-guide/2013/03/overrated-cities-in-america/las-vegas

🎦 The Gene Siskel Test

Is this movie more entertaining than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?

Eugene Kal “Gene” Siskel (January 26, 1946 – February 20, 1999). American film critic and journalist for Chicago Tribune.

🎬 Things Happen for a Reason

Movies are about telling the same lies over and over again. You know, good beats evil, things happen for a reason, attractive people are interesting.
~ Michael De Santa

Grand Theft Auto V. Houser, S., & Humphries, R. Rockstar Games. 2013. Video Game.

♗Ennobled by Suffering

But once more, so-called liberals indulge their penchant for wanting to see these people as ennobled by the very act of their suffering, and, therefore, to be forgiven for all acts of personal failings.

SouthernView (2014, July 22). Re: When Struggling Families Spark Internet Rage [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/when-struggling-families-spark-internet-rage/?_r=0

📣 Speaks for Itself

People who are comfortably living on their own terms don’t announce that to people. Their comfort speaks for itself through the absence of any need or impulse to sell.

Hax, C. (2014, September 13). Carolyn Hax: Long-distance lover under a cloud of suspicion. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/carolyn-hax-long-distance-lover-under-a-cloud-of-suspicion/2014/09/13/383544de-2d5c-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html


They can only see through the myopia of their pain and experience. It’s the sole filter. And that’s just because that is their emotional truth.


After all, you have to remember that the number one way to spread propaganda, politically speaking, is to legitimize a lie as being a “side” of an argument, and then you can just appeal to the emotional subtext of those who are most likely to believe that emotional truth underneath it. As such, the lie becomes a weapon.


But just as I have argued many times, we have such a difficult time seeing ourselves as anything but a person in a momentary interaction. And so we only like to debate the fairness of that myopic interaction itself. We are so damn bad at seeing ourselves as part of a larger trend / system. We are so bad at seeing what we are actually advocating on the whole.

Film Crit Hulk. (2014, October 27). Film Crit Hulk Smash: ON DESPAIR, GAMERGATE AND QUITTING THE HULK. Retrieved from http://badassdigest.com/2014/10/27/film-crit-hulk-smash-on-despair-gamergate-and-quitting-the-hulk/


Now I can solve up to 800 problems a minute.
~ Gordon Freeman, after picking up an MP-5

Freeman’s Mind: Episode 11. Dir. Ross Scott. Accursed Farms. N.p., 4 May 2009. Web. 14 Dec. 2010.

🚄 A Trip to the Edge of Despair

But all of it sounds like what smart, privileged young people flirting in a foreign country, might say to one another as they turned themselves inside out, dying to make an impression. Linklater, writing this script with Kim Krizan, understood that modern mating rituals depend on put-ons, games, boasts, self-deprecation, egotism dissolving into laughter.


Self-certainty has triumphed; that’s the way Celine and Jesse–and, by extension, most of us–manage to survive.


Celine and Jesse are not married, but their fight goes to questions at the heart of upper-middle-class matrimony. Who gets a full share of gratification, who has to sacrifice in order to keep things going?


Delpy’s Celine turns quarrelsome, almost preëmptively angry, and Hawke’s Jesse becomes defensive and sarcastic. The hotel clash is both harrowing and funny, a trip to the edge of despair and dissolution taken by people whose anger and wit never run out.

Denby, D. (2013, May 27). Review: Before Midnight (2013). Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/05/27/couples-4

⛲ Amusement

Life has an aching void I cannot fill without constant, meaningless amusement.

Lileks, J. Comic Sins: Richie Rich. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/institute/comicsins/covers/rich/52.html



Cover its Tracks

Contempt is frequently overt, but it can also be very subtle. Sometimes it hides itself under superficially polite language and behavior, with the real meaning recognizable only to its targets. Often it is put forward as merely good-natured fun or, in the parlance of 2016, “locker room” talk. It is troublingly easy for contempt to cover its tracks. It is also troublingly easy for listeners to take up another’s contempt without realizing it. This is particularly true when contempt is expressed as mockery.

Stohr, K. (2017, January 23). Our New Age of Contempt. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/23/opinion/our-new-age-of-contempt.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region


To Annihilate Truth

The Russian dissident and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov drew upon long familiarity with that process when he tweeted: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Sykes, C. J. (2017, February 4). Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/04/opinion/sunday/why-nobody-cares-the-president-is-lying.html?_r=0


Judge a Friend

Speaking on Tuesday night, Mr. Maher, who counts himself as a liberal, did not sound particularly chastened by these assessments. He said he knew his interview with Mr. Yiannopoulos would never be satisfactory to some viewers. “No matter what I did,” he said, “it was never going to be enough for that slice of liberalism that would much rather judge a friend than engage an enemy, because it’s easier.”

Itzkoff, D. (2017, February 22). Bill Maher, Faulted for Booking Milo Yiannopoulos, Takes Credit for His Fall. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/arts/television/bill-maher-milo-yiannopoulos-interview.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=homepage&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Home%20Page&pgtype=article


Comic Sans

I’m pretty sure that the Comic Sans mocking is only because it has been so overused for things like shitty break room printout announcements and stuff like that. It’s an unimaginative choice of font for communicating that people use to say “hey, this should be read but shouldn’t be taken too personally even if it is an edict issued from Above”.

hippybear (2017, Feb 25). Re: The truly villainous font is the ubiquitous Times New Roman [Blog Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/165320/The-truly-villainous-font-is-the-ubiquitous-Times-New-Roman#6936286


We’re Trying to Get Through Our Day

Look, you’re a human, I’m a human. We’re breathing the same air. We have the same problems. We’re trying to get through our day. Who the fuck are you to throw a log in the road of somebody who has a different set of difficulties in life?

Marchese, D. (2017, March 5). In Conversation: David Letterman. Retrieved from http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/david-letterman-in-conversation.html


Pulled into Other People’s Fights

Maybe Kong, the last of his kind, is supposed to be the lone superpower, a kindhearted tough guy that only wants to be left alone but keeps getting pulled into other people’s fights.

Seitz, M. Z. (2017, March 5). Kong: Skull Island (2017). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/kong-skull-island-2017


Electronic Augmentation

I once saw Yann Martel put forth the following analogy in a talk:

A deer in the forest has senses that let it monitor its environment out to a certain diameter. For the sake of the analogy let’s say it’s 250 meters, give or take depending on various factors (e.g. weather). That is all the deer needs. If a predator is further away then it doesn’t really concern the deer. Now let’s say we electronically augmented the deer’s senses so that it could monitor the forest up to a kilometer around it. It would be aware of a lot more predators but that wouldn’t actually be of any use to it because a predator further away than its unaugmented senses could detect shouldn’t be of any concern. The only result of augmenting the deer’s senses would be to stress the animal out, negatively impacting it. Almost every human being on the planet has senses that have been electronically augmented, through mass media and the internet and so on, resulting in the stresses of modern existence.

Kattullus (2010, April 25). Re: Mean World Syndrome [Blog Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/91365/Mean-World-Syndrome#3059109



And of course it is true that to one degree or another we are, in fact, hostile to each other, and when we are accused of holding that hostility, we do indeed hate the accusation and the accuser. So that the paranoid creates the reality which proves him right.

Miller, A. (2016). It Could Happen Here–And Did (1967). In Collected Essays: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition).


Last Trace of Sentiment

…but what it comes down to is that a lot of people are pretty sure they’re getting cheated. If you think the world has screwed you, you get mad.

They notice that the attempt to squeeze the last cent of profit out of any operation has also squeezed the last trace of sentiment out of what passes for human interaction. They see that technology serves relentless efficiency, and somewhere in that efficiency life gets joyless and existence precarious.


They observe how put-together types with attitude and little qualification can make a bundle buying and eviscerating solid companies that actually produce things or setting up consultancies that trade on connections at the money-influence margins of politics. They know that if something goes wrong with the rigged system the losses will get “socialized.” Regular schmucks who work a shift will pay while insiders walk away. That’s how things have been since the 21st century began. The fix is always in.

Cohen, R. (2017, February 28). The Madness of Crowds. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/28/opinion/the-madness-of-crowds.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



The genius of the hole: no matter how long you spend climbing out, you can still fall back down in an instant.

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