The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren’t much more than pot-fueled ideas scrawled on napkins by up-too-late bong-smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for mega-millions.


“Since the Depression, there were strict underwriting guidelines that Wall Street adhered to when taking a company public,” says one prominent hedge-fund manager. “The company had to be in business for a minimum of five years, and it had to show profitability for three consecutive years. But Wall Street took these guidelines and threw them in the trash.” Goldman completed the snow job by pumping up the sham stocks: “Their analysts were out there saying Bullshit.com is worth $100 a share.”


The market was no longer a rationally managed place to grow real, profitable businesses: It was a huge ocean of Someone Else’s Money where bankers hauled in vast sums through whatever means necessary and tried to convert that money into bonuses and payouts as quickly as possible.

If you laddered and spun 50 Internet IPOs that went bust within a year, so what? By the time the Securities and Exchange Commission got around to fining your firm $110 million, the yacht you bought with your IPO bonuses was already six years old.
Besides, you were probably out of Goldman by then, running the U.S. Treasury or maybe the state of New Jersey.

Taibbi, M. (2010, April 5). The Great American Bubble Machine. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405


Confident Idiots

Logic itself almost demands this lack of self-insight: For poor performers to recognize their ineptitude would require them to possess the very expertise they lack. To know how skilled or unskilled you are at using the rules of grammar, for instance, you must have a good working knowledge of those rules, an impossibility among the incompetent. Poor performers—and we are all poor performers at some things—fail to see the flaws in their thinking or the answers they lack.

In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.

Dunning, D. (2014, October 27). We Are All Confident Idiots. Retrieved from http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/confident-idiots-92793/


Symbolic Offense

The ships described in the article are the big vessels run by the big lines, and they have all manner of accommodations, depending on how much you spend. The end result – a hierarchy of comfort and amenities ordered by expenditure – is something whose symbolism appalls some folk, because if something doesn’t present sufficient opportunities to be appalled, you have to concern yourself with its symbolic offense.

Lileks, J. (2016, May 2). How to be angry about other people’s vacations. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/how-to-be-angry-about-other-people-s-vacations/377833321/


Coked-Up Editing

The number of cuts per scene is astronomical, ensuring that the audience never gets a chance to orient itself in the environment, or, for that matter, care about what is happening. Liam Neeson is impressive physically, but the fight scenes are filmed with so many cuts that the action itself is never clear. In one car chase scene, involving multiple police cars, an 18-wheeler, and the various commuters on the road, a car commandeered by Mills ends up driving the wrong way down a crowded freeway. At least I think that’s what I was seeing. The coked-up editing makes it impossible to tell, and it made me yearn, longingly, for the classic car chase scene in “To Live and Die in L.A.,” also involving a car barreling the wrong way down a freeway. That visceral, gripping scene in “To Live and Die in L.A.” was filmed so specifically that the audience never loses its orientation in space. Effective car chase scenes involve care in the execution: it’s not enough to show a car flipping over in slo-mo, surrounding it with 100 quick edits designed to disorient. Ironically, that approach ends up making it look like the movie is trying too hard.

O’Malley, S. (2015, January 9). Review: Taken 3 (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/taken-3-2015


🚘 Professionalism

I trust this garage, because I’ve gone there for years and never been able to figure out how they’re screwing me over, and that’s a level of professionalism you have to respect.

Lileks, J. (2015, January 19). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/15/0115/011915.html

TurtleneckOne or Two Geniuses

Unfortunately, when we believe one or two geniuses are mainly responsible, we not only reward them with exorbitant compensation, we lead them to believe they really are geniuses, which in turn leads to grandiosity, monomania, and unchecked power.

johnny (2014, Dec 17). Re: What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/21/magazine/what-happened-when-marissa-mayer-tried-to-be-steve-jobs.html?_r=1

🎮 Hate Movement

Critics see Gamergate as a hate movement, born of extremists, which has grown by providing a sense of belonging, self-worth, and direction to those experiencing crisis or disaffection.

Parkin, S. (2014, October 17). Gamergate: A Scandal Erupts in the Video-Game Community. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/gamergate-scandal-erupts-video-game-community

⚖️ Tried by 12

“There’s a really common adage in policing: It’s better to be tried by 12 than carried by six,” said Jim Bueermann, a former Redlands, Calif., police chief who is now the president of the Police Foundation, a research group.

Eligon, J., Yee, V., & Furber, M. (2017, July 22). In Minneapolis, Unusual Police Killing Raises an Old Outcry: Why? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/22/us/minneapolis-police-shooting.html?_r=0

💘 Somebody Finally Loves You

When you are socialized to accept abuse as authority, any situation that isn’t outright hurtful feels like a win. Our schools teach kids that their voices don’t matter, that they should unquestioningly follow the dictates of teachers and other adults because it is the only way they will get ahead in life. When we get to the workforce, we are told we are lucky to be there. We are told that there is a line of people waiting to take our place, that we are disposable, regardless of the degrees, work experience, and dedication. So when you stumble upon a company or workplace that says “You are valuable.” you go out of your mind to work even harder. Because somebody finally loves you.

Until we teach ourselves that we are valuable for who we are, not the work we do, we will continue to confuse authority with abuse and continue to be eager to work for places that respect us less than they should.

teleri025 (2017, July 19). Re: The Tyranny of Work [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/168292/The-tyranny-of-work#7099050

⛅ Motivation

If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.

Despair, Inc. Retrieved from https://despair.com/products/motivation

🎩 Class Distinction

“Basic” is, at bottom, a stereotype. And like all stereotypes, we fling it at others in order to distance ourselves from them. These people are this thing; therefore, I am this other thing. Stereotypes are deployed most fervently — and with the most hostility — when the group wielding them is most anxious to distance itself from another group that, in truth, isn’t so distant after all. See: “Fresh Off the Boat,” “White Trash,” “Hipster.” These stereotypes are explicitly rooted in race, but implicitly, and most powerfully, are rooted in class distinction. By calling someone “white trash,” a certain segment of white consumer person distinguishes themselves from another segment of white consumer, thereby bolstering their position within the capitalist hierarchy.

Petersen, A. H. (2014, October 20). What We’re Really Afraid Of When We Call Someone “Basic.” Retrieved from https://www.buzzfeed.com/annehelenpetersen/basic-class-anxiety?utm_term=.na4JX19NG#.isQ1NXdJo

💺💺💺 Emotion Neutral

Robert Rubin was the prototypical Goldman banker. He was probably born in a $4,000 suit, he had a face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than you, and he exuded a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the only human feeling you could imagine him experiencing was a nightmare about being forced to fly coach.

Taibbi, M. (2010, April 5). The Great American Bubble Machine. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405


Sea of Cracked Asphalt

Oh yes, we anticipate a large role for a sprawling liquor store set back in a sea of cracked asphalt. Oh, if that funky-junky bookstore on the corner hangs around for a few years that’ll be fine; it’s colorful, but really, can’t you see a Panera there? People love those sandwiches.

Lileks, J. (2016, February 27). Lileks: You get a facility! Everyone gets a facility! Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/james-lileks-you-get-a-facility-everyone-gets-a-facility/370378971/

🗒️ Couldn’t be Mad

Every step of the way, the News reporter, Bill Hendricks—the longtime cop reporter with all the sources—was just getting everything that I wasn’t getting. It was so bad that my bosses couldn’t even be mad at me. They treated me as if I were developmentally disabled.

Green, E. (2017, July 17). Writers dish on scoops that slipped away. Retrieved from https://www.cjr.org/business_of_news/scoops-fahrenthold-greg-howard.php


Lure You Into Hubris

As an aside … this little piece that cost $2.49? I have no fucking idea of what anyone would ever use it for. It was like RadioShack slid that into their stores as a red herring. Like it was some Machiavellian plot to lure you into hubris, destroy your ego, and remind you how much smarter we were than you. Sorry. God, I’m sorry.

Bois, J. (2012, July 24). Revisiting The RadioShack Product Catalog, Part 2. Retrieved from http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012/7/24/3174840/revisiting-the-radioshack-product-catalog-part-2

⚗️ Too Much Poison

How did our politics get so poisonous? I think it’s ’cause we overdosed, especially this year. We drank too much of the poison. You take a little bit of it so you can hate the other side. And it tastes kinda good. And you like how it feels. And there’s a gentle high to the condemnation, right? You know you’re right, right? You know you’re right.

Colbert, S. (2016, November 11). Showtime Election Night Special[Television broadcast]. CBS.

Know Thyself

If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.

Dunning, D. (2012). Self-Insight: Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Knowing Thyself (Essays in Social Psychology). Psychology Press.

🍺 Cult of Ignorance

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Asimov, I. (1980, January). My Turn/A Cult of Ignorance. Newsweek, 19.


♛ Important People

As John Whitehead, the godfather of Goldman’s modern culture, wrote in a set of guidelines for executives: “Important people like to deal with other important people. Are you one?”

Hagan, J. (2009, July 26). Tenacious G: Inside Goldman Sachs. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/news/business/58094/

🌏 Life Goes On

Life goes on, but you wish it went someplace better.

Source Unknown


It was meant sincerely, and like all things sincerely intended, the Boomers had to turn him into a sarcastic joke to show they could see right through all the things that were wrong with the world.  Like sincerity, I suppose.

Lileks, J. (2012). Graveyard Special (Mill City Book 1) . Amazon Digital Services LLC. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Graveyard-Special-Mill-City-Book-ebook/dp/B00962GFES/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1500508490&sr=1-3

🌰 Comedy Brain

I use it to illustrate the comedy brain. It picks up so much except a lot of the basic stuff that you really need.

Jerry Seinfeld

 VoxophoneFoolish Girls

God made foolish girls so he’d have something to play with.

Fitzroy, D (1912, Feb 12). A Place in the World. Soldier’s Field Voxophone, Recording 022. Bioshock Infinite. 2K Games. 2013. Video Game.


Tony: Turns out I’m a fucking robot to my own pussy-ass weakness.

Weiner, M., & Winter, T. (Writers). (2004, May 2). Unidentified Black Males [Television series episode]. In The Sopranos. HBO.


Deacon: That’s sweeping leaves on a windy day.

Simon, D., & Price, R. (Writers). (2004, September 26). All Due Respect [Television series episode]. In The Wire. HBO.

👍 Patronize

… and the thing about patronization is that it hides its self-involvement with a pretense of goodwill.

Ivan Fyodorovich (2014, Oct 27). Re: What the garbageman doesn’t know [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/143948/What-the-garbageman-doesnt-know#5791826

🕒 Everything is Fleeting

Time, and our interaction with time, and the way in which we are all ultimately overmatched and worn down by time, and the notion of cinema as a means of sculpting with time: these and other aspects of temporality are at the heart of “Boyhood.” Time is the core around which all of this movie’s musings on childhood and parenthood are woven. It’s the river down which the scenes and characters travel without consciously realizing that they are on individual journeys that all have the same ending. If life is “about” anything, it’s about realizing and accepting that fact: that everything is fleeting. Time gives birth and nourishes and then obliterates as it moves ahead, like the family which, in an early scene, prepares to move out of a house by covering murals and hand-lettered height charts with white paint. The film ends and the credits come up and you ask the same question that you ask at the end of an evening spent with old, dear friends: where did the time go?

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, July 11). Review: Boyhood (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/boyhood-2014

🌲🌲🌲 Enlightened Environmentalists

The Bay Area, on the whole, is a case study in how liberalism – and I mean specifically liberalism, rather than socialism/leftism – fails in practice. The city, the peninsula, Silicon Valley, the exurban East Bay, the north bay, and even great swathes of Oakland and Berkeley are places where hyperindividualist liberalism is the governing ideology. Although the residents here mouth statements about inclusivity and acceptance in the abstract, they are completely gung ho about avoiding all of those things should they appear to threaten either property values or creature comforts when actually realized. Moreover, the idea of collective action is absolutely anathema to them, since individual choice is the only version of freedom comprehensible to them. This is how a bunch of property owners in wretched little towns like Palo Alto and Menlo Park, all of whom think of themselves as enlightened environmentalists, end up frantically trying to sabotage high speed rail lines in order to protect the sanctity of their large backyards. This is how Marin county ends up as a hotbed for measles outbreaks triggered by selfish antivaxxers. This is how they all find themselves either comfortable with or totally oblivious to Tom Steyer’s hedge fund’s use of economic force majeure to expel long-term residents of West Oakland to make way for white people – after all, if the people being foreclosed upon after being stuck with predatory loan terms had simply freely chosen not to get scammed, they’d still have their houses, right?

You Can’t Tip a Buick (2015, Feb 4). Re: It’s always the dentists [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/146736/Its-always-the-dentists#5923043

🎦 Productivity Theater

I suspect in most cases you’re still only getting 30-40 hours of real work output, even if someone is physically in the office or at their computer 80 hours a week. The rest is productivity theater.

almostmanda (2015, May 4). Re: Why some men pretend to work 80-hour weeks [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/149348/Why-some-men-pretend-to-work-80-hour-weeks#6033639


NY Coffee Cup


New York is a hell of a town; the most pretentious people in the world cram themselves into studio apartments to become martyrs to whatever trendy art form they moved here to practice/blog about, and use that fact to feel superior to the rest of the country.

Gallagher, B. (2013, March 15). 10 Most Overrated Cities in America. Retrieved from http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/03/overrated-cities-in-america/new-york

Inspiration Porn

And in the past few years, we’ve been able to propagate this lie even further via social media. You may have seen images like this one: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Or this one: “Your excuse is invalid.” Indeed. Or this one: “Before you quit, try!” These are just a couple of examples, but there are a lot of these images out there. You know, you might have seen the one, the little girl with no hands drawing a picture with a pencil held in her mouth. You might have seen a child running on carbon fiber prosthetic legs. And these images, there are lots of them out there, they are what we call inspiration porn. And I use the term porn deliberately because they objectify one group of people for the benefit of another group of people. So in this case, we’re objectifying disabled people for the benefit of nondisabled people. The purpose of these images is to inspire you, to motivate you, so that we can look at them and think, “Well, however bad my life is, it could be worse. I could be that person.”

Young, Stella. “I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much.” TED. April 2014. Lecure. Source: https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much?language=en


The Technical

The technical is an improvised fighting vehicle.  That’s just a fancy term for “pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on it,” or as I like to call it, a Texan Parade Float.

Far Cry 3 Survival Guide. Retrieved from http://farcry.wikia.com/wiki/Technical


Adult Swim

Everyone seems to agree that “Bojack Horseman” had a predictable start that suggested a run of one-off eps with snark and pop-culture references and a few celebrity voices and the usual Adult-Swim vibe, where nothing matters and everything is beneath contempt – except for you, you smart discerning viewer who gets all the jokes and understands why the bad jokes are supposed to be bad!

Lileks, J. (2014, September 26). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0914/092614.html



I never worked so hard to feel so empty.

Grand Theft Auto V. Houser, S., & Humphries, R. Rockstar Games. 2008. Video Game.


Vertically Integrated

Several weeks ago, Vidra communicated the new vision to the staff in what I am told was an uncomfortable stream of business clichés ungrounded in any apparent strategy other than saying things like “let’s break shit” and “we’re a tech company now.”

His memo to the staff predictably uses terms like “straddle generation” and “brand.” It promises to make TNR “a vertically integrated digital media company,” possibly unaware that “vertically integrated” is an actual business concept, not a term for a media company that integrates verticals.

Chait, J. (2014, December 4). A Eulogy for The New Republic. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/12/eulogy-for-the-new-republic.html

Aggressive Cluelessness

The Last Psychiatrist makes my head hurt, and not in a ‘it really makes you think’ way, but in a ‘You’ve obsessively over-analyzed your own personal neuroticisms, and then attempted to generalize them as something universally applicable’ way.

leotrotsky (2014, Dec 17). Re: Sealioning Explained by The Last Psychiatrist and Louie [Reader Comment].
Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/145406/Sealioning-Explained-by-The-Last-Psychiatrist-and-Louie#5860048


The Market

Regulated markets in this way became contaminated by the bad practices of a non-regulated market, to the disadvantage of those who operated within the regulations.

It’s an important point because it sums up the sociopathic nature of a market system that encourages those who don’t abide by the rules to exploit those who do.

Kaminska, I. (2014, October 31). Why banking got out of control in the digital age. Retrieved from https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/10/31/2025592/why-banking-got-out-of-control-in-the-digital-age/?mhq5j=e1


Catalog of Compromises

“The Secret Life of Pets” is adequate animated entertainment, amusing while it lasts but not especially memorable except as a catalog of compromises and missed opportunities.

Scott, A. O. (2016, July 7). Review: “The Secret Life of Pets” Amuses, but Misses Opportunities. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/movies/the-secret-life-of-pets-review.html


RadioShack is a corporation dedicated to the prolonged destruction of the individual, so it tripled our staff right before Black Friday, ensuring that no one would make any money.

Bois, J. (2015, December 2). A eulogy for RadioShack, the panicked and half-dead retail empire. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/2014/11/26/7281129/radioshack-eulogy-stories


Drug of Choice

Walter: Booze isn’t really your drug of choice. You’re addicted to chaos.

Robinson, P. A. (Director). (2002). Changing Lanes [Motion picture]. USA: Paramount Pictures.


Rabid Alpha

I’d like to think that when I hear that someone is an expert at fighting online fraud, they are protecting everyday consumers from malfeasance by large corporations that reap mass profits by fraudulently adding overcharges that they know the average customer either will not notice or will not have the skills or time to dispute. A champion for the Little Guy.

Instead, we get an egotist who doesn’t care if he risks putting a small local restaurant he enjoys out business, so long as he gets them to submit to his angry will. An over-educated, over-privileged rabid alpha dog.

DrMew (2014, Dec 9). RE: Oh and the food? “It was delicious.” [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/145192/Oh-and-the-food-It-was-delicious#5850070


Miller Time

Mike Ehrmantraut:  You know, I can foresee a lot of possible outcomes to this thing, and not a single one of then involves Miller Time.

Gilligan, V. (Writer). (2012, July 15). Live Free or Die [Television series episode]. In Breaking Bad. AMC.




💺💺 💺💺

Most Entitled

You know it’s not malice. You know safety comes first. You know flight crews deal with humanity at its most entitled and short-sighted. But you’re still peeved.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 24). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/072414.html



[Cognitive psychologist Eryn] Newman, who works out of the University of California–Irvine, recently uncovered an unsettling precondition for truthiness: The less effort it takes to process a factual claim, the more accurate it seems. When we fluidly and frictionlessly absorb a piece of information, one that perhaps snaps neatly onto our existing belief structures, we are filled with a sense of comfort, familiarity, and trust. The information strikes us as credible, and we are more likely to affirm it—whether or not we should.

Waldman, K. (2014, September 3). The Science of Truthiness: Conservative beliefs make a lot more sense when you’re not paying attention. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/09/truthiness_research_cognitive_biases_for_simple_clear_conservative_messages.single.html


Creating Misery

The movie offers no insight, no tragic poetry, no startling yet strangely right filmmaking touches, to compensate for the tawdriness. It’s just a straightforward account of people enduring or creating misery.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, August 29). Review: The Last of Robin Hood (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-last-of-robin-hood-2014

Control is Challenged

It is this catastrophe and the man’s desperate efforts to correct it that link “All Is Lost” with “Margin Call,” Mr. Chandor’s excellent first feature. That movie, about an office full of panicky investment bankers dealing with the unfolding financial crisis of 2008, is in many ways the opposite of “All Is Lost.” It takes place almost entirely indoors, and it’s pretty much all talk. But it is also very much concerned with how powerful men react when their sense of control is challenged, and with the vast, invisible system that sustains their illusions.

Scott, A. O. (2013, October 17). The Strong, Largely Silent Type “All Is Lost,” With Robert Redford at Sea. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/movies/all-is-lost-with-robert-redford-at-sea.html?pagewanted=all


I’m Going Anyway

Llewelyn: “I’m fixin’ to do something dumber than hell, but I’m going anyways.” This could be the tagline for half the movies ever made.

Orr, C. (2014, September 23). 30 Years of Coens: No Country for Old Men. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/30-years-of-coens-no-country-for-old-men/380610/


A Hill Nobody Wants to Die On

A lot of filmmakers and distributors have that concern: that even if you’re legally in the right regarding Fair Use-appropriated clips, intellectual property rights-holders might still come after you, and try to bully you into removing clips rather than spend money defending your legal right to use them. That’s a hill pretty much nobody wants to die on.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, September 25). Why My Video Essay About “All That Jazz” Is Not on the Criterion Blu-Ray. Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/why-my-video-essay-about-all-that-jazz-is-not-on-the-criterion-blu-ray


Belt Sander

I hope to shoot at least two [videos] a day because as much as I love the [State] Fair, going every day is like a belt-sander to the soul after a while. To wander into the grounds with a tripod, not knowing what I’ll get – it’s an adventure at first, a job in the middle and grinding despair at the end.

Lileks, J. (2014, August 19). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0814/081914.html


Easy Pickings

I doubt I need to point out that this is nothing but a particular female variant of the psychological need to believe that others take you as seriously as you take yourself. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, as psychological needs go, but yet of course we should always remember that a deep need for anything from other people makes us easy pickings.

Wallace, D. F. (1997, Fall). Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Retrieved from http://www.theparisreview.org/fiction/1225/brief-interviews-with-hideous-men-david-foster-wallace


Anger Gene

1) I don’t understand how anyone could ever think this was “real” – except the internet seems to have a hard wired anger gene, attenuated by twitter where ordinarily reasonable people want to get outraged over anything just for the dopamine.

2) This is a side-effect of viral culture. In the pre-Internet days, almost everyone who read the piece would be familiar with the New Yorker, and know that “Shouts and Murmurs” is typically comedy or satire. Now, all it takes is some repost to a link bait site and the clueless hordes will rise up with torches and pitchforks demanding retribution.

Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (2014, Aug 5). Re: Poking the Jazz Hive [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/141657/Poking-the-Jazz-Hive#5670376


Innate Entitlement

But it fits with the sense of innate entitlement. Because you are ‘creating a great product’ somehow the rules of the little/lesser people don’t apply to you. You are giving them advancement and they should be grateful for it and not judge you.

savagemike (2014, Aug 26). Re: This is Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/26/6067663/this-is-ubers-playbook-for-sabotaging-lyft?mc_cid=b051b95564&mc_eid=bb561ea0a9#253297600



🛥️ 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



Bureaucratic Alchemy

In all cases, how developers prove what they can afford to pay for comes down to the dark art of “viability”. The silver bullet of planning applications, the viability appraisal explains, through impenetrable pages of spreadsheets and fastidious appendixes, exactly how a project stacks up financially. It states, in carefully worded sub-clauses, just why it would be impossible for affordable housing to be provided, why the towers must of course be this height, why no ground-floor corner shop or surgery can be included, why workspace is out of the question; indeed, why it is inconceivable for the scheme to be configured in any other form. Presented as a precise science, viability is nothing of the sort; it is a form of bureaucratic alchemy, figures fiddled with spreadsheet spells that can be made to conjure any outcome desired.

Wainwright, O. (2014, September 17). The truth about property developers: how they are exploiting planning authorities and ruining our cities. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/17/truth-property-developers-builders-exploit-planning-cities


Loosen Your Grip

Daughter went off this afternoon on her bike to hang with besties, a new development compared to previous years. Before it would have been: arrange, drive, deposit, pick up. Now it’s wave-farewell and out the door. The rope in your hands starts to play out faster.
It’ll burn if you don’t loosen your grip.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 11). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0614/061114.html


I Hope He Had a Nice Snack

I once navigated a call [to cancel Comcast service] by letting the guy spiel for one minute and then saying approximately: “I am more stubborn than you. I am more patient than you. And I am lying comfortably on my bed in my pajamas with plenty of food and water, and have no qualms about taking the phone into the bathroom with me. Your options are to continue harassing me for as long as is required by your job guidelines and then cancel my account, or to just cancel my account immediately, and possibly have a snack. How long should I hold the phone near my ear until this call ends?” The call ended two minutes later. I hope he had a nice snack. I guess it’s all about luck of the draw.

Mizu (2014, July 14). Re: After a Decade [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/140932/After-a-decade#5638970


The Door Close Button

To-be-fired employees will likely be told that they were picked not just based on job performance, but rather through a combination of factors. There will probably be a paper “appeal” process they can try, but it will go nowhere and do nothing, like the “door close” button on an elevator. Managers responsible for choosing employees to be laid off can blame an inscrutable “process” rather than their own judgment. Everyone passes the buck.

Courtesy and decency: Not in this e-mail

In the end, the e-mail’s key ironic sentence is this one:
     “Everyone can expect to be treated with the respect they deserve for their contributions to this company.”
This ersatz expression of thanks could be cloned from every other layoff e-mail from every other company ever—it manages to be both patronizing and vaguely malevolent at the same time. What, precisely, does an employee “deserve” in this instance? There’s an argument to be made that employees deserve to be spoken to rather than spoken at, but down that path lies the potential for liability.

Like an unreadable, thick EULA, companies almost invariably choose to use the kind of messaging in this e-mail rather than normal-person talk.
Companies should “align their synergies” with the humans they’re firing and do them the courtesy of not pissing on them and telling them it’s raining. There’s a decent way to let people go, and this ain’t it.

Hutchinson, L. (2014, July 17). Op-Ed: Microsoft layoff e-mail typifies inhuman corporate insensitivity. Retrieved from https://arstechnica.com/staff/2014/07/op-ed-microsoft-layoff-e-mail-typifies-inhuman-corporate-insensitivity/


Quality Remodeling

They covered up one store front, and put in windows, and then covered up the windows. I’m reasonably sure the newer stuff isn’t stone, but pressed metal, painted over. Did the guy who finished the job step back and say “now there’s some quality remodeling, right there. Right there indeed.”

Lileks, J. (2014, May 8). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0514/050814.html


Fools Fish

Not for nothing does the movie run on the metaphor of fly fishing—of the crafted adornment that, by imitating life, fools fish into swallowing the hook.

Brody, R. (2014, March 21). Lars Von Trier’s Joyless Sexual Tantrum. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/lars-von-triers-joyless-sexual-tantrum


No Guilt

BARISTA: Can you be a complete douche and sit, typing on your laptop and only ordering one drink, all night at a bar?
CUSTOMER: Conceivably I could, but I’d rather not.
BARISTA: Voilà! Here you can do that without feeling guilty.

Stokes, C. (2014, April 30). Introducing the Starbucks Evenings Menu. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2014/04/introducing-the-starbucks-evenings-menu.html


Not Exactly

This is about where we’d expect him to be at this point. Not exactly down and out, but living the days of a man without urgent purpose.

Roeper, R. (2006, December). Review: Rocky Balboa (2006). Retrieved from http://www.richardroeper.com/reviews/rockybalboa.aspx


Hundreds of Times

And I think we must have had this argument hundreds of times before and I finally had to stop because I couldn’t be in that situation anymore where we were making each other feel bad about ourselves.

Jonze, Spike. Her. Film Script. 2013. 13 July 2017. <https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/t711fe3u47rgkr1/HER%20%282013%29%20Spilke%20Jonze%20-Final-.pdf>


Intellectual Firepower

On Los Angeles: Locals report the combination of plentiful bud, babes, and sun only serves to dull the intellectual firepower that brought you and your screenplay out west in the first place.

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/los-angeles



The inability to make important distinctions because the mind reduces everything to broad similarities is a trait of a smug, adolescent intellect that mistakes cynicism for insight.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 1). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/070114.html


Greed and Stupidity

I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist: I believe human greed and stupidity are simple explanations for all that’s wrong in the world, and that we don’t need to concoct a shadowy Illuminati organization to take the blame.

Woligroski, D. (2015, January 27). The Real Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Specifications. Retrieved from http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-gtx-970-specifications,28464.html



Raw Gush

At least the tech arguments have some data, some facts, a certain nerdy rigor. Elsewhere – say, a Gawker site about San Francisco development I discussed on the work blog – it was the usual raw gush. Smart and snarky and oh-snap! and lots of “here, let me pour my entire worldview into a story about a vacant lot that now has a structure on it.”

A good polemic is a thing of beauty, but to use the medium of the Comments Section is like mistaking the group of smokers outside the classroom for the lecture going on inside.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 11). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0614/061114.html


You Owe Me

Then I don’t know what to do, and he acts disgusted at my nervous deferrals, as if I owe him this date after being so nice to him for so long. He moves on to my coworker.


But I have trouble, eventually, masking my rage. I notice a ragged look similar to the one I imagine on my face on the faces of young female baristas throughout the city. It’s as if I’ve absorbed all of these men’s problems, and worse, all of their assumptions about me – that I am a pure and kindly soul floating along on my attitude, there to make coffee and listen; worst of all, that I must be unhappy in this job but not be intelligent enough to know that.

Schiller, L. (2013, June 5). Service With A Smile. Retrieved from http://www.therivetermagazine.com/service-with-a-smile/


Endlessly Boring Loop

The “Lego Movie” song “Everything is Awesome” might be the definitive statement on consumerism as a way of life. The hero is a wage slave, living in an endless boring loop that he’s convinced himself is peachy. Hype encourages him to feel that way because if he accepts his manufactured life, nobody involved in creating institutional structures or manufacturing goods or entertainment will have to try harder, much less change anything. Nobody questions. The money just flows.

Seitz, M. Z. (2014, June 13). Review: 22 Jump Street (2014). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/22-jump-street-2014



The modern style of headline writing isn’t intended to catch your eye but punch you in the nose, because you totally deserve it. The author is better than you because the author is writing for Gawker, and you’re just reading. Basic format: Bald assertion, and preemptive accusation to deflect your objection.

Lileks, J. (2014, July 31). Lileks @ Lunch. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/how-to-lose-8000-photos/269411751/

There are people who cannot make it through a day unless the wind of indignation fills their sails.

Source Unknown


Moral Busybodies

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Lewis, C. S. (1972). God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.


Self-Righteous Do-Gooder

What concerned [C.S. Lewis regarding Moral Busybodies] is summed up as “the Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions.” You needn’t wait for the cynics to take over; one self-righteous do-gooder with an agenda can create a lot of misery.

Chas C-Q (2014, July 30). Re: The Bleat [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0714/073014.html#comment-1512630550



Looking a little leaner and a lot older, Ventura wore a rumpled gray pinstripe suit, the kind you save for church or court, and walked with that cocksure gait we got used to when he was governor, his jaw perpetually tilted up as if in defiance of something, anything.

Tevlin, J. (2014, July 12). Tevlin: Only in Jesse Ventura’s America. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/tevlin-only-in-jesse-ventura-s-america/266890021/


Decline of Empathy

As Danielle Ofri observes, that is the time that “figures prominently in studies that document the decline of empathy and moral reasoning in medical trainees.” Spending your day among the truly sick and suffering hardens you. Not only is there a self-protective impulse to shut out the pain of others, but you have less emotional bandwidth for minor complaints, particularly your own.


Hypochondriacs, Belling points out, are right about one more thing: Disease and degeneration never fail to win in the end.

Waldman, K. (2014, July 6). Doctors Could Use a Little Hypochondria. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/07/hypochondria_in_medical_students_and_doctors_when_to_worry_about_health.single.html



It would also be good if people stopped applauding “transgression” because it made them feel naughty and modern and iconoclastic, when it’s the most boring default position available today.

Lileks, J. (2014, June 17). Lileks @ Lunch: When the Mayor Swears. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/when-the-mayor-swears/263500181/

Meeting Baseline Expectations

What there is, arguably, is a diseased culture. A culture in which focus and productivity are so fetishized that your average human attention span is no longer sufficient. A culture in which a significant proportion of the working (or academic) population requires psychoactive drugs in order to meet baseline expectations.

dephlogisticated (2014, July 3). Re: Two Speed America [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/140470/Two-speed-America#5617027


Metal Tube

It also poses unique design challenges, since a premium-class seat has to create an impression of opulence in what is actually a noisy and potentially nausea-inducing metal tube filled with strangers.

If you checked into a luxury hotel and were taken to a room the size of a first-class airplane cabin, and told that you’d be sharing it with eleven people you didn’t know, all of whom would be sleeping within a few feet of your own skinny bed, you wouldn’t be thrilled, especially if you were paying twenty thousand dollars for the experience.

Owen, D. (2014, April 21). Game of Thrones: How airlines woo the one per cent. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/04/21/140421fa_fact_owen



An air of aggressive innocence and chirpy bemusement has become the official armature of the American hipster, and has lost its power to put across a critique. It isn’t even that cute anymore. The McSweeneyites may be the current emperors of cool, but they’re starting to need some new clothes.

Shulevitz, J. (2001, May 6). Too Cool for Words. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/05/06/bookend/bookend.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=login



Web of Bullshit and Horror

Can advice on how to be cool and not creepy be used for evil by guys who are not cool and are creepy and would like to get laid? Yeah, probably! It’s a difference between “how to keep awkwardness and learned behavior (that is counterproductive and bad) from getting between you and the connections you would like to make with other people (that are positive and good for you and those other people alike)” and “how to feign being a decent human being so that you can trap unwary women in your web of bullshit and horror.” The difference there? Is the reader, not the reading material.

kittens for breakfast. (2015, February 8). Re: The Anti-Pick Up Artist’s Guide [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/146819/The-Anti-Pick-Up-Artists-Guide#5928155


The reality is that people pay for an experience rather than a thing so the label matters on headphones and wine. From social signaling to self-inflicted placebo effects there are a host of reasons why people don’t shave with Occam’s razor.

srboisvert . (2015, February 9). Re: Lossless, lossless, lossless [Reader comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/146868/Lossless-lossless-lossless#5929164


So Many

A wise friend told me years ago that we have no control over our emotions, only over what we choose to do about them, and that even if we know this, it can still be hard to make good decisions, because our feelings are so powerful, and there are so many of them fighting to be heard.

Seitz, M. Z. (2015, June 18). Review: Inside Out (2015). Retrieved from http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/inside-out-2015



Quite generally, that’s how the Trump administration deals with a truly existential threat to survival of organized human life: ban regulations and even research and discussion of environmental threats and race to the precipice as quickly as possible (in the interests of short-term profit and power).

Yancy, G., & Chomsky, N. (2017, July 5). Noam Chomsky: On Trump and the State of the Union. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/opinion/noam-chomsky-on-trump-and-the-state-of-the-union.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


You Make a Choice

When you have children, you make a choice to restrict what you can and cannot do. Just because you want a nice night out doesn’t mean that everyone else at the restaurant should be subjected to an endlessly crying child. You do not have carte blanche to put your own needs above everyone else’s.

Reenum. (2014, July 13). Re: High cuisine with no high chair [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/135601/High-cuisine-with-no-high-chair#5371132


New Money

Q: Why do rich people seem to have such bad taste in architecture?
Money doesn’t buy taste. Especially not new money.

Eyebrows McGee. (2015, February 19). Re: The kind of world where we belong [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/147197/The-kind-of-world-where-we-belong

Mangoes Among Oranges

Unbeknownst to me, you see, some miscreant put mangoes among the oranges, and while someday we might live in a utopia where mangoes are discounted, we still live in an imperfect world of sin and toil.

Lileks, J. (2015, February 14). The Mango mover was also THAT GUY. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/291963041.html


The Right to Ignore

It’s made still more awful by the fact that the “read receipts” feature is on by default, so if you’ve read their IM and haven’t answered, they know it. This is the top overall seed, because read receipts are the worst thing about the Internet. The right to ignore people must be preserved. Anyway, if you get one of these IMs, usher everyone out of the building in which you live, burn it to the ground, and live in the forest until you don’t hear airplanes anymore.

Bois, J. (2015, March 15). The Worst Internet Things bracket. Retrieved from http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/15/8218435/worst-internet-things-bracket


Throaty-chuckle Smoker

I ended up phoning the 1-800 number, and got a throaty-chuckle smoker who sounded like she was handling calls out of her kitchen for extra money, and she noted that a lot of people called because the website was “Confusing.”

Lileks, J. (2014, June 6). The Bleat. Retrieved from http://lileks.com/bleats/archive/14/0614/060614.html


The Science

I kind of lost concentration when he stated, “While conceding that there are a number of reasons why gamers would choose to angrily argue with the science rather than seriously consider its implications,” because of this issue I have regarding people using the phrase “the science” when they mean “the results of studies deemed reliable by many respected people.” Calling it “the” science, as though the matter is entirely settled, strikes me as a rhetorical stunt meant to imply that 1) the point of view being presented is an ironclad absolute truth 2) anyone who is unconvinced must be an ignoramus.

xigxag. (2015, February 7). Re: Social Identity Threat Motivates Science-Discrediting Online Comments [Reader Comment]. Retrieved from http://www.metafilter.com/146830/Social-Identity-Threat-Motivates-Science-Discrediting-Online-Comments#5927873


On a Planet of Two

I thought that his sudden openness was the caprice of a moment, and that if I had looked for him in three months, I would have wasted my time.


We laughed together, and, as we know, there is nothing like humor to burn the distance between two human beings. Laughter has the ability to trigger a thunderbolt of intimacy; you laugh at the same things and you’re not alone anymore. Suddenly, you’re also somewhere very special, on a planet of two. And if you go on laughing together—as we did as our relationship grew deeper, if guardedly, on both sides—you may get a sense that inhabiting that planet for even a fraction of time is something you may risk calling happiness: intense and short-lived though it may be.

Sambuy, L. M. (2015, May 1). You’ll Never Write About Me Again. Retrieved from http://www.believermag.com/issues/201501/?read=article_manera_sambuy









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



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



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