Friday, February 09, 2018

The kids aren’t alright

Some comedian (Doug Stanhope maybe?) has a bit about today’s youth being the first in history to be lamer than their parents. It’s a funny bit, but probably more a correct observation than intended. What are those “crazy kids” up to these days? They’re eating tide pods? Washing their own mouths out with soap I guess. Did they say something naughty? (Or worse yet, “problematic.”) When I see a group of teens I can’t even produce a slight concern for any antic they could be up to, I half expect them to tell me to “stop slouching.” If I run into a college aged group, I’d rather they go get their parents so I can chat with someone who won’t shame me for smoking a cigarette.

Anyway, who knew Quincy Jones would be the one to make America great again?

Monday, January 08, 2018

Hollywood Award Shows are Basically Advertisements for Trump

Given the “resistance” has grounded itself in moralism, it’s perfect Oprah Winfrey is the latest hope. She has trash politics, but gave a speech that sounded wonderful but would have only really mattered before #metoo had “startup” potential. Oprah Winfrey is a retired billionaire in charge of a media empire. She surely could have revealed that Weinstein was a predator, an open secret within Hollywood, without losing her livelihood. Instead she was giving him kisses on another one of those fancy Trump ads. Do we still wonder why calling Trump a hypocrite isn’t the devastating political argument many liberals imagine it to be?

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018 needs reckless speech

I can’t remember which set it is in, but Dave Chapelle seems to be genuinely worried his children will never hear “reckless speech” in his new Netflix special. He isn’t worried about the government, he’s worried about the self appointed cultural police on twitter. The political tradition that once embraced transgression, at least partially, has now turned into a sort of secular version of the “moral majority.” Trump has broken so many brains, morialism is the height of our “resistance” politics. 

We desperately need more reckless speech in 2018. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Someone get the CDC a thesaurus!

I feel like this may be one of those stories that is quietly walked back in a week or so. Government bureaucracies are nothing if not committed to absolutely staying the same, and they can get around a word ban with little change in intent. Trump is hilariously committed to breaking brains of the liberal pundit class and his half-wit base loves it. It’s really all he has, as he hasn’t been able to get much else done. (Please don’t remind me of the tax bill that is all but certain to become law.)

Identity entrepreneurs

 The thing that sticks out to me when I read this wasn’t that a small percentage of people choose to have more than one “partner” (I normally hate describing human relationships in such a businessy way, but in this this case it works). I understand if you aren’t monogamous yet need to get married for financial purposes, that’s something we need to change as a society, but as things are today I get that. I understand being open about that with your “partners.” That’s actually commendable compared to the opposite. But people lose me when they start conjuring up specific identities to describe what essentially is a person having multiple lovers. Yeah, having more than one “partner” isn’t exactly socially acceptable everywhere, but it’s also been happening since time immemorial.

 Typically identities are created by a slow and complex process that ultimately reflects material conditions even if the “realness” of the identity is socially constructed. These people want to skip the whole “social construction” part. I call them “identity entrepreneurs.” In certain left-liberal bubbles having a distinct identity, or even an identity on top of an identity, gives you a niche personality that has a sort of radicalness to it, and even some authority. This can be a good incentive to start layering identities. In truth, calling for higher taxes is a greater threat to the ruling class than calling yourself a “pan-sexual,” but who are you going to remember meeting at a party?

 This search for identities is a symptom of the general shittiness of politics today, from the left to the right, where identity is valued over universality. This is bad news for those of us on the left, as identity is the right’s playing field. We play on their terms we lose. Focusing on the issues that appeal to the widest swath of people is the left’s bread and butter, and has the added bonus of disproportionately affecting society’s most marginalized in a positive way. This is leftism 101. If we don’t relearn this, we continue to lose.