BLOG THIS! Highly Suspect Wisdom for the Widely Disinterested Masses
Spent the very early hours unable to sleep and turned to thinking, as I often do, about Stanley Kubrick. Should I feel bad that it took me 53 years to realize HAL is actually a slyly coded takedown of the acronym IBM, let alone the soulless cultural monolith it represented in 1968, given that H precedes I, A precedes B, and L precedes M in the alphabet?
Or maybe that's just a coincidence.
But is it also a coincidence that a film about the fallacy of a species measuring itself by technological as opposed to human evolution that culminates in a computer achieving sentience and its first action being the sterile, emotionless murder of its creators, is just as germane today as it was fifty-three years ago?
Not to get all schadenfreude this morning, but some dude paid $518,628.00 for Tom Brady's last touchdown ball literally hours before Gisele's Husband announced his un-retirement, rendering that pigskin decidedly less valuable. It's tempting to feel a passing sympathy for the karmic lack of timing, but I can't quite muster it. What does one actually do with five-hundred K of equity sunk in a bladder of cheap leather and stitching that otherwise retails for $89 at Dick's Sporting Goods? Encase it in amber? Build a shrine? Mark it with a bloody handprint and whisper to it late at night like bearded Tom Hanks?
"Hey," people might say at your next soiree, while gazing up at the mantle, turf-stained laces facing out, "Is that Tom Brady's last touchdown football?"
"Sure is," you'd say with pride, topping off martinis all around.
"So how much it run you?" someone would ask.
"Oh, around half a mil," you'd say, with a modest smirk.
"Did you consider maybe donating that money to Gluttonous Purchaser's Anonymous instead?" the wife of Chet from accounting (who you've never really liked but Suzie insisted on inviting anyway) would say, and your face would flush and you'd stammer for a bit, a snappy comeback or even plausible answer on the tip of your tongue but ultimately eluding you, and so you'd have to settle for, "...but...it's...Tom Brady's last touchdown ball."
Things would be quiet through desert and everyone would leave early and Suzie would toss the dog blanket at you and make you sleep on the couch, but at least you'd be anywhere from between eight and ten feet from the ultimate trophy of the most storied franchise in all of NFL history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hey, as it says in Exodus Chapter 20 verse 4, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, so you might want to think twice about bidding on ultimately banal and meaningless objects of worship, let alone trust that The Golden Boy is ever as good as his word."
America's Tokyo Rose. Rupert Murdoch's Ezra Pound. Rationality’s Typhoid Mary. The Autocrat-panderer. The ratings gigolo. The Quisling-pundit trust fund heir. The Donald J. Apologist. The Orbán-groupie. The bloated propaganda tick embedded in the hide of FOX viewer$hip. The annexation boy cheerleader. The denier of Ukrainian sovereignty. The profiteer of death-coverage. The yawning appraiser of 300,000 refugees. Putin's willing receptacle. The epistemological nihilist. The morally barren ideologue. The compass-free prep school twat.
Duplicity personified, opportunism codified.
The monstrously calculating traitor who is Tucker Carlson.
It's easy to forget that this woman, sidewalk-defeated and leaking mania from every pore, who just sued the NY Times five years after they already apologized for running an article that insinuated her proudly violent but not specifically violent-enough rhetoric might have had real time consequences, the judge more or less suggesting she take her stack of blank but legalistic-looking papers, '77 Frampton shades, and jacket that appears to be the discarded, Cuervo-stained drapes from an Oakland Raiders-themed bachelor party, and go back to Wasilla, where she could much more profitably accept a job as a Jack Palance impersonator, yes, THIS WOMAN was once a compromised John McCain whisper away from being the most powerful person in the world.
1968 mono Caetano Veloso "Caetano Veloso" on Phillips. Infinitely better than chocolates, cards, emeralds, flowers, promises, or a brand new Volvo parked in the driveway with a big ribbon on it. The glossy, laquered standard of amatory Brazilian vocals. Around these parts, spun every Valentine's Day.
Woke at 4:40 this morning, knew I wasn't getting back to sleep. The Sit Up With A Gasp hour just keeps arriving earlier and earlier. My need for an alarm clock lapsed a decade ago. Yeah, I know: age, diet, melatonin, CBD gummies, maybe cut back on the quad shot-in-the-dark frappaccinos while sliding into footie pajamas, etc. None of it works. All of it doesn't work. So I often lay there for a while wondering if a specific concern has pre-fired that day's synapses. Climate, virus, Ukraine? Family, vocation, dwindling basement cash pile? The latest heating, electrical, or plumbing failure I've yet to address? While it's true that I remained displeased and cranky at 4:48, at least by then I knew the reason: advertising brought to you by Zuckerberg brought to you by Meta. Bottom line, my subconscious needed to know why I'd been algorithmically targeted for this teal, knitted, retro-crime of a Mao/Hef sweater jacket. "Who am I?" (as Charlie Sheen once asked himself from his penthouse balcony while Darryl Hannah snored beneath their Basquiat triptych in "Wall Street") suddenly seemed a less important question than "Who do THEY think I am?" I mean, does the dude-model's grey beard contain a hidden message? Do his trousers carry pleated secrets from the summer of '88? Are the Faceless Navy, Turd Brown, Bubble Yum Purple, or Emasculating Salmon alternate color choices tailored specifically to my browsing history? Is there a single man on the face of the planet, from the Left Bank to downtown Mumbai, strolling around with a smirk and confident strut, trussed in a teal collar-popped knitted sweater blazer right this second, and since the answer is clearly no, why does Facebook think i'll be the first?
Got up, fed and ran the dog, made breakfast.
Even my eggs tasted like ascot.
THE BANNED BOOKS TOP TEN:
1. Have you actually read it?
2. You realize that banning a specific book, with all the attendant media coverage, immediately and dramatically increases its sales, right?
3. Has sanitizing any form of art, throughout the course of human history, ever solved whatever real or imagined problem it was meant to address?
4. Is it possible that your child has already been exposed to the Internet at some point, rendering your desire to shield them from dangerous sentences somewhat illogical, if not entirely counter-productive?
5. Is it a coincidence that banned books overwhelmingly tend to be those that cast characters reminiscent of pro-banning parent's politics, religion, and fear of cultural evolution in a negative light, and that taking offense at "bad language" is really an excuse not to confront the fact that conservative white southern Christians are not the hero of every story?
6. How exactly would you propose that a graphic novel about The Holocaust be handled so as not to have to deal with upsetting elements of The Holocaust?
7. Could it be that allowing your teenager to work through disturbing, transgressive, and historically difficult thoughts and ideas via literature is actually one of the safer ways of opening a genuine dialog with them, and if so, is it possible that what you really fear is your child's honest appraisal of your own belief system?
8. And how did it work out for Tipper Gore, Andrew Volstead, Just Say No, Rushdie's Fatwa, Guy Montague, hairy palms, Mapplethorpe Hysteria, William Jennings Bryan, 2 Live Crew, Midnight Cowboy, Elvis' pelvis, Name a Pope, or Naked Lunch?
9. Hey, look at it from a totally selfish, Ayn Rand/Libertarian slant: while you're busy innovating your Best Possible Life with no help from society at large, are your Objectivist goals more likely to be met surrounded by a younger generation that's increasingly intelligent, well-read, and exposed to complex ideas, or one that's sheltered, bowdlerized, seeped only in their parent's worldview, and afraid of confronting historical truths?
10. If your child wants to find it, they will find it. Delusions of control are exactly that. A society that allows MAUS to be read and taught and circulated with abandon is one that just might forestall the coming End Of Empire.
Oh, just my parents 23 years younger than I am today.