Russell Brand may be a moderately annoying, narcissistic Adderall Admiral, but I agree with him on one thing: “shit’s complicated.” Yeah, that sounds trite, but I’m getting sick of blowhards getting paid to read out a White House or Pentagon or Brookings press release and pretending like that was a mic drop. Or, just as bad, Twitterati goblins “going with their gut” when they have absolutely no fucking idea what they’re talking about: no sense of nuance, no respect for context, knowledge of history, no examination of moneyed interests, etc.
The obvious easy path for the commentariat class is to finger an evil scapegoat: Putin, Trump, Biden, AOC. These people may or may not suck, all in totally different ways, but none of them is *singlehandedly* responsible for a whole lot beyond their own self-aggrandizement.
So what’s a poor citizen to do when all the “experts” have direct vested interests in spinning the story this way or that? How do you get to the bottom of things? Are the contours of violence in Ukraine ultimately being shaped by Putin? U.S.? NATO? Corporate interests? Arms sales? Oil? Media manipulation? The answer is probably yes and yes. And as long as we’re being grossly reductive, can this all be neatly summed up by the Seven Deadly Sins? The answer is again yes, if reordered with greed on top. REPENT
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You think flying is boring? And you’re all out of Xanax? Well, make your own fun! It’s often said that flight attendants get no respect, but in exchange for their crabby attitudes, you earn the right to fuck with them a little. Ask for something you know they don’t have, like “Indian food,” “exercise bands,” or “wheat beer.” Or ring the service bell and when the attendant shows up, tell them there’s a guy a few rows up who “keeps looking at you.”
Non-confrontational types can quietly while away the hours imagining what each flight attendant looks like when they’re on the toilet, or having sex. Or what kind of music they listen to. E.g. the petite stewardess with the beverage cart might wrinkle her nose while shitting. And although unlikely, how great would it be if that bitter old queen up in first class actually did listen to Nu Metal?
How do bits of folksy wisdom get popular? Some pedo priest or an old crone in a country kitchen somewhere noticed a pattern and whittled it down to 10 words or less. Then a community college MBA put it on a coffee mug and started selling it for $6.99.
For instance, “a watched pot never boils.” Wrong. I’ve done it. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Not true; absence makes you forget. With enough absence, a lot of the time you just think “well, thank fucking God THAT’S over with.”
Then there are the folksy motivational slogans. “Follow your dreams” makes no sense: you can’t go back in time, or fly through the air. Also, murder is illegal.
As for “go big or go home,” that’s not a great motivator because I actually like my home. I’m fine with going home.
I recently saw a t-shirt reading “No Regrets.” Who the hell has no regrets? Narcissists and simpletons, that’s who. I’m like a regret onion. If you peeled away all the layers of regret, there’d be nothing left.
Some guy wrote a bit of fake-folk wisdom in my high school yearbook. He wrote: “Grow old along with me / The best is yet to be.” I don’t know what enrages me more, the homespun affect (rhyming two-letter words!) or the message. Really, was the best yet to be? Which part, the surveillance state? Internet culture? The forever wars? Which was the best part? I really want to know. If he meant “death,” then we might have something to talk about, but I honestly don’t think that was his angle.
Finance and economics—the pimp and priest, er I mean twin sciences, of capital—are remarkably consistent. You can always count on economists to bicker and squabble, guaranteeing that monetary predictions and policy will remain murky, opaque, and free from serious review, ensuring that Nothing Will Fundamentally Change.®
Meanwhile, finance never fails to find a way to invisibly pick people’s pockets and then make them pay a fee for the service. One hint that finance is a rapacious, amoral enterprise is its language: a combination of corporate buzzwords and ultraviolence. Consider the term “financial instruments.” In a musical context, instruments are tools to create, elevate and inspire. If only we could all imagine elegant, refined bankers playing violins, cellos, and timpani in a harmonious worldwide monetary orchestra.
But a more appropriate context would be a medical one. Picture a stainless steel table covered with carefully arranged surgical implements, for example as seen in the Saw or Hostel movies (you know Hostel is an allegory for the endgame of neoliberal capitalism, right?) Instruments are for splitting, tearing, gouging, and excising; and collateralized debt obligations are really no exception.
It costs the US $13 million per year per detainee in Guantanamo! With 39 detainees still remaining in 2022, that’s half a billion dollars every year to run an American gulag!
THEY CAN’T BE TRIED IN COURT BECAUSE THEY’VE ALL BEEN TORTURED
Adolf Hitler was born on 4/20! WTFGOOGLE THAT SHIT
You’re far more likely to die by poisoning, suicide, falling down, or car crash than by homicide! The chances of your child being abducted by a total stranger: ~1 in 700,000!DEXTER IS ONLY A TV SHOW
One thing I’ve noticed about kids these days is that many of them simply will not shut the fuck up, no matter how many times you remind them that they’re “wasting everyone else’s time.” After corporal punishment was removed from education, the only sticks left to use on students were public shaming, yelling, and calling the parents. Today, using any of those tactics could get you banned from teaching forever, maybe even land you in jail for child abuse. When I was a kid, if you messed up, you went to the principal’s office, which was a pretty big deal. But at the last school where I worked, kids sent to the principal’s office were literally given candy. I’m not making this up, ask anyone.
Anyway, now my main approach when students are lipping off and interrupting is to stop and stare at them. Like, kind of weird them out. It works some of the time. The rest of the time, I just check my watch and wait for the hour to be over. Ultimately I have the last laugh, because I get paid no matter what, and at the end of the day, they’re ten years old and pretty dumb compared to me.
What inspired the medical community to use Greek letters for the Covid-19 variants? Here’s a better idea: license the names of thrash metal bands. That would be a win-win: the record labels would reap massive new sales on old inventory, and how fun and thrilling would it be for the customer to face the Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem, and Slayer variants! I mean it still sucks to get sick, but I personally think it would take the sting out of things to know that you got hit with, say, the Pantera virus.
Indeed: Let No Good Crisis Go To Waste®.The same is true for hurricanes, which should be christened things like “Ivan,” “Donald,” “Ilhan,” and “Hunter.”
I’ve cut my own hair since I was in high school. There was a period of time in the mid-90s when my wife convinced me that I needed to start getting real haircuts from a downtown salon. And it was awfully nice of her to pay for the first few appointments. I guess that was supposed to get me accustomed to caring about my personal appearance. But now, when I stop to think about the half-dozen pro cuts I bought back then, I kind of see red, which is the opposite of green. That was probably like five haircuts at $100 apiece. I could really use that $500 right about now.
“The hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps” — Thomas Friedman, NY Times, 1999
The list of warning labels attached to video content continues to grow. It used to be just “contains sex|violence|profanity,” but thanks to the War on Microaggressions, you’re now flagged in advance whenever there may be the potential to view dark themes, flashing lights, or God forbid, cigarette smoking. Those three categories probably cover every single movie I’ve ever liked. I think it’s weird that these areas are deemed “harmful,” but what about the potential damage done to society at large from watching, say, Sex and the City, or Dawson’s Creek?
If we’re going down the over-labelling path, let’s at least be consistent. I'd appreciate a message like: “CAUTION: the following contains scenes championing the values of selfishness, greed, and vapidity.”
|Virulent critic of American imperialism and hegemony||Has never seen a single episode of Jackass|
|Pioneering work countering media’s bias, and complicity in crimes against humanity||Does not play any musical instruments||Has consistently defended the rights of the working class||Cannot throw a football|
|Dry, ironic gallows humor||Zero experience with mushrooms or DMT|
How do surfers decide whether or not to paddle out at any given spot? I’ve always relied on eyesight, experiential knowledge, and oceanographic data readings. Millennials have a totally different system. Their judgments rely on a few major factors:
Student 1: I’m looking forward to dying.
Student 2: You are? Why?
Student 1: Because then my life would be over. No more responsibilities.
Yawny: Yeah, rest in peace. Right?
Student 1: Exactly!
If you want to save money, you used to be able to put your cash under a mattress. But now, thanks to inflation, that mattress appears to be infested with a family of paper-chewing rodents.
Well, I guess you could try the banks. They’ll put your hard-earned cash into a savings account for you and deliver a handsome 1% return if you’re lucky. That’s like your bank killing 1 out of the 8 rats living in your mattress. In the meantime, the other 7 rats are still living the dream.
I guess that leaves…tanking markets in either stocks or crypto. Take your pick of PANIC MODE
The hilarious thing is that home ownership and college tuition still require lifetime debt service for all but the ultrarich. And credit cards are still charging 15-20% APRs. So I guess the answer, since Americans don’t really go in for austerity programs, is to go snort fentanyl under a bridge.