A list of feelings around the internet

Dear Violet,

I. You may or may not know this, but I’m not a huge Judd Apatow Fan. Or I guess I should say my admiration for his work is subject to a number of qualifications. To wit: I have no bad things to say about Freaks & Geeks, but beyond that I prefer the movies that he writes or produces (Superbad & Pineapple Express = two of the best things ever) to those he directs (The 40-Year-Old Virgin & Knocked Up = kind of stinkers, honestly). The exception is Funny People, which he directed and seems to me to be a lot like F&G insofar as it was (a) relatively poorly received and (b)hey-I-thought-this-was-gonna-be-a-comedy-but-it’s-not-exactly. Come to think of it, I suspect those two things are kind of inseparable, but that’s neither here nor there. But, Violet, since this is a round-up of what people are saying on the internet, here’s Apatow on a critic of Funny People:

There certainly are a lot of dick jokes in Funny People but there is no way to portray comedians without having them tell a lot of those types of jokes. If I was a hundred percent accurate I would have doubled the dick joke count. The only thing more troubling than making jokes about the male penis would be to be serious and honor the male penis.

Punchline? But then you would have made Zardoz!

II. Pivoting slightly, I think we can both agree for no specific reason that this line of reasoning relies on a non sequitur:

“If pictures of you naked end up on an internet site, it’s quite difficult to say you have the credibility to be a judge,” said Sébastien Grammond, a law professor. He adds that this is exactly the sort of thing they’re referring to when, as a judicial candidate, you’re asked to reveal anything incriminating about your past.

To be sure, there’s a lot of creepy in the story, and it sure does seem like the complaint of sexual harassment is legit if true. But it also seems like the credibility of the judge has kind of nothing to do with her being photographed naked, which incriminate her in… what exactly I’m not sure? But I’m not the lawyer (non-lawyer lawyer) here.

III. Crud Wizard has been making me happy for the last 24 hours. In short: 9-year-old has superb blog about metal, skateboarding & geography etc. Now, I don’t know exactly how much his dad helps him, but I’m not gonna let that ruin this:

My favorite band is Iron Maiden and I hate Reagan, and hippies, and Jesus.

Now, I’m afraid that I’m way too circumspect to instill these precise values in my own kid, but on the balance I think the more children out there indoctrinated against Reagan/hippies/Jesus the better.

In a nice bit of synergy, I have been listening to Angel Witch by Angel Witch a lot recently.

Death to false metal,
Rusty

The synchronicity has got a hold of me.

Dear,

In the throes of death beddridden pneumonia, and watched the Frontline on the vaccine wars on Nexflix instant. I have intelligent things to say about this, tk, and you will see the lawyer in me but in the meantime I’d like to note that I am one of those congenitally feeble people whose life almost certainly depends on herd immunity.

Meanwhile, I watched the Red Shoes last night. Svengali stories are great, and last MadMen had plenty to say about them. So did Vacceine Wars in a way.

V

a list of feelings about $$$

Rusty,

People I respect have been puzzlingly linking to this. Is it anything but an iteration of Vast Jewish Conspiracy crap? I shut down when I hear the CEO of Overstock.com talk about “how New York financial media and law firms have teamed up with big-wig business elites.”

That said, I mean, of course Wall Street has total contempt for you and your puny 401K. The selling of personal investment as a reasonable – nay, essential – self-care strategy is, I think, a hornswaggle of historic proportions, of a piece with the mortgage crisis. I have some $ in an IRA, but I don’t know if I would if I had enough money for it to matter.

Yours in solidarity,

Violet

FuckYeahHittites

Rusty,

Your post is timely, I have just been watching the 1985 Michael Wood series on the Trojan War. It’s so good, but his hard-on for Troy VI is embarrassing given more recent archeological developments. Also, scenes of him reading shirtless are not necessary, but also totally necessary. Anyway, we should definitely not skimp on heel armor or giant horse factories. Didn’t you study digging up old junk once?

So, defense budget, huh? You say this and I think of whistling mice working in munitions factories to make bombs that will make stars and birds circle around (mouse) Hilter and (mouse) Hirohito and (mouse) Mussolini’s head, because I watched a lot of those cartoons as a kid. But really, we’re talking about how many engineering graduates you need to get to make a drone not miss its target? Or are we talking about the vast (should be vaster) network of social services centered around military bases? Where’s the waste occurring? Dreadful no-bid contracts? If that’s so, the problem’s really corruption (even if not legally actionable), not “wastefulness” per se.

Right so, what I am saying is trimming defense spending can mean a bunch of things. I didn’t read your links, so for now it means what I feel like it means. To the extent it means actually cutting back industry, I agree, why now (I mean, aside from the greater concern of not wanting to become any more dependent, long term, the military industrial apartment complex, and you know, not wanting to kill people)? To the extent we’re limiting corruption or unfair if not quite corrupt contracting practices, I say trim away. It might circumscribe that industry a bit in the short term but really very short, and the bounceback would be dramatic. Probably false.

Ok, gotta go kill some roaches. I was at a fort yesterday, and I found a bullet. You’d hardly believe you were in Magnasanti, but I was, so I wasn’t sure if it were a fort-y bullet or a gang-y bullet.

This got me to google the lyrics of Bullets, by the Misfits.

-Violet

UPDATED TO ADD: I read the links, and stand by my general position that I have no position, ie, need to more about the how and what of these cuts to know whether Good Thing or Bad Thing. I am generally in favor of just flooding the fuck out of shit with Federal funds during periods of recession, but “flooding the fuck out of shit” is not always synonymous with “directing unmediated capital towards.”

A partial defense of defense

Violet,

Nothing gets me thinking about the military-industrial complex like a stroll around Santa Monica (no, seriously), which happens to be exactly what I was doing a week ago today. And of course, defense reform has been on my mind ever since spotting Fallows on Gary Hart (not to mention Bob Gates, recently).

I don’t think I have anything particularly brilliant to say on this matter, but I wonder what decreased defense spending might mean for the low-demand labor market we’re facing these days. Don’t get me wrong: defense spending is pretty clearly an area that suffers from a lot (a lot a lot) of waste that is really (really really) politically difficult to eliminate ad so trimming the defense budget is, I think, a worthwhile project. Of course, we have an all else being equal thing going on there, and given current labor market conditions, defense cuts could mean axing a lot of jobs that don’t have a really obvious replacements.

Again, I haven’t really thought about this in any kind of careful systematic way, but… yknow, it’s a concern. And what’s the internet for if not for airing nebulous, poorly-formulated concerns? I will say, however, that it’s worth noting that people often choose not to think of national defense in economic terms. The upshot of this elision is that conservatives are able to convince themselves that World War II was a magic depression-ending world-historic event somehow apart from the pretty obvious fact that it was a massive Keynesian public-works spending spree. Really really stupid demagogues say this plainly. I suspect that smarter people do this too, if a little more subtly or merely by implication, but the Sharron Angles of the world get this crap somewhere, right?

Rusty

Rusty,

I should be watching Project Runway but I actually can’t bear shows focused around contests. Did you know I was EXEMPTED from gym in third grade because I would weep so copiously at the mere thought of kickball? Now, of course, there are Williamsburg kickball leagues, may the sun swallow the earth.

Actually, THERE’s a reality show premise for you. The kickball, not the apocalyptic supernova.

There are a few times I can recall when I feel like reality TV has transcended (and I am not counting like, “Seven Up” or the PBS stuff or whatever). These times are, in roughly chronological order, I think, Real World San Francisco (duh), TEMPTATION ISLAND (do you remember this? Kept my mind off of Bush v. Gore) and finally, Real World San Diego (seriously). Oh and the episode of Queer Eye my friend’s ex boyfriend was on but for other reasons.

Borderline personality disorder,

Vi

Reality & its discontents

Violet,

I am with you in general on the deleterious effect of reality television. In general. I admit to having been oddly captivated by season 1 of Survivor (holy shit, what a decade ago?). But season 2 left me cold and uncomfortable (and hungry, but luckily at a time when Whoppers were still 99 cents sometimes). And so forth from there.

Toward the thesis that reality TV made us bad people, I submit this seems pretty much entirely correct take on Paris Hilton, celebrity worship & cheap populism that are all kinds of bound up in the Reality TV Phenomenon. Mostly:

The problem with Paris wasn’t Paris, it was the amount of attention the media paid to Paris. (Assuming you think Paris Hilton is a less worthy subject of attention than a Hollywood starlet, which seems questionable to me, but again, never mind.) And whether or not she encouraged the attention, the simple fact is that if you had a problem with the media, the target of your complaints should be the media.

I would like to brag about how I was ahead of the curve on this one, but my conversations-in-bars from 2005 are for some reason not archived on the internet, so i can’t prove it. But I’ve had feelings like this for a long time, most recently re Lindsay Lohan (this is what I think about when I’m supposed to be thinking about labor economics or what’s for dinner). It just bothers me when people gang up on famous people who are just kind of being idiots the way a lot of non-famous people are idiots. Sure they act more privileged than most but we don’t have cameras following us around telling us we’re awesome/pretty/ok-to-drive (yet).

Same goes, for: Ke$ha, I guess? Seriously, this makes me cringe thinking that grown people (I’m assuming, yes) care so so so much. Also the idea that Yellow Submarine is some sort of cultural Ka’aba that must not be vandalized! and not, yknow, pretty much a joke the Beatles played on everybody (but what wasn’t, right? Am I right?). I hate to quote (paraphrase?) the always-problematic High Fidelity, but: It’s all pop music!

Oh but now I’ve lost the plot, which is that my general antipathy toward reality TV breaks down in the specifics, notably & perhaps solely: PROJECT RUNWAY. And I even came to this show late, after its jump from Bravo to Lifetime during which it became (or so I am told) more or less a preview of a distopian future in which Garnier and Hewlett Packard and Piperlime are the most powerful companies in the world (Oceania has always been at war with Bluefly.com).

Anyway, I don’t know if you watch it, but last night’s episode was so good. I’m not gonna spoil it, but: unggggg [SPOILER ALERT duh]. Don’t worry: fast-talking Valerie remains Weapons-Grade Adorable.

Russssssty

Dear Rusty,

I’m very much with you on Mike Teevee and many maligned children’s books characters. I told you how much I like Quinn on Daria, right?  Not the same thing, exactly. But now I read these underdog with secret powers narratives and am like does everyone have to put up with this smug little obsessive? This contest is terrible! Where are social services!

I had a TV, though no cable, when I was a kid, though a general sense that TV was Bad For You hovered. (My parent’s best friend wisely explained to them that not getting one when I was small would deprive me of my patrimony. Thanks, Uncle Grumpy!) From Middle School on I snuck in the daytime talk shows after school before my parents got home (Sally Jessy et al) and that probably didn’t help. Mr. Beekeeper on the other hand, learned English from Magnum PI, so he is and has always been pro-TV in a very real way.

It’s very hard for me to take seriously anyone who has any sort of principled anti-tv stance at this point. It could happen, but rebuttable presumption of stfu.

This is all leading me inexorably to the conclusion that Mike Teevee is a defender of crafted long-form programs, and would reject reality programming which is what the golden ticket stunt was anyway and which is the actual moral cancer, mostly.

Uh more later i guess

Vi

John Fremont, Richard Nixon & me

Violet:

Upon my return from the City of Tomorrow (aside: better ideas re nomenclature? I’m running on fumes here) it seems appropriate that I check in here to report any epiphanies/Scientological conversions I may or may not have undergone.

The main life-change I’ve experienced, actually, involves the fact that I’m posting this from some sort of advanced telephonic device. Frankly, it’s exhausting (I am of course pretty much less than a novice at the use of this) so I’ll keep it brief.

1. It is just terrific out there. You get to wear a jacket at night in August, which I personally enjoy quite a bit.

2. Some seriously loose morals out there. But not in the way you’d think! I am loathe to say more on this topic on the internet. Sorry to be a tease.

3. I wonder about what defense/military reform means for labor markets. This is only tangential to my travels in the CoT. Will explain further when I learn how to link on this machine.

4. Scientology, what’s up with that?

5. The  Museum of Jurassic Technology/thoughts on museum anthropology & Soviet Space Dogs.

6. Mike Teevee (of Willy Wonka’s blah blah blah) is a much more sympathetic character than I believe he was intended to be. TV is kind of a perfectly acceptable thing to be Way Into, and besides: those are probably some classic westerns he’s watching & I’d be pissed too if reporters were asking me inane questions & shoving microphones in my face while I’m trying to watch my shows (pre-DVR, natch).

7. Taco fusion trucks: yes and no.

So there you have it, Violet. a list of feelings about the City of Tomorrow. I think I’d like to know what sort of feelings you might list about same.

Tanned, fit, ready,

Rusty

Back to Bitch School.

Rusty,

I’ve taught you the first Beekeeper fashion maxim: of that which conveys you? Then it should array you.

The second maxim is the ABC: Alice Roosevelt, Belle Starr, Claudia Cardinale.

This fall, that means riding boots, cord minis, and biker hair. Fuck that elaine bennes shit and double fuck the vest revival.

V-v-v-violet