August 8, 2022

"Nobody really understands Hieronymus Bosch."


So begins the essay "What's So Contemporary About Hieronymous Bosch" by Dean Kissick (at Spike), which I'm reading after blogging about an illustration about Elon Musk by Cold War Steve.

I found Cold War Steve's Twitter feed and messaged this other illustration of his to Meade:

"The question is whether Musk’s attempted jilting of Twitter is just one more sideshow on a general path to business glory or evidence that he’s immolating..."

"... like one of those Starship prototypes. So far, his 2022 has included multiple accusations of racial discrimination from employees; a resurfaced sexual-harassment allegation from a SpaceX flight attendant; the recall of nearly 600,000 Tesla vehicles; animal-cruelty complaints against Neuralink; the discovery of three publicly unacknowledged children; and a Wall Street Journal claim that [blah blah blah].... None of these scandals hung around for long enough to inflict much damage in part because he tweeted right through them, creating an endless diversion. Lately, there seems to be something purposeful about how Musk tweets the news, muscling his way into trending topics like a one-man bot farm. A tag cloud for one of his slower weeks may include climate, COVID, free speech, the 2024 election, abortion, gun control, the Russia-Ukraine war, UFOs, crypto, Elden Ring, the Johnny Depp–Amber Heard trial, and more. He has spread himself through every cultural jurisdiction so that he’s always the top story no matter which news bubble you’re in...."

From "What Is Elon Musk? And how is it possible that he could emerge from his Twitter debacle more culturally dominant than ever?" by Lane Brown (NY Magazine).

I love the illustration, by Cold War Steve. Please click through to see the whole image. I will share only a small part, less than 20% of what's there, but including some of my favorite parts, such as the word "shorts" (part of "Crypto Shorts" in the full image) and Trump in ("sexy" shorts):

 

"That music makes the ad sound like an SNL bit. Dude, you're Darth Vader. Pay for the rights to 'Enter Sandman.'"

Said Kate in the comments to my 8:03 post "You know that Dick Cheney ad would be better without that music in the background...."

In honor of Kate's delightful comment, I've made this playlist... because even as Dick Cheney has variations — from Darth Vader to dear old Wyoming dad — "Enter Sandman" has its many moods:

"If you, like me, had been compartmentalizing a Trump 2024 run for mental-health purposes, I’m sorry to break it to you..."

"... but he looks like a man who is definitely running for president in 2024. His CPAC speech this weekend was a rude awakening as to both his intentions and the strength he would bring to that campaign."

There was no bigger roar from the crowd during the speech than during the following section, and there was no bigger shit-eating grin on his burnt-toast face than the one that came following the roar: 

Things I found on Twitter after the sidebar told me "No. They" is trending.

I have no idea what got the algorithm to identify "No. They" as a trend, but I can see that it automatically picks out posts that has "they" separated from a "no" that is followed by a punctuation mark. This is such a common occurrence in casual English that this "trend" works to make Twitter look more random. Randomness is more amusing than most of what goes on in Twitter, so I'm up for the "No. They" trend... at least until I hear that it's actually something disturbing/depressing/annoying/agitating like just about everything else that's a Twitter trend.

"You know that Dick Cheney ad would be better without that music in the background"/"Oh, yeah? How much better?"

Overheard at Meadhouse.

I'm seeing that ad this morning, because WaPo dragged me in with a lurid headline: "That Cheney ad speaks volumes about the GOP’s rot." That's a column by Jennifer Rubin. Does she say that Dick Cheney used to be considered the GOP's rot and now he looks like the virtuous one, but it's just a matter of comparison, and that goes to show how rotten the GOP is?

Now, I've read the piece, and the answer to my question is no. Dick Cheney's reputation as the "dark lord" has evanesced. To refresh your memory, here's an Atlantic article that worked hard — back in August 2011 — to refresh the memory of the evil of Cheney: "Remembering Why Americans Loathe Dick Cheney/As the former vice-president releases his memoir, it's useful to recall the many reasons Americans disapproved of his tenure" (by Conor Friedersdorf):

"Rather than working late on a Friday evening, organising the annual team-building trip to Slough or volunteering to supervise the boss’s teenager on work experience..."

"... the quiet quitters are avoiding the above and beyond, the hustle culture mentality, or what psychologists call 'occupational citizenship behaviours.'... TikTok posts about quiet quitting may have been inspired by Chinese social media: #TangPing, or lying flat, is a now-censored hashtag apparently prompted by China’s shrinking workforce and long-hours culture.... 'The search for meaning has become far more apparent. There was a sense of our own mortality during the pandemic, something quite existential around people thinking "What should work mean for me? How can I do a role that’s more aligned to my values?"'"

From "Quiet quitting: why doing the bare minimum at work has gone global/The meaninglessness of modern work – and the pandemic – has led many to question their approach to their jobs" (The Guardian). 

I blogged about quiet quitting 2 weeks ago, here. And I blogged about tangping in June 2021, here. And click my tag "idleness" for various manifestations of my interest in this concept over the years — my blogging years. 

But I've been interested in it for as long as I remember. The Guardian article mentions "Bartleby, the Scrivener," which had a big impact on me when I was a high school student. Talk about a quiet quitter! 

Somewhat noisier examples from my high school English classes that got into my head: "Walden" and "The World Is Too Much With Us":

August 7, 2022

At the Sunday Night Café...

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... you can write about anything you want.

The photograph was taken by Meade  (on August 1st).

Here are 5 TikToks to amuse you tonight. Let me know what you liked best.

1. A short philosophy movie.

2. Passing people on hikes.

3. Elvis, without the music.

4. The amazing geography of Utah — Part 1 and Part 2.

5. Death bed.

Students at Imperial College London object to a sculpture "because of its 'obvious' interpretation as a person baring their erect penis."

The Guardian reports, in "Antony Gormley’s ‘phallic’ statue may damage our reputation, say students Imperial College/Union motion says students should have been consulted on work, due to ‘obvious’ erect penis interpretation."
[The students] note that while there is “nothing inherently wrong with phallic imagery in art”, the phallic interpretation’s preoccupation with the penis could be considered inappropriate for a grand public display. 
One of the key concerns for the union was the “exclusionary” phallic interpretation, when scientific research has been beset with issues around gender ratio and inclusion....
“College publicity regarding the statue chose an angle that avoided making the statue appear phallic,” the motion added. “This suggests that this interpretation, and backlash, was not unforeseen by some individuals within the college”....

The artist claims that he intended to represent a squatting man. But why would he choose squatting? That's suggestive of defecating. The title of the sculpture is "Alert." What's more alert — squatting or standing with an erect penis?

The artist says: "Balancing on the balls of the feet while squatting on its haunches and surveying the world around it the attitude of the sculpture is alive, alert and awake." Sorry. I'm not buying it. 

I found that via Instapundit, who writes

"We Earthlings lug around a very long and daunting list of Things We Don’t Know. The new telescope can chip away at them..."

"The fact that there are so many unknowns should not be confused with the silly notion that we don’t know anything at all. [That] is not an intellectual argument so much as a moral one, a kind of chastisement for arrogating to ourselves the belief that we can understand our physical reality. Hogwash. If you lived a few centuries ago and asked an astronomer how many light-years distant is the Andromeda Galaxy, the answer might be 'What’s a light-year?' (and also 'What’s a galaxy?')... Maybe one reason it is so hard to understand some of the fundamental features of the universe is that it’s outrageous on its face. It is packed with untold trillions of stars and galaxies and planets and moons.... If the universe were much simpler — just a lot of hydrogen and helium floating around — it wouldn’t be as inscrutable. It would be just a big, boring gasbag.... Maybe someday we’ll figure out gravity, cosmic destiny and life on other worlds, but for now let’s just remember that we’re making progress on the great unknowns...."

"Hunter Biden said his obsession with naked selfies was a result of 'body dysmorphia,' according to a rambling screed found in the notes of his hard drive."

The NY Post reports.
“I loved to be reassured that my 9-inch very big penis was actually big. It may sound funny to you but its [sic] body dysmorphia … I know my penis is almost twice the size of an average man’s penis,” the first son wrote on July 12, 2018.
He's right. It does sound funny to me.

This isn't funny:

Texted at Meadhouse.

"If the president is working so hard to free someone who is in jail in Russia for some weed, shouldn’t we free people in America?"

"There are people in jail in America for the same stuff. Shouldn’t we free them too? My opinion is that people should not be in jail for non-violent drug crimes."

Elon Musk said what many of us have been thinking. He's quoted at "Elon Musk gives scalding take on Biden’s push to free Brittney Griner" (NY Post).

In other Brittney Griner news at the NY Post:

Why is it funny to ask pro golfers what they think of the breakup of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson?

Last night, I linked to this TikTok video (as one of 9 TikTok videos that amused me).

The commenter Wilbur politely requested an explanation:
AA, if I may directly pose you a question: What was it about the pro golfer TikTok that you found amusing? Not criticizing your choice, just curious as to what I missed. 
I'm not a KK hater, although I've never heard of Pete Davidson. It came across as wholly mundane to Wilbur, not even sarcastic. I suspect the question would elicit the same reactions from people across most segments of the population.
Because the request was so respectful, I decided to try to spell it out what had been, for me, an instinctive reaction:

August 6, 2022

Sunrise — 5:36, 5:37, 5:48.

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Write about anything you want in the comments.