May 25, 2019

At the White Dot Café...


... write something.

"Our spreadsheets hammered home that what contributed most to our happiness was time spent together or with friends — while, crucially, not working — and there was no way to get more of that..."

"... if we continued to live in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive parts of the country. So I proposed an idea that would have seemed radical were there not so much data backing it: 'I think you should quit your job, we should sell our house, and we should move somewhere cheaper,' I told my husband matter-of-factly one day. So we did.... In addition to leading to a better understanding of what made us happy as a family, I also found the spreadsheet to be an incredibly useful tool for expressing things I might have otherwise avoided. It made the invisible visible. Instead of arguing about housework, for example, both feeling like we were doing more than our fair share, we could talk about it relatively objectively.... Far from making our marriage seem cold and robotic, the spreadsheet sparked more honest conversations than we’d had in years. It also reminded us that we had more control over our lives than we had been exerting...."

From "The Surprising Benefits of Relentlessly Auditing Your Life/We tend to think that good marriages and happy families are born of love and care, not spreadsheets. But what if that’s wrong?" by Amy Westervelt (NYT).

"As some time has passed I've realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then It Fell Apart are very valid."

"I also fully recognize that it was truly inconsiderate of me to not let her know about her inclusion in the book beforehand, and equally inconsiderate for me to not fully respect her reaction. I have a lot of admiration for Natalie, for her intelligence, creativity, and animal rights activism, and I hate that I might have caused her and her family distress. I tried to treat everyone I included in Then It Fell Apart with dignity and respect, but nonetheless it was truly inconsiderate for me to not let them know before the book was released. So for that I apologize, to Natalie, as well as the other people I wrote about in Then It Fell Apart without telling them beforehand. Also I accept that given the dynamic of our almost 14 year age difference I absolutely should've acted more responsibly and respectfully when Natalie and I first met almost 20 years ago."

Instagrams Moby.

It's a real apology, I think, but within a particular scope. He's saying three specific things: 1. He should have informed her that the writing was going to come out (not that he would have given her veto power or would have changed any of what he wrote, such as the fact she seems to dispute, that they "dated"), 2. He should have been more respectful of her feelings about what he wrote (not that he shouldn't have written what he did that caused these feelings), and 3. He should have been more respectful and responsible when they actually had that relationship (though he doesn't say exactly what he would have done differently and certainly doesn't concede that he was wrong to pursue a relationship with her).

There are 2 earlier posts on this celebrity psychodrama, so if you don't know what this post is about, click on the "Moby" tag and bone up before commenting that you don't understand. And please don't comment about not liking to talk about Moby/Natalie. Just go cheerfully on your way. Or grumpily.

"Graysexuality is fascinating because we get to watch the process of a new orientation being constructed in real time."

Writes Ozymandias at Thing of Things:
Graysexuality is fascinating because we get to watch the process of a new orientation being constructed in real time.
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network defines graysexuality as the following:

Sexuality is not black and white; some people identify in the gray (spelled “grey” in some countries) area between asexual and sexual. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who:
  • do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes
  • experience sexual attraction, but a low sex drive
  • experience sexual attraction and drive, but not strongly enough to want to act on them
  • people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances
Graysexuality can be a very broad term, and it’s easy to misinterpret what people mean about it from a definition. Here are some examples of graysexual experiences people I’ve talked to have had:

That video that made Nancy Pelosi's speech seem worse than usual is — according to Hillary Clinton — "sexist trash."

USA Today reports.

Clinton was talking about Trump's tweeting this (and she said this shows that "Trump is running scared):

First, I'm tired — and was tired long ago — of the Hillary Clinton theory that every attack on a woman is "sexist." Women in high positions need to be attackable or I don't want them in high positions. So that theory will perversely push me into the sexist position that women should not hold high positions.

Second, the video Trump tweeted is not the video of Pelosi that was determined to have been "doctored."

Here's the WaPo article about that other video, "Faked Pelosi videos, slowed to make her appear drunk, spread across social media." There is something bad about Pelosi's real speech and slowing it down makes the badness quite obvious, but that doesn't mean there's something wrong with showing any video that focuses us on the badness, and it's certainly not sexist to mock a politician's bad speech. Of course, Trump's speech is mocked all the time. One of the points in favor of having Trump as the President is that we feel so free to mock him. To vote for someone deemed unmockable would sacrifice a highly valuable freedom — the freedom to mock the President.

USA Today bolsters its presentation of Clinton's opinion with: "Clinton was the victim of fake videos during the 2016 election, which were designed to make her seem sick while campaigning." That's one hell of a victim card. And what was the fake video? I remember this video:

And there were videos of her coughing a lot. USA has no link on its assertion about fake videos. We need to worry about whether there's fake news about fake news. But that's okay. Be suspicious. If there's one thing that triggers my skepticism, it's the idea that Hillary Clinton has special "victim" status making her political rhetoric especially credible.

ADDED: Here's an example of focus on Trump speaking badly:

Eyewitness testimony versus circumstantial evidence.

ADDED: A crease can ruin your dream of the Presidency, but don't forget that a crease can lift your dream. Remember?
I remember distinctly an image of — we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.

"What the researchers found is that among social liberals... reading a text about white privilege did nothing to significantly increase their sympathy toward the plight of poor blacks."

"But... 'it did significantly bump down their sympathy for a [hypothetical] poor white person.' (Among conservative participants, there was observed no significant change in attitudes at all.) What accounts for this? One possibility is that social liberals are internalizing white-privilege lessons in a way that flattens the image of whites, portraying all of them as inherently privileged. So if a white person is poor, it must be his or her own fault. After all, they’ve had all sorts of advantages in life that others haven’t."

From "What Does Teaching ‘White Privilege’ Actually Accomplish? Not What You Might Think (Or Hope)" by Zaid Jilani (Quillette).

What if "white privilege" is a sign for the empathy off-ramp?

"I know a guy — he collects unemployment even though he’s employed — who just had his teeth veneered bright white, with ceramic laminates."

"I ran into him recently, and he dropped to his knees to coo over how my puppy has grown. As he went to kiss her freckled nose, he flashed his crocodile smile. That same week, I heard from another guy — last I knew, he was a real mess, drove his marriage off a cliff, with his kids in the back seat — letting me know he’s now a life coach and focus counselor. He wants to help me live my best life and was offering me a 20 percent discount."

I just think it's funny that those are the first 5 sentences of an article about artichokes — "Don’t Fear the Artichoke. Cook It Whole."

Vegetables have gotten so meaningful lately. There was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez politicizing cauliflower and yearning for "yucca" (presumably yuca).

By the way, for a meaningful dose of artichokes, you might want to see the revival of the Sam Shepard play "Curse of the Starving Class," which is off Broadway until June 2. They throw a lot of artichokes around in that play. I literally got hit by artichokes, sitting in the front row in 1978. I can't remember what the artichokes meant, but they were important. I remember getting hit and I remember the line "So that's what artichokes smell like" but I don't remember what they were supposed to mean, though of course they had to mean something, since everything in a play means something.

The artichoke is the most fearsome vegetable. All those points, and if one sticks you, it might still hurt the next day, as if those stickers are venomous.

I was going to punch up this post with other vegetables in pop culture (other than those artichokes in "Starving Class"), but it was hard to Google. I thought I had something in "Eating Your Cultural Vegetables," a 2011 NYT article, but it's about watching movies and TV shows that are supposed to be good for you (i.e., metaphorical vegetables).
In college, a friend demanded to know what kind of idiot I was that I hadn’t yet watched Tarkovsky’s “Solaris.” “It’s so boring,” he said with evident awe. “You have to watch it, but you won’t get it.”...

A friend messages me: “Oh, you have to see ‘Mildred Pierce,’ ” and she’s right: I do have to.... But that doesn’t mean that, as Kate Winslet bakes yet another pie, I won’t sometimes wonder if those five hours might be more profitably spent aspiring in a different direction: exercising, maybe, or reading a book or just watching 10 episodes of the hilarious (and not at all contemplative) cartoon “Bob’s Burgers.”...
Yes, why watch something long if you prefer reading or exercising, both of which are at least as good for you as some aspirational film or TV series? Lately, the only TV I watch is "Jeopardy!" Do you think James Holzhauer has had his teeth veneered with bright white ceramic laminates?

May 24, 2019

At the Mendota Café...


... you can talk all night.

"Liberals bully people who are Trump supporters!" — says Kanye West (in an interview with David Letterman).

The Daily Beast reports.
In the midst of a somewhat confusing argument about his “fear” as a man during the #MeToo movement, Kanye says, “This is like my thing with Trump—we don’t have to feel the same way, but we have the right to feel what we feel.” When he wears his “Make America Great Again” hat, he says it’s “not about politics” but rather an attempt to break the stigma around showing support for Trump....

“So if I see a person that I admire talking about Donald Trump can think whatever he does,” [Letterman] says, “I wonder if those thoughts, indirectly, aren’t hurting people who are already being hurt.”...
[Kanye] expresses sympathy for Trump voters who are “treated like enemies of America because that’s what they felt.”...

“Have you ever been beat up in your high school for wearing the wrong hat?” [says Kanye]. Asked who is doing the bulk of the bullying in America right now, he replies, “Liberals bully people who are Trump supporters!”
I found that story because I could see something people were googling today was sending traffic to an old post of mine ("We can infer that Kanye West, Russell Simmons, and Sean Combs declined to talk to the NYT about Donald Trump" (August 2017)).

ADDED: Speaking of old articles about Trump and rappers, I'm reading the July 2015 New Yorker article "Donald Trump Is a Rapper" (by Jelani Cobb):
Donald Trump was gifted with a surname that already sounds like a rapper’s nom de microphone.... Trump’s combativeness and overt egomania... is precisely the behavior we expect—nay, demand—from hip-hop artists....

Hip-hop has been a leading force in what might be called the un-ironic American self-homage.... [Trump's] enduring presence as a figure of public interest is directly tied to the way he offers an aspirational identity that appeals, in particular, to working-class men....

None of this will get him elected.... [M]ostly Trump is simply played out. Preening egotism has a limited shelf life, even for rappers. This is his fraction of a moment of possibility in a campaign that, like a new single buoyed by hype and shock value, grabs the public when it’s released, then falls completely off the charts.

Facebook has a heart... a blackish-green, mystifyingly obscure heart.

Here's the graphic at the top of my Facebook feed this morning:

"Groups"... what are they? If I'm not in "groups," is my Facebook presence heartless?

Should I be doing something with birds?

Should I identify with the adult woman in the graphic, the bulky, mittened figure in blue whose upper body and head seem to be merged with a crow?

Should I be throwing the symbol for radioactivity  at an aggressive goose or swan?

What is wanted of me?

Is a large overalled man with a parrot and a cockatoo coming for me?

I cannot understand.