Category despair

The Jemima Effect

This popular meme is very silly, of course. I am kind of amazed it’s even necessary to debunk it, but, look: Pontius Pilate. He’s very famous! He’s in the Bible, and he’s Italian. I don’t just mean, he’s Roman (which of course he is; there’s more than one Roman in the Bible—to whom do you […]

That Foul Storm part 2

(Continued from here; hardly a self-contained unit.) iv. Where’s Natasha? The bromide “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is probably false—falsely so-called gnosis, one might say. Few people long to be on the receiving end of an internet shame mob. But there might well be no such thing as a bad commercial. I’m trying […]

Everything’s OK

The New York Times had an article reviewing the racist “OK” hand gesture, which I figure is a sign of the whole thing entering the mainstream enough that we should look at it now. I mean, we should look at what we’re doing now, in this unique moment when everything is dewy new and nothing […]

We Have No King but Caesar

A couple of years ago, a Connecticut senator worked tirelessly to remove any books that had the “n-word,” so-called, from school libraries. Then she gave a speech to a political club of fellow Democrats, bragging about her success in the endeavor. During the course of this speech she used the n-word, which got people upset. […]

That Foul Storm part 1

i. We Are All Obama Back in August President Obama shared his 2019 summer reading list, and—look, it seems curmudgeonly to complain about this list at all, since it is a reminder that once upon a time, presidents could read, and did read. These are (or look like—it’s not like I’ve read them) fine books […]

Demographics Gotta Demographic

(I’m going to assume you, dear reader, have already read The Age of Demographics and if not in agreement with it at least willing to treat it as hypothetically true.) Most people are pretty good at signaling their demographics, and no one’s going to confuse a swot for a blot or a square for a […]

Signaling and Tragedies

I found this tweet in the archives. We all saw it back in the day and we all decided (“vile,” “jackass,” “disgusting“) it went too far. I’m not here to defend either the politics or attitude of Brienne of Snarth, both of which I think are too silly really to react to; but I’m not […]

Too Little, Too Late: The Kavanaugh Hearings

It’s 2019, what’s the thing you care the least about at the moment? The Kavanaugh hearings? Okay then, let’s talk about them. Because I think almost everything anyone said about the hearings is wrong. I know I pick on the left a lot, so I should probably pause a moment to address the rightwing bromide […]

The Perils of Vaccinations

I think we may all be making a mistake in our interpretation of the anti-vaxx “movement.” I don’t mean that you shouldn’t vaccinate your kids (or yourselves) of course. Anti-vaxxers are wrong about that! But they’re not wrong if they say that vaccination is not 100% harmless. Before you send me a bunch of links […]

Participation in This Multi-Billion-Dollar Marketing Orgy is Mandatory

A friend on social media posed the question: What are your pop cultural red flags? and among the many replies was one—well, I’m quoting it, which is probably immoral, but I’m anonymizing the whole thing, because I’m not so very bad: “…I’m going to say ‘men who dislike The Last Jedi.’ Like, I’m sure that […]