Sharing about your discomfort or side effects from the covid vaccine primes your readers: your experience has no bearing on their experience, but if they expect to feel worse, the placebo effect guarantees they will feel worse– and it may contribute in its own small way to readers skipping the vaccine entirely.

All vaccines, medicines, chemicals, and foods can trigger side effects that are unique to you and no one else; the human body is miraculous! Casual complaints and warnings on this vaccine are a net loss for public health, and so I feel they should be avoided. Godspeed!

After-Birth Abortion

What is “after-birth abortion?”

Is it a doctor saying “it’s a girl!” and mom going “nah, I wanted a boy. Better luck next year, into the furnace with that one!”

Or is it a doctor saying “I’m so sorry, your child was strangled by its umbilical cord during birth, and now will never walk, will never understand who you are, and will likely only live for two weeks. Would you allow us to remove your newborn from life support now?” Followed by parents agonizing over this deeper than anything they’ve faced prior, in a way that the cheap, soundbite phrasing of “after-birth abortion” elides?

Parsing Police here, you’ve committed a Class 3 felony. I can’t speak to sentencing, but the max penalty allowed is “the women in your life will never fully trust you because you respect an interpretation of the Bible ahead of their human autonomy.”

Trump Rally, Ft Lauderdale, October 8, 2020

But I said to our First Lady, “Watch this tonight, Darling, it’s going to be.” And I turn to Lester Holt, number two show. I turn to Lester Holt, and one story was saying the games I play are stupid, another was about the environment, another was about something else, my stupid games, it was a bad hit on me, another one, something else. Now they went to the longest commercial I’ve ever seen.

COUGH cough

And then they went onto the second half again and again and again, she looked at me, “Darling, they say you play stupid games,” I said, “It’s impossible. The games I play are very smart. All the best senators tell me so. It’s impossible.”

SSSSNNNNNiff

The China Virus? I played a game all year long. The Economy, Dow Jones, I score great in those games. You know it. America sees it.

COUGH

We’re doing very well, and I am here to say after all these games: look at the prizes we won. Tremendous, really great prizes. Don’t we love the prizes, folks? Joe Biden hates prizes. He’s sleepy with prizes. We’re standing here with them, strongly. It’s the best warmth filling me, climbing like 401(k).

wheeze WHEEZE

I’m feeling better today than I did 20 days from now, and so are you, so am I, it’s what the doctors tell me. I’m so glad to see my friend Herman could make it to the rally today, they said the covid flu got him. But he is. There he is back there, everybody wave. But I’m at this tunnel, in this tunnel, heading towards a light. Small light to big! It’s really light, everyone’s saying it.

Remember when The Onion made Biden look cool? Just do that instead

Please no more “ah, yeah, I know it sucks, but you just gotta vote Biden. Just look at Trump! Gotta punch that card. Pull that lever. Nothing but to go for Joe.”

I feel rage tingling behind my eyes after typing that, it’s like fight-or-flight has kicked in even though I’m just re-reading my own sentence. A statement so loaded that it’s got a hotkey next to autosave.

Think about what it presupposes: even though I am a person with thoughts and feelings–who also loves to make decisions–you bundled up all that and threw it away because “just look at Trump!” You won’t engage with me because “just look at Trump!” It’s hard work to listen to me jabber on about all these stupid reasons and considerations I possess, sure, but convincing another person of anything is one of the most difficult things to do. So do the work or don’t even try.

If you are out there selling people on Biden in the awkward office conversations and the distressed Instagram stories and the Facebook comment threads: please champion the dude. Act like you love him. I’m begging you.

“You just gotta vote Joe because the alternative is worse” is lazy. And lazy loses elections. Sell the goddamn candidate or we’re fucked. christ

A Vote For Biden is a Vote for Spite

There are many people who feel like our political system has failed them. “A vote for Biden and a vote for Trump are both votes for America’s status quo, and I refuse to endorse America.”

If you’ve accepted the idea that the act of voting supports the system that brought us to this brink, then you believe that voting is bad. But on the flip side, abstaining from a vote isn’t a tactic. It’s nothing. (I wrote about that angle four years ago if you feel like taking a long scroll.) Can we improve those outcomes beyond “bad” and “nothing?”

I’d like to think so! There may be other value to voting that appeals to you, one that gives you a “good” reason to vote that outweighs your guilt for doing the “bad” thing of voting.

One fun suggestion– SPITE!

Across the ideological spectrum, people hate Trump. I’m certain there are avowed neo-Nazis who say they love what he’s doing but they can tell he’s a loutish, pathetic asshole. You’d leave any conversation with him feeling bored or attacked; supporters who enjoy “him” are enjoying what he represents, Trump the Man is not enjoyable. He’s living evidence of where cruelty and money can get you. America allows a man like him to succeed, and America sucks for that, no doubt! But if we agree to handle that elsewhere, we can focus on what still feels good about voting.

Voting against Trump is the best chance you’ve got to be a dick to him. He doesn’t read Twitter replies, he doesn’t pound his fist at spying a witty protest sign on the news, you can’t get within a slap’s reach. He’s inoculated from us rando Americans saying “hey buddy fuck you.”

My voting history is all over the place– no need to delve into it here, rest assured I made brilliant decisions you’d have no choice but to respect. One of several reasons (again, all genius) that I’m voting for Biden is that I really love the idea of Trump losing!

Election Night 2020: Trump is down by 15% on what polls suggested, and that gap is expanding. The writing is on the wall. New York prosecutors are going to drop indictments on his entire family on January 21. He’s the biggest loser in world history, and his failure will be remembered for centuries (if we make it that far). This grand failure will be the worst thing that happens to everyone in the Trump administration, and it will stain their interpersonal relationships (it may cause bankruptcies and end marriages!), and they will never forget it. Your ICE-loving, Hannity-hooting step-father is weeping, and this is funny and pleasant.

For Trump, the plan all along was to claim the election was rigged and seize control of the country. He’s ready to announce as much to the nation. But the shame and humiliation of the night, peaking in that moment, leads to a greater stress than he’s ever experienced: he has to run the country knowing that even with all his cheating and rancor, 70% of America hates him. Anticipating his next four days, four weeks, four years, raises his heart rate. His blood pressure spikes, neurons are demanded to fire faster than his atrophied brain will allow; from his election war room, following in the esteemed Dr. Ron Paul’s footsteps, he strokes out on live Fox News. Dead within minutes.

It’s fantastical, but it’s one outcome on an infinite scale that is made ever more possible by your vote. This scenario can happen, the numbers for a 70/30 win are there, just turn out enough “fuck you” votes and suppress enough “I love race war” votes. And then we can all agree that Trump’s body is one mistimed hiccup from shutting down.

If you’re blackpilled, a doomer, if you don’t see how we make it through climate change regardless of this November: you can still make the people who did this to us feel bad. You can punish your enemies. How often do you get that opportunity?

Men and ExCKommunication

LOUIS SCATTERED

This past weekend, Louis C.K. returned to his “home stage,” The Comedy Cellar. He’d taken a hiatus from performing since admitting to sexual abuse at the end of last year.

“I understand that some people will be upset with me,” said Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, who described Louis C.K.’s 15-minute standup set as “typical Louis C.K. stuff” including riffs on race and tipping at restaurants. But, he added, “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”

His return has raised the undying question of whether famous sex criminals should be allowed a path to redemption. Was Louis apologetic enough? Should he be welcomed back sooner if he’d donated to RAINN? Would we be more willing to applaud his comedy if he attended sex therapy and spoke on what he’d learned? Is there salvation in him supporting the women he’s traumatized or raising up women he’s never met? These are all weighed and debated by women individually when it comes to forgiveness.

Women are doing their own thing. But men must come to a much simpler conclusion:

If a man is excommunicated, he’s not guaranteed a path back to the limelight. “But that’s not fair,” says Michael Ian Black in more words. I don’t mean to denigrate compassion, and he did seem to eventually get the picture, but he’s also correct: us men had the unfortunate chance to end up living during the first era of retribution exacted by victimized women. Yep, for you, and me, and any man who might have stumbled up our forefathers’ ladder in decades past, to be born now, no longer during a time when pretty much any misogynist aggression, from macro to micro, could be waved away with enough money or clout? Shit timing.

Because if we can admit that Priapus’s sun is setting after mere millennia, we can recognize who suffered for being born sometime during known human history. If it is difficult for men right now, it has been as difficult–at minimum–for billions of women. The majority of those women didn’t survive to see this day, all they knew was a crushing patriarchy. And men can relinquish that in many ways, but shutting up on topics like forgiveness is an easy one. The women of today deserve the choice to hold the reins and the bullhorn and the flaming whip, because, if we’re talking fairness, that’s a stab at it.

The banishments (banishments), permanent or not, are growing pains. There’ll be celeb “casualties” like Louis, those who are no longer given the chance to comfort us with their (still valuable) contributions to culture. There will be art lost, whether immediate (I Love You, Daddy) or potential (any future seasons of Louie). I’ve watched every stand-up special by Louis and marveled to witness a drop-in at Los Angeles’s Comedy Store. For my undergraduate thesis, I situated him in a long line of utopia-seeking comics, from Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor to Bill Hicks to him, here and now, the promise of shifting the entire comedy paradigm progressively. And yet his loss, like that of Ansari and Hardwick and other cusp-of-comeback kids of this moment, is maybe necessary for an eventual equality, and that goal is worth all the earth-shaking boner jokes in Louis’s head.

So when Noam Dworman states “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong,” I have to insist that actually there can, it can just happen, the third law of thermodynamics isn’t “the dickflasher must be given stagetime.” It’s “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” and buddy, we’ve still got a hefty dose of reaction before we’ve hit equal.

That said, I don’t figure that the women of today wish to go Amazonian on our asses. It’s not that I think of women as gentler or kinder (imagine if that’s the turn this essay took), but rather the effort required to yonically oppress for just as many years seems too much for any human. Men fell into it, right? Our monkey brains kept “might makes right” at the forefront and only recently have come to understand that there are other things that make right! Even as we reaped the rewards, most humans aren’t evil and so most men aren’t evil. Just bumbling and ignorant, and the tides may be turning on that front too. When it comes to the exiles and re-configuring our gender’s expectations, my mewling men, I’m guessing it’ll take three generations. That’s what I expect. Not for me to decide, but what I expect.

So just chill, my sweet dudes. Our input isn’t wanted or needed. Isn’t that freeing?

But if your pity still swells for Louis, shoving his victims from the frame; if you can’t grasp the damage wrought by asking “what about the men,” then consider perverts and misogynists who don’t possess the comedian’s clout or resources. Louis with his Comedy Cellar and adoring fans, Mario Batali and his restaurants peppered around the globe, Matt Lauer and the bulwarking upper echelon of Manhattan media. Their redemption comes far easier than that of a man from your high school who’s abused women (as we all have to varying degrees) and, upon reflection, dedicates himself to righting it. He can’t make the huge donations, he can’t afford the Beverly Hills therapist or the PR spin-master. Without access to a blacklist, his victims (and bless them for their vindictive power) may bring charges against him, and he may end up irreparably damaged, sexually or otherwise, by a stay in prison himself. To say nothing of the imprisoning outcome of the offender registry, restricting where he may work or live. Oh, and perhaps he’s not white as a bleached harp seal cub. That too.

This nobody-man still deserves his punishment however it unfolds, but if you’re dedicated to your psychopathy and seek for anyone to care about other than the women: why do you give a shit about Louis? He could leave the country today and live in comfort until death. He thinks nothing of you; there are millions of you. Even in your misogyny you can do better.

Perhaps it’d be more worth your time to care about the women.

 

 

Doja Cat, “Mooo!”

Is she rebranding herself? Is she Doja Cow now? She disavows cats in the chorus. She does not meow.

I love this so much because it’s so fully fleshed-out by one person in a bedroom. The question she asked herself is “if I was a cow, how would I own it?” “Time to re-purpose Luda and Kelis with a bovine twist.” From there, she said “I have a laptop and a green screen, how do I film the music video?” “Let me look in my closet for cow-like, farmer-ish outfits.” “Order a burger? Sure, I’m hungry!” And she floats through it all with her charisma and confidence. “Bitch, I’m a cow” never felt so powerful. Been lowing “mooo” all day in both positive and negative tones.

If you haven’t seen her leading single “Go To Town” yet, you might as well. Props for the Cyriak clip that crops up too.

“The Bad Glazier” by Charles Baudelaire

One morning I got up feeling sullen, sad, disconcerted, and fatigued by idleness, with what seemed to be a desire to do some grand and radiant deed! And then I opened my window, alas!

The first person I noticed on looking out my window was a glazier, a glass-seller, the sharp discordance of his cries drifting up to me through the stale and heavy Parisian smog. It’s not possible for me to say why I was filled with such a sudden and tyrannical hatred for this poor man.

“Hey, hey!” I cried, motioning for him to come up. Not without pleasure did I reflect that my room was on the sixth floor and that he would climb those flights with difficulty, lest his fragile goods be damaged.
At last he appeared. With great curiosity I examined all of his panes and finally said: “What? You have no colored glass? No pinks, no reds, no blues, no magical panes? No panes of the gods? Impudent creature! You sell your wares to the poor, and yet you have no panes that are able to make life beautiful!” And I abruptly pushed him, groaning and stumbling, out to the stairs.

I then went out on my balcony and grabbed a small flowerpot; when the man reappeared at the door I let my engine of war fall right on the back of his pack, the reverberations from the impact sending him reeling. Falling on his back he managed to break all of his poor, portable merchandise with a crash akin to lightning striking a crystal palace!

And intoxicated by madness I screamed furiously: “Make life beautiful! Make life beautiful!”

Though such capricious endeavors are not without peril, and one must often pay dearly for them, what does an eternity of damnation compare with an infinity of pleasure in a single second?

A friend sent me this one. I told her I identified with the last line, she told me it makes sense, as she had re-read it and felt Baudelaire was bipolar. And then I gave it a second pass and found myself laughing openly by the end. He wakes up bummed and is driven to wreck a rando’s shit, at which he’s tremendously successful and his conclusion is: yup, it ruled.

my friends: “brian if you’re feeling restless you should try podcasts, it’s like having funny coworkers”

me: *turns on 9/11 episode of Last Podcast On The Left, stares into middle distance for much of the workday, broken*

my friends: “brian are you familiar with white noise”


 

Two weeks from now, I’m visiting New York for the first time in five years. I intend to make a solo trip to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Is it perverse to admit that I’m motivated by experiencing whatever feelings well up while standing on the site of a historic, globally-recognized atrocity? Not sure I’ve done any sightseeing at one of those before. Tourrerism.