SYSBYRT

These are the types of people who are the greatest threats to our system:

...the ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie. the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie. the standards of thought) no longer exist.

J.D. Vance is now one of the people he talks about it in this book. People say that it was plain to anyone that he would make his current heel turn into a die-hard Trumper. For me, this raises a larger question: if someone turns out to be a terrible person, can you still enjoy the art that they made? I don't actively listen to R. Kelly or Michael Jackson anymore, but I won't change the song if they come on. At the end of the day, I don't have the answer. If you have thoughts, please reply to this email.

Anyways, the following quotes are from J.D. Vance's book, Hillbilly Elegy.

There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.

First,

According to Middletown High School legend, a student called in a bomb threat during one of Selby’s exams, hiding the explosive device in a bag in his locker. With the entire school evacuated outside, Selby marched into the school, retrieved the contents of the kid’s locker, marched outside, and threw those contents into a trash can. “I’ve had that kid in class; he’s not smart enough to make a functioning bomb,” Selby told the police officers gathered at the school. “Now let my students go back to class to finish their exams.”


Second,

Or there was that day when Uncle Teaberry overheard a young man state a desire to “eat her panties,” a reference to his sister’s (my Mamaw’s) undergarments. Uncle Teaberry drove home, retrieved a pair of Mamaw’s underwear, and forced the young man—at knifepoint—to consume the clothing.


Third,

I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life.


Fourth,

One guy, I’ll call him Bob, joined the tile warehouse just a few months before I did. Bob was nineteen with a pregnant girlfriend. The manager kindly offered the girlfriend a clerical position answering phones. Both of them were terrible workers. The girlfriend missed about every third day of work and never gave advance notice. Though warned to change her habits repeatedly, the girlfriend lasted no more than a few months. Bob missed work about once a week, and he was chronically late. On top of that, he often took three or four daily bathroom breaks, each over half an hour. It became so bad that, by the end of my tenure, another employee and I made a game of it: We’d set a timer when he went to the bathroom and shout the major milestones through the warehouse—“Thirty-five minutes!” “Forty-five minutes!” “One hour!” Eventually, Bob, too, was fired. When it happened, he lashed out at his manager: “How could you do this to me? Don’t you know I’ve got a pregnant girlfriend?” And he was not alone: At least two other people, including Bob’s cousin, lost their jobs or quit during my short time at the tile warehouse.

This is a very accurate reflection of my feelings about the Internet at large:

This is all exacerbated by the fact that the current state of the Internet and social media essentially renders it an emotional outlet plugged directly into each person’s id. It rewards extreme behavior, and people crave to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so of course they get pulled into taking part in a mob of like-minded individuals who are all saying similar things. It's easy to get swept up in a sea of validation. I found myself there so many times, and only later, once the storm dissipated, did I sit back and consider the consequences of my own actions in that situation.

Gen. Mark Milley Delivers Powerful Defense of Studying Critical Race Theory:

What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind. I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand it. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians — they come from the American people. It’s important that the leaders, now and in the future, understand it.

I wish more people had this view today.

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Having their hands up while singing is the icing on the cake.

A true gentleman knows his likes:

Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both.


According to Macintyre, the elder Elliott "loathed music, which gave him indigestion, despised all forms of heating as 'effete,' and believed that 'when dealing with foreigners the best plan was to shout at them in English.' "

job

[the image as text:]

ah, I see

someone trapped the essence of madness into this magic box

and I, as a madwoman, have been contracted to stare deep into it, in the hopes that madness has become my element

and thus that I can speak the language of this mechanical beast

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Someone entered this into Workday at my company as a skill.

oral

One good thing about the pandemic: there is no longer a social obligation to hug people. I've never been a big hugger, but have grown to tolerate it. No more! I'm finally going to shake off the yoke of the Hug Industrial Complex after all these years.

First

What you have to realize is that you are always saying ‘no’ to something because anytime you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you are simultaneously saying ‘no’ to an infinite number of others.’”


Second

...conservatives apparently continue to believe that saving face matters more than anything...


Third

The hope that there's a hard-to-get miracle cure that will save them speaks directly to the poisonous social Darwinism that guides modern conservatism. It reflects deep hostility to the very concept of a shared public good and a fierce attachment to a racialized ideology of individualism that treats public goods such as health care as things to be hoarded by those with the privilege, money and status to do so.

Conservative ideology simply doesn't allow for the possibility that anything, including pandemic management, is best managed with a "we're all in this together" mentality. Instead they're drawn to this fantasy that there's a Platinum Member COVID-19 status that can be purchased, which will allow them to opt out of the suffering of the plebeian class that has to quarantine or risk sickness and death.

Over the past 3 weeks, I've begun venturing back out into the world. It's been odd, but not nearly as jarring as I thought it might be. I feel bad for folks who are having a lot of social anxiety being around people again. If you read this newsletter and are one of those people, call or email me and I will come to you.

On to the show...

First, an accurate recap of the Trump team’s press conference in Philadelphia in November:

The good people of Philadelphia, who also know how to read a press release and were not interested in letting the second-born failson and a martini-soaked former Lifelock spokesman do a photo-op menacing the dutiful election officials who are just trying to count the votes.


Second, a description of something I have personally experienced at the barbershop:

If you are a person who happens to be a woman, and you've ever entered a barbershop, you might have left impressed by their politeness and chivalry. Do not be fooled by this. Because, the moment you left the shop — like, literally, one second after you left — it turned right back into an 8th boys' locker room. And, even if your butt is basically just an extension of your back, it was noted and mentioned. Sometimes in depth. And sometimes, um, not in depth. (i.e.; "Dat ass, though?!?!")


Third, this explains my current feelings about not having gone to the barbershop in over a year:

You’d even settle for a cut from bruh in the back, whose skills are so shaky that he’s only allowed to cut kids, white boys, and cops.

I read this great article about denialism this week. I cast out a denialist from my life earlier this year, after realizing that he was entirely malignant and was employing "whataboutism" as a cover to say increasingly insane things.

The majority of denialists cannot be reasoned with. Stop talking to them and do something that will actually bring you joy.

First, the difference between denial and denialism:

Denial is furtive and routine; denialism is combative and extraordinary. Denial hides from the truth, denialism builds a new and better truth.

Second, an explanation of the core tenets of denialism:

Denialism offers a dystopian vision of a world unmoored, in which nothing can be taken for granted and no one can be trusted. If you believe that you are being constantly lied to, paradoxically you may be in danger of accepting the untruths of others. Denialism is a mix of corrosive doubt and corrosive credulity.

Third, an explanation of post-denialism, or Trumpist thought:

Post-denialism represents a freeing of the repressed desires that drive denialism. While it still based on the denial of an established truth, its methods liberate a deeper kind of desire: to remake truth itself, to remake the world, to unleash the power to reorder reality itself and stamp one’s mark on the planet. What matters in post-denialism is not the establishment of an alternative scholarly credibility, so much as giving yourself blanket permission to see the world however you like.

My great uncle Mohammad O'Halloran had a stop in Brussels when he was going from India to Ireland. He managed, in the span of 24.5 minutes, to father a boy named Pieter van der Ahmaad. I must travel to Belgium and reclaim my birthright.

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I recently read Dave Parker's new autobiography, Cobra. There are tons of good stories in the book, but this one about what happened after a black player was unfairly fined by the league was my favorite:

Charlie had some idea of what this was about and found George Sisler Jr., son of the great first baseman for the St. Louis Browns, sitting very properly on a stool in the bar. In an extremely stern voice, Sisler demanded to know the details of the incident with Rochester police. Charlie once again was forced to explain himself. Sisler wasn't convinced.

"Why am I to believe you?"

"You know why, Mr. Sisler? Because asshole is a white man's word. If I was gonna cuss you out, I would have said motherfucker."

Sisler stared at Charlie Boo for a few moments, opened his wallet, and handed him $300.

Muneer: Can I call the police donut boy, or is that like the N-word now?
Steve: Short answer to both questions: yes.

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I got the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine on April 29. On Sunday, I got sick with flu-like symptoms. It passed by Monday night. I'm sure there are some people out there who would use this experience to argue for "safe vaccines". Those people are morons.

The human body is so unique that we can all have an unexpected reaction. I used to take NyQuil almost every night in my sophomore year of college because of insomnia.That caused what's called a parodoxical reaction. I now have to take NyQuil to stay awake and DayQuil to sleep (I don't take either anymore). That didn't make me into an advocate for "safe sleep aids". I just accepted that I'm different and got on with my life.

I used to talk to an anti-vaxx idiot. When I brought up the fact that no vaccine is 100% safe, his response would be something like, "Have you ever seen a family member have a bad reaction to a vaccine? How can you support something unsafe that could hurt your family?" That is a stupid statement on its face. Nothing in this life is 100% safe. If you want to be totally safe, then sit inside a bubble inside an oxygen chamber in your fortified panic room. You still won't be totally safe. The chamber could run out of oxygen. Burglars could lock you in and steal all of your things. Your cat might eat your face. Grow up and live in the real world.

So if you're vaccine hesitant and don't have any known medical reasons to not get vaccinated, I can't stress this enough: Stop being an idiot and schedule an appointment. Or stay in your house for the rest of your life. Or die. I don't really care. But don't go around spouting nonsense.


First, trolling isn’t all fun and games. I finally excised a troll, the same one who's "vaccine hesitant", from my life last year. Best decision I could have made:

Defenders of trolling insist it’s all just a joke, but if trolling is inherently designed to get a rise out of someone, then that’s what it really is. In many cases, it is designed to look and feel indistinguishable from a genuine attack. Whether you believe what you are saying or not is often immaterial because the impact is the same — and you are responsible for it, regardless of how funny you think it is. It is a lesson kids learn time and time again on the playground, and yet, it is ridiculously difficult for people to accept the same basic notion in online culture, no matter their age.


Second, the troll I referred to above is very religious and very much a conspiracy theorist:

…researchers have found that people who are more susceptible to conspiracy theories are often obsessed with religion or a god or a value system.


Third, here’s a decent test to see if an expert is believable:

If an expert passes these two requirements, you may consider them ‘believable’. Dalio then suggests a communication protocol built on top of believability: if you’re talking to someone with higher believability, shut up and ask questions; if you’re talking to someone with equal believability, you are allowed to debate; if you’re talking to someone with lower believability, spend the least amount of time hearing them out, on the off chance they have an objection you haven’t considered before; otherwise, just discount their opinions.

I had an ethical conundrum a few weeks back. I saw that I could go to a small town in the southern part of the state and get vaccinated. After thinking about it, I decided to wait my turn here at home. It ultimately seemed unethical to me to take a dose from someone else in that community.

I’ve been sitting inside for the past year. What’s a few more months?


First, a look into how police unions see those who they protect:

Imagine a nurses’ union that hated patients, that went on TV and talked about how much trouble the patients give them.


Second, Shea Serrano does a deep dive into which rapper had the best last day in Ma$e’s song “24 Hours To Live”:

I just know spending the final hours of your life handling bank-related business is an odd choice.


Third, Trump’s base isn’t just poor whites. Many more of them are middle class people:

If you’re looking for Trump’s implacable support, Texas trailer parks and Kentucky cabins are the wrong places to find it. Fascism develops over hands of poker in furnished basements, over the grill by the backyard pool, over beers on the commuter-rail ride back from the ball game—and in police stations and squad cars.

I love this quote about Wilt Chamberlain:

"He portrays himself as both the main character of mid century America and a bemused loner who just wants to hang out in his mansion festooned in ethically sourced Arctic wolf hair."

I’ve recently been watching a lot of the original “Head of the Class” series on HBO Max. This type of nostalgia has been very prevalent in my life recently.

Over the past 3 months, I indulged in a very self reflective exercise. I found all of the links I’ve felt were worth saving, scattered all across various online repositories. I got all of the links together, tagged them with their subject, and organized them in the way I’d always dreamed of. It gave me a small bit of control in an uncontrollable time. When all was said and done, I had almost 29,500 links catalogued.

For those who are interested, you can see almost all of the links here. Feel free to use it as a way to find interesting stuff to read. If the link is broken, just enter it into the Internet Archive.

And now, on to the Great Lines.

First, a blogger responds to people telling her to stick to [insert non-political subject]:

Do you think I care about losing you as a follower? I do not. Not one bit. I will actively block you on Instagram if I know you’re a Trump supporter. You unfollowing me doesn’t hurt me in any way. I literally — in the true sense of the word — won’t notice you are gone.

You can’t support Trump and also be a decent human being. You can’t support Trump and earn my respect.


Second, this obituary of Richard Nixon by Hunter S. Thompson can likely be reprinted with “Nixon” replaced by Trump when that wonderful day arrives:

He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.


Third, a classic line from an essay about the classic comics of Wile E. Coyote:

…your mind is a baffling supercomputer nevertheless hopelessly inadequate to the task of understanding the full terrible complexity of the world around you.

In theory, I should be able to get a vaccine on May 1. I'm getting some some snacks, a lawn chair and a power bank. Me and my pal Steve might even tailgate at the line.


This is absolutely something I'd do: bigfend


Agree:

commit

Since this past October, I’ve been in a state of constant anxiety. First it was the election. Then it was the terrorist attack on January 6. Then, it was the impeachment. But, I realize now that there’s no sense in me worrying about these things. I can’t control them. It also helps to have an actual human being as president, instead of the sentient Youtube comments section we’ve had to endure over the past 4 years.

So I’m back. I’ll do my best to keep the issues flowing. You do your best to keep reading them.


First, people who lose their loved ones to QAnon are part of a collective grief over the fact free triumphing in our marketplace of ideas:

QAnon draws its adherents into an imagined battle of good versus evil that is prophesied to culminate in an apocalyptic reckoning. In its mission to prevail over a satanic cabal of liberal elites, it promotes themes of Christian nationalism, including patriotism and the preservation of traditional American values. QAnon believers also spend a great deal of time poring over Q’s cryptic 8kun posts, or “Q Drops,” which are often steeped in Scripture, like sacred texts bearing hidden truths. And above all, QAnon demands unwavering faith in a higher power.


Second, Samantha Irby’s newsletter of Judge Mathis episode reviews is some of the funniest stuff I’ve read in years:

first of all, that’s sibling business. unless jane’s husband was around in 1986 when that bitch threw a bike at me on the corner of ridge and main street then taunted me all the way home he couldn’t possibly understand the layers of stale resentment we are assaulting each other over! sibling fights are rarely about the disagreement at hand, they’re always sprinkled with some old shit, grudges that we’ve been holding onto for years. let us work that shit out with our fists! and second, i know my sister had her left knee replaced and exactly how to kick her in it, i don’t need anyone else messing up my plan of attack! kendiel should’ve just hit her brother over the head with the monopoly board and got a sitter from care dot com!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Third, I would like to meet Maxine Waters and learn her ways:

Rep. Waters is definitely that auntie who got rich selling Avon and doesn't really like your father.

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