Category: internet

Back from the Dead

nihilism

Get ready for some embarrassing amateur poetry, mean postcards to conservative legislators, and pessimistic conjecture about the future of the planet and the human species because after two years and eleven months I’m reviving the blog machine!

Why did the blog die? I don’t know really. One possible explanation is that the recurring ‘ask out a female celebrity’ thing got old and the more I learned about the nightmarish, hate filled swamp the internet has become for women the less fun or even appropriate those entries became. Even if they were intended to mock the stereotypes of online dating (wanna get some coffee!?), the primacy of celebrity in American culture, and as a framing device for discussions about social and political topics it still just became……icky, and even more so retrospectively when considering things like the gamergate horrorshow and what happened to Leslie Jones. So no more of those.

Why else? Creative slump, gradual and sadly inevitable professionalization (meaning more work, more attention to work, more time spent thinking about work when I’m not at work, more work trying to become better at work – additional training, etc.), complete and utter dissatisfaction with my ability to write, a hideous black cloud of despair cast by climate news and the descent of my country into proud and outright oligarchy, or maybe just the dissipation of anything resembling an attention span due to the omnipresence of various social media feeds. I don’t really know, it was probably a combination of all these things and more.

Why revive it? Again, no real idea but I have a guess: the deep and alarming sense of intellectual/mental emptiness that comes from hate-scrolling endlessly through facebook and descending into barely suppressible rage at the state of the world and the country. This is not a healthy thing! What is also not a healthy thing is hitting refresh endlessly on facebook and twitter hoping for…………..I don’t know what exactly, that good news will happen? It demands absolutely nothing of me in terms of effort or consideration or thought to browse headlines and if I’m gonna fry my retinas and ruin my sleep/wake cycles with LED light then I might as well bang away on the keyboard about something for a while, which is at the very least an extended effort to produce a piece of writing, however terrible it may be.

Anyway, here we go again with the nihilism and bug pictures and pretty flowers and postcards to retrograde congress-demons, and the terrible poetry, and the swears, and hopefully the occasional thoughtful piece of writing that I’m not ashamed of.

Stormborn Flower Selling Badass Dragon Queen Celebrity Date Attempt: Emilia Clarke

game of thrones, celebrity dateHey Emilia,

A few questions:

1) What is your favorite color?

2) ROTJ or EST? Why?

3) If you had 1 billion dollars, would you go to the moon, or to the Cook Islands? (ha, trick question: Cook Islands, duh. Nobody can go to the goddamn moon for 1 billion dollars)

4) Imagine you just inherited a Galapagos Tortoise, what will its name be?

5) You are in Kansas idling your monster V8 at a stop-signed crossroads in September, you can see for at least 10 miles in every direction and there isn’t a car in sight, do you dump the clutch (its a manual) and burn through that intersection like you’re headed to Mejico, or do you calmly stop, wait, check all directions twice, and continue on your way?

6) Lee Pace or James McAvoy. This has a right answer.

7) Tides, how do you explain that?

8) What’s up with those Dagos and their mustaches and their greasy hair?! (Kidding! Anachronistic racism is still racist)

9) Food truck dinner + sauntering + avoiding weird, likely tiresome equivalencies of you and fictional dragon mothers + maybe a few shots of gin followed up by mutual digust for Todd Akin et. al. + You know, just, the problematic nature of subjective experience leading apparently to the inescapable primacy of individualism, or wait, no, maybe just laughing about the general silliness of human interaction and the wondrous capacity of large, enduring cities to wrap people up in what I can only graspingly describe as a trans-historical blanket of aggregated experience (something like how walking into a thousand year old cathedral sounds, smells, and feels like time has actually been compressed into a sensible medium) + a bit of alcohol induced confessionalism leading into an acoustically escalatory round of friendly one-upmanship + a second food truck dinner at or near dawn + cab trips back to our respective homes sometime?

Cheers,

Devin

Office Working, Harvard Graduating Comic Book Author, Apparently Just an All-Around Amazing Person Celebrity Date Attempt: Rashida Jones

the office, rashida jones, parks and rec

Rashida,

I’m listening to The Knife’s new album right now, and holy hell, I feel like I’m watching Salad Fingers on acid, only scarier somehow. Also, any chance you would like to get bagels or whiskey sometime?

Yeah, sure, that sounds like I’m asking you out on a date, but its more like a provisional invitation, to, I don’t know, whatever people do together at dinner. Did you see the thing about President Obama?! Calling that woman attractive?! What is this world coming to when a man, enjoying gender privileges bestowed by almost the entirety of recorded human civilization, can’t call a woman hot in public, in front of crowds, the nation, the press, and almost the whole of planet earth? It’s almost as if women are subjected to an entirely different and arbitrary set of expectations while trying to achieve career goals; expectations that are buttressed by thousands of years of malignant intellectual justification and pseudo-science, bigoted legal precedent, and plain old stupidity.

I mean, I saw the remarks, and the defensive posturing amongst the blogs which followed: they were very dumb, and echoed the almost insufferable MRA advocates who descend upon online forums I actually enjoy Gawker (sometimes), The Atlantic, Salon, American Thinker (kidding!), etc., whenever these types of things are discussed. I could make an enormous list of things that are absurd, harmful blots upon the world, but to briefly indulge this foray into dissatisfaction: what would I abolish immediately? Here’s a short list:

1) The Cato Institute – thanks for providing intellectual, theoretical, and faux-historical cover for an entire galaxy of retrograde policies designed to do little more than transform the entire globe into a dystopian blend of Randian anti-statism and Snowcrash corporate balkanization.

2) Rand Paul – he is in ‘ascendance’ now, because he yelled about drones (to block Obama’s appointment of John Brennan (Thanks Andrew Johnson, I am forced to admit that you were right, I’m not sure why I was arguing for altruism in this case, it was probably the rum)). He adheres to a political theology that barely exceeds the logical and moral capacities of a 2nd grader and is somehow treated as a serious thinker.

3) Every word in the English language beginning with ‘quant-“, only because this piece of legitimate verbiage has been hijacked and sullied by a nefarious band of terminological pirates, intent on transforming longstanding pieces of the human linguistic tradition into technologically and financially utopian buzzwords.

4) Mitch McConnell. I will always despise this man.

5) Jonah Goldberg. Yeah, sure, he’s not that important anymore, and he has been roundly and justly destroyed in many an article already. But still, his ponderous stupidity makes him worthy of abolition.

6) Applebees Inc. This one doesn’t really need an explanation.

There’s a quick list of things that should be stricken from this earth with all deliberate speed. I guess I don’t have much else to to add and hope this brief letter offers at least some small way to interpret my character, even if I’m a random internet guy who is willing to try and make a spectacle out of asking celebrities to do things, those ‘things’, in every case, being coffee or sandwiches or tall glasses of bourbon and other mundane stuff. Let me know!

Cheers,

Devin

Ghost Plagued Osama Hunting Dedicated Screen and Stage Performing Celebrity Date Attempt: Jessica Chastain

zero dark thirty

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

Like running off to Beijing, China

In response to prevailing economic conditions in the United States.

Or the navel gazing twenty something, ‘trying to find himself’

As an undergrad, then in grad school, oh and wandering the Indochinese Peninsula.

Or as the facebook political freedom fighter, posting and resposting links

To articles, so many articles, valiantly spreading knowledge – from home,

Far from the noisome crowds, and I mean, seriously, its cold and rainy out there

How can anybody effectively protest in this weather?

And of course the artist, the ‘creative’, the culturally in-tune,

The guy who listened to Of Monsters and Men when that video,

‘Little Talks’, had less than a million views.

Or the rugged fly-fishing bearded snowboarder dude, conquering actively volcanic Indonesian peaks for breakfast,

And radio-tagging great white sharks off the South African coast right before having sandwiches for a late lunch.

I don’t know, that guy might not be real. Anyway, the point is:

Wanna go get half-price tapas and wine sometime? Like, together?

Sans Instagram, sans professional sports, sans popular television programming references, sans everything (except:

Traditional spanish appetizers, a city of some sort, other patrons, a livable atmosphere, gravitational fields, The electro-magnetic spectrum, the two of us, etc.)

Cheers,

Devin

 

Eastern Village Fame Skeptic Shakespearean It-Girl Celebrity Date Attempt: Olivia Thirlby

Judge Dredd, Dredd, Celebrity

Saturdays exist for pretty much one thing, shoppppiiinnnnggg! Not really. They exist as a diurnal/nocturnal work free void (sprung from the skulls of labor activists sometime last century) into which lots and lots of bourbon and meat products are often poured/shoveled as tribute to the janus faced god of tailgates and crippling dependency. I guess you could spend Saturdays reading, or painting, meandering down wooded paths, or, if you’re one of the lucky Americans benefiting from Greenspan’s ‘labor insecurity’ boosting economic reforms, you probably spend at least a couple Saturdays a month at work. ‘Saturday’ might even just exist as a symbolic day off, Saturday could be Tuesday could be Friday, as long as you don’t have to work; thereby framing our lives as a working experience, sprinkled here and there with bits of freedom.

I mean, I guess that’s an Ok paradigm. What would we do if all our working hours, all of our workplace responsibilities, were transmuted into unencumbered free time? I don’t know, that scenario from WALL•E probably. But its got to seem equally depressing that the vast, overwhelming majority of humans will toil, often desperately, at jobs offering almost nothing by way of financial or ‘psychic’ benefit (to borrow a term from right wing pop-economist jargon). Call me a delusional hippie utopian, but it just seems sad that we’ve largely surrendered to the brutal exchange rate between work and non-work hours.

Anyway! Would you want to go out sometime? On a day neither of has to work, like a real Saturday or a Saturday as defined by the commutative property of non-working days? I actually like shopping, and bourbon/meat combos, so I’m down for either. Let me know!

Cheers,

Devin

 

Totally Awesome Strumpeteering Gosling-Tamer Celebrity Date Attempt: Emma Stone

Easy A, celebrity, date

Emma,

Hi, hope everything is going well. I’m actually trying to book a flight right now and apparently whatever cruel demons inhabit the eastern hemispheric internet (I live in Beijing) have decided that I will not be going to Malaysian Borneo for Spring Festival as my repeated (and increasingly desperate/furious) attempts to correct information, optimize entry fields, double and triple check every bit of data entered have all……well obviously they all got shut down with error messages and I don’t have a ticket, or I wouldn’t have launched into at least a hundred words of foreshadowing so now I’m just being redundant and predictable.

Also, that’s probably a bit overwrought, a tad melodramatic. I’ll just call Malaysian Airlines tomorrow and book over skype and everything will be fine. There’s no drama in that though, and thus no real reason for me to even discuss it. So in order to validate the ordeal as a topic worthy of discussion I have to essentially lie about its immediacy or severity and manufacture the drama myself.

I’m a white middle class male, I have first world problems, and mememememe basically.

Anyway, how are you? Would you like to go on a date? How about a ‘Milk Run’ in Papua New Guinea? What’s a ‘Milk Run’, you might be thinking to yourself. Well, a ‘Milk Run’ is an easy, flak-free bombing run that flight crews actually enjoy as depicted in Joseph Heller’s classic bestseller, Catch-22. ‘Milk Runs’ are also this, from the Papua New Guinea Wikitravel page:

‎”Flightseeing is a word that should have been coined here. If you can afford it, just flying around some of the remote airstrips is an adventure in itself. There are strips that seem impossibly short, strips that seem to end with a mountain, strips where if you don’t take off in time you will plunge into a ravine, and airstrips surrounded on three sides by water. From Port Moresby you don’t have to fly far to get the experience. There are flights to villages on the Kokoda trail and others in the Owen Stanley mountain range in Central Province and you can fly a scheduled circuit or ‘milk run‘ in one morning, although you will have to be at the airport by 5:00 a.m. Fane, Ononge and Tapini strips are particularly scary. Remember your life insurance.”

If you’re not really down for terrifying plane landings/departures in a be-jungled island outback then maybe some Taiwanese barbeque, Chuan’r, or Hotpot and 大量的啤酒. Yes, I just asked you out over the internet. Let me know!

Cheers,

Devin

Addressing a Diversity of Blog Post Suggestions #4: Ask Out Ellie Goulding

ellie goulding, celebrity, dating

Hi Ellie,

Do you think US drone strikes in Yemen, the African horn, and particularly the FATA region of Pakistan have delivered on their promise to kill, maim, or otherwise incapacitate high value targets while sparing civilian populations from the excesses of conventional warfare? Or do you think US administrations, for the last, like, 30 years, have created a Drone mythology of surgical strikes and high rates of mission success while really carrying on various campaigns of almost indiscriminate remote controlled destruction that have terrorized and brutalized non-combatants and served as a recruitment tool for violent non-state terrorist organizations all while badly damaging America’s image across much of the globe?

Fuck, Marry, Kill: Jonah Goldberg, Tucker Carlson, Steve Doocy (haha, his last name is Doocy, what an asshole).

Do you think the wind actually loves the dirt? Or is it being reckless with dirt’s feelings?

Wanna get drinks sometime?

Cheers,

Devin

Addressing a Diversity of Blog Post Suggestions #3: Rant about Romney’s Hidden Camera Admissions

47%, Mitt, Romney, Election

I’m going to let an awesome Gawker comment explain this one, from user skt.smh:

What dumbasses like Mitt fail to acknowledge, of course, is that 1/4 of the people who don’t owe federal income taxes are elderly people on Social Security, which is non-taxable income. Another 15% is from beneficiaries of the Earned Income Tax Credit and, *gasp*, the child and childcare credits. How dare those people have children and qualify for tax credits?!

And of course, not a single Republican falls into either of these categories. There are no elderly Republicans living off Social Security checks. There are no Republicans with children or who qualify for the EITC. I guess what we can deduce from this is that Republicans are both immortal and sterile. Thanks for the killer scoop, Mitt!

And a bonus from Wonkette user PuckStopsHere:

Oh my God. People think they are entitled to food! Are there no workhouses?

And a second bonus from my coworker Econ John:

What the fuck! My grandma thinks she’s entitled to food?!

Brashly Eccentric Euro-Pop Balladeer Celebrity Date Attempt: Lykke Li

sweden, music, celebrity, date, lykke li

Lykke,

Hi, would you like to get dinner sometime in the fall as the brightly fading evening sun casts oblique rays through lonely branches, over empty sidewalks, and into buildings filled with people who have escaped an autumnal wind on whose breeze-born chill is carried the compressed, collected totality of individual memory that, as only seasonal wellsprings of nostalgia can do, bursts from some hidden cognitive recess to remind one that time is not like a river beholden to cyclical geological and climatological forces but more like a flash flood bearing along a person at its front on the crest at the metaphorical liminal bound of past and future leading to a realization that our lives are instantaneous blips on an arbitrary cosmic stage but that those blips are beautiful and profound and tragic and wonderful and that no amount of brevity or contemplation of the essentially meaningless nature of existence can ever take that away; and so, as rapidly as this cascade of memory and philosophical emotionalism ignites with a breeze, a chill, a setting sun, so it is extinguished by the warm, distracting chatter of silverware and conversation which melts away the zoetropic internal replay of high school football games and former lovers and bygone eras of family road trips and a thousand gleaming (perhaps idealized) glittering sparks of joy and heartache and minor ordeals, old pets, old friends, old haunts and cars and teachers, leaving behind a pleasant glow of appreciation, for the past, yes, but also, and more so, for the present.

So anyway, yeah, let me know!

Cheers,

Devin

Is Non-Violence the Only Ethical Resistance Strategy? Allow Arundhati Roy to Try and Convince You Otherwise

Roy, Arundhati, Resistance, rebellion, insurrection

“When a country that calls itself a democracy openly declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? Does the resistance stand a chance? Should it? Who are the Maoists? Are they just violent nihilists foisting an outdated ideology on tribal people, goading them into a hopeless insurrection? What lessons have they learned from their past experience? Is armed struggle intrinsically undemocratic? Is the Sandwich Theory—of ‘ordinary’ tribals being caught in the crossfire between the State and the Maoists—an accurate one? Are ‘Maoists’ and ‘Tribals’ two entirely discrete categories as is being made out? Do their interests converge? Have they learned anything from each other? Have they changed each other?”

Read the article…