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!
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.)
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!
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?
I’m supposed to ask you out, but, obviously, to do so seriously (or even ironically) would ask of us both…….just too much I think. Not that I’m ageist! I’m not, really, but I somehow doubt you’re interested in an aimless 27 year old whose life experience could be summed up by the question, “what is escrow?” What would be fun though, instead of a capital ‘D’ Date would be to sit down and eat at either your place or my parents house (I’m clearly not a home-owner) and talk. About stuff. Anything really, your take on decades of American history, success, career choices, life, the moon and tides, the fact that most of my generation won’t get to retire until they’re 85 – something with which you are familiar even if by choice.
It is, and I say this earnestly, thrilling to read and/or watch someone like you who continues to enjoy and experience and challenge and be involved with everything despite the fact that our age obsessed society is constantly attempting to relegate anybody beyond the advanced years of 40 to irrelevance, particularly women. Age be damned, gender be damned, socialized conventions and expectations be damned, it is wonderful to see a person absolutely demolish those kinds of imposed and imagined limitations in both real life and scripted roles. Wonderful and inspiring for the rest of us. Like 99.9% of functioning human organisms I think you’re awesome, so just let me know if you want to chill sometime and rant about stuff.
Or Hey Alexis, or Whats up Alexis, or What up Alexis (dropping the ‘s’ on ‘what’s’ clearly transforms the intended meaning of the salutation……I just don’t really know how. Makes it even less formal than ‘what’s up’ maybe? Maybe I could inflect it with a bunch of extra u’s at the beginning of up, like, ‘what uuuuup,’ to communicate nonchalance, which in turn could be considered a form of confidence? I honestly have no idea.
So far I’ve established that: salutatory choices have meaning……..and that’s pretty much it. Language means things to people.
Anyway, what are the chances that a hard-rocking, inked up (italicized to show that I’m down with the young artist pre-gentrification crowd (although they probably never refer to each other as inked up, but of course I know that and am using inked up ironically in this case (which begs the question: what I am not being ironic about in this letter? If nothing, then am I even being ironic? (its kind of like the difference between 0, and ∞ (zero and infinity for any of you retro-futuristic analog-only people out there (but if I’m talking to an audience then this is all ironic, not to be taken seriously, I’ve broken the fourth wall)))))) Brooklynite (such as yourself) would want to grab dinner with an awkward guy who really does like your ‘ink’ and your music?
What I’m saying is: would you go on a date with me? Somewhere in NYC, at some point (I’m also saying that irony is dead)? If you can untangle all of that, and want to hang out, get at me, or back to me, or hit me up, or whatever, at least the valediction is easy:
PS I stole the title for this letter/blog entry from this person: Behind the Box, who also thinks you rock and have awesome tats, or ink, or ‘tattoos’ as I refer to them.
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!
Allison, 你好吗？你喜吃疾驰？你喜欢喝啤酒？And that exhausts my nascent Chinese language skills. I asked: “Do you like chicken wings?” “Do you like beer?” (I also wrote ‘ni hao’, or, ‘how are you?’)
‘How are you’ may seem like a perfunctory greeting, a 3 word linguistic touchstone employed near-unconsciously with the expectation of a positive, just-as-perfunctory answer: ‘Good! How are you?’ In this case though, I’m legitimately curious. Starring in a critical and commercial television success has gotta push ambient levels of exhilaration upwards, regardless of what John Cook has to say.
(side note: I’ve never actually seen an episode of Girls (side note 2: I find the Gawker weekly recaps hilarious. (3rd and final side note: although I’ve never seen an episode of Girls and find John Cook’s editorially packaged diatribes amusing, I don’t have anything against the show, I’m sure it’s great, I just haven’t gotten around to watching it.)))
Where Cook’s brutal sarcasm does become problematic though, is as an indicator for the slow but seemingly unstoppable rise of snark not as a humorous juxtaposition of mainstream news media folly, but as the mainstream news media itself.
Satire performs a vital function: calling out Responsible, Serious people and organizations on their bullshit in an accessible, high-contrast (and thus powerful) way – it’s just that as an end unto itself sarcasm concedes legitimacy in favor of scoring points. Claiming or maintaining a moral or ethical high ground, or holding groups or individuals accountable is harder to do when the goal becomes dinging irresponsible or hypocritical parties cleverly enough to trend on Twitter.
Anyway, yeah, so there’s all that, 276 preceding words of rambling vacuity. I don’t really have any evidence to back these claims up either, just anecdotal observations and vague, likely inaccurate feelings about the Gawkerization of more professional news media outlets. but the original purpose was to ask if you’d like to hang out sometime and wash down fried poultry with the liquid amber byproducts of fermented grain slurry.
So if that sounds like fun let me know!
Would you possibly, perchance like to go on a date? Not in New York or LA or anywhere boring though. I’m thinking Tashkent, Bishkek, Chilean Patagonia? Somewhere ‘exotic’. I put quotes around ‘exotic’ because I’d like to avoid any neo-colonialist or patronizing overtones. Characterizing a land and its people as somehow wildly Different or Mysterious is unfair at best and an arrogant, Kiplingesque oversimplification at worst.
If we were going hiking on, for example, the lunar surface or the valleys of Titan or Io then sure, I would feel fine using ‘exotic’ without disclaimer. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon and it might be a couple centuries before those activities are a) remotely possible and more importantly b) remotely affordable.
Anyway, I think it’s fair to call those places exotic only within the context that they are wildly atypical of American people doing things together in society. I mean, normally I’d suggest we grab a 5 for 5 at Arby’s or some Taco Bell® Doritoz® Locos Tacos Supreme tacos, or drink gas station wine and play Diablo 3. Not sip imported coffee at a restaurant perched in a glacial valley at 3,500 meters.
And so I referred to those places as ‘exotic’.
Oh, and the picture I used………looks like someone (you) jacked Aubrey Plaza’s stylllle!
The pronoun ‘I’ is such a problematic piece of language, don’t you think? ‘I’ locates a single person as the center of events, conversation, or thought. It’s also (and often) a desperately acquisitive word, of attention, recognition, importance. Maybe this is true because the human individual is frequently celebrated as the irreducible unit of existence, and ‘I’ is a persistently occurring, collectively embraced reminder of that essentially cultural and philosophical theory. Maybe it’s due to some sort of biologically determined neural circuitry.
Whatever the reason, it is almost impossible to speak, think, write, or otherwise interact with oneself, others, or the nonhuman world without relying, in some measure, on self-regard, self-reference, or self-referential dialogue. But is that a bad thing? Is that corrosive, or morally suspect in some way? Maybe under certain conditions or frequencies of use? One whimsical, philosophical exercise (probably lacking any practical benefit) is complete abstention from use of ‘I’ to see if any measurable or observable changes occur. Perhaps a shift in discourse would in turn alter patterns of thoughts and behavior.
Would ceasing use of ‘I’ lead to greater empathy? Vicarity? Substantial declines in selfish thought or action? At the individual level, partial abdication of the self (by boycotting ‘I’) as the paramount entity could logically force a person to contemplate or inhabit real or imagined alternate perspectives – an arguably positive outcome. Who knows, but it is fun to think about though!
Anyway, wanna go out sometime? Pita chips, hummus, and tzatziki smothered gyros if you’re into that kind of thing.