If I lived 100,000 years, until the ice caps were gone, until Antarctica was an elite beach community, until the manifestation of the Kurzweilian singularity, until the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program was completed, until manufacturing jobs had moved from interior China to Southeast Asia and on to Africa and finally back to the ruined hellscape of America, if I lived that long I doubt I’d ever see or read about another human being as ignorant and vain and insufferably smug as you. You are a bad person, good day!
– Devin Howard
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!
Have you ever woken up in the morning, gotten dressed, looked yourself in the mirror before setting out to work on demolishing women’s rights, hating poor people via cruel policy decisions, and denying basic climatological facts and thought, “Man, you know what, I’m a huge gaping asshole”?
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.
I found a random address in LA, which happened to be a McDonalds location, and wrote them a letter – the text of WH Auden’s To Their Lonely Betters , 1950 (a poem I’ve actually posted on here before).
“As I listened from a beach-chair in the shade
To all the noises that my garden made,
It seemed to me only proper that words
Should be withheld from vegetables and birds.
A robin with no Christian name ran through
The Robin-Anthem which was all it knew,
And rustling flowers for some third party waited
To say which pairs, if any, should get mated.
Not one of them was capable of lying,
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.
Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep:
Words are for those with promises to keep.
Hope everyone has a great day today, cheers.
After years of reading your books, articles, editorials, and assorted other works, after hours and hours of watching and listening to your lectures, and interviews, and documentaries I thought it was time to send a letter of thanks, and this is it. Your work has kept me company on many bus, train, plane, and boat rides. Your writing has often served as welcome respite from work, a (probably too often) refuge from the press of academic deadlines. I really, earnestly appreciate your efforts and am continuously (and simultaneously) inspired by your sheer productive capacity. Thank you.
Also: as the Kurzweilian singularity approaches I’d like to request that you upload or port your entire cognitive profile onto some sort of electronic substrate so that, centuries from now, when the solar system is ruled by a cypher/cyberpunk collection of sinister corporations the poor, captured masses can take comfort in the measured, logical, inexhaustible words of one of history’s most badass speakers of truth to power. Either that or make sure anthologies are stored in secure places for future use?
I guess that’s it Dr Chomsky. Thank you again.
I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the work you do. I won’t get lost in burdensome policy or socio-political discussion here, but I do want you to know: you, and people like you, give me hope for this strange spatial-temporal quantumly entangled thing called the future.
Whats up everyone,
I’m not sure I can give adequate thanks for all the people I’ve met over the last few years. An incredible number of individuals have provided an equally incredible amount of generosity, friendship, and hospitality that permeates each memory and adventure I found in this modest but lively city.
To all of you, to anyone reading, to those who miss this, to the 3am Cookout accomplices; to former room mates; to all those who have rescued me from one predicament or another; to those who miraculously found patience even when confronted by my never ending pseudo-philosophical ramblings and incessant political ranting; to those who have always been friendly; to my professors and graduate school compatriots; to former co-workers; to each and every person who has lent me a couch or spotted me a drink or offered a ride or lent me a sympathetic ear: I can’t express how much fun I’ve had and how much appreciation I feel.
Less formally, it has been a fucking blast living in and near Greensboro. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, and undoubtedly I’ll show back up at some point in time. Until then, stay awesome, be safe, drink some drinks for me.
I miss everyone already.