As an awkward, neurotic, bespectacled smartypants, I am stereotypically predisposed to be a fan of superheroes. And so I am, but only fairly recently.
When I was a kid, I liked the cartoons and toys associated with characters like Spider-Man and Superman, but no more than I liked any other inescapable franchise at the time. My prime action figure playing years were much more focused on Transformers, He-Man, Ghostbusters, and, just as I was becoming a little too old for such things, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Once I had grown out of toys, the Star Trek universe became my obsession. …
Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so they say. Wicked deeds and ideas can be defeated by offering them up to public scrutiny, exposing them as morally unacceptable and shaming them out of the mainstream and out of power.
There are times when this has been true, when the public has been exposed to some gross injustice, rejected it, and appealed to authorities to make a change.
Cable news and social media are fueled by these kinds of appeals. During the Obama years, I had to stop watching cable news because I could no longer stomach the hours of broadcast dedicated to telling me how racism, religious zealotry, and plutocratic criminality were taking over the country. To save my own sanity during the Trump era, I tried to prune my social media feeds of accounts that shared primarily political content, because nearly everything I saw was dedicated to making me angry about every single morally repugnant whim expressed by malicious actors. …
This is from the tenth edition of the Near-Earth Object newsletter, to which you can and should subscribe, right here.
I thought it was about time I gave myself permission to write about things that weren’t all that important.
We’re living through such Unprecedented Times when so many Serious Things are happening every hour, I think I started to feel like it would be irresponsible to write about things that were not directly related to the end of the republic or the plague.
But honestly, who cares what I think?
I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way. Okay, yes I do, but I also mean to say that plenty of other smart and good-hearted folks already have this covered. There are times when I do feel like my particular perspective on current events is valuable. …
I am tantalized by the glowing reviews of the new MacBooks running on Apple’s own processors, wherein normally jaded tech pundits express their astonishment at the speed, battery life, and fluidity of these M1-based laptops. But as tempted as I am to scrape together the means to purchase one, I simply can’t justify it. You see, I already have a laptop running Apple Silicon, and even after two years it’s still wicked fast, unfailingly fluid, lasts as long on a charge as I need it to, and like the M1 Macs, it also runs iOS apps.
Of course, I’m talking about an iPad. …
I wrote a sonnet about a TV show that’s been on for a while.
I have really been enjoying the “Arrowverse” shows, Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. They’re so much fun, in large part because they so gleefully embrace their inherent silliness and absurdity.
I’m hoping to get fully caught up with all of the shows in that universe before I watch the big Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event, so I was overdue to get started on Legends of Tomorrow, which debuted in 2016. So I watched the two-part pilot.
And it’s pretty dopey. I may or may not trudge through the whole series, but the pilot was definitely rougher than the shows off of which it is spun. …
The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that it would adjust the nation’s gravity by 8.9 percent, the highest adjustment to the country’s gravitational pull in fifteen years. Normally averaging approximately 9.80665 meters per second squared, or “1 g,” HHS officials said they would make the required modifications that would raise the rate of acceleration to the Earth’s surface to approximately 10.68 m/s².
Despite the relatively significant adjustment to American gravity, and the abruptness with which it was announced, administration officials characterized the adjustment as “minor.”
“The vast majority of Americans will probably not even notice that anything has changed,” an HHS spokesperson told Free Lies. “At worst, they might feel like it’s a little harder to get out of bed right away, or that they maybe had too much to eat. We’re confident that everyone will quickly acclimate and carry on with their lives.” …
Frogman Fresh grocery stores, the largest grocery chain in Greater Landsworth County, will no longer sell potatoes it deems to be “sad.” Frogman Fresh CEO Edwin Park said in a Facebook post that effective immediately, the company’s stores would not sell to customers, nor accept from suppliers, sad potatoes.
“Frogman Fresh customers deserve the very best from us,” wrote Park. “When they walk into their local Frogman Fresh store, they expect to be surprised and delighted by the quality of the products on our shelves and the value they get for their dollar.”
“But when they browse our produce department and find a sad potato, that experience is destroyed,” Park added. “The bond of trust between Frogman Fresh and the customer is ruptured. I cannot in good conscience allow that to happen.” …
The United States is politically held hostage by tens of millions of people living in a delusional version of reality. No matter the facts staring them in the face, just a little less than half of the electorate seems to believe in an alternate universe in which Trump won the election, left-wing terrorists are destroying our cities, COVID is a hoax or an exaggerated flu, and white Christians are the most oppressed group in history.
So I had a thought.
Information silos, filter bubbles, and algorithms can obviously make millions of people believe almost anything. So if what the Cult of Trump needs is to live in a fake reality, well, maybe we can just let them. …
I’m beginning to hate natural selection.
I’m not talking about the theory of evolution as a scientific concept, I mean I am having some strong feelings about what a pain in the ass natural selection is to me, right now.
I am trying to disconnect without isolating. I am trying to find meaning without validation. I am trying to unburden without irresponsibility. I am trying to be aware without being overwhelmed. I am trying to be at peace without being passive. I am trying to matter without having to ask whether I matter. I am trying to fit in without being too ordinary. I am trying to stand out without jutting. I am trying to have hope without being crushed by it.
Maybe it’s that last one that needs to go.
Derrick Jensen wrote a few years ago in praise of giving up on hope. He’s talking about this in the context of his struggle to defend the natural world from decimation by humanity. To me, it applies universally. It’s not even about rejecting hope, but simply not dealing with it one way or the other. Once hope becomes irrelevant, Jensen…