NO you can't do EVERYTHING 🙄
On how I-can-do-anything-ism yields laziness and why plastics make it...possible? Or something?
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Biden leads those who dislike him, Trump
What Biden *really* says about Trump
Some hilarious Ls, which were rivaled by Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, Trump is Boomer posting and SNL did damage control for Nikki Haley.
Trader Joe: NLRB Is Unconstitutional
Stop shopping at Trader Joe’s because they’re trying to dismantle unions!!
Man beheads father, posting video
A really fucked up MAGA story.
Are Edibles Safer Than Smoking?
Not to alarm you but: edibles have some long-term conditions to be mindful of, which are the same as if you smoked marijuana.
Employed But Unhappy
This has been Trend Reported™ for some time, and I’d argue that this feeling extends to a general malaise about everything. Something’s going to break this year!
Google cofounder bought a Puerto Rico island
I don’t like that rich people can just “buy” islands! You know this asshole is flying everywhere in some jet too.
Prisoners a hidden workforce
A big story on how fast food (among other entities) profit from prison labor. That’s slavery, baby!
Music Piracy Is Back, Baby
This is nothing new. Make America steal from corporations again!
I’ve been thinking about another symptom of Vibe Personality Disorder™: the extreme passivity of these times, a you-do-it-for-me-ness that is sold to us tools and means to optimize life but instead make us less active and less educated while isolating us further.
You see this with the death of Pitchfork, the supremacy of Rotten Tomatoes, and the loss of media “costs.” I was talking to someone this week about this, and they were explaining how twenty (Plus!) years ago when they (and I!) started reading Pitchfork, we turned to the site to find co-signs from music critics, to read reviews, and do-the-homework of being a music fan, all in the service of purchasing music. That happens in some ways now — I look at reviews, I cross-reference comments, I check Metacritic, and I make educated decisions before buying something on Bandcamp or adding to my library. — but a few factors are at play that make the simple act of picking a song an inactive choice, which devalues media and the arts: platforms like Apple Music, Netflix, etc. tell you to engage with, there is an economy of creators telling you what to listen to or watch, and the actual media itself (songs, albums, shows, movies) don’t “cost” anything outside of a subscription, unless you’re going to a theater. You no longer make an active or physical choice when it comes to picking the music, movies, or television. This passivity makes us as audiences, as people, less engaged with what we’re doing. Everything is a screensaver. Everything is a micro-transaction instead of a building forward. We sit and push the joy button again and again and again instead of getting up, going to the shelf, and picking out a record to play. Trusted sources and informed decisions are great if you are using that information. Otherwise, this is just being a cultural lemming.
This is heightened by the very 2010s and 2020s “I can do ANYTHING!” feeling that technology enables, which started with Millennials and has evolved with Gen Z. Less people are good at specific things and more people think they are able to “do a thing” despite a lack of talent, a lack of work ethic, or a lack of learned skill. For example: interior design. I was talking to an interior designer a few weeks back who mentioned something sage, that people rarely hire interior designers anymore to design: they’re hired for brief blessings because people now “know” how to acquire furniture and arrange a room without the help of an expert service. Mind you: none of these people are interior designers, let alone creatives. These are people like you and I who feel like they “can do anything” because products like Canva, CapCut, and Grammarly along with AI brain power and YouTube University make us feel intellectually empowered when we realistically outsourced expertise to a straw man. As Sigrid Nunez noted last year, there is a confusion between developing talent and just saying you “have a talent.” This creates a culture wide Dunning-Kruger Effect: this Effect is a “combination of poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability” which leads to overestimated capabilities. Why does this happen? “The very knowledge and skills necessary to be good at a task are the same qualities that a person needs to recognize that they are not good at that task.“ No wonder everyone can do everything but actually cannot do anything! No wonder we have a doctor shortage and that CEOs are so stupid, while all of us outsource expertise to boring tech. That sucks!
This passivity — Or macro learned laziness. — manifests in other ways, like social media and fast fashion poisoning culture by manufacturing trends that produce meaninglessness, dull individuality, while equating constant consumption with activity (Cue Barbara!). Something else: replacing varied, robust news sources with individual creators, which is another story entirely about how journalists-as-creators and platforms like Substack are dissolving more egalitarian and community-specific media. Then there’s the obvious things like a decade of binge watching and the gig economy propelling us to the hot-right-now cultures bed rot and “hurkle-durkle.” This is why we have a rise in loneliness — and the cure comes from doing more work and not less. This doesn’t mean “Get another job!” but that techno-capitalist dystopianism is peaking, that we have been ground to the point of intellectual disability, where we outsource everything to algorithms and services instead of each other. We are steeped in anti-community building that corporations profit from.
Meditate on this excerpt from the very excellent book After Work by Helen Hester and Nick Srnicek, which explores how technology will not save us “from work” and that the root of freedom is in each other. The future is much simpler than it seems.
The realm of freedom is not one devoid of obligations. It is the realm of projects to which we commit ourselves – individually and collectively – for their own sake and by which we ‘recognize ourselves in what we do’. Such freedom complicates any clear-cut distinction between everyday ideas of work and leisure given that these projects can and will require immense efforts. As Marx wrote, ‘Really free working, e.g. composing, is at the same time precisely the most damned seriousness, the most intense exertion.’ But this activity, though potentially demanding, frustrating, and onerous, will be free insofar as we commit ourselves to it for its own sake rather than being coerced into performing it by material need.
Theories about Taylor & Super Bowl spread
"Larry David's stance"
”Taylor Swift is not the problem”
Taylor Swift a target in the US election wars
“holy war on Taylor”
We’re in this for the long-haul: the zeitgeist has shifted the Taylor/Travis love affair to anti-woman chatter and election theorizing.
Should you change when you get home?
Do you change your clothes when you get home? I mostly “do” — but it really depends on where I went, what I did, and what time of year it is.
The Dogs That Live Longest, by a Nose
A win for not-French Bulldogs!
French bulldog puppy spontaneously regrows jaw
Speaking of French Bulldogs…Huh?
Pig Brain Alive For Five Hours While Separated
Another animal Huh? for everyone.
Insects Aren’t Attracted to Artificial Lights
A new study explores that bugs aren’t drawn to lights but instead are in a sort of sad trance that drives them mad.
Why I took Laurence Fox to court
This was a win: drag queen Crystal took broadcaster Laurence Fox to court for calling her a pedophile — and she won! Fuck these moron conservatives.
Marc Jacobs surprises with paper doll
I could write a longer story on this but I’m won’t: between this, the Margiela porcelain dolls, and Loewe (echoed by Balmain and Marni) along with Barbie and other related media (I hear Poor Things? I imagine the new Feud?), something culturally is happening with viewing women as literal and metaphorical dolls.
"Package for my son"
This week in Gen Alpha posts. Y’all parents need to, uhh, PARENT.
why tf are people staring at me 😭
"to the Anti-Defamation League"
Here’s what paid people got this week: an essay on my (reluctant) return to wearing pants and a $40 donation to the Anti-Defamation League.
I wonder, as I eat, how long it will take to “feel” it. Will I feel it in my blood first, like roadblocks in my system that I have to shake out? Will it feel like an extension cord running concurrently with (Or within.) my veins? Will they fill my brain, causing me to have an aneurism? Will I cough them up? Will they accumulate inside, a malleable tumor I can squish under my skin, my own private garbage patch? How will I “feel” the plastics inside me? I know I am eating and breathing and absorbing plastics at all times. When will I consciously know that some feeling I have is actually the plastics at work, the devil within my details?
I wonder sometimes what plastic actually tastes like. What if I tried to eat a plastic bag, whole? I will never actually do this, although I did consider pitching a story a few years ago to survey the tastes and textures of the various plastics floating around in our food, observed from a culinary lens. I never finished the pitch, let alone send it. Years ago, I did “chew” on a plastic bag for research I was doing for a short story about a cow who dealing with trash. I put the end of a plastic bag in my mouth. I moved the material around on my tongue, trying to see what it “felt like.” The plastic really did taste like nothing. Like water, it was more sensation than anything else. Unlike water, it was like a forcefield in the mouth, a flat piece of hair that could go between all your teeth at the same time. Life in plastic, they say. Blah blah blah fantastic.
There are microplastics everywhere and we are increasingly curious about their relationship to us. This is a fact of modern lives and, although we can do some things about it, there is little we can actually do. “An American adult could consume, on average, at least 11,000 microplastic pieces per year,” the Washington Post reported earlier this month, following the release of a study on the subject. These are teeny, tiny plastics — I am aware. — which is why I think about them in my blood. They are having a party within me but without me! I am collecting them. I wonder where they’re all from? Bottle caps? Food packaging? Candy wrappers? The soles of shoes? Someone’s shapewear? A pair of stretchy pants? A luxury bag, lost in the ocean? Perhaps all the plastic is my own making, coming out when I do laundry and from how I store my food. I have so much plastic in me. Will I meet them one day, when they are removed from my body like a mass of ingested hair? Do I want them removed? I am rich, in some way. Rich in the spirit and the spirit is a fossil fuel product that folds time within me, that makes me older than time itself, a cyborg subconsciously dreamt up by American entrepreneurs in the 1950s
Unfortunately these plastics are too small for me or you or anyone to fish out. Multiple recent studies of multiple different salts — from Indonesia, from Europe, from Australia and India — have found microplastics within the condiment. That is how small we’re talking. This isn’t cheap salt either but fleur de sels and pink sea salts: you cannot “buy your way out” of them. I like to think the fact that plastic is in my salt makes me more like a fish. After all: most fish eat fish — and most fish are full of plastics. Plastics of the sea. Delish. I wonder what the hermit crabs who use artificial shells think of this. Bottle caps, LEGOs, soda cans, laundry caps: they have unintentionally made peace with this plastic life, so says a study that dropped this week. These hermit crabs also turn to litter for homes because of availability and, according to a TikTok I saw, the “litter shells” work as camouflague as the seafloors are now covered in trash. “Damn, you live like this?” the aliens ask, before abandoning us to coast into the sun.
We talk about Boomer lead stares, we talk about rot culture, we talk a lot about colon cancer. Are these not related? At what point is living actually, realistically, just a form of rot? Not just of you but of everything around you: you are rotting therefore you make other things rot. The winters are warmer and warmer and warmer, the groundhogs rejoice, and our rot continues. Did you know warmer temperatures speed up rot? I pick something out of my teeth, which feels like a price tag but is actually a small fish bone. Am I so sure, though? Plastics make it possible. You are what you eat. Am I recyclable? Probably not anymore.
“let me know which ones”
Charli XCX had a week of viral-for-alts posts and I cannot stop thinking about this video, less because of the content but more that it’s Zillennials drinking cosmos. (A better alternative is the table of gimlets at Paul Mescal’s birthday. Baby girl king behavior!)
“Black parent in Willy Wonka”
We need a Black parent in Willy Wonka.
”I got really obsessed”
"boy do i have a life update"
“white person furikake”
“my mother staged a photoshoot”
“exactly how a pregnant woman looks”
My toxic trait is that I still think Twitter has the best posts. Fuck you, Elon, but the mentally unwell will always triumph!
And, finally, what it feels like to read these emails and click on links.