Fortune Cookie


Every once in a while, act like it isn’t true.

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You Wouldn’t Believe (The Legend of the Accursed Potato Chip)


I live in an American household that manages to make potato chips unpalatable. Let that point sink in.

Go Fuck Yourself


I tried to keep a thought in my head long enough to launch a text editor in order to write it down and then post it on a blog. The fact that I was unable to remember what I was on about seems somehow significant.

Indeed, the fact that I was unable to properly select this blog from the menu ought to mean something.

I keep trying to tell people, but they say I’m being silly.

But That’s My Brain You’re Talking About


There is no specific answer . . . .

Conversations go wherever they will, but it also feels really, really stupid to actually stand there and say the words, “And if it kills me?” Honestly, I just don’t understand why the discussion really would need to go that far.

It may well have taken two and a half years to recover from the last time. And that’s presuming such repair and recovery is actually finished, which is itself a problematic definition.

Still, though, why not? I mean, I get it. Here, instead of just blindly telling you to try buying this and if that doesn’t work maybe in a year we’ll try buying something else, now we have a test to tell you what to buy, and if it doesn’t work, it only takes a couple years to recover, at least, but, hey, why do that, because you can just take the new, improved, updated test again and try buying something else, and at some point, being wrong can kill people.

But never ask the question, because we already know the answer:Say what?

“And if it kills me?”
Don’t be silly.

This is not some simple thing, like switching mouthwash. That we might achieve a need to ask the question explicitly would seem significant.

Decades of Drudgery


#resist

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

The lede tells me that one of America’s most widely read right-wing journalists said something nasty about someone who went and said something spectacular in his own right, but I find myself wondering how anyone, even conservatives, still pay attention to the journalist who is essentially criticizing his commercial competition.

The most part of accepting that professional wrestling is not real combat comes down to just that, accepting the obvious. The hardest part about supermarket tabloid gossip was always the idea that anyone might believe it. Twenty-some years have Republicans denigrated themselves for a horde of alleged journalists whose apparent basis for competition has something to do with finding ways to pitch more extreme alternatives to a worryingly hungry audience.

What portion of what is happening, and how we got here, has to do with words like, “unwell”?

And to what degree does is it relevant, or is any notion of apropos merely a matter of aesthetic priorities, that over two decades after the widely-read conservative firebomb journalist accidentally helped a cartoonist win a Pulitzer …―

An established muckraker questions the psychiatric health of a competitor and market heir, and something goes here about the Pulitzer joke and nearly bringing down a presidency, and here we are all these years later and still drowning in rape culture because … I mean, say what we will about Republicans and conservatives and all that, but the rest of the nation has been finding ways to enable them. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I didn’t vote for them, either, but it is also true that we’re Americans, and we just don’t go lining them up in front of the ditch, so we should probably consider that somewhere in between we still simply haven’t done enough to forestall such spectacles as two excremental puckers fighting for headlines because that is the priority.

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Image note: Detail of Lucifer, by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

Priorities and Practicality


Detail of 'Relativity' by M.C. Escher, 1953.

Paula M. Fitzgibbons explains:

It’s possible my daughter’s condition is unavoidable—that she was born with a fear of death imprinted on her genes. There is plenty of precedent in my family, with an unbroken line of anxiety-ridden women stretching back to my great-great grandmother, who made a harrowing journey from Ireland to the United States. Researchers do believe there’s a genetic component to anxiety, but for a time, I believed my daughter was additionally cursed by epigenetics, or the idea that our experiences can write themselves into our children’s DNA. I’ve since abandoned the idea—the science of epigenetics is still sketchy, and I don’t have the time or mental energy to devote to an unproven concept when our problem is more immediate. My daughter’s anxiety is interrupting her daily life and nightly sleep.”

It seems almost petty to point out, but given the stakes I think it very important to acknowledge we witness, in this passage, the temptation of pseudoscience, and the practical gravity drawing one away from such shiny and dangerous notions. While the epigenetics of fear are, indeed, mind-boggling, the point is that virtually nothing about the concept is sound, yet. Or, as Lisa Simpson once said, “You don’t control the birds. You will, someday, but not now.” That mice verge on the Lamarckian when conditioned in a context of mortal fear and the torture to inspire it is a far cry from what’s going on with human beings; and while it’s true I haven’t followed this question so closely over the last few years, it’s also one of those subjects we would have heard something about if someone achieved any sort of definitive answer about anything. There are myriad reasons to be tempted by epigenetics in these aspects, but behavioral epigenetics does not at this time a sound science make.

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Fitzgibbons, Paula M. “Watching My Daughter Develop the Same Anxiety I Struggle With”. The Cut. 12 September 2017.