Thursday, September 9 2021

Quote of the Day

It’s weird, you grow up in the South you don’t really think that much about shit like that. The school names, the street names, the statues and all that stuff. You really don’t think about it, because you’re like taught a completely different thing. It’s not until you get older–you know, if your brain starts to work–where you realize how weird that is, that we have these participation trophies for our crimes against humanity.

Trae Crowder, On Confederate Statues Bein’ Dumb

But what if the guns shot flowers

The Tiny Tina Borderlands Game Looks Like An Obnoxious Good Time

I mean, I don’t even like first person shooters but it does look fun. But wouldn’t it be more fun if the guns shot flowers? Or turned the villain you were shooting into flowers? Or cute fluffy critters?? Opportunities were missed.


I was recommended Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by a Black male friend, so that’s pretty high praise.

I read the sample, and it is very good. But it has also plunged me into a funk, because I am as raw as a half-baked cookie around any racial identity issues. The sample has a discussion of terms: black or African-American?

To the extent I can speak for anyone else: black is the most inclusive choice…It’s a descriptor of what black people all have in common.

Emmanuel Acho

I just don’t know how to fix it. In Jungian theory if I just keep playing this tug-of-war in my head enough until I am completely worn out by it, then eventually in the depths of exhaustion and probably despair a new idea should come to me to resolve this tension. It’s happened before on other things.

Not this thing. How do I describe it? I don’t have dark colored skin, so by this definition, I’m not black. Ow. Well, he’s not wrong, I have the privilege of people not assuming I’m black so I guess I’m not black. Ow. I mean, technically I’m multiracial or mixed not black, right? That doesn’t even make sense? Was my mother the Virgin Mary? I just don’t count as black then? Ow. I should let black people define who they are on their own terms and just….disappear, I guess?

I’m really exhausted by this endless circle of I’m-all-of-these-things I’m-none-of-these-things I’m-part-these-things I’m-not-anything that any identity challenge, no matter how small, kicks off. But I guess not exhausted enough.

But so far it’s a really good book and you should read it. Seriously. I will too.

Wednesday, September 1 2021

Quote of the Day

“All I want to do is live up to her example,” I say out loud.

Othaar shakes his head. “There’s no way.”

Those three syllables push all the air out of me and leave me utterly deflated. Like I just suffered a tiny hull breach.

Charlie Jane Anders, Victories Greater Than Death

Ray Bradbury and writing exuberantly


This morning I watched Kate Cavanaugh’s I TRIED WRITING LIKE…RAY BRADBURY (and you should join me)! video blog. She’s trying Ray Bradbury’s advice from his book on writing, Zen and The Art of Writing. It goes something like, read a poem, short story, and essay a day. Write 1000 words a day and produce a short story a week for a year.

The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories. If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing, and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done. At the end of 30 weeks or 40 weeks or at the end of the year, all of a sudden a story will come that’s just wonderful.

Ray Bradbury

I’ve read this book, years ago, and of course I thought it was great advice and of course I tried it. Did I end up with 52 stories, and was one of them wonderful?


But hearing someone try it again, I was lured again. Maybe I should try it again. Bradbury didn’t believe in new writers writing novels. He didn’t believe in writing being hard. He didn’t believe in thinking too hard, or cautionary tales, or doing anything, including writing, that wasn’t absolute pleasure. He believed in moving too fast for the intellect to catch up:

In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the only style worth deadfalling or tiger-trapping.

Ray Bradbury

And it all just sounds so…..easy. Seductive. If I just am super excited and enthusiastic and hit the ground running every day and sling word after word on the page, I’ll inevitably be great.

For five seconds I was seduced. But then the video came to an end and I woke up and remembered this new process I’ve created for myself–the one where I understand what I’m doing and get to the end of story instead of getting lost in the middle–can’t possibly happen in a week. Maybe when I am more familiar with it and I can fine tune it and cut out the extraneous parts and do more than one step on the fly….well, maybe. But for now, no. Working through the theme, thinking about structure, working out character drives and motivations and dynamics, crafting a plot that meets the genre requirements, building scenes with tension–that doesn’t all just happen for me, not in a million trillion drafts, not without thinking it through first.

My process is completely antithetical to Bradbury’s process. And that doesn’t feel nice. I love Bradbury’s work, and I especially love the style of his later works–there are passages in Death Is A Lonely Business that thrill me:

Melt all the guns, I thought, break the knives, burn the guillotines-and the malicious will still write letters that kill.

Ray Bradbury, Death Is A Lonely Business

I didn’t even know it was a thing that I was holding on to, wanting to write like Bradbury, and I only realized it now because I have to let it go.

Matthew Salesses helps; I’m pretty sure this innate understanding of story that is based in the specifically unspoken cultural expectation of a white male audience is what leads someone like Bradbury to assume that everyone can just “get” writing instinctually, and contrastingly why I never did. That feels better than “I’m just too stupid to ever get it.” A narrative which my brain will entertain way too easily. Which maybe is true! I guess we’ll see.

Speaking of

The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

And Belle had to sacrifice all of that to pass as white. She couldn’t embrace her father’s teachings. She couldn’t see her mother’s family. There were so many sacrifices that went along with passing that we felt really needed to be explored.

If you’ve ever wondered why I insist on identifying as mixed race, it’s because I don’t want to live like this. Of course, opportunities are…mildly less problematic now, and my light skin and pedigree shield me from a lot of assumptions (in my adult life, anyway). But I come from two wonderful people, and I’m not going to pretend that either one of them didn’t exist in the making of me.

Wednesday, August 4 2021

Quote of the Day

 If the idea of illness can become illness, what else about our reality is actually a disorder?

Legion, Season 2 Episode 3


I was feeling gross yesterday, so I decided to take it easy. Inexplicably, I started re-watching Marvel’s Legion. I couldn’t figure out why. But then today I started up Bo Burnham’s Inside soundtrack, and whoosh! There’s a connection in there, about power and individualistic culture and navel-gazing as acting. Something along the lines of the more power you have, the more and more you seem to be concerned about your own problems and all the things done to you instead of what anybody else wants or feels or needs. And the less and less you reach out to others for any reason other than how they can service you.

At least, that’s how things are often portrayed.

Come on, Jeff, get ’em

Bo Burnham, Inside, “Bezos I”


The loneliness of being mixed race in America

I just wish the world knew they don’t get to tell multiracial people how we identify. 

Kristina, 43, based in Los Angeles, California


I don’t know what this craziness is, but I found it out in the wilds of the Internet.

Rainbow Family of Living Light

Sounds ridiculous and interesting on paper, but then of course it gets weirder and nastier:

There has been a longstanding Rainbow rumor that the group is recognized by the elders of the Hopi people, or other Indigenous peoples of the Americas, as the fulfillment of a Native American prophecy, and that this excuses the cultural appropriation that is common in the group. This rumor was debunked as fakelore by Michael I. Niman in his 1997 People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia.[28] Niman traced the supposed Hopi prophecies to the 1962 book Warriors of the Rainbow by William Willoya and Vinson Brown, which compares prophecies of major religious sects throughout the world with tales of visions from various Indigenous cultures.[29] The fake prophecy was written by non-Natives as part of an Evangelical Christian agenda; Niman describes the source as purveying “a covert anti-Semitism throughout, while evangelizing against traditional Native American spirituality.”[30]

Wikipedia – Rainbow Family



Ha ha! I was feeling so much better I made the muffins today. 10/10 would recommend!

Thursday, July 29 2021

Quote of the Day

If he really wanted a picnic in Leafturn, she would have to arrange one. She wished every day that Sher were not free of her control, not realizing that it was because he was that she loved him.

Jo Walton, Tooth and Claw

Jo Walton and a tradition of people in SFF being awesomely subversive

I’ve been reading Jo Walton‘s Tooth and Claw. I got it free from Tor. I’ve actually never heard of the book or the author, and I read it as a filler book waiting for my husband to finish the one I had planned to read next. As I was reading it I thought: oh it’s all dragons instead of humans. And the dragon people with their fancy hats and wealth and titles are interesting. The writing is pretty good, it’s not an amazing book.

Then I got to the end where the gentile but down-on-its-luck family all make good marriages and end up rich and suddenly like an idiot I realized this is Jane Austin but dragons!!!! (I looked it up on Wikipedia and she’s actually not writing in the style of Austin but of Anthony Trollope, who I’ve never even heard of.)

If I wasn’t feeling dumb enough, then I read the bit at the end of Tooth and Claw about her Sulien books: “‘Arthurian’ fantasy without Arthur, in a fantasy setting not unlike Dark Ages Britain, but with just a few more option from women to have agency–up to and including being warriors.”

That’s when I realized what I want to do with my writing is part of a long tradition in SFF, one that I mainly know through Sherri Tepper. But she is only one voice in a very large crowd of writers working to push boundaries, show new visions, and shift the Overton window in their works.

It is far and away time I started exploring these authors more. I mean, assuming I somehow get time to read more. I almost want to make some sort of list of SFF authors who are pushing boundaries on diversity, or taking on real-world problems in their works.

I mean, I need another project like I need a hole in my head, but….oh how I want to.

Angie Speaks about CRT

The Problem with Critical Race Theory

This is an hour long video. Many things were said. I could probably write a whole essay, going back over the video and picking things out. But what’s going to happen is my initial impressions and some ideas that I had about it.

So Angie says right up front that she is viewing CRT through a Marxist lens, and through that lens, CRT is Not Great.

To give a very poor summation, her point seems to be that CRT stomps all over the entire concept of universality, or colorblindness. That in a backhanded way it enshrines race as a thing that we will never be able to heal or move past. Angie admits that the ideas of colorblindness and universality have been disingenuously used by Some People to ignore real discrimination, but that doesn’t mean we should throw out the concepts entirely. With a Marxist lens, CRT is a stalking horse meant to divide the poor and working class, meant to keep the workers fomenting at each other instead of all coming together to overthrow the capitalist oligarchs making the world a misery for everyone.

To sort of back up her point, she mentions that CRT doesn’t really have a desired outcome. CRT’s loudest call is for equality, an equality measured against what white people have now. Angie says following that idea to its conclusion would be an equivalent number of poor Blacks with the same “advantages” and “privileges” as poor whites, an equivalent number of working class Blacks, middle class Blacks, and rich capitalist Blacks as there are to white people in each class.

(She also says a lot about CRT scratching some unfathomable itch for white progressive shame and guilt, and it’s a very compelling observation.)

So. There’s a lot. But my first big thoughts are these.

There was nothing explicitly said about how a Marxist solution would handle racism, but I have an idea it would be something along the lines of: if we get rid of these rich capitalist clowns in power who are heavily invested in pitting us against each other instead of them, if we don’t have an establishment nurturing these false divisions, if We Labor all rise up as one and make a true equality, the racism will just die out. Fall to the wayside with other useless pseudoscientific ideas like phrenology. (This is an assumption, not research.)

My Jungian lens says that is not likely. I think just like the outcome of CRT could be unequal class structure for all, the outcome of Marxism could easily be a shadow complacency, an assumption of post-racial life that in reality sees the patterns of covert racism unconsciously being played out. It would be just like how most progressive whites up until last summer thought that ever since the Civil Rights movement in the 60s the lives of POCs was on a slow yet steady rise ever upward into equality.

In other words, while I believe in the “workers owning the means of production” side of Marxism, and certainly believe in the pain of all workers being crushed by a capitalist system, I don’t believe racism will disappear under a tide of worker’s rights without a reckoning. In this I agree with the side of CRT that says we are all racist. There’s no way we can’t be racist, because we are being fed a whitewashed history and shown a whitewashed culture that barely acknowledges that POC exist. When they are mentioned, most of the attention is on their forced labor in cruel conditions or mass killings or genocides. We barely understand the diversity of what everyday American life looks like even today, because our only frames of reference are people we personally know or what we see in media. Never mind what it has looked like for various groups of people throughout our history.

If CRT says we should own the full scope of American history and culture and teach that to our kids, I am behind that 1000%. What I am not behind, as Angie says, is shaming and guilting as performative play, or as how to teach kids about racism. I’m also not behind an equality that leaves people equally badly off and equally crushed by the system. And I’m not behind the idea that we all have to be racists forever.

Again I’m right back to Richard Thompson Ford’s ideas about accepting POC experience as an integrated whole of American history and society. And it also makes me want to read his book Racial Culture: A Critique and delve into these ideas further. Why is there never enough time and always another rabbit hole….

Bookshelf roasts!

Simple levity is sometimes all that is necessary to make a day better.



I looked this page up twice while revising my essay yesterday, so I’d better stick it in here as I’m likely to need it again.

Quote Investigator: Teach Them to Yearn for the Vast and Endless Sea

Right up my alley

Five Classic SFF Novels About Environmental Disaster

It’s occurred to me that if I want to be writing this sort of solarpunk / CliFi genre thing, I better read a lot more in it. This seems like a good start.

I mean, once I’ve finally finished catching up on a bunch of series I’ve been following for years. There’s always too many books.


I went to look at the comments on Angie Speaks’s CRT video linked above and found this:

I want more of that in life. My life, specifically!

Tuesday, July 27 2021

Quote of the Day

Anyway, it became very fashionable very quickly to perform cultural purity for others, and that fashion became dogma, and dogma became law, and tada! Here we are.

Becky Chambers, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

Not bad, but too incremental

These new Washington laws went into effect on Sunday

I get that the wheels of democracy aren’t the fastest, but we need big action on some stuff here. At least there is action, which is more than I can say for most places.

I really put this up there because I had a thought while reading about the changes to law enforcement. Something about how kicking in people’s doors might feel like a rational thing to do since we see it happen at least once on every procedural show episode on TV and in movies. Lives are on the line! The killer kills his victim in five days AND ITS DAY FIVE RIGHT NOW AHHHHHHHHH SMASH!!!!!

The plot line in a show often requires a time constraint to keep people interested. Real life is not a plot device.

Anyway, my thought: for every stupidly over the top violent piece of media that gets made normalizing brutality, a piece of media should be made un-normalizing it. I should write a bunch of happy fluffy things.

Or possibly watch the updated My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and write stuff like that.

A story

While I was visiting an old friend this weekend, I brought up my dad who is being white-assumed for the first time in his life. When a group of white people say racist things in front of him, he gets to make the fun decision to speak up and mention that they are disparaging him and should stop it or not. (I’ve dealt with this a lot. Badly, I might add.)

My friend replied: That’s awesome! His super power is making people uncomfortable.

That was a kick in the preconceptions, for sure. I love everything about this.

The end.

Oh my aching lists


I’ve become good about not buying paper books, actually. But whenever I see a book I want, online or in a bookstore, I add it to my Amazon purchase lists. Which look like this:

Craft Theory Books: 68

Digital Arting Books: 11

Foodish Books: 34

Genre Books <3: 145

Graphic Novels: 40

Lit Books: 68

Nonfic Books: 190

Traditional Arting Books: 31

Which is well below 6k, but still feels like there’s pretty much no way I can read all those in my lifetime, and I just keep adding more.

It also reminds me that I need more time to read. I read a lot at night before falling asleep, which is when I read SFF books. I don’t want to be reading weighty nonfiction books about how awful the world is before trying to sleep. I need more book time!

Processes are so much work

So I wrote this essay thing about two weeks ago now, and I have no idea what to do with it. Which is a predicament that worries me, that perhaps I am somehow self-sabotaging by not figuring out how to get this piece into the world.

I could revise it, I have an idea for a new bit to add, but I think because of how personal it is I am constitutionally incapable of knowing how it lands on a brain that I don’t live in. I need some outside feedback from a person who either knows me very little or not at all.

Huh. It makes me wonder if there is like a Wattpad for nonfiction. I don’t know much about nonfiction. Maybe that is where I am falling down, this is out of my wheelhouse just enough to make me uncertain.

Oh. People do post essays on Wattpad. That’s interesting! But not good if I want to trad publish it. Back to the drawing board.

Oh! This is a thing I can research! Why didn’t I think of this?! OF COURSE I CAN RESEARCH THE THING HA HA HA HA

13.38: How to Find and Use Alpha Readers


Why didn’t I think of Fiverr?? This is a great idea!

Also I found Aigner Loren Wilson while searching for information and she just seems great and I don’t want to lose her website: Byline or By Crook

Now motivated to add that extra bit and hire an alpha reader!

Tuesday, July 6 2021

Quote of the Day

“It was war,” Rlain said.

“Is that an excuse?” she asked.

“An explanation,” Teft said.

“One used to explain too much,” Syl said, wrapping her arms around herself and growing smaller than usual. “It’s war, you say. Nothing to be done about it. You act like it’s as inevitable as the sun and storms. But it’s not. You don’t have to kill each other.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War


I mean. Not wrong!

Billionaires might be voted off the planet metaphorically, but really they are still stuck here

I find this oddly comforting.

This thread is great, and makes perfect sense that the rich can’t all just go on a cruise to Fhloston Paradise while we stay here and fight over water, because SF is still make believe, even if media often feels more real than life.

What I do wonder is….do they get that? The billionaires?

It’s not all about people like you…

Still loving what Brandon Sanderson is doing with representation in this latest novel:

But feel your own body changing you into someone else, and not be able to stop it?

Every human being lived with a terrible terror, and they all ignored it. Their own bodies mutated, and elongated, and started bleeding, and became all wrong. Nobody talked about it? Nobody was scared of it? What was wrong with them?

Rhythm of War

He’s talking about what these experiences feel like, not making them the staging horse of his story. How to write about characters with all different circumstances when you’re not a member of their community: don’t make it the focus of your story. Make it the experience of your characters. 

…and not everyone is like you

My trip last weekend brought me a number of thoughts, and one of them was this: there are people who don’t want to learn anything new about the world, and who aren’t interested in understanding what life is like for others. They still want to learn new things, but they select things to learn that just elaborate on the details of what they know to be true per their already-formulated worldview.

I’ve been surrounding myself with people who are truly interested in finding out new things about how the world works for so long that I forgot the other kind was even out there. How can you be completely uninterested in the way people other than you move through, experience, and participate in the world?

(I mean, there’s an obvious answer: because their worldview changing means their identity needs to change with that, and most people have a literal death-grip on their identity. I say that knowing the thing but being completely unable to identify with it.)

But I find it…..terrifying? I want to write to change minds. But for there to even be the smallest chance of that, someone has to be willing to pick up the book and open it first. I’ve never really stopped to think that maybe no one will ever read my work. That’s not quite right. I have, but in the context of them not liking it, or it not being something they are interested in, or it not resonating. I haven’t thought about that in the context of, you might challenge my preconceived notions a little, so hard pass. Those are the people I need to speak to! Or want to speak to? But are they?

How do you wake up Sleeping Beauty in the age of doomsday preppers and enthusiastic consent?

What is there time left for? Seriously.

We’re Screwed. How to unscrew. By Jessica Wildfire

And yet, look at what’s going on. We’re in the middle of another global surge in a pandemic, with a virus that continues to mutate. It’s 118 degrees in the Arctic circle. Entire towns are going up in smoke. Amidst all this, your boss is telling you it’s time to get back to the office. Gotta keep cranking out those sprockets. Gotta keep Karen happy. Gotta keep saving for that retirement, even if money is worthless by then.

I like how Jessica writes about individual and collective action. I don’t agree with the stop eating beef argument. But that’s all really beside the point. I’ve been listening to Bo Burnham on repeat for weeks, and while he doesn’t at all sugar coat it (“20,000 years of this, 7 more to go“), reading Jessica’s article really makes me wonder: I want to write a novel to share my view, to make people think, to maybe change some minds. Is there honestly time for that? If it takes 2 years to write 1 novel–is that too late? Will we have space for anything beyond survival to think about by then? How long until no one’s even going to be able to read my magnum opus e-book? What are we content makers all doing, actually? Arts and crafts on the Titanic?

So do I dig deep into solar punk and churn out as many visions of a workable future as I can, hoping a couple of them are more useful than SF visions of luxury space liners that have billionaires convinced some select few can just go live on Mars when The End Comes? Do I do nothing except learn to farm and hunt and trap because civilization is going to collapse in 10 years? Do I forget changing anyone’s anything and go work for a climate change non-profit or something?

Of course there’s no right answer. But I need to pick something and stick to it, right? Existential crises are really a lot less existential these days….

Sunday, June 27 2021

Quote of the Day

Spirit Scout Motto: All Those Who Are Lost Deserve Kindness

Cozy Grove game

Something is rotten in the state of space

Temps here in the PNW are unbelievably scorchy. I am holed up in a hotel room. A very, very cheap hotel room. But what it lacks in amenities is made up for in air conditioning.

My husband and I have started a chronological re-watch of the Star Wars movies to rot our brains while hiding from the heat. I’ve noticed a few things.

The Phantom Menace: The Racist Origin Story We Had to Have

When The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, the fans were underwhelmed. The lines were cheesy. The acting was wooden. And then there was Jar Jar Binks.

But what ruined the movie for me was the appalling racial stereotyping. Baddies with flat noses, slanty eyes, and Oriental accents? A slimy mechanic with a hooked nose, dark skin, and a Middle Eastern accent. Really?

Sam Chan, Espresso Theology

All that and the Jamaicanish-accent-having “primitives” that got to die for the interests of the rich folk. So much yikes.

I didn’t notice how bad this all was the first time around, because this movie has huge plot holes I kept falling into and figuring out what was going on seemed to take up most of my brain space. I never did figure out how a blockade at one planet out of thousands of systems would have resolved a taxation issue? And….what exactly was that issue, anyhow? What did the Trade Federation want that the Senate wouldn’t agree to? I know it’s all moot because the whole entire thing was orchestrated by Palpatine, but that didn’t have to be hidden from the audience for most of two movies, did it? I didn’t realize how much I hate a shaky backstory until now—especially when the characters are unengaging.

Also, the Force. The Jedi. Have the Jedi not noticed that they are creating the Sith? (I think The Last Jedi might grapple with this?) That seems to be a thing they should do something about instead of waiting on prophecy. Maybe tell people more about dealing with their feelings constructively instead of just anger dark side noooooooooo……

(Personally, I think Mr. Nancy gets it.)

Anyway, another link about the opening trilogy: The Star Wars prequels are bad — and insightful about American politics


A friend introduced me to the pallas cat and now I want to pet one.

Thursday, June 24 2021

Quote of the Day

Why do you rich fucking white people insist on seeing every socio-political conflict through the myopic lens of your own self-actualization? This isn’t about you!

Bo Burnham, “How The World Works”, Inside

It Seems Like I Have To Talk About Bo Burnham’s Inside Again

I’ve become deeply disturbed by The Discourse’s (TM) response to Inside. Or the lack of response. Why is no one talking about “How The World Works”? I might be on the Wrong Places on the Internet, but I feel like no one is engaging with the content of Bo’s content.

Or they are, but not in the way that I expect. From what I can tell, there’s been a lot of commentary about how relatable it is because pandemic and we all had depression, anxiety, despair, and other Hard Feelings. I’ve seen mention of the insights in it about Internet culture. All valid. But are we going to talk about the societal commentary parts? The perfect summation of how the world truly works in a single verse followed by the horrifyingly accurate byplay of white male power constantly working against minority reality and equality? How the planet will actually truly for really real become inhabitable in a few decades and Homo Economicus will become extinct? How there seems to be no actions individuals can take to fix our societal issues that are causing our imminent demise? And how there is no cohesive movement to make any real change or plan at all? It’s all in the special!

(Also why do people keep calling his songs “silly”? I know he did in the special, but that’s beside the point. I had a discussion with my husband where he explained that “silly” was referring to the form of the songs, for example how “Welcome to the Internet” with its vaudevillian / carnival barker style is a form that we don’t generally consider a container for important messaging. So meaning aside, the song is “silly.” I think you all are crazy, because there is no meaning aside. “Welcome to the Internet” is horrifying, partly because pasting over tragedy and pain with vaudevillian distraction is something we as a society are WAY too adept at. It’s terrifying to know that we are fully capable of pasting over climate change UNTIL WE ALL DIE [well at least until the rich white people start dying].)

I looked up a bunch of reviews of Inside and stared at their titles for a while and realized a thing.

Bo Burnham: Inside review – this is a claustrophobic masterpiece

Why Everybody Loves Bo Burnham’s Lockdown Special

Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ Is A Musical Fantasy About Terrible Realities

Confessions of a Neurotic Mind: Inside Bo Burnham’s Sobering “Inside”

Are the realities that Bo sung about being taken—within the context of Inside—as an over-reaction of a depressed and anxious mind? Is that what I’m missing? That because he showed and was honest about the deteriorating mental state of the character of Bo, the social issues that were brought up are not valid? That he was….overwrought? Hysterical?

While I was looking at reviews and reactions to Inside, I watched a YouTube reaction by a guitar teacher that was incredibly charming.

Heartened, I watched a reaction by a white woman to “White Woman’s Instagram”. That’s when I had really awful realization #2—Inside is about the past. It was a time that happened and is gone, because we are back to normal. Are we coping with 2020 by locking all the pain and deaths and angst and feelings and realizations back in that pandemic place, to be left behind forever so we can…..what, exactly? Continue to ride this ride that ends in the destruction of everything without a second thought?

Jesus fucking Christ, if Inside can’t even make a dent in waking us up enough to talk for five minutes about the wisdom of this capitalist hellscape delusion we insist on perpetuating, what the fuck am I doing thinking I can “make a literal difference metaphorically”?

Marvel’s Loki Is Letting Me Down

LOKI EPISODE 3 REVEALS THE MARVEL SHOW’S FATAL FLAW: Despite its many innovations, Loki can’t escape the fact that it’s a Marvel story. That’s a serious problem.

While I agree with the article that the fight scenes were kind of awful, and I completely agree that Loki needs to be cooler, being a better badass is not the way I want him to be cooler. What I want is the character Loki to live up to his namesake. I want Loki to be a real trickster, one that seems like he is foiled but his defeat actually accomplishes a piece of his larger goal. I want Loki to not be a character that has self-defined the God of Mischief as a hedonistic amateur that dreams of nothing else but gaining power to have power. That character needs to have a character arc of growth and learning to not be an asshole, and that is boring and overdone. I want a trickster Loki that is actually more intelligent than everyone else around him instead of just more arrogant, a trickster Loki that is fully capable of manipulating everyone in every situation to bring him exactly what he wants with a character arc of learning to do that for good reasons instead of selfish ones. (I’ve wanted this character since White Collar’s Neal was never written as smart enough to completely outwit Peter.)

Or possibly I just want Marvel to re-name this character not after one of the greatest tricksters in literature so I can enjoy the character and the arc I’m going to get and not pine after the one I deserve.

What’s Next?

A friend suggested I do a ten minute free writing exercise to figure out what I want to work on next. This is an excellent idea that I don’t want to forget.

Friday, June 18 2021

Quote of the Day

You tried to help the people of the market. You mostly failed. This is life. The longer you live, the more you fail. Failure is the mark of a life well lived. In turn, the only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.

Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

Why Have I Not Read James Baldwin Yet?!

Watch a Never-Before-Aired James Baldwin Interview From 1979

Direct link to video

He is so amazing. He is SO Amazing.

This interview makes me think….is there a point, is there any point at which the individual stories of non-whites do not matter? That we all as citizens of America just decide to change our society because people–our people–should live in dignity with their needs met? Do we need to…..truly understand every single POC’s pain? Can’t we just decide that decency is the decent thing to do? Can we ever stop the train-wreck-like consumption of the pain of others and tend to repairing the story of our nation instead?

Baldwin: My best friend, a Black boy, jumped off the George Washington Bridge when he was 24 and I was 22. And I was sure that I was going to be next.

Interviewer: Just from despair, or….

Baldwin: From despair. From rage. You know, because you can get to a place where you’re in battle so often that you know, that’s all you can do. You’ve been beaten so hard, all you can do is…your world narrows to a kind of a red circle of rage. And you begin to hate everybody, which means you hate yourself. And when that happens, it’s over for you.

James Baldwin’s 1979 Interview for ABC

Bo Burnham’s Inside makes me think…..can privilege actually be used for good? Or is it like a gun? A gun can be used to kill “evil” people or kill “good” people, but in the end all it does is make corpses. The premise of a gun put to good use is the premise that killing can be a good thing. And yes, I can think of a very short list of hypothetical situations where I would consider murder to be a good thing. But it’s still the only solution you can get out of a gun. Is there some hypothetical situation where advantaging one person over another based on their genes can be a good solution? All privilege does is unevenly flow attention, money, and power toward certain people. An individual can try to divert some of that flow to others, but if none of the other privileged are interested in shoring up that specific diversion, it won’t stay diverted….

You say the ocean’s rising like I give a shit
You say the whole world’s ending, honey, it already did
You’re not gonna slow it, Heaven knows you tried
Got it? Good, now get inside

Bo Burnham, “All Eyes On Me”, Inside


Tuesday, June 15 2021

Quote of the Day

The simple narrative taught in every history class

Is demonstrably false and pedagogically classist

Don’t you know? The world is built with blood! And genocide and exploitation!

The global network of capital essentially functions

To separate the worker from the means of production

And the FBI killed Martin Luther King

Private property’s inherently theft

And neoliberal fascists are destroying the left

And every politician, every cop on the street

Protects the interest of the pedophilic corporate elite

Bo Burnham, “How The World Works”, Inside.

Re-Experiencing Inside

Bo Burnham’s Inside on Spotify

Listening to the songs without seeing Burnham act them out was weird at first, but then hearing Spotify’s commercials next to the songs from Inside was just awful. Awful in the “oh wow so many minutes of my day really are spent fending off an endless number of companies who want to separate my money from me in a way that makes their false earnestness and manipulation transparent.” Awful in the way that highlight’s Burnham’s points better than he could have made them. Which is a depressively brilliant way to listen to the album. Which I know I will do, over and over, while Spotify soaks up the seconds of my life with their ads that make them $9.5 billion in revenue to give a few pennies to Burnham for each track I listen to. How the world works.

Edit: I bought the album on iTunes and my outlook on life is a lot cheerier.

There Have Been Worse Ideas

Petition to deny Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spaceflight reentry to Earth making the rounds

“Jeff Bezos is actually Lex Luthor disguised as the supposed owner of a super successful online retail store. However, he’s actually an evil overlord hell-bent on global domination,” petition organizer Jose Ortiz said. “We’ve known this for years.”

Lucas Manfredi, Fox Business

Possibly saving this is silly, but it seems to fit the theme for today. I also love Jose Ortiz’s description.

In Conversation

He did what white guys are good at. Showing us that you can succeed with mediocrity if you just believe in yourself.

Anonymous Friend Until I Get Permission To Use Their Name