Wednesday, October 27 2021

Quote of the Day

People discriminated very carefully then between administering things and governing people. They did it so well that we forgot that the will to dominance is as central in human beings as the impulse to mutual aid is, and has to be trained in each individual, in each new generation.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed

Secret night writing

I’ve always loved writing at night after my hubby has gone to bed. The house will be dark and quiet, and it feels like I can write anything because no one will see. As if every single person in the world can see my writing during the day and is quietly judging it! It’s a silly hang up, but I still feel freer to write down anything and everything for a new story in secret.

I’ve taken ~45 mins the last two night to write little fragments of the story I am working on. I don’t know if I will even use them for anything, but the sheer creative joy of just building the ethereal sandcastle that a story is feels lovely. It’s hard, because I keep running into things that I haven’t figured out yet, but it does make me want to figure them out even more!

I knew my story would begin with a short travel from the main character’s home to the main setting, and I decided my MC lives in Minnesota. I assumed MN would have flooding in the climate change of our future, and just wrote off that idea. I checked The Facts today, and I am right: What Climate Change Means for Minnesota.

On the meaning of social and cultural roles in storytelling

Meanwhile, now that it is daytime, I’m looking into social vs cultural roles. Is there a difference? Honestly, what is the difference between society and culture?

Man you have to know a lot to write a story that is so infrequently taught…..

Notes from a Khan Academy video Culture and Society:

  • Culture informs society
  • Culture are the rules (human ideas) that form the organizing structure that is society
    • Weird metaphor: Apps / software on a phone are culture. The physical phone hardware is society.
  • “Society includes key parts called institutions, and examples include: family, education, politics. These are basic human needs, so we can think of society as the hardware.”
  • “Culture provides guidelines for living.”

Notes from a Khan Academy video Overview of culture:

  • “Society is a group of people and culture talks about the rules and instructions within a society that guides people and teaches them how to live.”
    • Why didn’t anyone just say this to start out with
  • “Culture refers to the ideas and things that are passed on from one generation to the next in a society.”
  • “Culture includes many different things like: knowledge, beliefs, values, language, customs”

So what I think they are saying here, for example, is that the collective we in America decided at some point that all children should be educated. That is an idea, a belief. That cultural belief is expressed in our society through the institution of public education. Right? I think.

(And yes, I know the whole public education was a scheme by factory owners to teach kids to grow up and be nice little factory workers instead of farmers. But no matter how jenky the original reason, it still became a cultural belief.)

Ok. Now, how does that apply to social vs cultural roles?

This page seems to imply that cultural roles are a subset of societal roles. (It thinks that gender, social differentiation, bio-sociological, and specific roles are each subsets of societal roles.) I guess one way to look at that is that everyone plays the social role of student when they are young, but a general American student in middle school role isn’t anything like the cultural roles of a Hebrew School student or a Chinese school student. Or even possibly football player in middle school.

Ok, wait. These roles are starting to sound like stereotypes, aren’t they? I see I’m not the only one to think that.

Members of social categories defined by attributes such as sex, race, and age occupy certain types of social roles much more than members of other social categories do. The qualities that define these roles become associated with the category as a whole, thus forming a stereotype. In a vicious cycle, this stereotype then hinders category members’ movement into roles with different demands because their stereotype portrays them as well matched to their existing roles but not to these new roles. This vicious cycle has important implications for stereotype change. Given the difficulties of producing enduring change by directly attacking stereotypes in the minds of individuals, a more effective strategy consists of policies and programs that change the distributions of category members in roles, thereby changing stereotypes at their source. If the vicious cycle is not interrupted by such social change, observations of category members’ typical social roles continually reinstate existing stereotypes.

Alice H. Eagly & Anne M. Koenig, The Vicious Cycle Linking Stereotypes and Social Roles

Well that’s a super interesting distraction. Not helpful for today, but possibly when working on the individual character level.

Anyway. This research has made me rescind my initial thought that roles flow from one another like a river. Overlapping Venn diagrams are a better representation, but (like always) I still want to create some overarching structure about how many roles a single person can be connected to. There is this image:

Manu Melwin Joy

Ok now that I understand roles better this diagram is actually super helpful. Let’s clear this up even more with various insights from around the Intarwebs:

  • Ideas about culture become cultural roles that the individual is expected to act out. A culture could be a sports team, their fans, a church, a college, a religion, an ethnicity, a “race,” a book club, “BreadTube,” a retirement community, a country club, etc.
  • Social roles change based on profession and relations. Individuals practicing different professions, such as teaching, nursing, plumbing, social media influencers, celebrities, have different roles to fulfill. I believe relations in this sense includes family roles.
  • Situational roles are knowing how to behave in specific instances, like how to be a customer in a fast food restaurant vs Ruth’s Chris, or what to do as the witness to a car crash. How to call a cab in New York, or knowing how much to tip and when.
  • Gender roles are roles we are expected to play based on our gender: mother, father, trans woman, etc.
  • Bio-sociological roles is kind of vague? It seems to be roles based on beliefs about how humans should interact with the natural world and natural systems. It’s too bad it’s so vague, because this seems like solarpunk bread and butter right here.
    • In a different but parallel vein, works by Tim Ingold and Gisli Palsson, for instance, have pointed to the necessity of a dissolution of the ‘conventional divisions between body, mind and culture’ (Ingold, 1999). A recent collection by Ingold and Palsson (2013), nicely summarizes this novel biosocial approach that challenges the reductionisms of sociobiology and cultural constructionism alike (dissolving the pole of nurture into nature and vice versa, respectively), and puts forward an integration of ‘the social and the biological … ontogeny and phylogeny, organism and context, being and becoming’ (Ingold and Palsson, 2013: 243). The biosocial: sociological themes and issues.
    • Oooooooooh, I see now. Bio-sociology is about challenging the idea of tabula rasa, that human interaction is the only thing that forms culture or identity. This idea incorporates biology into the picture of human behavior. Well, that’s much less exciting, and honestly will require way too much delving into theory to worry about overly much while I’m still getting a handle on the bigger picture.

So part of the problem here is that when you analyze the idea of “culture” it seems very static, like our modern assumptions about living in a small town in Eastern Europe in the fifth century. Everyone knew each other, there was little travel or other exchange of ideas, and everyone’s roles were set around them like cement, never changing. But in reality (then and now, most likely), culture is constantly updating itself, re-interpreting itself, being modified one way and then another and then back again by individuals and groups. Sub-cultures thrive and stagnate and die and are reborn. There might be agreement on the rules of a culture, but likely there isn’t. How dark does your skin have to be to be Black? Can you go out without makeup? Is aggression a male trait? Does our congregation welcome and perform gay marriage?

But in order to define roles for a story, they have to be pinned down. Even if they are in flux, the ways in which they are in flux need to be defined so that the change (or failure to change) will be clear. Also the role itself, if it is different from roles today, has to be clear and well-explained to the reader. So this is one of those ways in which story is very much a representation of reality, and not able to fully embody the messiness of life and people.

A bit of explanation

If you are wondering why I am worrying over roles in my worldbuilding, I am taking the idea from N. K. Jemisin’s style of worldbuilding, where thinking about social roles defines the power dynamics of your created society.

Also in looking up that link I found these that I am going to go listen to and see if it shakes anything else loose:

Narrative Worlds Episode 3 (Kate Elliott & N.K. Jemisin)

N.K. Jemisin’s master class in world building | The Ezra Klein Show

N. K. Jemisin Speaks at WIRED25

And this one possibly not on worldbuilding but sounds cool: UPSTREAMING: Neil Gaiman in Conversation with N. K. Jemisin

Friday, October 8, 2021

Quote of the Day

I wish that every day was Saturday and every month was October.

Charmaine J. Forde

Doofus interruptus

After having my day hijacked by lots of feels yesterday, I am back on track and delving more into the worldbuilding for my story. Specifically, more on flooding. I found this enlightening article about the process of getting one levee built, and how inequitable the process and the result is:

The Inequality of America’s Levee Systems

I thought this would be a great example I could use as a model for what could happen in my future southern New England coast. But then I found another article and I realized I have the complete wrong model. This article made me realize that southern New England has been dealing with flooding for a really, really long time. And most of what they’ve tried is slowly breaking down and failing. Levees, seawalls, dune rehabilitation, even stilts…none of it is working against erosion and flooding today, never mind decades from now.

Mother Nature, Humans Do Battle Along R.I.’s Battered Coast

Today I’m going to glean what I can from this article and I think I will get a good picture of where this coast might be in the years to come. I have to keep remembering that solarpunk is the fiction of the triumph of technology, of real solutions (even if temporary), of the positive outcome. It’s very easy to look at these situations today and just extrapolate forward on current social structures and political will and get to a very negative result. And I also have to remember that this is a short story and I don’t have to have all the answers to how people could ever realistically get to the future I want to show.


Speaking of solarpunk…

A new article on Tor listing some tasty solarpunk SF:

The Solarpunk Future: Five Essential Works of Climate-Forward Fiction

My library card is gonna get a workout. I actually started Robinson’s New York 2140, but I didn’t finish it before it was due back. I’ll have to try it again.

SF TV shows make my day

I’ve started watching Apple’s Foundation. I’ve never actually read the books–I never was a fan of super hard SF growing up, so I tended to skip it. The only Asimov I’ve read was The Gods Themselves, and I was young enough that maybe I shouldn’t have.

Anyhoo. Tor has an article about Foundation up, and since I’m watching the show and enjoying it, I figured this article might make for good reading.

Asimov’s Foundation and Finding Hope in Crisis

Wednesday, October 6 2021

Quote of the Day

There are two buttons I never like to hit, that is panic and snooze.

Ted Lasso

Links links links

I’ve got a ton to get to today, so just listing some links I don’t want to forget.


  • A game I apparently signed up to get updates about? It must have sounded interesting to me so I should re-check it out eventually.

A Solarpunk Manifesto

  • A nice summing up of the things I was researching last week.

Sistah SciFi

  • I want to visit this bookstore!!! Stupid pandemic……. soon.

Life Swap

  • Stardew Valley has to be hopepunk?

What We Can Learn from ‘Advise and Consent’

Politics and power haven’t changed much since Allen Drury, ’39, wrote his midcentury masterpiece. But trust has.

  • I really need to read this one, it might help me with my current story. Maybe this afternoon, after I finish more worldbuilding exercises….

Friday, September 10 2021

Quote of the Day

“I hate you,” I say slowly. “Everything you do makes the Mayor respond with something worse.”

“I did not start this war–“

“But you love it!” I take another step towards her. “You love everything about it. The bombs, the fighting, the rescues.”

Her face is so angry I can even see it in the moonlight.

But I’m not afraid of her.

And I think she can tell.

“You want to see it as simple good and evil, my girl,” she says. “The world doesn’t work that way. Never has, never will, and don’t forget,” she gives me a smile that could curdle milk, “you’re fighting the war with me.”

I lean in close to her face. “He needs to be overthrown, so I’m helping you do it. But when it’s done?” I’m so close I can feel her breath. “Are we going to have to overthrow you next?”

She doesn’t say anything.

Patrick Ness, The Ask and the Answer

It’s Snow and Coin, all the way down

[There are spoilers for the Hunger Games series below.]

As I’ve been reading The Ask and the Answer, I’ve been thinking about Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games series. The two leaders on either side of the war in The Ask and the Answer (Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle) represent the same forces as The Hunger Games‘ characters President Snow and President Coin. The tyrant and the resistance leader who becomes a tyrant in the name of fighting tyranny.

Lots of the big popular dystopia YA series have this tension in them, and in YA terms it’s kind of read as: the adults build and perpetuate atrocity so it’s up to us to stop this cycle. I haven’t gotten to the end of Ness’s series yet, so I don’t know how he resolves this tension in his books, but in others I’ve read, it’s usually kill the crazy makers making everyone crazy: Snow and Coin.

You can easily extrapolate the metaphor of Snow and Coin to represent the current state of the American political parties. Under the rule of both people will be exploited. Certain things will be worse or certain things will be better, but the same people overall will keep winning and the same people overall will keep losing.

Better the devil you know.

I wonder why the only choice is twixt two devils, tho.

Patrick Ness, The Ask and the Answer

This is pinging on my Jungian-trained brain. One of the key ideas in depth psychology is individuation. A resolving of opposites. Mother / father. Dark / light. Good / evil. Hope / despair. We call this devotion to opposites that we all naturally tend toward “black and white thinking.” Something that is good can’t be evil. Something that is evil can’t be good. But of course that isn’t always true, especially in the case of people.

We really run into black and white thinking problems when we decide a thing is one way. I have to keep this job. Why? Because if I don’t I’ll run out of money and be starving and homeless. So there are the opposites. I either keep working at the job or I’m starving and homeless. If that’s what I believe, keeping this job feels like the only sane answer, because the only other option is being starving and homeless. Except it’s not objectively true.* Objectively, I could look for another job. Start a side hustle. Go back to school. Move in with my parents. Move to a new country. Marry someone rich. Sell my house to buy a piece of land and homestead it. That’s resolving the opposites. That’s finding the third way. The resolution doesn’t always have to be complete life upheaval or a brilliant scheme, it’s just letting go of whatever messed up conclusion we came to about life when something bad happened to us that made us stuck in the heart of that opposite and not able to see any way out.

Right. So, the Snow and Coin problem feels like a resolving of opposites. You have a tyrant and a rebel fighting each other. They just keep fighting and fighting, and nothing is ever resolved, the atrocity just keeps mounting. Everyone is forced into picking a side. The only way out is to do something different, something besides what Snow and Coin tell you to do or manipulate you into doing. Like killing them. Resolution! The End.

Except…..are Snow and Coin opposites? Sure they are on the opposite sides of a conflict, but the YA stories make it clear they are both tyrants. Two tyrants fighting each other isn’t being stuck choosing between good and evil (like for example in Star Wars)–as the text makes clear, it’s choosing between evil and evil.

So is the resolution the third way? Or is it a manifestation of the opposite of tyrant?

Or is assassinating two tyrants just turning yourself into a third devil?

What if it’s just Snow and Coin, all the way down?

What is even the opposite of tyrant, anyway? The opposite of tyranny is freedom. I looked it up, and the antonyms are…weird? says democrat, which doesn’t feel right. Mirriam-Webster won’t even take a guess. has some interesting stabs: fair, victim, peasant, submissive, tolerant.

Victim. Peasant. So the real dichotomy here, the opposites are the tyrants and the victims. Snow and Coin / everyone else in the novel. And then the protagonist(s) overthrow the tyrants by murdering them, turning themselves into a tyrant, replacing Snow and Coin…..

So there is no resolution. There’s being a victim, and then turning yourself into the right kind of tyrant to “win”. Human nature.

Which brings up what I just read in The Uninhabitable Earth yesterday while I was taking notes:

…the dilemmas and dramas of climate change are simply incompatible with the kinds of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, especially in conventional novels, which tend to end with uplift and hope and to emphasize the journey of an individual conscience rather than the miasma of social fate.

David Wallace-Wells

What is a true resolution to the tyrants / victims opposites? And can it even be told in a story that feels satisfying to us who are so used to and invested in individualistic stories where the hero saves the day?

(Now I want to keep reading The Ask and the Answer right now to see Patrick Ness’s solution…..)

*Note on the above

Sometimes the duality is objectively true. A good mental attitude is not always enough to overcome the external conditions of life, and some people are not privileged enough to have the resources behind them to have lots of options.

(But they should have them. They should have those options….)

Thursday, July 15 2021

Quote of the Day

“If he kills us,” Tien said, “he’s simply dropped us off at a place we were going anyway. We shouldn’t hasten it, and it is sad. But see, he can’t take our moment, our Connection, Kaladin. And those are the things that really matter.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War


The inevitable I-just-finished-a-draft malaise has set in. Whenever I finish the first draft of a project-thing, I am always exhausted the day after. But yay, first finished thing in…years. I know that what I should really do now is put it away for a bit so I can come back to it and see that it’s not nearly so shiny as I think it is now, and then start making it ultra shiny.

Instead, I’ve been looking at details about submitting a personal essay, because I’ve never written one before. Here are some useful links I’ve found about that.

re: Do I Submit Using My Real Name or My Pen Name?

Erika Krouse’s Ranking of 500-ish Literary Magazines for Short Fiction (lots of these markets take essays too)

Submission strategies (nothing I haven’t heard before, but it’s been a long while, so reading it again is worthwhile)

Just think, soon I’ll have the joys of writing a cover letter.

Subgenes r00l

Explore 60 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Stories by Subgenres

I really like how Goodreads divided these, it’ll help me narrow down where my novel will fit. But there are so many new books. I am already so behind!

I might have a serious Inside problem

The other reason it’s a malaise day could be that I was up until almost 1 am last night watching Inside react videos on YouTube.

FIRST REACTION/LISTEN TO Bo Burnham – Welcome to the Internet (from “INSIDE”)

TOO GOOD!! | Bo Burnham – Welcome To The Internet (from INSIDE) REACTION!!!


All Eyes On Me – Reaction – Bo Burnham – Reaction

Our Freaking Minds Are Blown! Welcome To The Internet – Bo Burnham (from “inside” Album) (Reaction)

Is This True? “White Woman’s Instagram” Bo Burnham (from “Inside” album) Reaction

Our First Time Hearing Bo Burnham “All Eyes On Me” Reaction

FIRST TIME hearing BO BURNHAM – ALL EYES ON ME (From ‘Inside’ the Album) REACTION!!!

Welcome to the Internet – Bo Burnham (from “INSIDE” on NETFLIX) | #EpiccTV Reaction

White Woman’s Instagram — Bo Burnham (from “INSIDE” on Netflix) | #EpiccTV Reaction

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham (from “INSIDE” on NETFLIX)

During my bleary midnight hour I realized two things:

  1. I always write better when I am obsessed with music that is so good my only response is to try to also create something amazing. I was very productive during Tori Amos’ high producing years (from Little Earthquakes to Scarlet’s Walk). So I need to find lots of music that inspires me at the moment I am currently in. And to keep listening to and watching Inside until my brain melts.
  2. Watching people react to art that makes me want to art is also inspiring. It’s this kind of weird upward spiral of energy around “yes see how amazing this is, we are all touched and amazed in the same wonderful way by this thing” and “oh gods and goddesses, this is what I want when people read my work, this moment of being touched, of pausing to think, of connection, of pushing someone’s worldview just enough to awe and inspire.”

It’s a beautiful day to stay Inside.

Monday, July 5 2021

Quote of the Day

“If there is one thing I can guarantee you about humankind, Last Listener, it is this: Provide them with a sword, and they will find a way to impale themselves upon it.”

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War

A food new to me

When I told a friend about my nasamp misadventures, the result I described reminded her of West African Fufu. That is something I will try in the future!

Houses are homes not commodities

YouTube surfed me up this excellent video about the current housing mess, and how to solve it. The how to solve it part was genuinely great, as it’s a problem humans have solved before! I know, right?! There are even actionable next steps that are being worked on by real life people. I had hope, and it was great.

Speaking of housing, if you are like me and are fighting with the rent vs buy decision at this exact moment in time, don’t. Don’t struggle, and don’t buy. There’s a strong chance that things are going to be Less Crazy in about 14 months.

Also speaking of housing and how everyone should have it, Community Solutions is so far the most effective solution to housing the homeless that I’ve seen in America. It’s effectiveness lies in the fact that they’ve realized there is no one grand policy solution. But there are solutions when you look at each person’s individual situation and get them the exact help they need.

It occurs to me that living in true community, in a healthy society, means a Jungian individuation situation between the individual and the collective. A union of those opposites.

Our real-world Fifth Season

While there are places that just catch fire every summer / fall, if you live near those places (as I now do), you have the joys of smoke season. Washington has developed a tool that they are calling a Smoke Forecast, because the steady destruction of our planet is now as commonplace and predictable as weather. It’s fine.

It’s all opposites today


Which, I’m still have trouble with. My husband looked at me today as we were going out and asked me if I wanted to wear a mask. I literally had no answer. So we wore them out of confusion.

I was at the dentist in the Before Times, and I had a small cavity on one of my teeth. Before I let them just drill and fill, as they are so apt to do, I did a little research. I found that…more responsible dentists will track a small cavity and see if it gets bigger or stays the same. Some cavities are active cavities, getting bigger and bigger and worse and worse, and need to be filled. But others don’t. They are called arrested cavities. So the next time I went in, I was asked if I wanted to fill that cavity. I, in turn, asked if it had gotten any bigger. And I wasn’t able to get a straight answer. I was told that the decision was mine, and I needed to tell them what I wanted to do.

This is where I am at with wearing a mask. We’re being told that there are still risks, but not what they are. We are being told the metrics of a re-opening, but not what informed those metrics. How do I make a reasonable decision with inadequate information? Those two truths are not going away in the near future, but now we have to personally manage all the risk. It feels like another way of pushing a problem on to the consumer to save the bottom line.

Is Democracy Possible In Fear?

Stumbled across this: Democracy needs discomfort and distrust is a political virtue

I had no time before leaving on a trip to do more than read this headline and save the link. Just the headline was enough to make me think, though.

The trip wasn’t as full of hard conversations as I thought it would be, but it was absolutely a masterclass in fear. I visited very, very well-off people who live in their personal compound. There was an extensive alarm system, a gate. Extra independent alarms on a few windows not tied into the alarm system. In going out for dinner the house was closed up tight and the alarms set. The general assumption of every stranger in general and particular was that they were out to take advantage of them. I’ve never lived around this kind of fear. It’s not the same fear as my grandmother–she was afraid of bodily injury. Or things she didn’t understand, or being in the world in general. But these very rich people are terrified of losing their riches. Other fears sort of compound on that base fear, fear that people will come and hurt them….but that’s also somehow tied in to being hurt because they are rich. Are things like Fox News whipping up fear, or are they actually a true reflection of the fear that was already there?

And then this thought: Can there be democracy if people live in fear of losing their security? Or don’t have security at all? What crazy decisions are made out of fear?

I mean, I guess the ones we are living in. If we know that are living in a society that can’t save us, everyone is forced to look out for their own interests first. I think everyone in America is pretty clear that the government as it functions today isn’t going to make sure everyone is okay. Perhaps the Republican ideology is the response to that fact–that the chosen ones who can game the rigged system and take all they can get then have to hunker down and hope it doesn’t get taken from you. And the Democrat ideology in response to the lack of security is to try to make alliances and coalitions to support each other in a social safety net of basic human rights. Which I guess makes a moderate ideology something like acknowledging the rights of all others and oneself to take all you can and hunker down and hope it doesn’t get taken from you.

This might be simplistic. Or, you know, not.

There absolutely be dragons

MAP OF THE INTERNET 2021 – Halcyon Maps

I could spend hours looking at this, especially because I know barely a quarter of the sites mentioned.

Blogging to write

So far all this blogging still hasn’t led to me making a formal piece of writing, so I’m not sure if it’s working or not. But it has barely been a month, so I suppose some time is needed. I was passed this reflection on an interview by a friend: Notes on Quentin Tarantino’s Writing Routine.

It seems that even dreaming up a million ways to give people bloody ends on screen requires ritual and consistency.

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.