BB #57: Bemused Bubbles

BrainFireI’ve said in the past that all the crazy and stupid in the world doesn’t make me bitter so much as bemused (which is not at all the same as amused). Lately, as the stakes seem higher and the ought-is gap ever wider, I have to admit to a fair degree of bitterness. It just doesn’t have to be this bad, and often I can’t really grasp why it is.

I read my news feed and am struck by the juxtaposition of items describing the tragedies of life so many experience daily with… hand-wringing over Taylor Swift’s latest romantic breakup.

Ah, the flotsam and jetsam of modern humanity…

Hayley Tsukayama, writing in the Washington Post (August 31), ponders Pokémon Go and the lifespan of fads in the Internet age.

Pokémon Go — the augmented-reality game that sent the classic Japanese franchise into a new age — took the world by storm last month. But just last week, there was already a number of articles declaring the game all but dead. A report from Bloomberg News showed that Pokémon Go was already “in decline,” including charts from Axiom Management that fewer people are playing the game every day and that the people who are playing are not playing for quite as long.

It was interesting to me, having seen the cycle repeatedly, to watch the Pokémon Go fad catch fire, capture everyone’s interest (for an internet-centric definition of “everyone”), and begin to fade within months.

Much of it has to do with something I’ve talked about many times: scale. The global village is huge, and one characteristic of large systems with millions of connected members is that memes spread explosively.

But given that these memes are ultimately devoid of substance, like a piece of candy, they don’t endure (let alone nourish). Eat one piece of candy and you immediately begin to think about the next piece.

Speaking of which: Who remembers Candy Crush?


Venkatesh Rad, writing in The Atlantic (September 6), asks How Harambe Became the Perfect Meme.

It is perhaps the sheer meaninglessness of the original episode that made it an ideal candidate for memetic perfection. There is no object lesson in the Harambe story. No greater moral or meaning. No nascent Clint Eastwood movie. Yet the powerful video of a small child being dragged along by a large gorilla demanded a response and emotional resolution. When that resolution could not be found within the limited original context, Harambe broke out into the broader cultural marketplace, seeking, if not narrative interpretation, at least emotional resolution.

If you don’t recall, Harambe is the zoo gorilla shot and killed last May by keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo. The did it to save a small child who had wandered into the gorilla enclosure.

Essentially Rad paints a picture of a world turned so weird that we’re captured by events like these while simultaneously drawing away from normal expressions of human values (such as Eastwood’s recent movie, Sully).

It is perhaps Clint Eastwood movies that are out of place in this world, in that they offer no acknowledgement or accommodation of the great weirding that defines our times — only escapist fantasies set in worlds of moral meaning and emotional closure. In a world defined by Harambe, Sully is emotional science fiction.

Harambe is post-everything. Post-normal, atemporal, post-cultural, post-ironic—choose your favorite descriptor of the zeitgeist: Harambe is an entropic heat death anti-narrative that can mean anything while signifying nothing. And perhaps that’s a good thing: any substantive and creative collective response to the weird, no matter how incoherent, is better than a fearful retreat to the normal.

What strikes me is the normalizing of weird. Very bemusing!


I’ve never been a much of a fan of the whole Burning Man thing. The idea is interesting enough, but the problems of scale kind of ruin it. That and how shit always wins, so it’s hard to keep things good.

Apparently it’s getting harder. Melissa Chan, in Time (September 5), writes about the Burning Man Camp Attacked by Vandals Over Outrage at ‘Parasite Class’.

Apparently some folks thought the White Ocean camp was too cush and comfy for the Burning Man ethic. So naturally they vandalized the place.

The next day (September 6), Kate Samuelson, also in Time, writes that Revellers are Still Trying to Leave Burning Man Festival – 24 Hours After it Finished.

Once again, the scale of things these days makes things a challenge.


There was (and I assume still is) a great Oktoberfest event in Minneapolis. It runs on weekends four weeks in a row and has all the usual fun things. My friends and I used to go every year.

I haven’t been in years. Too many people. Getting to the beer line is difficult with the press of bodies. With so many people, it stops being fun.

I’ve read articles about the difficulties the National Parks system had dealing with the influx of visitors, many of whom have no idea what proper behavior is.

Matthew Brown, writing in Time (August 28), explains how How Selfies Are Making Yellowstone Dangerous for Tourists.

Record visitor numbers at the nation’s first national park have transformed its annual summer rush into a sometimes dangerous frenzy, with selfie-taking tourists routinely breaking park rules and getting too close to Yellowstone’s storied elk herds, grizzly bears, wolves and bison.

Law enforcement records obtained by The Associated Press suggest such problems are on the rise at the park, offering a stark illustration of the pressures facing some of America’s most treasured lands as the National Park Service marks its 100th anniversary.


Two other articles from Time (we’re on a kick here) chime in:

Video Shows Vandals Destroying Popular Rock Formation at Oregon State Park, Martha Bellisle, September 5, describes a bit of casual vandalism caught by an overflying drone.

Apparently the young men were mad at the rock formation because one of their friends had broken his leg on it.

Man Arrested After Breaking Into House and Painting Dog Purple, Police Say, Melissa Chan, September 5.




A couple of sources have reported a new interweb mini-fad: This live stream of an intersection in a random Wyoming town is my favorite fall TV show, Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge, September 6.

Apparently over two-thousand people spend a chunk of their day watching a webcam of an intersection in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Apparently there is a way to comment on the stream, so viewers spend their day gushing over seeing a red truck.


And then there’s You’re the Worst, a TV series that I’d heard about and which seemed to be getting acclaim. But then I read Nandini Balial’s article in New Republic (September 2), The Worst Is Yet to Come.

Relationships are hard, so is comedy, and the intersection of the two is the primordial ooze for You’re the Worst, now entering its third season on FXX. No show on TV has given its audience such a complete insight into people who are adults only in name. The wealth of insecurities on display aren’t available on your average show about relationships—or your friend’s Instagram feed, or your cousin’s Facebook posts. The first season established the wretchedness of its lovers: Jimmy the one-hit-wonder writer and Gretchen the frustrated music publicist, two unstoppable self-destructive assholes who are comfortable only when they wage war against stability and relationships.

Oh, good, Lord, no thank you.

As I’ve said before, I watch TV to be with people I’d like to have as friends. This business of watching assholes, extreme criminals, or just the incredibly ignorant, stupid, and incompetent, is utterly beyond me.

Why spend time with a virtual asshole I’d never let in my house or share a meal with? What is the attraction?


It’s all of a piece in my eyes. The sheer scale of humanity combined with the sheer lack of real meaning for most of it. I guess it makes sense to spend all your free time in shallow, meaningless pursuits.

It’s a simple equation. With a wolf pack or a village — even a town or city of old — all the members mattered, were valued. These days humanity is more like an ant hill or herd of ruminants. Individuals have less and less meaning.

And, in terms of numbers, we’re approaching petri dish counts.

It’s really existentialism writ large onto the seven-billion-plus humans infesting the globe (very much like an ant hill).

I’m increasingly convinced the real answer to Fermi’s Paradox is that “intelligent” (let’s just say “clever”) life’s progress tends to so far outstrip its actual intelligence that self-destruction is almost a certainty.

These days I can’t think of a species that deserves it more.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

18 responses to “BB #57: Bemused Bubbles

  • rung2diotimasladder

    Funny, I hardly notice these memes and news—or should I say “news”— articles. I know they’re there, I hear them blaring through the speakers after my hubby goes off to smoke his cigar and leaves the TV on, but I rarely think about them (there’s some gossipy celebrity “news” show that comes on when he goes to smoke…I don’t know the name of it…I just sense a bunch of noise and that’s my cue to take Geordie for a walk.) And Facebook is pretty much my only source of memetic material outside of overhearing things, but I can only stand FB for about five minutes. I guess I have a natural sanity-preserving tendency as a feature of my attention.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      My buddy is similar in his ability or desire to just tune all that shit out. He’s mostly into fishing, hunting, and family (a concern is that sometimes the priority order isn’t entirely clear), and has no desire whatsoever to tap into any of that social scene. No account on any social media platform. (He’s my BFF and I can’t even get him to read my blog!)

      As much as I genuinely hate people, I also love them and am fascinated by them. People are simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen in the universe. I can’t help but study them intently. (But I really do feel like an anthropologist studying a different, much more primitive, species sometimes. I truly don’t feel much connection with the human race.)

      And, frankly, some of it comes under the heading of: Know the enemy.

      (Besides, I’m one of those rare ducks that believes you can’t rant about something unless you really actually do know what you ranting about. A very unpopular point of view these days, by most accounts.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      There’s also, perhaps, an element of stunned disbelief…

      “Are people really this stupid?!?!”

      Yep. I see the proof every day.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        It’s really terrifying when you come across someone who exemplifies the stupidity in media. I met a Trump supporter a while ago who had personality traits that I found diametrically opposed to my own. I couldn’t wait to get away. I left feeling sort of sick to my stomach that such a person at that age (70s) could have gone through life without getting punched in the face repeatedly. I’m not being hyperbolic. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like her.

        Anyways, on the subject of politics she kept making utterly false statements. I actually felt compelled to try to stop her, which is highly unusual for me in that context (standing on the curb in the hood). I think I even raised my voice. Again, unusual. She didn’t seem to notice. She continued interrupting me and I decided I didn’t enjoy shouting in anger in front of Geordie, so I just said, “Yeah, well, I need to leave now.”

        The Trump supporter thing was not the problem. It was her inability to listen, and her utter disregard for the truth.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yep, exactly. It is terrifying. S’why I keep blogging about it! Outrage, plus the sense that all sane people should speak out at a time like this.

        If you watched the debate, you saw him do horribly. It was kind of hysterical how the debate showed him for the The debate showed the ignorant, boorish, ADHD inner child. To my eye, he was already at sea within the first 20 minutes. By the end, he was basically babbling and incoherent (more so than usual, I mean).

        After his shots at Hillary Clinton’s “stamina” he was the one that ran out of steam having to stand there like a professional adult for [gasp] a whole 90 minutes. I loved that Hillary didn’t even take one single sip of water. She just slaughtered him on every count.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        I hate to be the one to break this to you, but if you consider the debate from different perspectives (imagine you’re a Trump supporter…now imagine you’re on the fence, etc.) you might find that Trump didn’t deviate from expectations. Neither did Hilary. She did get a few lines in about her father, which I think everyone will know means, “They told me to make myself more likable, so here’s that personal anecdote.”

        From the standpoint of reason, yes, she won. From the standpoint of public opinion, I don’t know. I sense that each candidate spoke to their congregation, and straight past each other. Not really changing anything.

        I think Hilary should’ve painted a picture of him as pure evil. Here’s my plan for her: She says, “I’m told by my advisors to make myself more likable by sharing stories of my personal life. But I think you’re more interested in choosing a candidate you can trust to do the right thing, someone who’ll stand up for you even when no one else will. Instead of talking about myself—as Donald here likes to do—I’ll tell you a story about someone I met.” She has one of the employees Trump neglected to pay, such as a dishwasher, sitting in the audience. Then she tells the story of how Trump screwed him over—in detail, verifying the facts in advance—and produces as much evidence as possible right there on the spot. As in, pulling documents out of her pocket, not telling people to go to her website (because those who don’t like her never will.) Then she points to that guy and says, “I think you owe him an apology.” Cameras go over to that dude. Trump wouldn’t, of course, and he’d say he was lawful, yadda yadda, his usual Ayn Rand-ish shit. She’d say, “Maybe you did manage to hire the best lawyers money can buy to get away with this, but it’s clear you don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself. Why should someone as selfish as you be allowed to run this country? Here’s proof that you trampled over someone less fortunate than you. Why should we believe that you care about others? How can we believe that you won’t use your power as President to suit your own selfish interests at the expense of this country?”

        I wish she’d done that. If she could forget what the talking heads are saying about being likable, whatever that means, and focus on being the MORAL candidate, I think she’d stand a chance. Trump’s argument is that his financial success can be transferred to the country. She could crack that argument wide open and say not only that “experts” think it can’t, but that we shouldn’t believe he has any intention to help the country. It’s obvious he doesn’t care about minorities. Show that he doesn’t give a shit about poor white men either.

        But yeah, I agree that the stamina stuff was totally pathetic. To me, Trump looked like a psycho. But that’s apparently not what he looks like to a great number of people, I shudder to say.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        [You’re way behind on blog posts here! 😀 I have a post more about the debate we should probably hang this conversation under. I might write a post-debate post — I have one in my head — but I’m too fatigued to be coherent enough. Maybe later after a long nap.]

        “Trump didn’t deviate from expectations. Neither did Hilary.”

        Yes. And no. I think his supporters expected more from him, so on that account, he didn’t live up to expectations. Even his detractors wondered if he’d manage to get under Clinton’s skin. And people on both sides wondered how Clinton would do.

        We saw the real people, their real value, though. On that account, very much what an acute observer would expect.

        “She did get a few lines in about her father,…”

        It’s more than that. It sets her up for confronting him in a very human and personal way about his history of stiffing of contractors. It draws sympathy from those who’ve been stiffed or seen their parents stiffed. Kinda brilliant politics, really.

        “From the standpoint of reason, yes, she won.”

        Oh, it was a clear wipe-out on substance and reason, absolutely. The general consensus is that she also won big-time on comportment. She looked and acted much better than him, something I think even his supporters will find hard to ignore.

        It’s true that his — and her — hard-core supporters have their votes “baked in” (as they say). But anyone undecided should have seen a pretty clear picture, and hopefully those planning to abstain realized the danger we face.

        “I think Hilary should’ve painted a picture of him as pure evil. Here’s my plan for her:”

        I’m sorry, but you’re approaching this as an intelligent, level-headed human being with a grasp of the world. There is no amount of logic or fact-checking that will have any effect. Even his atrocious gaffes haven’t dented him.

        His supporters are hard-core, and many of them aren’t unclear on what an ass he is. What they want is a complete system reset. Wipe it all out and start over. They’re willing to take a chance on him just because he will definitely do that.

        I think they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face and, worse, that Trump is a con-man who has no intention of delivering (and probably isn’t capable of it).

        But, again, intelligent and level-headed isn’t what it’s about these days.

        “…and focus on being the MORAL candidate, I think she’d stand a chance.”

        In an election cycle when Evangelical Christians, who’s whole thing in life is how fucking moral they are, have flocked to Trump in huge numbers because they think he will win? In a modern culture that’s largely forgotten the concept of morality and doing the right thing? With a clearly immoral candidate who’s made winning the main thing in a secular, materialistic, and selfish culture?

        Can I have some of what you’re smoking? 😀

        I agree that showing him as the self-aggrandizing con-man he is ought to work, but that’s been done over and over. People just don’t care. They want to win.

        “To me, Trump looked like a psycho. But that’s apparently not what he looks like to a great number of people, I shudder to say.”

        Exactly. We’re far, far down the rabbit hole.

        In fact, we’ve largely arrived at the place I’ve been warning against for over 40 years. And writing about on this blog for six.

        If only y’all had listened to me…

      • rung2diotimasladder

        “‘She did get a few lines in about her father,…’”
        It’s more than that. It sets her up for confronting him in a very human and personal way about his history of stiffing of contractors. It draws sympathy from those who’ve been stiffed or seen their parents stiffed. Kinda brilliant politics, really.”

        The problem is, we see this as brilliant politics, Trump supporters see him as clever for making use of existing tax loopholes and laws to ‘be successful.’ This is the image he wants them to see. And they do buy into it. More on this in a sec.

        But on Hilary, yes she definitely won in the temperament-comportment arena. It was clear she not only won in this regard, but did so very easily. She’s cool, calm, and collected…but that might be the thing Trump supporters hate about her. People (say) they want to see her as likable…I don’t know if they mean that. I think they mean they want to see some flaws, some human errors, not the product of a secretive political machine.

        I personally don’t mind this quality in her. I know she has a damned good reason to be secretive, and I suspect all politicians do. They also have bad reasons to be secretive. In her case, she’s always secretive, always ready to cover something up. This makes a lot of people uneasy, but what they don’t realize is that Trump’s doing the same thing. (Taxes. Although that cat’s out of the bag now.) But with Trump they don’t care, they probably chalk this up as another supposedly clever idea. He can do no wrong in their eyes. But when Hilary does it? Oh no. (The whole thing about her pneumonia comes to mind. She didn’t have much of a choice there, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But I wonder if she might’ve come out a little less damned if she’d just told the truth about that.)

        “In an election cycle when Evangelical Christians, who’s whole thing in life is how fucking moral they are, have flocked to Trump in huge numbers because they think he will win? In a modern culture that’s largely forgotten the concept of morality and doing the right thing? With a clearly immoral candidate who’s made winning the main thing in a secular, materialistic, and selfish culture?”

        Yes, but I think the Republican Party is in deep trouble now. There are a great number of them who just can’t support Trump. It’s a good opportunity for liberals to take the higher ground, not just in their usual areas, but in the moral sense, particularly on greed and helping the poor. And not just to win the hearts of liberals, but those genuinely Christian folks who might really be ready to switch sides for their stronger beliefs. For a long time these Christians have believed that matters of religion are best left to individuals, not politics. That’s how they compartmentalize and find themselves voting for Republicans who will definitely harm those who are less fortunate. But they’ve always got a rationalization, some version of ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ And the rich can help the poor best by donating to charity rather than letting the government ruin everything with bureaucracy, they think. So. What if liberals showed them that people with serious money don’t actually help the poor? That they don’t ever intend to help the poor? That they go further…that they will stop at nothing to make themselves secure in their own preposterous wealth? What if they realized that greed is given fuel by political power? That everyone else could get trampled? It’s hard to imagine changing their minds in this way, but I’ve seen my husband do it in a documentary he made in which he interviewed various staunch Republicans during Bush’s candidacy. He got a few of them blushing and admitting that they should be worried about materialism, that “Yeah, liberals do have a point there. Hm. Yeah.” (It’s true that my husband is just amazing in this regard, when he wants to be. I could never do this, and I realize it’s a lot to ask.)

        I don’t know if Hilary is the candidate for this job of taking liberals to the higher ground…I’d say probably not. She focuses too much on identity politics and this dissuades some of the more reasonable Republican voters as well as ‘the deplorables.’

        I have a friend whom I fear will vote for Trump. She’s not happy about the choice she has, but she considers him less dangerous than Hilary. The first thing she cited was Hilary’s identity politics, which really seem beside the point to me, but not to her. I have no idea how to change her mind. Every time I bring up something that Trump did, she brings up something Hilary did, as if they were equal matters of concern. Plus, she doesn’t think Trump is the person he presents, that the stuff he says cannot be taken seriously. I argued, but got nowhere. I don’t know what to do to persuade her. I suck at this apparently.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Trump supporters see him as clever for making use of existing tax loopholes…”

        That’s certainly the spin the campaign is giving it. Whether the tax-paying voters actually buy that remains to be seen! He’s been dropping in the polls quite a bit recently.

        “[Clinton’s tendency towards secrecy] makes a lot of people uneasy, but what they don’t realize is that Trump’s doing the same thing.”

        Part of it is how she’s been savaged by the media in the past. She’s been wary of them ever since. Now that the campaign winds have shifted (no longer bringing so much odor of manure), she seems to be willing to open up to them. Both the Clinton campaign and some members of the media acknowledge it’s a gap both sides need to bridge.

        Regardless, as you know, people view the candidates through their own filter. They interpret a candidate’s actions based on their perception of that person. Those who hate Hillary Clinton see her emotional behavior Monday night as smugness or arrogance. Those who support her see it as joy and happiness. Likewise with Trump, Kaine, or Pence. Or any public figure.

        It’s become popular (I forget the name of the book that kinda started it) to talk about how one’s views shape how one uses logic to defend those views. The suggestion is that we only use rational argument to support what we already believe.

        I think it’s true we try to defend our views rationally, tests show we’ll stretch the bounds of logic a lot trying to justify our opinion, but I think there is a spectrum of how robust and substantial such arguments are.

        Arguments that can survive close analysis indicate a view that’s more likely based on reality than a view with feeble, easily contested, arguments.

        The real question is, shown your arguments are in error, are you the sort of person who clings to your demonstrably incorrect views, or do you change to reflect reality? I like a definition of sanity that includes the idea that sanity is based on how accurately your internal map of reality corresponds to the external (real) one.

        “What if liberals showed them that people with serious money don’t actually help the poor? That they don’t ever intend to help the poor?”

        That message is definitely out there. What tends to counter-balance it is the question of moral issues. Many staunch Christians don’t handle homosexuality well (many do). The recent emphasis on transgender and gay issues bothers these folks. A lot. Even birth control or right to choose abortion bothers them. (But not the right to choose guns. They tend to be fine with that one.)

        What can I say? People are idiots.

        “I don’t know if Hilary is the candidate for this job of taking liberals to the higher ground…I’d say probably not.”

        I’d agree. She doesn’t have that kind of charisma. It’s actually a concern to me how well she’ll lead given (what I assume will be) a storm of anti-woman bias.

        “The first thing she cited was Hilary’s identity politics,…”

        What?! Typical Trumpian upside-down world. Trump is the one thriving on identity politics. His entire campaign is about his identity. Clinton’s isn’t at all. She’s just the agent of liberal and progressive change.

        It’s not likely you’ll change her mind. It’s exactly because Trump is a cult personality that his supporters lock onto him and won’t change. Your friend has joined a cult, so there’s no rational argument that will work anymore.

        The idea that Hillary Clinton’s history of public service, along with whatever flaws she has, is at all comparable to a carnival barker who dodged military service and is clearly ignorant and incapable of empathy (name one time he’s ever sincerely apologized), and who seems to be a tax-evading, worker-stiffing con man, is preposterous.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Agreed on everything.

        A bit of an aside: The Kaine-Pence debate was a sort of cathartic experience for me. Kaine came out swinging, and while his interruptions would have bothered me once upon a time, this time they didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised. I guess I wanted that verbal bloodbath rather than cool, calm and collected. He did what I wanted Hilary to do—paint Trump as pure evil. He really pushed hard on this and gave us the full-color picture. I couldn’t believe PBS decided to focus on his demeanor and the impact that would have. Maybe things played out differently elsewhere? I just don’t have the wherewithal to keep track of every form of news. I got the impression that very little was said about the VP debate other than how people would perceive it, or not take notice. LAME.

        On debates, I’m so thankful I don’t have to do that. Straw men falling everywhere, and Kaine did it just as much, if not more, than Pence. Debates are so much about turning the question around to say what you plan on saying, to fit your program. It takes a certain verbal finesse, a different kind of intelligence to get away with it. With Kaine, I experienced for the first time a distinct sense of when he wasn’t answering the question, or when he’d twisted his opponent’s words, and yet I could sit back and admire the way he did it. I usually find myself totally disgusted. I’m still a bit perplexed by my reaction, which was: “YEAH! He said it! He pushed for an answer! He pushed again! He won’t let it go!”

        Don’t get me wrong, he acted like an asshole par excellence, but it felt so justified.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        The analysis seems to be that it was entirely deliberate. The goal was to get Pence on record denying Trump. That provided lots of fodder for ads they’ll run.

        I think they even factored in the lower viewership. It doesn’t matter that Pence was the clear winner on comportment — normally crucial — with so few actually watching the debate. (Even many who did kinda zoned out, or just wished it was over, because it wasn’t very interesting.)

        Plus, how can the GOP complain much when their own candidate was worse in the earlier debate? (Plus, plus, Kaine has a disarming charm, messy hair, and big smile, that made his interruptions much milder.)

        Overall, brilliant strategy. I can’t wait for Sunday!!

        “I’m still a bit perplexed by my reaction,…”

        The soul of analysis. Removing your emotions from the equation and viewing something purely on its own merits… In many ways this campaign has given us a lot of experience with that!

        When I have to listen to Kellyanne Conway, for example, the only way I can avoid throwing things at the TV is to try to watch as just an analyst. It’s something to consider the disconnect that must be playing in her head… by all accounts she’s a capable, sane, and intelligent woman.

        It’s the fallout for people like that, who hitched their wagon to Trump, that will be interesting to see.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Interesting! I’m glad to hear the talking heads noticed the brilliant strategy. I’ve heard that Kaine was “going for the sound bite” (am I spelling that right?) and in that sense he did well. I have to admit I get most of my talking head news from the PBS Newshour, which I’m learning has a peculiar way of trying to avoid bias. In a way I sort of like obviously biased news rather than a one-for-one coverage of both sides, which doesn’t reflect or reasonably prioritize what’s newsworthy in reality. PBS waffles on this. But anyways.

        And now there’s the video/audio of Trump speaking in private in a manner we don’t find surprising. I wonder if that will change anyone’s mind. I sort of doubt it, but they’re gonna have a harder time saying he’s just doing this for show. I hope. I hope. Although I don’t hope to the point of deluding myself into thinking people are reasonable, not anymore.

        Totally agreed on Kaine’s charm. I think we’re in the minority on this. His cleverness combined with what I hope is genuine care for others gives me a warm and gooey feeling.

        Funny that people zoned out. My husband even zoned out, going off to smoke his pipe in the backyard…although he left the door open so he could hear my exclamations: “Did you hear that! Please tell me you heard that.”

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “In a way I sort of like obviously biased news…”

        At least you know what you’re getting! I’m not sure I buy the idea of “he said/she said” journalism. Objectivity, yes, but that doesn’t mean you don’t debunk lies said on your air. There is also the issue of false equivalence — representing sides as equally valid when only one of them is coherent or honest.

        I’ve always seen the goal and purpose of journalism as reporting the truth, not just what people say.

        “And now there’s the video/audio of Trump speaking in private in a manner we don’t find surprising….”

        I have to agree with those reacting to the fervor over this with a big, “What the fuck took you so long?” None of it is surprising, none of it is new, none of it hasn’t been in full view all along (even well before this election).

        It was always stupid that he ran. Now that stupidity has the GOP in a real pickle.

        It’s like how the fucking GOP over-rode President Obama’s veto of that bill about citizens suing Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in 9/11. They were so quick to be contrary they cut off their nose to spite their President.

        Who’d vetoed the bill and sent them a letter explaining why it was a horrible idea.

        All of a sudden they wake up and realize it was a mistake. And fucking Mitch McConnell, someone I used to think of as the worst person in politics until Trump came along, goes all whiny about how some warning would have been nice.

        You worthless piece of sewage. It’s your fucking job to know.

        And we see this playing out in this election. People are so hot to spike Hillary Clinton that they’re willing to vote for a human monster.

        The Brexit voters were stupid and experienced voter’s remorse.

        The GOP Senate was stupid and experienced voter’s remorse.

        Bets on the Republican voters being stupid and experiencing remorse?

        I’ve never had a lower opinion of my fellow citizens, and — believe me — it was pretty low to begin with.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Whoa. Thanks for bringing that McConnell news to my attention. My husband missed it too. I just looked up the story…my jaw is dropping. Does McConnell think he deserves to be treated as a fifth grader? Does he need to be told to do his homeward? To think things through? To worry about consequences? This is disgusting. God. I’m so disgusted. Just…ugh. I’m just speechless.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yep. We’re WAY down the rabbit hole. So many of the things I’ve been (futilely) warning about have come true. Disgusted is exactly right.

      • rung2diotimasladder

        BTW, sorry about being behind on the blog posts! I know I need to get my act together. I’ve been working on my novel and it feels like I’m constantly getting pulled away by various obligations that need my immediate attention. But I’ve been feeling guilty about not checking out the blogosphere.

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