Glass Maze Every jumbled pile of person

We Must Dissent

We must dissent from the fear, the hatred, and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that buried its head in the sand waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education, or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and timeless absence of moral leadership. We must dissent, because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.

  • Thurgood Marshall

Raging in the Dark

The intellect of man is forced to choose Perfection of the life, or of the work, And if it take the second must refuse A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.

  • William Butler Yeats

Bamboozlement Sticks

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

  • Carl Sagan

The Many Advantages of Print

Ganzeer:

But as the internet is becoming a low-attention span echo chamber that is increasingly surveilled and data-mined, print may prove to be a better outlet for intelligent reading of riskier nature.


Insane Clown President

Matt Taibbi, announcing his new book, Insane Clown President:

I would never compare myself to Thompson – that’s a losing undertaking for any political writer – but unlike previous campaigns I’ve covered for the magazine, 2016 had a lot in common with 1972. Richard Nixon was the defining monster of Thompson’s era. We’ve now found ours in Donald Trump.

Trump is the perfect modern American. He’s a human consumption machine with no attention span, no self-control, no beliefs and no hobbies outside of sex, spending, eating and talking about himself. Nixon at least played the piano and read classics. He was an intellectual with a pig’s heart. Trump is just the pig part.

The distance between the two men represents how far we’ve fallen as a nation in the last 40 or 50 years. Once we were merely rotten and evil on the inside. Now we even lack the depth needed to be two-faced, and our dark underbelly is also our shameless, dumb exterior.

This is an instabuy.

Insane Clown President


Over Soon

Bon Iver’s 22 (Over S∞∞n) — from his latest album, 22, A Million — is probably my favorite song of 2016:


I never was much of a Bon Iver fan. Mostly his falsetto made me giggle. But 22, A Million is a revelation: beautiful, immersive, complex, multilayered, and deeply deeply strange. I basically can’t stop listening to it.


Young Rollins

This beautiful photo of a very young Henry Rollins, performing with Black Flag, circa 1983.

Young Henry Rollins

So much energy and passion and fuck you in this picture.


Bombs

This is insane:

The Council on Foreign Relations found that in 2016 the United States dropped a cumulative 26,171 bombs on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen, a rate of about three per hour.

… and unsurprising.

From Harpers Weekly Review


Nostalgia Wars

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars yet, and — oddly — I don’t feel any urgency to do so. This doesn’t have anything to do with the residual scars from The Prequels That Must Not Be Named, I don’t think, and it’s not because I’m afraid it’ll suck — early reports seem to be very positive.

It’s not because I don’t think you can improve on the originals, either: you could argue that only one of those movies was truly great. And I don’t particularly care whether the Star Wars Universe is in good hands again. That is, at best, debatable. 1

No. I don’t particularly need to to see it because, for me, it’s enough that there’s a new Star Wars movie in the world.

That was made abundantly clear to me the other night, when I walked past a theater and looked up and saw the words STAR WARS on the marquee, bold capital letters on a bright white background, and almost broke down in tears.

Nostalgia’s weird.

If the future is an undiscovered country, the past is, in many ways, a mythical one. I had a lucky, happy childhood, but I suspect it wasn’t anywhere near as happy as my ossifying old-brain thinks it was. Whenever I walk around my old neighborhood, or catch a whiff of freshly-baked pita bread, or hear terrible 80s tunes I used to love, I’m deluged in this warm, sticky torrent of nostalgia.

I’ve learned to distrust nostalgia, almost as much as I crave it. For me, it’s a happiness doppelgänger: a yearning for the good old days that’s only superficially similar to actual happiness, like the sickly sweet smell of a ripening corpse.

Because things weren’t perfect back then, as I keep telling my brain. “Brain!” I say. “You know how shitty high school was for us. You were there! We couldn’t wait to get out. Things are better now. Pretty much everything’s better.”

And even as I’m saying it, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m right, I’m pretty much convinced I’m wrong.

It’s hard to reason with your brain.

Anyway. That’s why every Star Wars sighting lances me with sadness-joy these days, I think. It was an amazing experience that happened to land in the middle of this imagined, retrospective Eden that my brain keeps conjuring into existence. It’s not the movie, as good as the movie is. It’s the time and place it evokes.

But that’s not nothing. As much as I distrust nostalgia, I can’t help but love the guileless simplicity of it. Left unchecked it’s a force for ill, dragging you away from the present you should be living in. 2 But it’s also ballast, if you use it right. Someplace to flee, for a while, when now becomes unbearable.

I’m going to see the movie, of course, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it — but not as much as I’ll enjoy glancing up at the marquee on my way into the theater, and feeling that bracing melancholy beautiful flood of helpless yearning.


  1. In fact, you could make a fairly convincing argument that Disney is going to be both the best and worst thing to happen to the Star Wars Universe since Lucas fouled it with Ewoks and Jar Jars. It’s a shot of fresh energy and a solid decade of soulless, cynical marketing. 

  2. Because, let’s face it, your average lifetime doesn’t have all that much present to burn. 


Bringing a War Home

Brian Turner, Iraqi war veteran, on coming home from war:

Maybe it isn’t that it’s so difficult coming home, but that home isn’t a big enough space for all that I must bring to it. America, vast and laid out from one ocean to another, is not a large enough space to contain the war each soldier brings home. And even if it could—it doesn’t want to.


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