Guys, I don’t want to be a curmudgeon, always hating on things that purport to be put forward for our comfort.  I really don’t.  But you force me into this position sometimes.  Case in point: a recent Refinery29 article on miscarrying in your twenties.  It’s a special problem, they say, despite recognizing that it’s much rarer to miscarry in your twenties than your thirties (1 in 10 for the former, 1 in 4 for the latter.)  Why is it special?  Because it’s isolating, because you don’t have the “life experience” to know how to handle it, because, as one interviewee says, you want to “choose when [you] become a mum.”  But what about a miscarriage at forty?  Also isolating, also you’d like to choose to be a mum (I mean, if the world were perfect, we’d all choose everything) and to balance out that whole life experience thing, the horror of knowing you might not have much time left, which just isn’t the case when you’re twenty-three.  People say stupid things to try to comfort you when you’re twenty-three, but they do when you’re forty-three, too, I’m guessing; people say stupid things all the time, and they will continue to say them for as long as the great world spins.

I’m not saying it isn’t emotionally devastating to miscarry, or to deal with any loss or tragedy.  I’m just saying that this is an example of the media pretending that these are new, sexy problems that need special attention, when in reality they are just dragged out into the light again so that the publication can attract new eyeballs (=clicks) by pretending they’ve unearthed some heretofore uncharted landscape of human suffering (see also: the Telegraph’s article on “anorexia athletica,” which highlights an unrecognized problem that has nevertheless been in the news for decades now, cannot statistically be said to be on the “rise,” and is oftentimes just a facet of anorexia nervosa, which they can’t use in the headline because that diagnosis has lost its luster as a subject as it’s been reported to death.)

But don’t take it from me––take it from my prophet bestie George W.S. Trow, BDE, who saw this shit coming a mile away.

Important Programming

Important programming is programming that recognizes the problem.

Important Programming

It if is just a problem––teenage alcoholics who need to talk to Matron––then it is a little boring after a while, because it is only half of the problem.  The the problem might have to be doubled.  You might have to add Angel Dust or Runaways or Child Abuse.  You might have to, because just the problem is only half of the problem.


The problem is offered up to authority for healing.  But Pepper shies away from healing, and so does Matron.  They conduct the problem to other experts.  The experts shy away a little, too.  Who would have thought it?  “We move toward a full discussion of the problem,” they murmur.  “During this discussion, you will experience a little sense of home.  Do you feel it now?  No?  Then perhaps our discussion has not been full.  Is that perhaps your fault?”
“In what lies your authority?” a willfull person asks after a time.

“Why, in the problem,” an expert answers honestly.

Important Programming

The most important programming deals with people with a serious problem who make it to the Olympics.  It is the powerful metaphor of our time––babies given up for dead who struggle toward a national life and make it just for a minute.  It’s a long distance to come.  People feel it very deeply and cheer the babies on.


An important question to ask about an association of individuals is, “How does it spend its best energies?”  One can imagine many answers to this question.  One answer, certainly, would be “Dealing with problems.”  One would expect this answer from, for instance, a poor association of individuals or an association without ambition.  But even from associations as impoverished as these associations might be, one would not expect the answer “Aspiring to love problems.”


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