Archive for the ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Category

A Tweet

February 13, 2018

Whenever I am scrolling through Netflix and I see one of their own productions in the “trending now” or “critically acclaimed” sections, I’m like, “Ugh, bragging like that is so unseemly.”

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I Miss All the Good Shit

February 7, 2018

From a Daily Beast article published in 2014:

Marni Kotak sits on a gold-painted twin bed, wearing a gold satin nightgown, with matching bedsheets covering her legs. She’s scribbling in gold ink on a cartoonishly large notepad, an expanding list of the day’s emotional fluctuations. It’s a small room, littered with gold-painted everything: chairs, desk, exercise machine, dumbbells.

It isn’t Kotak’s apartment, but the microscopic Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, where I have come to see Mad Meds, during which the 39-year-old performance artist will document her “personal struggles with her own mind, the US medical system, and the pharmaceutical industry as she attempts to withdraw from psychiatric medicines.”

Kotak has only just begun weaning herself off a cocktail of anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medication. She started the pill-popping regimen—a combination of Wellbutrin, Abilify, Klonopin—in February 2012 after being treated for postpartum depression. A medicine cabinet stuffed with empty pill bottles provides an informal tally of the drugs she’s consumed in the past two years. When I arrive, Kotak is surprisingly relaxed, telling me that, at the moment, she’s only suffering from “mild anxiety and achiness.”

***

This woman is a genius.  The birth of the child which kicked off the postpartum was also staged as a “performance,” although that choice I find a bit less exciting.  Anyway, I’m a Marniphile now.

WHY?

January 10, 2018

Why is this a news story?  Why is this world we live in such an empty, silly place?  In the words of the great cynic Eddie Pepitone, “WHY DO I HAVE TO BE CONSCIOUS FOR THE HORROR?”

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Someone Please Go After Dr. Phil

January 2, 2018

I was recently sent a news story about public enemy number one, Dr. Phil McGraw, and how he allegedly endangered guests on addiction-related episodes of show by putting alcohol into their green rooms or encouraging them to go score on Skid Row (proper noun?)  Of course my reaction to this was, “Natch,” because Dr. Phil is all about dramatic television, and doesn’t seem to care what it takes to get there.  Remember when a show staffer bailed out one of the Polk County 8?  Or when he tried to become BFF with Britney Spears during her breakdown so he could produce a show about her?  Gross.

Anyway, there are at least two allegations of sexual harassment in Dr. Phil’s past, and where there’s one allegation, there’s probably myriad episodes of misconduct.  Okay fine, so some of the previous allegations sound a little wacky, but I think that is immaterial, Your Honor.  Now that we’re in a more enlightened age, can we please resurrect these charges and get him off the air?

PS Let us not forget who foisted Dr. Phil onto us all in the first place.

The Problem

December 25, 2017

This is an essay about the Problem. You don’t know about The Problem? You should be ashamed, but only a little. You see, lots of people don’t know about The Problem. That’s why I’m writing this––to raise awareness about The Problem, and to de-stigmatize The Problem. There is enormous stigma around breaking the stigma around the Problem, too, but let’s start with the basics.

How big is The Problem? Massive. Catastrophic. Pervasive. Doctors call it an epidemic. Bureaucrats call it a drain on the system. Poets use the flowery “scourge.” You can’t catch It, exactly, but you can “develop” It in any thousands of ways. For example: you can have a life experience, of any nature, that triggers It. Or you could inherit It from your parents. Maybe It appears suddenly after a bout of the common cold, or you just hate your job so much, the Problem arises. All possibilities. The Problem, after all, is many things, including but not limited to psychological, biological, phenomenological, eschatological, and paleological, not to mention scatological and agrostological.

 

Now I’m going to say something that will make it sound like we have a very good idea of causation, but it will really be more about correlation. Try to ignore this sleight of hand, and think about the human face of the Problem instead. Who is affected by the Problem? Everyone. Grandmothers; middle-aged white men, though they often suffer in silence; teenagers, disproportionately; even babies (human babies, kittens, owlets, and the infants of various endangered species.) Many people may pretend not to be touched by The Problem, but they are, in one way or another. They just don’t know it yet.

 

Celebrities! So many celebrities have the Problem. They’re announcing in droves. They’re railing against the stigma during press junkets. They’re so brave. Not only do they struggle with the Problem and Its many facets, they have the courage to admit it in public. We should all be more like them!

 

But you would like numbers, yes? Statistics. Data. We have so much data about the problem, you wouldn’t even believe. How’s this for scary: 33.23% of those who suffer from the Problem experience some degree of discomfort 89% of the time. Or this: in the past two-and-a-half decades, the number of people reporting symptoms that resemble those described by people who have at some point struggled with the Problem has risen by 231%. Or, finally, get a load of this: teenagers with the Problem are 67 times more likely to have other problems. (What other problems, you wonder? Don’t ask; for now, we need to focus on THE Problem. Triage is simply not an option.) Studies show that further studies are needed to measure the true impact of the problem, although we suspect it is yuge.

 

What do we need from you? Well, money, ideally. You cannot possibly combat a problem the size of the Problem without funds. But we know not everyone has to spare and frankly, we’re not all in agreement as to what we would do with your money if we had it. Instead, we propose the following: talking about the Problem, verbally or digitally, but certainly obsessively. We like to call this “starting a dialogue,” which studies show is viewed as 22% more effective than “waging verbal warfare” or “pestering innocent bystanders.” If talking isn’t your thing, you can click––click every link that leads to an article that raises awareness about the Problem, or click “like” (or even “love” or “feverishly adore” or “could just DIE over,” if said options are available) on any post on any venue that is accompanied by a hashtag related to the Problem.

 

And what if that, too, won’t work? You don’t have a computer or full use of your pointer finger, not to even mention the assertiveness to strike up conversations with strangers or coffers full enough to donate to a cause, however worthy it might be? Then this is all we can request: now that we’ve opened your eyes to the Problem, you continue to think about It in some manner, forever. We believe the knowledge of It should remain omnipresent, like white noise, as you go about your days. We need you to emote about It. How you should feel? Here are your options: guilty, despondent, weepy, helpless, enraged, vaguely disturbed, fearful, tense. Which, ironically enough, describes exactly how those who have the Problem feel all the time. That, and that alone, should comfort you.

(For George W. S. Trow)

Film Pervert Math

November 16, 2017

So I asked my husband the other day, “Considering how we’re no longer supposed to watch films sexual deviants worked on, what do you think the worst movie to watch would be?”

My first thought was Blue Jasmine: directed by Woody Allen, featuring Louis CK, and I assumed it would have been produced by Miramax as I had read somewhere that Weinstein gave Woody Allen his second chance after Allen was shunned post-Soon Yi scandal.  But no, Miramax didn’t fund Blue Jasmine, so that’s out.

However, I can’t seem to find many movies that involve more than two perverts, which is kind of amazing considering how many perverts there are.  I guess Good Will Hunting counts, because there have been allegations against Ben Affleck and also Harvey Weinstein produced it (and I guess Casey Affleck’s in it, too, which makes three!)  True Romance could work because it has Christian Slater (who was jailed for beating a girlfriend) AND Tom Sizemore (shudder) AND it was produced by Weinstein.  I can’t really find anything where Richard Dreyfuss, Dustin Hoffman, or Kevin Spacey intersect with Allen, Weinstein, or Louis CK, or with each other.  But I definitely feel like I’m mission something.  Help me, people!

Yet Another Comment on Harvey Weinstein

October 14, 2017

Trigger warning for my husband, who is so far past peak Weinstein he’s living in the future we all want to inhabit. Don’t read on, honey!

So obviously I followed the Weinstein horror story, like everyone else did.  I was going to write an essay much like the below, but then I got a little grossed out by all the op-eds and think pieces, some of which were obviously hastily conceived and outrageous (AHEM) while others benign but obvious attempts by journalists and pundits to get a piece of the pie, meaning clicks and then money, thereby benefiting from the pain and havoc.  (Like, did we really need Mayim Bialy’s take on the matter?  Which includes a weirdly self-critical note about how, because she’s not a conventional beauty, no producers ever invited her upstairs?)  But only a few––heroes every one!––read my blog, and I could never figure out how to opt-in on WordPress ads, so I don’t make any money from this, which means I can rant without feeling like a bottom-feeder.

I’ll be succinct, or attempt to be: Of course I wasn’t surprised to see that Weinstein immediately adopted the language of therapy––he talked of bringing therapists onto his “team,” of “issues” (others in his vicinity used “demons,” a peculiarly resilient holdout from the era of possession as mental illness), and of possibly going to a “facility somewhere.”  This was literally his only possible course of action––he’s calculating, and realized denial would have played way, way worse––but it galls, because it suggests that therapy––which I think of as essentially a luxury for most of what Freud might deem the “commonly unhappy” which is most of us––has officially reached the point at which it can be used in an attempt to downplay the severity of one’s crimes against others and relinquish responsibility for one’s actions.  (See also: Mel Gibson’s abhorrent anti-semitic rant and fucking WIFE BEATING, which now are mostly brushed off by the establishment as solely the result of alcoholism, in remission due to counseling––and yet strangely, I know many recovering alcoholics who managed, throughout the duration of their drinking, to never claim that Jews started all the world’s wars or hit their partners.  Curious!)

I am not saying that intensive therapeutic treatment isn’t ever useful or appropriate.  For one, anyone with an acute and recognized (sex addiction is not included in the DSM) mental illness that hasn’t committed a crime.  Also, if someone has committed a crime, but hasn’t, for socio-economic reasons, had access to quality counseling ever––say, an inner city drug addict, or a mentally ill person from a very insular religious enclave, like the Amish––a treatment program is probably a better first line of defense than prison.

But Harvey Weinstein comes from a rarefied world in which people go to therapy for all kinds of banal reasons.  There’s no stigma attached to seeing a shrink amongst Hollywood bigwigs and New York intellectuals.  The odds are good HW’s been to a psychologist himself before.  He’s a Woody Allen fan (see what I did there?) so at the very least he knows about the concept of psychoanalysis.  The fact that he failed to enact change in his life up until this point indicates that he either tried to make use of the no doubt abundant therapeutic resources he had access to and couldn’t (which doesn’t mean the therapy didn’t work for him, it means he didn’t work hard enough at the therapy) OR didn’t give enough of a fuck to even explore said resources for this “issue.”  I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume it’s the latter.

I could cite some recent events and studies––including the story about a sex offender treatment program at a prison here in England that actually made prisoners more likely to reoffend, because the constant discussion of sexual violence and deviance “normalized” the activity––or maybe the study about mindfulness (no doubt on menu at the Meadows) making criminals more likely to reoffend as well, because it encouraged them to “not judge themselves” HAHAHAHA––but I won’t, because I don’t think I need to.  I’m guessing that a lot of people are hearing that Harvey’s headed to a plush rehab facility and thinking, “Oh Gawd.”  (Except for maybe this sex addiction therapist interviewed by the The Cut, who claims that “I’ve never met people who suffer more than [sex addicts.]”  Gee, Deborah Schiller, I can think of at least thirty women who have suffered more than a certain sex addict has.)  I’m guessing a lot of people are feeling that talking about his childhood to a kindly Arizonan wearing jade earrings and elbowing the guy with the DTs out of the way to get to the make-your-own-omelet station is not the way to get back in our good graces.  I’m guessing the Meadows is even a step above Pine Grove, where the Cut lady works: “[The sex addicts] have a nice big gazebo out front, they have cookouts out there, ping-pong, and foosball, and they can sit around a picnic table under that gazebo.”  I have assaulted zero people in my life, and I don’t have a big gazebo.  Jussayin.

So how exactly should a man like Weinstein make good?  He should find a way to donate all his money to charity without having his name attached to it.  In so doing, he should steer clear of causes that are linked to entertainment or maybe even women’s groups.  Children’s cancer seems like a safe bet.  He should sell all his belongings, and give away that money, too.  He should then don the robes of a religious mendicant, and find a cave to live in, probably outside of North America.  Said cave should be as isolated as possible, so he is extremely unlikely to come into contact with other human beings (let alone a therapist––something tells me that for a man like HW, not talking about himself would be a more fitting fate, than being given a captive audience––or, G-d forbid, a woman.)  If he is found and––the horror!––photographed, he should move caves immediately.  He should survive on insects, leaves, and rainwater.  He should remain in the cave, while his executors handle the occasional cleansing of his coffers when they refill with Miramax dough, until he dies.  The end.

 

Eek

September 19, 2017

This picture from one of my kid’s books looks a little too much like Slender Man for my comfort.

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Wisdom in Folly

September 3, 2017

The first Chelmites could neither read nor write, and the history of those ancient times was never recordered.  It is said that these earliest Chelmites were primitive people.  They walked around naked and barefoot, lived in caves, and hunted animals with axes and spears made of stone.  They often starved and were sick.  But since the word “crisis” did not exist yet, there were no crises and no one tried to solve them.

After many, many years the Chelmites became civilized.  They learned to read and write, and such words as “problem” and “crisis” were created.  The moment the word “crisis” appeared in the language, the people realized there was a crisis in Chelm.  They saw that things were not good in their town.  The inventor of these words was a man called Gronam.  Or, as he is known, Gronam the First.  He was also called Gronam Ox because he sported a headdress with the horns of an ox.

Groans was the first sage of Chelm, as well as its first ruler.  In Chelm, rulership and wisdom have always gone together.  A council of five sages helped Gronam govern.  They were: Dopey Lekish, Zeinvel Ninny, Trestle Fool, Sender Donkey, and Shmendrick Numskull.  Groans also had a secretary, who was called Shlemiel.

One day Gronam ordered Shlemiel to summon the sages to a council.

When they assembled, Gronam said, “My sages, there is a crisis in Chelm.  Most of our citizens haven’t enough bread to eat, they are dressed in rags, and many of them are suffering from coughs and sniffles.  How can we solve this crisis?”

The sages thought for seven days and seven nights, as was their custom.

Then Gronam said, “The time is up.  Let me hear what you have to say.”

Dopey Lekisch was the first to speak.  “There are only a few people in Chelm educated enough to know that ‘crisis’ means a bad situation.  Let’s make a law forbidding the word’s use, and it will soon be forgotten.  Then no one will know that there is a crisis, and we the sages will not have to rack our brains to solve it.”

“Too late,” Zeinvel Ninny interrupted.  “It is true that the old people don’t know the word, but the younger generation have all learned it, and they represent the future of Chelm.”

The Fools of Chelm and Their History by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Burn Down the Future, Part XXVCICX

August 29, 2017

I think I’ve mentioned to y’all before how much I loathe Gmail’s new “suggested responses”––humans are so lazy and uncreative, I guess, that they need to be able to press one button instead of the thirteen it takes to write, “Great, thanks!”––so it pleases me enormously when I manage to have an exchange Gmail cannot fathom.  Yesterday, for example, I sent my friend an article about a woman with Munchausen’s by Proxy whose proxy was her cocker spaniel, and she responded, “Yeah, I’ve heard of this before, mostly in old ladies.”  And Gmail said I should be responding, “Cool!” or “Thanks for the tip!”