Archive for the ‘Conspiracy Theories’ Category

Being Woke Never Solved Shit

January 7, 2019

Remember when you were a child and you just read funny books about animals and you didn’t really think much of it?  But now it’s 2019 and you’re an adult and aware of things like colonialism, and then you read Babar and Curious George to your kid and you think, “Hm, the white man captures the animal from his happy jungle home and forces him to conform to societal norms he doesn’t understand, and fetishizes him or locks him up when he fails to follow the rules?  Is this just a veiled commentary on the history of white oppression in foreign territories?  Is Babar just a stand-in for Pocahontas, who was paraded throughout 17th century England as the ‘civilized savage’?  If George––human name, btw––were a person would he end up in a human zoo?  Oh, for fuck’s sake.  Liberalism is why we can’t have nice things!”

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ICYMI, it says “In the evening, after dinner, [Babar] tells the Old Lady’s friends all about his life in the great forest.”

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Curious George’s curiosity gets him fucking POACHED.

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Sure, it LOOKS innocent and fun, but the white man runs the zoo.

 

My New Favorite Website

December 23, 2018

Two reasons why I have a new favorite website.

1. In 2012, the high school football team in Gypsum, Colorado, rallied around a young fan suffering from leukemia, who lived nearby in the mountains.  A family friend of the boy, a woman in her twenties named Briana, was the intermediary: telling the football team about him, giving interviews to the press, moderating a Facebook page for him, etc.  When he died, the whole town mourned.  But then––surprise!––it turned out the whole thing was a scam.

This is just one example of “Munchausen by Internet,” but it’s one that’s always stuck with me, for reasons I can’t explain.  If someone gave me a few thousand bucks with the stipulation that I had to use it to satiate some longstanding useless desire, I would hire a private investigator to find Briana and Treva Throneberry and just show up at their homes and be like, “Yo ladies, WTF?”

2. When I’m bored, sometimes I will scroll through GoFundMe and try to do a little hypothetical empathy math.  Who deserves my imaginary extra thousand dollars?  The woman with colon cancer, or the man with the brain tumor?  The family who lost their home in a flood (aha, but did they have insurance), or the couple desperate to raise funds for IVF?  The website’s mere existence basically begs a million ethical questions, and I have considered writing about it at length before, but then someone else got there first, which would have pissed me off if the article wasn’t so damn good.

Anyway!  A few weeks back, a friend of mine and I were talking about illness on the Internet, and she gave me the greatest gift of all, which was a link to website called GoFraudMe: a snarky news site that tells you whenever someone commits fraud via crowdfunding!  It’s hilarious, galling, informative, and thought-provoking all at once!  Wanna hear about the nurse accused of killing his patients who took to GoFundMe to raise money for his legal fees?  Sure!  Did you know that Whitney Houston’s sister tried to raise funds to get people to investigate the “foul play” in Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths?  I did NOT know that!  What about the woman who not only faked cancer for money but said she was a veteran despite never having served? Sign. me. up!

Point being: this website is a trove of great stories (and as an aside, was a great distraction when I was recently in the hospital).  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been updated since September.  All I want for Christmas is MORE GOFUNDME FRAUD STORIES!

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

Psychic Autistics

November 1, 2018

“As [Hugo] Gernsback became wealthy, he cultivated the air of a bon vivant, packaging himself as adroitly as he packaged his crystal sets by dressing in bespoke suits and silk ties.  But he inevitably struck people as odd, rude, self-centered, and even callous.  On train trips to Chicago to pick up parts for his company, he would stop off in Cleveland to visit his seven-year-old cousin, Hildegarde.  The entrepreneur would terrify the girl by launching into winding soliloquies about a society in which domed cities in orbit, robot doctors, and retirement colonies on Mars were commonplace.  (Meanwhile, horse-drawn carts were still plying the streets outside.)  If a ringing telephone interrupted him in mid reverie, he would raise na admonishing finger and say to his cousin in his bristling Germanic accept, ‘Hildegarde, fix your hair.  It won’t be long before the caller can see your face over the wires.'”

~Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Get Me This Shirt

October 29, 2018

Anyone who has seen Synecdoche, New York and doesn’t think it perfectly encapsulates the despair of human existence I sadly must unfriend.

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Troll Idea

October 5, 2018

Sometimes I just want to create a grammar troll avatar, and then underneath all the comments with poor punctuation and spelling I come across while browsing the Internet, I’d just write things like “*you’re not your” or “*too not to.”  It would be like a massive prank on the whole web, but surely no one would ever connect it and I would just be doing it to amuse myself.  Which doesn’t really distinguish it from lots of other things I do, come to think of it…

The Official Ruling

September 5, 2018

MB: Hey!

ID: Hi!  What’s up?

MB: Is it too early to be having a mid-life crisis?

ID: Nope

ID: Lots of people I know have had one.

ID: I had a mini-one

MB: Okay then it’s official

Theresa Duncan’s (Missed) Yahrtzeit

August 29, 2018

So this is truly embarrassing, but I had it in mind to write something acknowledging the 10 year anniversary of Theresa Duncan’s death, and I thought it was somewhat recent, but then I Googled it just now and saw that it was actually LAST summer.  This is what having an infant/toddler will do to you.

Anyway, I wanted to memorialize the summer of Duncan’s passing, which of course, being twenty-three at the time, I made into a commentary all about me, but obviously I’ve missed it.  And so did, it seems, everyone else: there was no gossip-y Nancy Jo Sales piece, no memorial service at Saint Mark’s Church, no biopic from Brett Easton Ellis playing at my local Alamo Drafthouse (although I’ve always thought the story was better suited for avant garde opera, no)?  There was a pretty good essay about it by a writer named Patricia Grisafi, although clearly not timed for the anniversary; there was nothing specifically mentioning the anniversary on her mother’s blog homage (blomage?) to Theresa, but then again, maybe she doesn’t mark the anniversaries the way us Jews do.

And also, maybe there weren’t those things because… there isn’t really much to say?  I’m realizing now that I don’t have anything to add to the story except that we should try not to forget these two people, or at least that I don’t think I will be able to forget these two people, which is something else entirely.  Wherever you two lovebirds are, I hope it’s sunny.

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A Mystery

July 24, 2018

I’ve noticed that here in Jerusalem, there is an enormous amount of… bread litter.  By that I mean, rolls lined atop a fence, or clawed-open plastic bags of a sourdough slices tucked next to a stone stairway, or a mound of challah loaves sadly languishing in an alleyway.  What is going on here?

Well, dear reader, I’ve just figured it out, thanks to a two-second Google that, had I done sooner, would have saved me a lot of head-scratching: throwing away bread is a sin for us Jews.  Ugh, another thing I didn’t know I should be beating myself up for until now!

From a website called Jerusalem Perspectives:

The importance of sharing one’s bread with the poor has remained in the Jewish consciousness until today. Many people do not want to throw away bread. Instead of dumping their bread along with the rest of their garbage into the garbage carts parked along the streets, they save the bread in plastic sacks and hang it from the metal projections on the sides of the carts (used to hoist the carts into the garbage trucks). That way, the bread is potentially available to the poor. Not all Jews in Israel follow this custom, but lots do, especially here in our neighborhood of Maoz Zion.

It is not unusual to see hunks of bread or part of a roll lying on a curb, or on top of a wall.

If you Google Image “bread in the streets of Jerusalem” (poetic name for… something), you mostly just get a picture of that guy who sits near the Jaffa Gate with his big pastries on a table, which is not what I was going for here.

Hot Take

July 15, 2018

#hottake alert: Sharp Objects is the lady True Detective.  Discuss.

PS I should say I only watched the first episode, begrudgingly, because my WiFi wasn’t working in our apartment in Jerusalem, and there was this irritating but not uncommon thing happening with the TV where I couldn’t hear any of the dialogue but the second there was a score/song in the background, it was SUPER LOUD.  But my first thought, upon seeing the final scene in which Amy Adams disrobes to take a bath, revealing a body horrifically scarred by self-inflicted wounds, was, “Oh please, no way you could carve someone’s name onto your shoulder blade with any degree of accuracy.  Any adolescent cutter knows that!”

Curmudgeons I Love

June 15, 2018

Two brief anecdotes, to begin:

1. When I was in high school, my French horn teacher (I know, I know), a sweet but wan young woman who lived with her mother, often wore latex gloves just like, around.  I was always very curious about this: was she OCD?  Was she trying to protect her precious instrument-playing fingers?

2. Right before the release of my book, my editor, my agent, the publicist at my agent’s office, and I went out for coffee to discuss pre-book buzz.  One of the things that came up was potential blurbers––you know, people who provide one or two lines of praise you can slap on the book jacket.  Because Lionel Shriver had recently written a book about her brother’s obesity (my book was about weight issues, to put it broadly), someone suggested her.  My agent got a grave look on her face, and silently and slowly shook her head, “No.”

The reason she did that, I later learned, is because Lionel Shriver is fucking terrifying!  She’s also at the moment (and maybe just generally?) loathed, for lots of un-zeitgeist-y views and what appears to be a broad disdain for people.  At times in interviews, she refutes that, but mostly the impression she gives off is that of a reed thin, slightly eccentric battle-ax.

Recently I was reading old profiles of her because I find her whole persona mesmerizing, and I noticed that she’s often photographed wearing cheap knit gloves.  She reminds me immediately of a strict Muslim who just forgot to wear a burqa but remember to cover her hands.  One article I read said she wears them because she refuses to pay for heating in her house; another said she had a circulation disease.  Is it possible she just wears them to bolster the “weirdo” image?  I get the sense she thinks of herself as very authentic, and not that she isn’t, but there is also a delight evident in knowing that she is very different from the rest of us bare-handed mite brains.

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