So at some point there won't be as much news, objectively speaking. No one in the Biden administration is setting up a backchannel line to Russia while they announce a ban on Muslims and Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination and whatever else dominated January 2017. There were so many weeks with jaw-dropping headlines that buried regular headlines.
Of course, when things truly, eventually calm down again, most news organizations will go back to filling the space with the wrong non-scandals and ignoring the simmering festering issues that need attention during the slow weeks. But at least there will be slow weeks again, at some point.
And so by the Intermediate Value Theorem, there will be a moment over the next six months or so when we achieve media perfection. There will be a stretch when the size of the news stories perfectly match the available pixels of the newspapers and news organizations. Ah, what a moment that will be.
Bostoniangirl tipped me off that Alice Brock (of the song) has a GoFundMe to help with medical bills.
Money, something she has never respected -- "until now," she laughs, -- is in such short supply that her friend Dini Lamot, a.k.a. Musty Chiffon, a former member of the late 1970s punk band Human Sexual Response, has organized a GoFundMe campaign titled "You Can Give Anything You Want" to help her.
Brock was recently discharged after nine months in Cape Cod Hospital, where she was treated for stage four chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Yes, she smoked -- three packs a day until age 50, when "the Mad Russian," Yefim Shubentsov, kind of hypnotized her, she says.
And you deserve a buried link yourself, reprobates.
We're just hanging out at home with ourselves today. It's also Pokey's 10th birthday. I surveyed everyone for their essential side dish, and got six different answers, so I ordered sides from a local restaurant. I'll do the turkey and the cranberry sauce, because roasting a turkey is not very hard, and the cranberry sauce is the most important part to me.
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
But I have been watching a few seasons of a reality TV show, Married At First Sight. I think it's fascinating, and I also think I'm done with it. I've watched two of the later seasons and bailed on an early season.
The show's premise is that a team of experts (marriage counselors, therapists, sociologists, that kind of thing) wade through hundreds of show applicants and pick 4 couples to enter arranged marriages. Then the couple meets at the alter, gets married a few seconds later, and begins to get to know each other while going on a honeymoon, coming back, living together, etc. At the season finale (actually the penultimate episode), which takes place after about two months of marriage, each person decides if they want to stay married or get a divorce. (The season finale is the 6 month follow up.)
The real premise is "Let's Test All the Psych 101 Theories About How People Fall In Love And Why Marriages Work". These theories tend to fall into two camps, the Marriage camp and the Falling In Love camp. For marriage, they are clearly matching people based on check-boxes for compatibility in as many major categories as they can come up with, plus trying to suss out who can resolve conflict and has enough skills to listen to another person and grow and change as needed. In the early season, they did not seem to pay enough attention to whether the woman felt any attraction to the man, and had more than one "pair the beautiful woman with the dorky but kind man" which was really grueling and unpleasant to watch, because the wife was caught in the trap of wanting to flee but also wanting to give the marriage the best shot at success. (Oh my yes: just heterosexual couples here, and also no interracial couples. It is still very much a conventional reality show.) In the later seasons, the experts seemed to pair people better on roughly similar levels of attractiveness, and the issue of basic attraction seems (mostly) resolved.
The falling-in-love camp of theories seems to be the Love on a Bridge bit: how to best spark an initial flood of emotions. In the original thing, strangers stare into each other's eyes and answer tremendously personal questions while high up on a scary bridge, which apparently is called misattribution of arousal. Here, instead of a scary bridge, the bride and groom have asked giant favors of all their friends and families, ie asked them to show up and wear nice clothes and participate in a lunatic simulation of a formal ceremony. (For many of the families, and particularly the parents, this is a major ask that violates their values, and the parents grudgingly go along to be supportive but have reasonable apprehensions about this whole mess.) So both halves already have a lot of adrenaline pumping, and then the nature of a wedding ceremony hits the stare-into-each-other's-eyes bit.
Of the seasons I watched, the team of experts is batting about 50-50, in terms of happy couples who stay married, and who still seem happy 6 months out. There is another 25% which split up for good, serious reasons: both members entered the experiment with open minds and hearts, and have grounded, respectable reasons for parting. The last 25% split up because one person was a total jackass who entered the pool of applicants in bad faith, told the experts what they wanted to hear, and then made life miserable for their spouse for two months. So, roughly similar to any other batch of non-arranged marriages.
Anyway. The part I enjoy watching a lot is how new couples grow and develop and solve conflict. I like that everything has been designed to give them the best possible chance of success. There's not much intentionally manufactured drama.
The part I like least is the couples where one person is torturing the other. I think these have veered into unethical territory, where the team of experts should have stepped in and encouraged the victim to divorce early and end the experiment, at the expense of the show's prescribed trajectory. It's been so unpleasant to watch that it's a major reason I've had my fill.
(That, and the highly scripted unfolding of marriage, honeymoon, moving in, meeting friends, one month anniversary, etc, is getting predictable.)
Anyway, you probably shouldn't watch it. But I'm also hoping that at least one of you says "OMG I have also shame-binged this show, and would love to discuss it!"
Out of all the things to name your fledgling Covid testing company, SalivaDirect seems particularly gross.
Kevin Drum makes the point that Fox News is vastly more powerful than Facebook or social media at propagating conspiracy theories and bullshit. This relates back to what someone's daughter - maybe Stormcrow? - said on Election week: there is no way to beat the Republicans without taking on Fox News. The Democratic party has to put Fox News in their crosshairs.
The thing is - and I've posted on this multiple times so now I'm repeating myself - I don't understand the game plan to take down Fox News. Even what a hypothetical best case scenario would be. We discussed how the Fairness Doctrine can't really be reinstated, but there wasn't much more to it than that, iirc.
I remember, pre-Obama, people posting and discussing a roadmap to socialized medicine - the incremental policy changes and PR campaigns that could be implemented to get from 2006 to not-2020. Surely there must be wise people trying to game out the strategy for how to end the opinion side of Fox News? And I'm thinking private citizens or groups, who are more single-minded and willing to fight for government policy, but aren't expressly tasked with upholding 1st amendment rights themselves.
I guess this is the crux of the problem: must we support Fox New's right to wreck democracy as an expression of first amendment rights? In which case it calls for a private solutions. How does a private group destroy a company? Out-competing it doesn't seem to be working very well here. Or is there a way in which a government policy can co-exist with the 1st amendment, and still ferret out Fox New's Achille's heel? Even if it's a complete political nonstarter, is there even an opening for it?
1. Apparently Parler requires a verified phone number to set up an account. What an amazing cell phone list of deplorables that must be.
2. I do feel a bit bad linking to the NYT, but this fake face scroll-through is really amazing. It's basically the end of the Michael Jackson Black Or White video, but you can slow down and detect the precise frame where the race or gender or salient feature becomes intermediate, and then tips towards signalling the other.