Ace has some reading app that they use at school. She told me that they read pairs of fables - the original old fashioned version and then a modern version of the same story. Then she said she had two questions.
1. One story only had a modern version and she wanted to know the old fashioned version. Two girls are walking down a street and a red shiny sports car pulls up, and offers to give them a ride. One girl declines and thinks it's a bad idea. The other girl gets in. Later that night, the safe girl is told that the driver has been kidnapping children. Fortunately the other girl was able to escape. Hooray, the end!
What on earth?! There's no old-fashioned version, right? Ace thought the moral was something like, "Don't judge a book by its cover." I thought it was "Be sure to perpetuate frightening urban legends to children in quasi-sanctioned ways."
(I mean there are certainly plenty of grim Grimm stories where children get eaten or eviscerated or whatever. But this particular flair just leads me to believe that the old-fashioned fable was actually an '80s episode of Unsolved Mysteries.)
I said something to the kids about "Why on earth are we making kids read scary stories about someone collecting kids just to murder them?
Ace and Pokey both responded, "No one got murdered! They were just kidnapped!" which reminded me how little context kids have for the folklore and panics of previous generations. They had no concept of ransom or death or anything beyond "Sometimes adults take children just to have them, for their collection."
2. The old-fashioned version: A cat and a monkey are roasting nuts. The monkey tells the cat to go get them out of the fire. The cat gets them out. The monkey eats them all and the cat has burnt its paws.
The modern version: Two kids are taking a test. One kid tells the other one to go carry out some sort of task. While that child is away, the first one takes a photo of the second kid's test, and then uses the photo to cheat off them.
So, Ace asked, what was the moral? I have no idea! But lo, the fable exists and goes roughly as she explained. (I am guessing most of you know this fable because you've read everything already.)
Wikipedia on the lesson to learn:
No more are the princes, by flattery paid
For furnishing help in a different trade,
And burning their fingers to bring
More power to some mightier king,
ah, okay. Maybe you have to learn it as a child in order to really get it.
I think this line (from this otherwise unremarkable article) hits on the heart of things:
These mandates may be making it possible for those people previously frozen in fear to cross the line, but in a face-saving manner.
It is so important to give people an exit strategy when you want to backing them into a corner. Incentives are good but not always better than getting a path to save face. (Not Republican officials in a race to the bottom. Just regular people who have odious views.)
1. The quote "A democrat is someone who won't take his own side in a fight" flitted across my mind the other day, and I thought "Fuck that." I used to chuckle in self-recognition, but now it makes me irritated. Yes, you actually should be the kind of person in the quote. Be someone who doesn't convert a productive conversation into a stupid fight. Do consider all points of view without feeling automatically roped into adopting all points of view
In fact, not doing those things because of misplaced loyalty to your dumb-ass side makes you a Republican. Well, that and greed. And racism. (and, and, and...)
(Looking it up, I guess it's a Robert Frost quote? "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel" whatever fuck off.)
2. This morning at the gym, the owner played the "For those about to rock, WE SALUTE YOU!" song. God it makes me so happy that AC/DC can be so earnest about rock and roll.
Who deserves major accolades and recognition? Anyone who is just starting to rock!
How shall we recognize their valor? We triumphantly salute them!
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.
Lurid Keyaki writes: This article is from January, I read it in May, and it has stayed with me ever after as an amazing portrait -- not sure a novelist could do better, although honestly I might try -- of a pathologically limited mental world. This guy's response to climate change is almost exclusively to make life difficult and unpleasant for his immediate family. No community-focused solutions seem to feel worth his time or to give him traction. All he seems able to imagine doing is to try to iterate his own solipsism across other individual actors, one by one, and it accomplishes nothing. His model for leadership is permanently stuck on "Thoreau/ Sakharov hybrid"-- vox clamantis in deserto, having preemptively and conveniently desertified the entire world in his own mind. The author of the piece is interested in the family dynamic, but seems to be fundamentally like-minded, believing that yes, this is a grimly realistic, and impossible, approach to a terrible problem.
But motherfucker, it is not! You have to lift people up! We're not all going down alone! I get to the "fl- flames... on the sides of my face..." level of agitation in no time with this piece, which is good, because there is NO TIME TO SPARE -- but for selfish reasons, I hope the rest of you can be more articulate than I am.
Heebie's take: Oh god, the existential darkness of knowing the planet is dying. Coping with this is very hard. I tend to take the approach, "Mitigate where I can, support and promote the right activists and politicians, but don't be too well informed or you'll never get out of bed."
This paragraph was the one I could identify most with:
Sharon commiserated with a friend who was married to a priest. How do you have an equal marriage with a man who's trying to save the world? The priest's wife, too, found "it impossible for her to have any space for herself," Sharon said. "Because he was called by God to minister to people. When she tried to do her own thing, it wasn't as important as his." Motherhood was hard enough. Sharon wanted to write a novel. She wanted to write poetry. She wanted to go for a run, or even a walk, in peace. "His dreams were so much more heroic and important that I had to sort of, I don't know," she said. "I had to go along with it."
Not that my marriage is like that, but I am familiar the defeatism of making one's joys secondary to someone else's agenda, because their crises seem more urgent, always and forever.
Climate-wise, the most crippling times for me actually stem fromconversations with my mom, where she relentlessly boils the news down to the most gloomy stories of corruption and destruction. I'm usually in an emotional care-taking headspace in these conversations, and then when small talk wanders towards world desperation, my brain short-circuits and I spend the next few days feeling haunted. Guess what she told me Sunday afternoon!
this is how he would have wanted to go: as the vector for cynical disinformation that kills a lot of people https://t.co/jJIsjszCys— flglmn (@flglmn) October 18, 2021
So much of mainstream American coverage after the death of one of these people is, "Say what you will about his moral compromises, but you have to admit, he was a bigwig."
*The tweet being quoted was something by a Fox guy about how the vaccinated Powell's death raised questions about the vaccine; not mentioning that Powell was 84 and had the immune-ravaging multiple myeloma.