Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Friday, July 05, 2019

Long-Overdue Blogaround

Every time I try to write, something gets in the way. I cleared my blog posts today for the first time in forever, and one of my only other colleagues in the office decided she wanted to converse for 15-20 minutes just as I sat down to do this. It's always going to be something, though. We just have to press on as best we can. And I mean, it's been two years since I've done one of these. Part of it is certainly this. The rest probably has to do with what my uncle has observed about my memory, that I should think of it as file drawers, some of which are accessible while others are temporarily stuck. If I use up my creative energy, memory, whatever in work pursuits, I don't have that much left over for my non-work life. I suspect this will equalize once I retire, but I'd rather not build up a cabinet of "somedays." So let's see how far we can get.

  • Back in 2017 Republicans who still pretended to have a conscience were threatening to leave the party, but as PZ reminded us it's not like they were jumping a ship that had suddenly changed course. The current White House resident is not an aberration as much as the party's inevitable endgame. PZ also has some good thoughts about how people who throw around buzzwords like "freedom" never really give us their definitions. This has bothered me since forever. What does "freedom" mean to them? Anything besides consumerism and enriching themselves and their friends?

  • The person who first articulated the endgame quote, Melissa McEwan, has been prescient on a whole host of things. Honestly, I could do an entire blogaround on her posts alone, she's made so many good points that I see in few other places. Here's a post where she discussed how the Bernie Bro contingent was pretty quick to criticize possible Democratic contenders of a certain shade. Then there's this cogent piece about demographics, gerrymandering, and why people (who have the choice) choose to live where they do. And this one about why Trump sows division among sports fans. And her thank-you to Hillary Clinton brought me to tears. (Frankly, I hope she keeps writing about Clinton indefinitely.) And her reminder that grieving for the loss of our democracy is normal. And why we always talk about mental illness after a shooting and not toxic masculinity. And how Trump's personal attorney isn't going rogue but, rather, doing exactly what he was hired to do. And how we're expected to co-exist with eliminationists "when the thing that divides us is not really policy difference at all, but fundamental differences in the way we express our own humanity and value others'." And how conservatives have learned that "they can bully the press and politicians into abandoning the expectation that we all agree on what is demonstrably factual." And why we shouldn't separate artists from their art when they certainly don't (which ties in nicely with her Shakesville colleague Fannie's post about Geoffrey Rush). And what it's still like to be living while fat (I mean, how dare we!). And how favoring one religion over others (strictly against our First Amendment) has catastrophic effects on healthcare. And through it all, Melissa continues to fight malice with compassion and expect more because that's who she is. She's a real hero of mine.

  • Lance reminds me people have been discussing the dangers Our Napoleonic President poses since he was elected (even before; I mean, in NY he's been a demagogic joke since the '70s). Lance also tries to see our side from their side's viewpoint, although I admit I've long since run out of sympathy for people who want me dead. That said, I concede his point that we all need to silence our inner Republicans more often.

  • I wonder how many other things women around the world are banned from doing. I'm sure things have only gotten worse, because sexism goes hand-in-hand with other regressive political views.

  • Val examines the worship of the Brilliant Asshole character in the context of the show Community, and the Good Geek Guy in the context of Chris Hardwick. Two sides of the same coin of toxic masculinity?

  • It's a little over a year old, but this Stalking for Love trope discussed at The Mary Sue seems to be on its way out, yes?

  • I concur with everything Jill says here about growing up as a secular Jew. (Have I mentioned Jill and I have been friends for about 40 years now?) Also, she remembers Anthony Bourdain.

  • The Rude Pundit reminds us it's not racist to fight against racism, it's not intolerant to not tolerate intolerance, and other things that used to be obvious to thinking people. Also, the country doesn't just consist of the white working class. And in a sane world, Brett Kavanaugh wouldn't even get past an interview with HR.

  • Food for thought on the erosion of the division between public and private (via Arthur). Also via Arthur, someone gets to the bottom of the gut doctor clickbait.

  • Wil Wheaton laments the loss of community and civility on social media, but from my point of view it's never really been there. As a woman, you learn to ignore the incivility as best you can and make your own community. Wil also points to a great Twitter thread explaining the divergence between the Game of Thrones TV show and book, and reproes the entire brilliant "Shirley Exception" Twitter essay.

  • What Digby Says about Democratic candidates and their dogs. You can always tell so much about someone by how they treat their furbabies, and as someone who's grown up with pets I always consider anyone who doesn't have one (out of choice rather than "my landlord won't let me" kinda thing) seems to me just a little more devoid of compassion. Meanwhile, Matthew Inman asks, is your kitty a convict? Because he or she really should be. (Congrats on the movie gig, Matt!)

  • Kath makes some great points about internet filters.

  • Lastly, here's a sweet story by Mark Evanier about comic book artist Owen Fitzgerald. I also love Mark Evanier's Cranky Rambling rants. Here's one about people who can't deal with folks who don't like the same exact entertainment they like. And here's his latest (with links to the others) about how, to quote a phrase I believe Mark Waid coined, "the golden age of comics is 12," and things were always better when we were younger because, well, we were younger, weren't we?

  • Well, that wasn't too bad. Hope you enjoyed it. All I needed was a couple hours of uninterrupted concentration to bring it to you. If only I could manage not to be so distracted in the rest of my life!