Dopamine Fasting Is Really A Thing

Thanks to co-morbid mental health concerns, I am a person with considerable dopamine issues. So when I saw a headline in the Inverse Daily newsletter about dopamine fasting, my interest was absolutely piqued.

“A dopamine fast? Clue me in, Inverse!” I said out loud to no one. (Did you know cats have the ability to roll their eyes?)

According to the article, it only takes a single day of abstinence from, well, most everything you’re used to flooding your senses. We’re talking social media, advertisements, entertainment, conversation, podcasts, audio books, video games, pretty much anything on the computer. No board games, no poker, no hate-watching reality TV, no re-writing librettos to make them pornographic – you see where this is going. And of course: no drinking, no drugs, no smoking, no sex. No junk food, no dessert. No gossip, no schadenfreude if you happen to witness your grumpy neighbor stepping in dog poop. Basically, nothing from which you derive some sort of pleasure or gratification, especially the immediate kind. Anything that makes your receptors fire off that sweet, sweet dopamine is off-limits.

Illustration of the Dopamine Pathway

Image: Inverse Daily

Presumably you can do stuff like wash dishes,  get a root canal, or build a pyramid. (But don’t take my word for it – Read more about exactly what they mean by “dopamine fasting” here.)

My imaginatory vagueness led me to come away with the idea that this fasting period sounds a lot like the idea of stillness, put forth by the Stoics and recently highlighted by Ryan Holiday in his new book, Stillness is the Key, which – oops – I haven’t read, because it’s a new book, and I’m a Poor – but I do get his daily newsletter, and I’m down with the concept, as the amount of information, disinformation, static, sound, and noise that is pelted at me daily is overwhelming. I’m a delicate flower, also known as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

(If you are also one of these HSPs, please don’t be offended. It’s good to be a delicate flower. There are just some drawbacks, like getting Stressed The Fuck Out™.)

Hear tell, there was once a time where a person was not reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where on Earth they were. Hear tell, there once was a time when folks were lucky if the person they were trying to reach had one of those fancy new-fangled answering machines. You had to wait for the beep, is my understanding. And there was something called a “busy signal”. If you can imagine. Don’t even get me started on those party lines and “Emergency Break-throughs”.

iron lungs in the polio wardYeah. People also used to get polio and chill in iron lungs. And while I’m sure those were very good times – times that apparently anti-vaxxers, among others, are nostalgic for – this is the Modern Age. Remember to please tip your stagecoach driver!

So we need to actively seek out stillness. Because in this high-speed society, we no longer idle at Idle.

As far as my stress-addled brain can tell, dopamine fasting has a lot in common with stillness, insofar as shutting out the excess, the chatter, the constant flow of non-stop unnecessary information.

Do I REALLY need to know that Khloe Kardashian thinks it’s super-important that she puts herself first? Aside from this tidbit’s glaring, nauseating self-evidence, it doesn’t seem particularly useful to anyone except Khloe – and, I suppose, Kris Jenner, the most ‘extra’ stage mother since Rose Hovick. Furthermore, this (can I really call it) information is taking up room in my brain that could house something more important, an example of which I cannot cite, probably because I know the names of at least three Kardashian babies. And I do not even LIKE these people or watch their frickin’ show.

What sort of growth do I find in knowing the particulars of the latest Online Outrage War? Which feeds my soul more: letting my inner gestalt consist of the changing-by-the-microsecond Tilt-A-Whirl thoughts and obsessions of others as I swipe through my Twitter feed, or sitting with my own brain and choosing, very precisely, with care and consideration and intent, what material goes into it?

Whether it’s a dopamine fast, the path to stillness via Ryan’s book, or the wisdom of Aurelius and other Stoic philosophers, putting the brakes on overstimulation seems like a pretty good idea to me. At best, you may find some peace and some clarity. At worst, you may learn a few tips for life that you would not have otherwise, AND you will probably get higher than giraffe genitalia once your dopamine fasting is through, because tolerance is a thing (and the struggle is real).

 

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Damn, Life, Knock It Off Please – But Don’t Kill Me, Okay?

I am so anxious.

The ankle has been swollen now for, I think, 3 weeks? And it’s been at least 2 weeks since I saw the Nurse Practitioner about it, and she deemed it “cellulitis”, which I am gonna look up now because I really have no idea what the hell that is.

So it’s a skin infection that enters via a cut or crack. Can be caused also by scratching itches. I do not have a cut or crack and have not at all in that area in the past more than 1 month. I have not been scratching my ankle. So, here are the other things it could be:

But feet and ankles that stay swollen or are accompanied by other symptoms could signal a serious health problem, including:

  • Pregnancy complications
  • Foot or ankle injury
  • Lymphedema
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart, liver, or kidney disease
  • Medication side effects

So, yeah. That looks scary AF, doesn’t it? And yet, no one seems to think it’s a big deal. And no one actually believes that I have any kind of concerning issue – except for the NP at Urgent Care, who said, my unexplained body aches and feverish feeling could be indicative of problems with my heart, and that he tended to believe people who insist that it is not a panic attack, that they know what that feels like and this ain’t it.

Given the symptoms – and in addition the troponin test being seriously flawed/giving false negatives due to Biotin intake – if I were a doctor, I would be concerned. My therapist is concerned. She is well versed in anxiety, and, again, this ain’t it.

Also, I got the flu, unrelated to the weird feverish feeling, which was not accompanied by any flu symptoms. And the flu kicked my ass for nearly 3 weeks, as well.

So okay. Did I mention I am so anxious?

I am so anxious.

I have an appointment tomorrow with the GP, who brilliantly, as I watched him write the Rx for my nuclear stress test, apparently called me “Edith Santos”. And checked the right ankle instead of right knee to be x-rayed, right after he’d told the nurse, no, not the ankle – she needs the knee x-rayed. Does this make me trust in his diagnosis? Not particularly. Then there is the hospital’s lab woman who said, of the FDA report, “Well, I am SO GLAD you have that information” sarcastically, after telling someone else that “SOMEONE told her” – meaning me, I am the “her” in that phrase – about the flaw in the troponin test, and I corrected her and said, hey, it’s not SOMEONE, it’s the FDA. A governmental agency. (Has she even fucking heard of it?) You’d think, even if they did not tell me what test was done on ME, which I have a right to know, I believe, they would have at least a LITTLE concern about the fact that these tests are invalid. That they would want to investigate that further. But, no.

I am fucked [image of Gene Wilder meme]

Nevermind that my blood pressure has been normal my entire life and now I have not Stage One but Stage TWO high blood pressure. And high cholesterol. And weigh too much. And have had three cardiac events preceded by intense jaw pain (which hey, that happens to be a heart attack symptom, how ’bout dat?). And now the ankle. But yeah, I am sure a swollen left ankle is indicative of PANIC DISORDER, which is what they all say – the hospital, the Primary Care Provider, the shrink, for fuck’s sake.

I have an appointment with the shrink tomorrow. I look forward to showing him my ankle and saying, hey, check out the panic disorder in my ankle!

Because panic disorder is so totally listed in that list above. See it? Oh, wait, IT’S NOT THERE.

It is easy to believe that I am not being listened to.

Further evidence of this: my floors are caving in. The floor under the fridge POPS intermittently. That is not a good sign. I read an article about a family whose floors completely gave way, and that was preceded by much popping. The floor in the kitchen has a dividing line between the floor that is slanted downward – which would be the floor under the cabinets, sink, stove, and fridge – and the non-slanted floor. It creaks when you walk on it. It doesn’t not feel stable. The bathroom floor has indentations in several areas I can feel with my bare feet and it is not particularly stable – of course I received a work order about the bathroom floor when I reported it marked ‘complete’ when they didn’t even LOOK at that floor.  Not to mention that the living room floors are also caving in – bended and warped and they do not at all feel stable and one of my dressers tilts forward and cannot be put against the wall, because why? The floor is warped, unstable, and in the process of leaving this Earth.

They have known about everything except the bathroom floor since this summer. The maintenance guy said contractors would be out to appraise the situation. But. Has anyone ever come out? Nope. And that completed work order? Said “floor is contractors”. Okay, does that mean that I am supposed to hire a contractor? Because it sure sounds like they are doing nothing about this. To wit: They have been putting lease renewal notices on my door, and they raise the rent each year. It seems to me that they have been in breach of this lease for half a year, because I did not sign a lease that said I agree to rent with unstable flooring. So, they are going to raise the rent, but not fix the floors. They are ignoring the floors. In fact, they have ignored my last THREE emails to them.

And let’s not even speak of the Black Mold that they have attempted to minimize by referring to it as “mildew”. Is mildew black and does it creep through surfaces into other surfaces? Like the picture of my deceased parents which I gave them for a milestone anniversary while they were still alive which they were thrilled by and which was very sentimental to me, and now covered with black mold that traveled through the back of the frame from the wall and further until it is now covering and ruining this picture?

Hi, I’m looking for Horton because I am a dust speck and apparently that elephant will be the only one that can hear me.

By the way – mortality rate on right-sided heart failure, the first thing mentioned on Google regarding a swollen left ankle? Less than a year to five years at best.

For over a month I have been able to count every single one of my heart beats without taking my pulse, because my body throbs in time with them, as if I have just finished an intense workout.

I went yesterday for a nuclear stress test, and after over an hour total, waiting for my doctor to fax an Rx with my actual name on it, I was informed that the insurance company refuses to authorize the test.

At least I got the knee x-rayed on my deformed, turned-the-wrong-way leg from the treatment I received for a broken ankle four years ago.

Also. I have lost five cats this year. Five. Most recently, the love of my life, Milhouse, my smart (though they are all/were smart) extra special guy. Before that, in September, Momo, who I thought would be the last one standing, my also quite special guy. And my heart is broken. I have a mausoleum on my bookshelves of kitty urns, footprints, and the ashes of my parents, representing a huge chunk of my loved ones.

And now I am concerned about Bear. He is not acting right. He is not eating much at all, is suddenly lethargic, seems depressed and not like himself. He needs to go to the vet. So does Tiny – she is a week away from being out of thyroid meds, putting her again at risk for a heart attack due to her sped-up, hyperthyroid-ed out metabolism. And I am a broke bitch. How do I do this?

And all this stress is so good for the heart. Oh, wait…

This is all some fucked-up bullshit, to use a technical term. And I really do not know how much more I can take, frankly.

I have no family to help advocate my cause(s). I am my only advocate. And unfortunately, the fact that my advocate has several psychiatric diagnoses sort of ruins my advocate’s credibility with these people. They just assume that I’m being histrionic, I guess. That is certainly what it seems like.

And. I have not been able to do my work for a month and a half now, because of these health problems and grief issues. So money issues. And big vet bills have been the norm for months now, with most of my kitties dying on me at once.

And ooh, I just noticed that to the right of this rant, there is an article from Science Daily, and the headline reads, “Chronic Adversity Can Dampen Dopamine Production.” Wonderful.

Fuck me running.

I am so anxious.

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After Everything, No Turtle Wax

I have been sick in one form or another this entire month. I’ve been in the hospital. I’ve been to the ER. I will likely be going to Urgent Care today. This is pretty much the first time in a while that I have been able to sit up for longer than a few minutes without just keeling over. There has been a cardiac issue, phlebitis from an improperly inserted IV (confidential to “Mean Eric” from the ER: it’s a vein, not a fucking balloon animal), a bad reaction to a flu shot, a now-you-feel-it now-you-don’t oh-wait-bitch-now-you-do-again UTI, what I’m guessing is an actual flu-shot-tempered-flu – but hey, I have no idea, because I could have become physically dependent on a shrink-prescribed-for-anxiety benzo and the withdrawal syndrome includes flu-like symptoms (if the grand mals don’t get you first) – severe pelvic pain, and headaches so intensely painful, when I try to think of a way to describe them, I just see Glenn with that popped-out eyeball, rasping, “Maggie, I’ll find you”, before Negan brings Lucille down for the final, fatal blow.

Welcome to Wheel of Symptoms, the game show with no consolation prize.

Having been unable to do anything income-generating for the entire month of October, my finances are completed fucked. I have to break in here and laugh bitterly at the use of the word ‘finances’, as that word sounds so high-rollin’. ‘Finances’ seems like a word you use when you can afford things like regular haircuts and transportation. Nonetheless, ‘finances’ it is, because ‘schmoney’ doesn’t really convey the gravity of my dilemma.

Is my failing health because of the black mold overtaking my apartment? Is it the aforementioned possible benzo dependency?  Is it all the stress on my shoulders? Are all systems failing because I am in the process of dying? Is it that fucking statue Greg found on the beach in Hawaii? A combination of all of the above? I consulted Dr. Google, as well as the Magic 8 Ball that I programmed while learning Basic Javascript, but surprisingly, came up with no definitive answers.

Meanwhile, it appears that I may be truly and sincerely fucked.

You see, on top of all this “supine on the broken futon of ill health” fun, I have seriously failing dental work, thanks to the growth of something called a “bony tumor”. This will require surgery to remove as it is unseating my dental situation and eating has become extremely painful. Fixing this is going to cost around $5K. I don’t think I have ever even SEEN $5K. I have heard that this number exists, but it sounds kinda suspect.

If I don’t get this dental situation fixed, I can not only kiss eating goodbye, but say adios to the structure of my face as well. Which is going to lead to wonderful treatment by others, I’m sure, because you know how awesome our society is to unattractive people. If you don’t, allow me – with my lifetime of experience in that department – to clue you in. They are not. If you don’t meet a particular standard of appearance – which does indeed include possessing teeth – it’s a fast track to a Freaky Friday-type situation with Gregor from Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which is to say you have the lovability factor of a fucking cockroach, and about as much chance of not being squished in disgust.

Three cats need blood tests. One cat needs his bottle of insulin. I sure as fuck could use a medical marijuana card to deal with my PTSD and all of this stress (this last thing, though, is a luxury, something to ease my ailing mental state. Currently, I’m sober as a… um… well, we can’t really complete that sentence with ‘judge’ anymore, can we? My point is, though, I’m not blowing my meager funds on The Pusher Man. Slumlords always get the first entry on the dance card. This is an important rule to follow, as homelessness makes it a bit more difficult to complain about your miserable life on the internet).

I’ve been up since 3 a.m. talking myself down from the ledge. It is now 7:12 a.m. I’m too drained, my brain is too scrambled, and my throat is too sore to tell if this has actually worked. There is a handsome cat who has insisted on holding my hand under his paw as I sleep for weeks now, because we are telepathic together and he knows I’m going through it (he is the one who needs the insulin – why the fuck is insulin over $300? If I were Carrie White, man…  the Dangerous Mind Power Carnage would be a sight to see around Lantus Town, trust).

So okay. Time to sleep, until another “you have to pee” nightmare wakes me up, an hour from now. The last one featured Susan Sarandon performing solo sex acts in a Walmart in a manner so horrific that it actually did not even get close to qualifying as a Sex Dream but instead sped like a bat out of hell right to Bad Dream classification. I don’t remember what department she was in. I’ll guess Ladieswear? Whatever. She’s on the Dream Grudge list and I’m never looking at her the same way again.

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A Roundup that won’t give you cancer…

FILLER WATCH: The latest to succumb to the Juvederm/Restylane/Filler-Of-The-Month succubi are Maggie Haberman and, surprisingly, Asha Rangappa. Yes, they look good. Damned. Good. Yes, I covet their damned injectable hyaluronic acid. But alas (and alack), injectables are like the new Logan’s Run with class separation thrown in for (debatably) good measure.

wrinkles the clownEVIL CLOWN WATCH: Hailing from – where else? – Florida, WRINKLES THE CLOWN is an eponymous documentary about its subject, a creepy AF clown that unfit parents hire to terrorize their children. It’s also a look in general at the place clowns have taken in pop culture and in folklore, the desire that some other kids with actual decent upbringings have to scare the hell out of themselves, and a look into the mindset and mission statement of the anonymous-for-his-own-safety entity underneath the eyeless Michael Myers-esque clown mask and blousy polka-dotted onesie. If you can get through the completely horrific wails of the terrified children in the background of Wrinkles’ voicemails from parents using him as a punitive device in place of genuine parenting, it’s a pretty fascinating – and creepy – documentary.

“YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART” WATCH: Currently available via HBO, you can catch Gary Gulman’s The Great Depresh – which is the best comedic special about mental illness I’ve seen since Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide (also available on HBO). Gary is an amazing guy as well as a spot-on comedian. Every day, he tweets out tips for hopeful new comics to encourage them to WRITE. And they are some damn fine tips (for example, he urges them to read “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the finest essays going on how to be unapologetically yourself, and conform to no other standards than your own – which is so important to comedians, especially in the face of attempted censorship).

GALAXY MIND WATCH: Feeling a little woo-woo? Want some words every day that you can project your own stuff onto that ISN’T a horoscope? Want to be occasionally freaked out by how uncannily accurate something randomly is? Sign up for Notes From The Universe. It’s been the first email I read every weekday morning – even when I’m too damn insane to read anything else – for several years now. I’ve gotten a lot out of it. You might, too. What the hell, it’s free, why not?

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That’s Life

SO.

I had a heart attack. I’ve got phlebitis – an inflammation of the vein – from the IV. I’ve missed half a month of work already. Two cats need vet visits ASAP. My apartment has toxic black mold, failing floors, and unconcerned management. I have no idea how I am going to get my cats to the vet or pay my bills for the month (except for rent, which is thankfully already paid).

I’m searching for remote jobs but most require specific experience in those fields and all want a sparkling resume which I would assume does not include involvement in the adult industry. Most also require a quiet space from which to work that has no interruptions. With the cats ailing, I am interrupted quite frequently for feline emergencies. I do not have a sparkling resume because I am a crazy person. I have skills, I can see where I could be ‘valuable’, but proving that on paper is, well, let’s say it’s a challenge, in the same way teaching a hamster quantum physics is a challenge. And of course, I lack specific experience. My experience is general, and apparently useless.

So. No idea how I’m going to get cats to the vet. No idea how to get the bills paid. No idea how to not let this angst and anxiety and feline heartbreak translate into ‘no stress’ for cardio reasons.

Bright side: I will get back to you on that.

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When Cancel Culture Comes For Comedy

The rant about Cancel Culture is not yet over. There is one more point to make. Cancel Culture is False Morality and has no place in Comedy.

To wit: Cancel Culture is a group of people pointing at one person and, as they do in THE HANDMAID’S TALE, yelling, “SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN!” It is Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: Is your number up? Who shall we stone today? There is no explanation requested. Just a rush to judgement by a bunch of Hang ‘Em Harry’s.

So yes, I posit that it’s false morality, because what does it achieve, other than attempt to ostracize someone and try to end their career? What does it do, O Manic Pixie Hashtag Warriors, to further the agenda of a “better world”?

What are these “well-meaning”, self-righteous, morally-superior-in-their-own-minds minions doing to affect any change for the better?

Hi, Nothing. Meet Jack Shit.

Every member of the Cancel Hive-mind will say “I’m a good person” if you ask them. But none of them carry the benefit of the doubt in their pockets. I don’t know about you, but I have this bizarre idea that the first reaction of a good person is not to condemn, but instead, gather the facts.

Admittedly, I may be conflating “good” with “intelligent”, and completely derailing my argument. But – is this even still possible in the Era of Weaponized Opinion? – hear me out. Humor me for a moment, please.

Where is the dialogue? Why is the question not asked, “Hey, why did you say this? What was your intent? What was the joke here that I am obviously not seeing?”

AND.

Does no one these days actually UNDERSTAND comedy? I mean, sometimes, a comedian will take on the ‘voice’ of someone less enlightened than themselves, in order to demonstrate that this sort of person’s point of view is markedly ignorant. They do have the responsibility to make this clear. That onus is on them. But, if they have done their job, and that joke is sound, that joke works, that joke lands, welcome back to my argument.

The problem I’m seeing here is that people have forgotten – or have apparently never known in the first place – that:

  1. Art is meant to provoke (and yes, Comedy is absolutely, empirically Art); spurring discussion on whether a viewpoint is right or wrong and why that may be is a good thing. Talking to a comedian about where they were coming from with a controversial joke is also a good thing;
  2. Comedy itself is a good thing. It can help us deal with much of the darkness we are faced with in this life, including ignorance, so that we don’t, say, organize into a mouth-foaming mob brandishing portable guillotines from Sharper Judge Jury and Executioner Image.

There truly is a difference between controversial comedy and bad, mean comedy that is genuinely racist or misogynistic. And let me inform you so that we are clear – the shit comedy? That unfunny crap that actually is racist, misogynistic, cruel? First off, it’s lazy, no real comedians respect that shit. And also, it does not last long (unless you are frequenting white supremacist comedy bars or something, in which case, you have some duplicity fish to fry there). That kind of “comedy” is not rewarded. You won’t find it anywhere in the mainstream, or in the indie scene, either. So-called comics who sound like 7th grade bullies don’t end up going anywhere good. And so blurring that fucking line needs to halt.

You ABSOLUTELY have the right to not find a joke funny. You have the right, even, to be OFFENDED by a joke. I won’t even say it’s a crime to MISUNDERSTAND a joke. I don’t want to take any of that away. What I take umbrage with, though, is this piling on, this group anger directed at one person, this automatic rabid-wolf-packing

Stop jerking your knee, calling out EVERYTHING that you don’t like or don’t get or find distasteful. Do some research first. Knowledge is power, but also?

IT’S FUCKING KNOWLEDGE.

Do you truly think it’s problematic? Write an essay about it. Express yourself intelligently. Again, do some research. And apply some nuanced thinking, please. Stop viewing everything in black and white, binary terms. It is possible. I refuse to believe that we have lost the ability to do that.

Bertrand Russell said the sign of an intellectual is the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in mind at the same time. When I consider that statement, it appears to me to be the only true way one can come to a solid conclusion. If you do not weigh  opposing viewpoints objectively, how can you expect to come to a conclusion that comes anywhere near to sound?

definition of censorship - cancel culture comes for comedy

Comedians have a goal that they dedicate themselves to heart and soul. No matter how gruff they may seem, believe me when I say this: That goal is to make you laugh. To make your life a bit better, a bit more tolerable, if even for just the time you are in that comedy club or bar or on the couch watching that special or set. It is not their aim to make you feel like shit. Please, try to remember this before you decide to string up the next one for something they say. Please, just take a moment and try to see what they might have been trying to do, and how they might have been trying to do it.

Comedy is not supposed to be safe. If you are worried about sounding like a “nice” person, you cannot do comedy. It isn’t possible. Because you can find a reason not to say just about anything.

I don’t want to live in a world where people are afraid to speak. Likewise, if someone has something to say that is heinous, hey, I’d prefer to know that they feel that way than shut them up. You have a better chance of improving a situation you know exists than one you insist is swept under the carpet so your delicate ears don’t have to hear it.

One day, it might be your speech that is condemned, you who is the one being cancelled. You may be the one who came off the wrong way without intending to do so. If that ever were to happen, I think you would want a chance for people to hear your side of things before they release the hounds. I want you to have that chance, too. I want us all to have that chance.

Even the people busy combing through 10 year-old Tweets as I type this.

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There But For The Grace of Utter Failure, Go I

I’ll be candid. I have a Billie Eillish problem.

I don’t have anything against her. She is supremely talented. Inarguably cool. Undeniably successful. And basically, doing everything that I wanted to do, since like, forever.

I mean, okay. I get it. I have a lovely singing voice. I have perfect pitch. I am very musically inclined. I composed, performed and produced two CDs of original music. So, of course I should be a fringe performer in the adult industry making what amounts to an average of $6 an hour. Obviously, all the criteria is there.

In fact, few people truly appreciate the large number of unused skills one should have to be a marginally-subsisting fetish model. Coding, for instance. If you have an aptitude for HTML5, CSS, and Javascript like I do, and you are also learning front end libraries, then of course the adult industry is where you really need to not utilize these skills.

Get a A in that Marketing Course you took at the for-profit college that ripped you off and derailed your future? Be sure not to use that.

Also, a solid grasp of your native language really goes to waste here, so you can use the spare time you have from not being able to afford to go anywhere to forget words with more than three syllables. If you find, however, that doesn’t really take long to do, then by all means, dispense with those three-syllable words themselves, as well. You will not miss them. Okay, well, there is ONE that is useful. Okay, TWO. But the rest?

You could be busy hitting the bong and killing the brain cells that store that information in the time it takes to even CONSIDER that question. Get to it!

(And find my fucking lighter, please.)

Additionally, a great sense of humor that you can let languish and die is always a bonus in this position. If fueling suicidal ideation is in YOUR five-year plan, you simply cannot do without the slow downward spiral being dead inside provides, as it will eventually diminish your ability to laugh at life’s follies. You will find this monotonous lack of cheer and the lack of energy that comes with it NOT AT ALL INFECTIOUS. And that’s what it’s all about, amirite, friends?

No, but seriously. Billie Eillish may be famous and rich and internationally beloved and very attractive and successful and happy and able to travel and get her hair done in a salon on a regular basis, but MY job lets you get high and masturbate all day, and in the final analysis, isn’t that what “giving back” REALLY means?

This elaborate rationalization of Loser Life sponsored by….

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TRAUMA AND ABUSE is available pretty much everywhere! You don’t have to be 18 to get it! TRAUMA AND ABUSE doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, gender, class, location, or orientation. And best of all?

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Cancel Culture, Cancel Thyself

(Cancel culture, political correctness, change your art.)

American Frightfest Thought (SPOILER ALERT): It really would have been the cherry on top had they made the so-called Monster the older, perennially abusive brother of the younger, self-proclaimed Wrong Monster. Because then, I could have been like, WHOA, because I would have been projecting my own horrible abusive dysfunctional sibling relationship with a bona fide Monster onto their relationship, and found the film extremely profound. Because it’s all about ME, after all, isn’t it?

Just Don't Look, say the censor-y pearl clutchersBecause that’s what we’re all doing these days, right? Insisting works of creativity be re-written to suit our own particular tastes and sensibilities and jibe with our own interior narratives, or cancel culture kicks in? Because we don’t want stories that challenge us to look at things in a different way but instead we just want those that mirror the same old worldviews and beliefs we’ve always held, yeah? I mean, shouldn’t they have just changed the series finale of Game of Thrones because it didn’t end the way people thought or wanted it to do so?

A RESOUNDING FUCK NO.

ART IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. (Disclosure: On the matter of whether Game of Thrones is Art: I can’t weigh in. I’ve no information, having never watched it.)

Anyway. Lemme grab my dramatic effect capital letter shit back. Hang on.

ART IS NOT A DAMN DEMOCRACY.

You don’t get to fucking vote on what the end of a TV series is going to be, unless for some reason that is the gimmick of the series, in which case, what a shitty series that is, and anyone watching that crap kinda deserves whatever they get dished up.

So. A week or two ago, Joaquin Phoenix was doing a press junket for JOKER and a reporter asked something to the effect of, do you feel badly about making a movie such as ‘this’, are you concerned that people will imitate this character’s (SPOILER ALERT {really? I mean, come on, it’s the fucking JOKER}) ‘bad behavior’?

I’m not sure what his answer to this was, but this question pisses me off.

I saw this movie once about a giant shark that stalked people and then ate them. But you know what? Unbelievably, I never swam around in the ocean stalking people and then eating them because I saw this movie! In fact, I never even did it at all!

Dogs in SpaceMore realistically, I saw SID AND NANCY and DOGS IN SPACE and neither of those films ever made me shoot up heroin. I saw CLOCKWORK ORANGE and FUNNY GAMES and yet not once have I invaded a family home and raped anyone OR worn all white. I saw the second A STAR IS BORN and I NEVER ONCE wanted to see the first one, third one, or most recent one. What I’m saying is, not everyone is a hypnotized zombie when it comes to cinema. In fact, dare I say the majority are not.

The whole idea that now we must SANITIZE MEDIA when we do not even hold the commander in thief to that same sanitized standard is ludicrous.

I think Joaquin should have told the reporter that he was more concerned that needless wars over things like oil and land might inspire people to be violent, and that he saw that as possibly being a slightly larger problem than films, because you must pay to see a film, while war is free and can impact you whether you choose it or not. Perhaps address the leaders and the very military industrial complex itself, Random Reporter Lady who failed Relevant Interrogatories 101, before questioning the ethics of a performer in a work of commercial entertainment.

Or, continue to be a moron. There’s that option, too.

AND.

The people – mostly Twitter users, it appears – who comprise the Cancel Culture, you know,  I really have empathy for them, I do. I know that at their level of wokeness, it has to be difficult to be so gosh-darned hard on people, caring about social justice and all. And too, it must be DOUBLY difficult for them. Think of it – to have to publicly acknowledge that the problematic person they are cancelling is more talented than them, that must be a bitter pill to swallow. Cause generally speaking, talented people spend their time utilizing their talents and creating things, not destroying them. They don’t spend their time on the internet bitching people out. It takes many characteristics to facilitate membership proper in a net.mob, but talent is not one of them. Net.mobs take anyone (no qualifications or previous experience required *** Do you like a Rock and Roll atmosphere? Leads Provided! Start immediately! *** ).

bell hooks quote

When it comes to mobs, what is the difference between carrying tiki torches and  carrying Frankenstein torches really? Is there truly a difference at all? Because I don’t see one. They both appear to be a bunch of people wielding way too much fire and all sharing one very precariously-poised-in-useful-reality brain when clearly they – and the rest of us – would be much better off with the benefit of many, many brains of a more practical and community-oriented nature.

I don’t know what the answers are. But shutting everyone up by cancelling them en masse? I don’t think that cancel culture is the answer at all. In fact, I KNOW it’s not. The truth is the truth, whether it scares you or not. It’s better to know than to not know if someone is dangerous, or hateful, or misogynist, or whatever the fuck they are. But also, it’s kind of gross to completely ostracize people from everything before all the facts are in, or for “offenses” like saying something jack-assed and ignorant 10 years ago. We need to allow people to grow.

Now if someone is running around raping puppies or what-have-you? Cancel away, have at it. Have a cancel party and play that cool drinking game, The Devil’s Triangle.

I LIKE BEERYou know, just ONE of those senators could have said, “Oh, a drinking game. Can you tell me how that’s played, exactly? How did you and your friends play that?” But no. NO ONE WAS CURIOUS WHAT HE WOULD HAVE SAID TO THAT? And NONE of those senators EVER heard of a real Devil’s Triangle? REALLY?

I wonder if it is cold and moist UNDER THEIR ROCKS.

Anyway.

That’s it. That’s the rant.

 

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