stray thoughts 11/23

  1. Stop LARPing the resistance. This is not your favorite D&D campaign. This is about appointments, about the Democratic party being run from the middle of the country and not the coasts, about calls to Senators and Congresspeople’s offices. It should be boring. Donald Trump doesn’t believe ANYTHING except that all the money should be his eventually. That he said something he believed some people who were talking to him at the moment wanted to hear means absolutely nothing. He can sound smart when he wants to; he can sound dumb when he wants to. That is his great gift. He makes decisions with his lizard brain, and devotes all of his actual cognitive abilities to justifying his grifting or preparing a new con. He is a profoundly, hugely unimaginative and selfish person; his first instinct as president, a position that someone with an actual flair for wrongdoing would wield with immediate and horrifying consequence, was to tell foreign diplomats to stay at his tacky hotels. Any suggestion that he is a masterly player of games whose sorcery has bewitched the Republicans is stupidity. He is a garden-variety idiot with too much money and infinite military power, and no one, including him, expected him to get this far. That and no other is his tragedy.
  2. There is a profound hatred between middle-class men across all political affiliations and upper-class liberal women. I don’t know how to parse it, at all. I do know that my hackles rise when I read Virginia Heffernan’s Earth-2 encomium to Hillary Clinton or Rebecca Traister’s weirdly spiteful takedown of Chapo Trap House in a way that makes me suspicious of my own responses and thus probably not the best person to investigate it, but it deserves some attention.
  3. I have two observations, and then I’ll shut up: The first is that we live in a mediatized world that rewards the performance of disenfranchisement in a way that has to do with the kinds of class markers lazy and uninterested people in the moneyed classes – by which I mean the people who dole out jobs, for the most part – can easily recognize, and white men are shut out of those performances irrespective of class by patriarchal norms that go unquestioned because as I say, complex class markers are too hard for people who would fundamentally rather not give a shit but feel vaguely obligated. The second is that women in the upper classes are subjected to the same kinds of sexism forced onto everyone, and they specifically are required to respond to sexism in ways that are secret and thus invisible all the way down the food chain, and men forget those indignities exist or assume that a BA from Princeton will make them go away, which of course it won’t. People who act like they deserve respect are communicating a really dramatic class marker. Also, people deserve respect.
  4. I suspect these things have something to do with the antipathy, on both sides. Patriarchy is hugely destructive to everyone. Okay, that’s it.
  5. Upper class culture is not better than lower-class culture, it’s just different. It’s possible to learn a lot about class structure in the US by consuming culture across classes. If you want to understand the American lower classes, read superhero comics, watch The Simpsons and blockbuster movies, listen to country and hip hop and play popular video games. Most interesting culture starts off at the bottom, so there are always artisanal versions of these things, but popularity is a good metric for class appeal, because there are more poor people than rich people.
  6. Some assumptions I haven’t been questioning and should have been: Below a certain level, class money, education personal net worth, net worth/age = class. Class almost always = education level.
  7. Age is a better predictor of hiring discrimination than race or gender.
  8. Along similar lines:
    -The Boomers were the largest generation in history when they arrived on the scene.
    -Their entire cohort was taught that self-worth is a function of ownership, especially home ownership.
    -In 2009, everybody lost a huge chunk of home equity and thus net worth.
    -Soon, the Boomers will cease to be able to care for themselves physically.
    -Paul Ryan has proposed phasing out Medicare in 2017.
    Here are the most beautiful comics Marvel is publishing right now:
  1. Mike Allred on Silver Surferallred silver surfer.jpg
    Chris Bachalo on Doctor Strangebachalo doctor strange.jpg
    Christian Ward on The UltimatesChristian Ward Ultimates.jpg
    Genndy Tartakovsky on Cage. I take the point that Tartakovsky is not a blaxploitation storyteller but I love his style so much.
    cage tartakovsky.jpg
    Chris Samnee on Black Widowblack widow samnee.jpg

Author: samthielman

Sam Thielman is a reporter and critic based in Brooklyn, New York. His blog is, his twitter handle is @samthielman, and if you can't find him you should check The Strand.

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