Nov 20

Margaret

I just watched it because it had Margaret Qualley, but this might be the best ad I’ve ever seen in my life:

Lord that’s big fun. Would be nothing without Qualley, though. (Part of it is that it’s rare that a really beautiful woman can ever give way to complete outlandish zaniness, and Qualley is more than fine with that and even seems to enjoy it a lot. I think that’s why comedians [male and female] tend not to be very beautiful, but I’d love to see Qualley do some real physical comedy. I bet she’d kill it. To be clear, I like Qualley because she’s beyond talented. She’s also undeniably beautiful; even I can see that.)

Nov 20

Spontaneous

These days, if a movie doesn’t show me something new I just turn if off. I don’t have the time to waste.

I did not turn Spontaneous off.

Can a film both be gruesome and warm-hearted, grim and yet hopeful? If you’d asked me that before I’d watched Spontaneous I would’ve said probably no; that any such effort would be a tonally-confused blunder of a film.

Well, Spontaneous pulls this off and has some great lines to boot. It’s like a comfy blanket warmed by fresh blood, a cozy coffin of a movie. Under the surface it’s about the absurd expectations and responsibilities, absent any real power, that we as a society place on adolescents and how we are content to just let more than half of them disappear into what for them (and for us) amounts to societal nothingness when they inevitably fail. That it’s just expected, that they’ll de facto pop out of existence, and that even for the ones who don’t, how we all just disappear from one another’s lives like we hadn’t spent the last 15 years seeing one another every day.

The movie asks also, in a world where we all know with certainty that we are going to die, how do we survive that next day and the next after that?

The only real criticism I had of the film is that it needed better editing. Some scenes went on too long, and re-arranging the order of some of them would’ve made the film a lot more effective. For instance, the graveside scene should’ve been the film’s coda rather than the rather-more-celebratory beach house scene. It would’ve been far more hard-hitting that way, and ended the film on a more complete emotional note.

That said, Katherine Langford turns in a believable performance of insuperable grief and despair, and she echoes one of my favorite lines of Lorde’s in the film: “It feels so scary, getting old.” Of course, Lorde was 16 when she wrote that line, and I think those years are harder on people than many adults want to admit; that’s what makes it a good lyric, after all.

Spontaneous reminds us that life is for the living, and it does that by showing us the unprettiness and inevitably of death, and how it’s always there, biding its time or not, just around any corner, over our shoulder, one tremulous touch away from eternal oblivion. And that’s always our fate, no matter what. What do you do when you truly realize that?

Nov 20

Kurtz

Also, returning to this horror, it’s such an odd and dismaying assumption that I (or anyone) would only have work to talk about with other people.

Man, I’ve read like a million books*. I have loads to talk about that has absolutely nothing to do with work. I can chatter for hours without once thinking about my career. Are most people’s brains so empty they can only talk about work with their friends? Just…how? Have so many really been so overwhelmed by neolib prerogatives? I don’t want to believe that but the evidence points the other direction.

*In reality, it’s around 10,000 books, though I’ve not kept an exact count.

Nov 20

Podiatrist Needed

Limiting speech won’t solve this. Don’t know why the left has been such a fan of this lately. They love foot-shooting, I guess. Anyway, only ameliorating the underlying conditions that cause these manias will solve the actual problem.

Second, many actual events and occurrences that definitely happened are now labeled “conspiracy theories” because the panjandrums wish to change the narrative and history itself. Therefore I am very, very wary of handing over broad censorship powers (public or private) to the people who wish to alter the record and have already demonstrated the desire and the capability to do so.

I will never really get on board with the liberal cry for censorship.

Nov 20

World Worse

I can show my math if you want (but it’s boring), but I estimate the extensions I can no longer use if I upgrade to new Firefox have saved me something like 3,000-5,000 hours of time over the last decade.

Jesus fuck this is why I hate Mozilla and Firefox developers so much. Not only did they just callously delete all the old, working extensions, erasing millions of person-hours of development, they then reduced the productivity of millions for fake security.

I can’t get over how they just removed all the old extensions in an attempt to memory-hole them — to pretend none of that ever happened. What a bunch of utter dipshits.

Nov 20

Histogram

You can tell from things like this how weird the world has become, and how captured by the algorithm and neoliberal pre-pod tendencies people have gotten.

It used to be not uncommon at all to be friends with people with very diverse jobs. My dad was barely social and he had friends in the 1980s who were: a schoolteacher, a doctor, a plumber, a tree trimmer, a natural gas delivery driver — and others that I am forgetting now.

This was a very, very common thing before the world got so stratified and algorithm-ized.

What strikes people as highly unusual and well-nigh impossible now was not very long ago just the way things used to be. In the contemporary environment, though, where you can’t fight the neoliberal algorithm and social class defines all, to many people having friends outside of work is literally unimaginable.

It has been strange indeed to watch this transition, and furthermore to watch people forget how the world once was (Janie herself is too young to remember this).