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In Which We Pray For Tiny Brains
And a comfy spot in the sun
Links are at the end, the end.
Every species on the planet including, probably, our own would be better off if we hadn’t developed these massive, horribly flawed brains.
Not an original observation. Clever monkeys; should have stopped there.
I’ve been watching some TV shows on Hulu—the ones which include advertisements. I’ve not been exposed to this much advertising in more than 20 years. Most of it is for liquor and other alcoholic beverages, and for pharmaceuticals.
The pharmaceutical ads are touting treatments for Type II diabetes, various skin ailments and other chronic conditions, with a kicker of psych disorders.
These ads are frankly insane. We’re talking Pixar-style animations, live action song-and-dance numbers and half-assedly surreal walk-and-talks, along with the traditional juxtaposition of warm and fuzzy visuals—literally fuzzy; a lot of soft focus shit—and rapid-fire but sotto voce talk of varied and potentially extreme reactions up to and including death.
I remember those “this shit might well kill you” disclaimers from before I quit watching ad-infested teevee, but the styles are new to me and threaten my fragile sense of reality. One can only imagine how they would seem to somebody who hasn’t been previously exposed to this country’s unique drug advertising milieu, which would be most people who aren’t Americans.
The liquor ads are all on behalf of some fucked-up brews. There’s orange-flavored Irish whiskey, for one, and some sort of cheap bourbon with which to make bad Manhattans to show how sophisticated your inner shitkicker is, and some of those goofy cocktails in a can.
There’s also a horrible Miller ad featuring nostalgia for sticky barroom floors and drinking to excess.
Along with the vintage teevee shows and the novel interpretations of pharmaceutical ads, I’ve seen a bit of teevee news, which has been off the menu for at least a decade longer than advertiser-supported recreational television.
I bring this up because my inaugural post-catatonia screed included mention (I think) of a survey noting that among some 300 recent television news stories about our various ongoing climate-related weather disasters, maybe a dozen explicitly linked the events to climate change, which is not a lot, and which the writers of a story about the lack of linkage described as tantamount to disinformation, which is hard to argue against.
Today one of the anchors mentioned climate change in kicking the spotlight over to the weather person, and did so without even lowering her voice and looking over her shoulder. The weather person, though, left her hanging. I believe that was on ABC, which is owned by Disney, which owns most of Hulu.
After the weather report, which included a tidbit about water off the coast of Florida hitting 100-plus degrees, the anchor moved along to about a five-minute spiel on Christmas in July, which is evidently a thing? It must be a thing; it was on the news, and they even lassoed some kind of expert into saying that putting up an artificial tree in your living room will make you feel a few degrees cooler.
Lord Jesus, we shelter beneath your loving and chill aluminum boughs.
Then there was another guy, who owned a wholesale party decoration outlet, standing by with a shit-eating grin while the field reporter allowed as how it’s only natural that people get anxious and sad after seven months with no Christmas but fortunately there’s this solution and it’s not too late to get to the store.
This was an ad for Christmas in July, is what I’m saying, with a news logo painted on it. I shouldn’t be shocked; the whole point of the news is to sell you something, whether it’s imperialism or the Baby Jesus in July, but jaysus, wasn’t there a time when it was more subtle?
Maybe not. I dunno. I probably need some drugs.
Meanwhile I’m still reading and still running across stuff like this:1
Messing with complex systems is chilling precisely because there are so many levers: If the temperature of the sea surface changes, precipitation over the Amazon might too, contributing to its deforestation, which in turn has been linked to snowfall on the Tibetan plateau. We may not even realize when we start passing points of no return—or if we already have. “It’s kind of like stepping into a minefield,” Armstrong McKay said. “We don’t want to find out where these things are by triggering them.”
Well. Fucking oops, eh? No doubt we’ll get right on fixing that.
“Despite posting record-breaking profits, Trafigura just received a massive giveaway from the U.S. government that will let them work with the biggest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exporters in the world to drive up energy prices for Americans and fund stock buybacks for their investors. This is an insult to the communities forced to bear the brunt of LNG buildout and the devastating impacts of climate disasters fueled by fossil fuel dependence, and to families and businesses across the country that will face higher energy prices that come from exporting overseas. It’s time to put an end to the U.S. government’s taxpayer-funded bailouts of risky commodity speculators like Trafigura,” said Talia Calnek-Sugin, Sierra Club.
The deal prompted Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley to describe the Biden administration as “hopelessly addicted to fossil projects.”
“Do I keep trying to pursue my research career or devote even more of my time to warning the public? The pressure and anxiety of working through an escalating crisis is taking its toll on many of us.”
The Guardian hit up some Australian climate scientists for reactions to our season of biblical catastrophes, and one can sense the barely restrained panic where it’s not directly expressed. Some of the comments remind me of the reaction people have to Trump doing something so obviously corrupt or sociopathic that it seems, Shirley, as though corrective action is certain to follow.3
Haha, joke’s on us.
Over at The Journalist’s Resource, Naseem Miller has a roundup of research on the long-term effects of wildfire smoke, which are at best no better than anything else that pegs red on the air quality meter.4
Music: I liked all of today’s artists, but I have to say that Jen Cloher’s live performance on KEXP from a few years back, with Courtney Barnett approaching a quirky sort of godhood on lead guitar, was transfixing.
That, Comrades, is all there is. Be well, take care, share and subscribe if you like—it’s free unless you want to pay.