May 12, 2022·edited May 12, 2022

Excellent column. How bad is it that I had to do a Google search to be sure that the "French toast colonialism" part wasn't true?

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The non-journalists at the NYT who revolted against Bennet were AFAIK largely on the tech side, thus increasing their perceived importance to the operations of the NYT and making it harder for the brass to tell them to grow up (which they still should have done).

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Ancestry arguments are so bizarre. How the the fuck is anyone alive in the US "used to" slavery? I really don't understand the way social justice people use history. To me,a better message from slavery is that people accepted something obviously awful to keep their economy going, which makes you wonder if we're also doing awful things today.

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I’ve heard it said that in a healthy society, the left’s job is to point out social ills, and the right’s job is to make sure the left’s solutions aren’t worse than the problem. (To be sure, we don’t live in an especially heathy society). I’m trying to square that with your bit about the leftie-liberal relationship... is it just that our hyper-fragmented world has caused our (liberal) roles to shift?

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May 12, 2022Liked by Jeff Maurer

I remember thinking in the 90s that Filter's "Take a Picture" was a deep and beautiful song. Then I read an interview with Richard Patrick where he explains that the lyrics are about two episodes when he was black-out drunk and violent, once on an airplane and another when he was throwing beer bottles at a cop car. He was arrested both times, but doesn't remember either of them. How profound, I guess?

"As things seem large which we through mist descry, / Dullness is ever apt to magnify." — Alexander Pope, "An Essay on Criticism"

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All NINE Saw movies, actually. But it's an understandable mistake. "Spiral" was watched by a grand total of three people and a spider that happened to be in the room with them.

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My 9 yo came in the other day with a Ziploc containing a test tube and a paper saying this was a "water quality test" that was stuck in everyone's front yard. I sighed and had to explain it wasn't some fun civic exercise but in fact a marketing tool for a bottled water company. Damn those goddamn tricksters, forcing me to ruin his pleasant illusions! I guess it's our fault for teaching them that benevolent strangers frequently and secretly leave gifts around the property (Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, the Flag Day Witch, etc)

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I don’t agree with everything here (in particular, I think that “jaded and cynical” tend to become the “cool and relevant” of adulthood and I think it’s lazy - it’s far easier to seem wise when you think everything is bulls**t (because so many things are), but it takes more cajones to actually try to call the balls and strikes.) At any rate, despite some disagreement with the premise, I think that the lead in and transition from talking about band lyrics is one of the most brilliant things that has popped into my inbox. And “as if it were written by Holden Caulfield” is my new favorite disparagement - I plan to wield it with a heavy hand.

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Why don't the older men (and that is who should be pushing back against this) put the kibosh on this nonsense?

We have families to support, college tuition to pay, and retirements to fund. We cannot afford to get canceled. Getting another job in your 50s isn't that easy to begin with, let alone with some social justice scarlet letter on your resume. So, to be realistic, putting some 20-something SJW in their place is a luxury we cannot afford. And that is why this nonsense gets indulged.

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Jon Stewart used to be the king. Now he's just another fucking progressive scold.

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I consider myself fortunate that my musical tastes tend to be for more heavy metal type music. Y'know music where I can't understand what they are saying. So it doesn't matter how stupid the lyrics are.

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I used to think the alleged Churchill quote about “if you’re not a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative when you’re old, you have no brain,” meant that old conservatives were heartless and I would NEVER become one. Now that I’m old (well, 38), I see how the idea was meant to be additive. I’m still not “conservative”—perish the thought!!—but I’m definitely experiencing what you describe. It’s uncomfortable to realize that your youthful exuberance in fighting “the man” that you knew was based on your own huge heart was, at least a little, brainless. Old folks who are succumbing to brainless youthful exuberance are just extremely insecure and afraid of becoming the stiff old person that they always calibrated their moral compass to oppose as “bad.”

Also, I am pretty sure that no music, band, or album will ever match whatever you discovered in your late teens/early twenties, when your body is a soup of stabilizing hormones and your brain has more capacity than stuff to fill it yet. Cue the Garden State “This song will change your life” meme. That said, I feel bad for people both older and younger than me who didn’t have early Arcade Fire to serve that purpose.

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When artists intend to make a specific political or cultural point or argument, the resulting art is inevitably trash. Don't believe me? Take a look at some Soviet or cultural revolution era art work. It's all crap. When the artist is motivated by some sort of political agenda, instead of beauty for its own sake, the enterprise is doomed. When the artist draws inspiration from his Twitter feed instead of a mountain stream, he is not producing art.

True art comes when the artist is able to suspend the ego, tap into the collective unconscious, and speak the universal language of myth and symbols. True art that illuminates and enlightens can come from the very young, even if the artist does not actually "know" much about the real world, so long as the artist is in touch with the infinite soul.

John Keats died at the age of 25, but was able to produce powerful poetry still being studied by scholars today. His poetry is meaningful because he came from a place of myth and symbol instead of social activism:

O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—

Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,

Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,

May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep

’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap

Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.

But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,

Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,

Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,

Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be

Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,

When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

They don't make 'em like that any more. The artist's soul, like nature itself, has been crushed by the machine.

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Isn't part of the issue that the Iraq War/Great Financial Crisis/Climate Change and to some extent, Trump, made the idea that the people running things with the wisdom of age had any idea what they were doing?

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Let's not forget Steve Allen reading song lyrics like they were timeless verse!


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Arcade Fire has more bizarre and unidentifiable instruments in their band than the Mos Eisley cantina band in Star Wars!

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