You can’t care when you don’t care.

As someone who also dislikes Mad Man (and, honestly, most of That Genre of Asshole Man “Prestige” TV), I confess I did enjoy this article on disliking Mad Men.

Second confession, I also did enjoy the “rebuttal” to it which is basically Have You Considered You’re Just Not Cool Enough To Like Mad Man but, like, written in six thousand words of pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook1 because . . . yeah. Yeah that really does capture the true l’esprit de l’disliking Man Men when confronted by people trying to justify not just why they like Mad Men but why liking Mad Man is the only “correct” choice.

  1. Ironically cloaked as anti-intellectual gobbledygook. []
2021-07-26T07:15:11+10:0029th July, 2021|Tags: |


Apparently, in 1997, David Bowie issued what were basically stocks in himself as an artist, giving the owners of said “Bowie Bonds” a percentage of his year-on-year royalties. They were initially bought by and endorsed by actual, legitimate investment firms, raising a craptonne of cash for Bowie and eventually losing their purchasers an additional craptonne when online piracy caused the bottom to drop out of the music market a few years later. Bowie, who was not an idiot–and, as those of you who are Old™ may recall, was Extremely Online in the internet’s early years and thus obviously could see which way the Napster was blowing–saw this coming and was thus able to comfortably ride out the post-internet music age and go on to make weird, non-mainstream experimental stuff for, I guess, funsies.1

Bowie turned out to be a more prescient futurist than most actual professional futurists, and ISAs–or “income sharing agreements”–are the Hot New Thing in white collar indentured servitude. They’re probably not as great an idea for the rest of us as they were for the Thin White Duke, hey.

  1. See also: Trent Reznor, another early leverager of being already famous when the Internet Era hit. []
2021-06-15T08:28:46+10:0017th June, 2021|Tags: , , |

The alternative is to opt-out.

So there’s a post going around Tumblr that’s basically something like “people keep saying parasocial relationships are bad but they never give any options for the alternatives? help?” and I keep thinking about just . . . How Much that is.1 Like I get the impression the poster is relatively young and thus has grown up in Peak Influencer Culture and the question is earnest but, still. An earnest question deserves an earnest answer, so:

The “alternative” to parasocial relationships, particularly if you feel you’re susceptible to forming them in unhealthy ways, is to actively block yourself form forming parasocial relationships.

That means stop watching that show or listening to that podcast that’s in any one of those “‘friends’ around a table” formats that are designed to prey on this kind of relationship. Unfollow all “famous” people on social media. Block all social media “personalities” (you know the ones I mean; the people who aren’t famous per se but always show up in reblogs). Just fucking say no to “influencer” culture. Uninstall TikTok and Instagram. Don’t even regularly read the Patreon posts of people you’re giving money to.2

This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy things produced by or featuring particular individuals, but stop seeking out anything (or, worse, feeling entitled to) anything beyond their work. They aren’t your friends and you aren’t entitled to know anything about their private lives.3

Most importantly, humans are not commodities for consumption, no matter how much money “platform” companies make trying to convince you otherwise. Parasocial relationships blur the line between legitimate social connection and entertainment in ways that, in particular, prey on vulnerable people with less access to the former. If you think that’s you, resist! Stop allowing companies to exploit your loneliness for money. There’s plenty of other media out there that can fulfill your desire for entertainment that doesn’t rely on this level of extremely personal manipulation and–and I know this is terrifying but please believe me when I say–there are plenty of other beautiful (and often similarly lonely) people out there who’ll help you with the former. Yes, reaching out and trying to make friends is scary! Not every overture is going to work; you’re sometimes going to get brushed off, or snapped at. It happens. But it’s worth it, trust me, for all the time you try and end up making a real, earnest connection. That feeling, that connection, is something parasocial media can never, ever replace, and the more you try and make it the worse you’re going to feel.

You deserve better.

  1. Full disclosure: I am a Committed Parasocial Relationship Hater and myself do everything I’m about to suggest. []
  2. I know this sounds like really weird advice, and contrary to what Patreon is “for,” but I do solemnly swear it’s how I use the platform. []
  3. Even if they seem like they’re voluntarily offering it up, know they almost certainly aren’t–and almost certainly would prefer they didn’t have to–particularly if they’re an independent creator who primarily releases content online. []
2021-06-11T07:55:19+10:0015th June, 2021|Tags: , , |


That’s the thing about criticism: It often reveals more about the critic than the work. In fact, that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s getting to see the work and the world through the lens of that critic. It’s feeling how they felt. That’s the magic.

Ritesh Babu on criticism.

So on the one hand I really love this quote in particular but (and?), on the other, find it massively mind-numbingly ironic given the rest of the article it’s taken from . . .

2021-05-27T07:09:03+10:007th June, 2021|Tags: |

The body, politic.

For the most part, though, today’s cinema hunks are nevernudes. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is strictly PG-13, as one expects from a Disney product. And even in the DC universe, there’s very little of human sexuality. Capefans’ demands for more “mature” superhero movies always mean more graphic violence, not more sex. They panicked over Dr. Manhattan’s glowing blue penis in Watchmen, and they still haven’t forgiven Joel Schumacher for putting nipples on the batsuit.

Today’s stars are action figures, not action heroes. Those perfect bodies exist only for the purpose of inflicting violence upon others. To have fun is to become weak, to let your team down, and to give the enemy a chance to win, like Thor did when he got fat in Endgame.

This cinematic trend reflects the culture around it. Even before the pandemic hit, Millennials and Zoomers were less sexually active than the generation before them. Maybe we’re too anxious about the Apocalypse; maybe we’re too broke to go out; maybe having to live with roommates or our parents makes it a little awkward to bring a partner home; maybe there are chemicals in the environment screwing up our hormones; maybe we don’t know how to navigate human sexuality outside of rape culture; maybe being raised on the message that our bodies are a nation-ending menace has dampened our enthusiasm for physical pleasure.

Eating disorders have steadily increased, though. We are still getting our bodies ready to fight The Enemy, and since we are at war with an abstract concept, the enemy is invisible and ethereal. To defeat it, our bodies must lose solidity as well.

Raquel S. Benedict on the desexualization of violence.

I’m looking at you, Weirdly Hyper-Puritan Young People Fandom . . .

2021-05-04T07:49:43+10:0010th May, 2021|Tags: , |
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