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My drug of choice is writing--writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Best Contemporary Fantasy Book (or Series)––Final Round

What is the best very fantasy book (or series) written after 2010? 

Don't forget to vote! Your nominations have formed our semi-final polls, your votes on the semi-final polls decided which titles made it to the final round. And now it's time to make your voices heard. I'm going to wrap this poll up and post results in mid August, but DO NOT DELAY. It will be over before you know it. So take a moment to vote for your favorite fantasy genre book or series that has come out just in the last decade.

And don't forget that the poll will let you vote again after one week. Since I can't monitor or stop the shenanigans, I encourage it. Vote early. Vote often.

Everyone will get three (3) votes. Use them....wisely.

The poll itself is on the bottom left of the side menus, below the "About the Author." If you're on mobile you have to click "webpage view" then scroll alllllllllll the way to the bottom, you can find the poll. But if that doesn't work either, you are experiencing a problem that is not common but is normal, and you can go right to the website here: https://poll.fm/10582371

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

An Inescapable Fact (Personal, Meta)

I tried to wait on this as long as I could, but I can't put it off any longer. 

The truth is, it is not going well. 

I really, really wanted to put this off until the worst of the first wave of the pandemic was in the rear-view and some tiny vestige of global economic recovery was starting, but I live in a country with a sizeable contingent of people who won't wear masks, or who stick their noses out the top in an act of passive resistance, and while they use words like "rights" and "freedoms," in praxis they are dedicated to spreading a potentially fatal disease because someone dared to tell them what to do. 

I didn't want to do this. I have certainly had my own difficulties writing during Shelter In Place. I have a lot of bad A.D.D. brain days. I'm working entirely too much at my nanny job. I haven't been able to write HALF as much as I want to. But five months in, I have to deal with Sh.I.P. ing like it's the new normal....because we don't have the culture or leadership for it not to be. 

And it's not going well. The global recession has begun to hit my patrons, and crowdfunding is one of the first things folks cut when a budget gets tight. A lot of folks are canceling or reducing their contributions, and I've lost a LOT of money in the last five months. There have been ups and downs. I even ended up a couple of dollars ahead of the month prior in June, but overall things have been slipping.

So despite my intentions to wait until the pandemic wasn't hitting your wallets and MY productivity quite as hard, it doesn't seem like, in my neck of the woods, either the pandemic or the economic collapse is going to let up any time soon.

I love my big donors, and I couldn't pay my rent without them, but I also couldn't pay my rent without HUNDREDS of smaller donors. They form the foundation upon which my ability to have any financial security at all rests, and their steady and small contributions are the reason a big donor can pull or reduce their funding without me needing an oxygen tank and a fistful of quaaludes. One of the reasons I offer one of my best rewards to folks who sign up for my second-smallest tier––$3 a month––is because I value my small donors so much. I know it's a hard time for someone to find a chunk of their budget for crowdfunding, so I'm hoping to find a lot of folks who have $1, $3, or $5 to give. 

I'm gonna keep doing what I'm doing one way or another. But if you want to help me keep the rent paid and lights on, right now I sure could use a lot of small donors to make up for some of the recent hits. I'm making up a lot of lost revenue during Sh.I.P. with the nannying hours, but I need something from writing to still be there when that ends. If you like what I do, and want me to keep doing it (and doing it more), I could use your help. 

Please visit my Patreon if you can help. Even a dollar or three a month makes a big difference when a lot of folks take that step. And the ongoing support allows me to plan and budget for the future.

If an ongoing donation, for whatever reason, isn't good for you, of course I'm happy to get one-time donations as well. I can take donations through Paypal, Venmo (chris.brecheen@gmail.com) or arrange for some other form if electronic transfers don't work. Some people even literally send me checks in the mail.

Of course, the rewards aren't "worth" the amount of the tiers, but they are my small way of saying thank you for helping me stay afloat, and they go from getting in on backchannel status updates and a monthly newsletter all the way up to early access, a quarterly major newsletter, autographs, and even tutoring if you want it. 

And as always:

  1. Thank you so much. Even if you can't help. If you'd asked me ten years ago if I wanted a writing career to involve daily contact with readers, I would have reacted like some people do when you say the word "moist." Now I can't imagine my life without you all. 
  2.  The algorithm for social media rewards engagement, so if you can't help financially but want to do something (or you want to help out doubly so), please consider reacting to this post and/or commenting. I'm told GIFs work the best, so feel free to have a gif party in the comments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Protect Thyself (The Renown Margin)

So I'm trying something a little different here.

I'm writing two posts about the same thing. Not a two-part post (I do those all the time), but rather a two-facet analysis of the same event. One is this one: a pitfall of attention which those on the margins of fame (or further in) should navigate carefully, and the other: a NOT Writing About Writing "navel gazing" post about the same situation and how I'm dealing with it.

Remember, I'm not famous, but parts of my life have juuuuuuust started to bend that way, and so I write about it.

I've written before about the intense attention that can come from maintaining a high public profile. Sometimes that attention is even sexual or romantic. But it can also be extremely mercurial. People don't like me because they like ME. They like me because they have projected things onto me. (They also sometimes DON'T like me because they have projected negative things onto me, but that's a whole other foxhunt.) And that affection and attention can disappear instantly for any number of reasons.

I can't tell other people how to be moral agents with whatever fame (or in my case vestiges of proto-fame) the universe has bestowed them. I've heard of famous actors and musicians who treat their enamored fans like absolute shit––demanding "nudes or GTFO" or other tactics to "haze" them. That just seems like a particularly craven way of looking at the complexity of that power dynamic.

For me, it's very important to protect people who might be approaching me as if I'm on a pedestal or may have a harder time with boundaries because of the power differential. Which is a complicated way of saying I try really hard not to take advantage of fans. (The "groupie threesome" jokes were fine and well when I was profoundly unknown and they were patently absurd, but you'll notice a dramatic phasing out once it was less of a joke.) From their point of view, they're taking the entire chance of rejection to do the reaching out in the first place. I try to keep that in mind.

They may be in a vulnerable position and reaching out to someone they have sort of created in their mind. They may be trying to ameliorate some sort of pain with someone they think is kind of "safe." They may be caught in a feedback loop with finding polite-but-non-flirty attention wonderful and feel that they need to "up the stakes" to keep it going. There are a lot of reasons to be careful and not exploit that power dynamic. It's important to get to know people for a good long while and let a human rapport develop independently of some sort of fan/artist-entertainer dynamic.

It's been a learning curve dealing with the beginnings of quasi proto-fame, but I've started to realize that there's another set of feelings I wasn't taking into account.

Mine.

One of the frailties I have as a writer is an inkling of understanding of just how powerful words are, and a sadly insufficient skill to wield that power quite the way I want to. I'm fairly certain we only need to take off one sock to count those writers who ever REALLY could (at least in any given language). The rest of us are forever apprentices and never masters. But the power of words is undeniable––the sheer force they are capable of exerting. And a skilled wordsmith can forge and bend and shape ideas until they are nearly perfect.

There's more to crafting a kind of enduring cultural narrative than a perfect wording, of course, or Jonathan Edwards would have successfully caused many more to give up The Great Awakening and returned to 18th-century Protestant ethics after reading Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God. Repetition is important. Cultural reinforcement is important. Seeing it everywhere is important. 

But there's still this part of me that does believe, at least in theory, that I if could just word things...perfectly, I could change the world. Alter perceptions. And of course change people's perceptions about me and affect their emotions profoundly. This alone can make me particularly vulnerable to people who say, "I love your writing," and PARTICULARLY, ESPECIALLY vulnerable to people who say, "Your writing has made me love YOU."  

Because that's sort of the dream, isn't it. To be like, a not-creepy, good-guy version of Wormtongue. (Maybe named Adroittongue––which could be awesome in more than one way.)

And you have to be very, very careful when someone cute as fuck with goo-goo eyes walks up to you saying just exactly, precisely what you want to hear about your writing. Even "Maybe we should get to know each other first," might not be quite enough protection.

I think all artists and entertainers and people in the public eye with a higher profile have to be a little extra careful when they get exactly that kind of adulation and uncritical attention. It feels good. But we're not just protecting the other person from power differentials and their perfunctory impressions of our faults and the sometimes unexamined wants and needs. 

We're also protecting ourselves. 

These folks might be crushing badly, but have a life that just can't handle you in it, and they really just want the validation of knowing they COULD. They aren't going to bother to stop and think if they SHOULD, until they reach a point where the issue is forced. They might want to know they're still desirable because it's been a dry spell, or their partner is distant. They may find you beguiling until you start to move and talk like an actual flaw-ridden human instead of the paragon they imagined you were. They may find you enchanting in a fantasy way, but there is someone "real" who they'd rather be with, and the minute that is a possibility, they turn away. They might just be extra thirsty because your selfie game is totally on point, but the chemistry test goes badly. They may even simply get distracted (or perhaps YOU were the distraction) and fade away because they never completely saw you as a human being with feelings that little ol' THEY could hurt. 

They may be using YOU. 

Things like this happen to everyone. It's life. You move on. Sometimes they're just not that into you. Sometimes you're the "safety crush," and they get accepted by their "reach crush." Sometimes things change. Sometimes someone doesn't look in the mirror and tell themselves, "This is a bad idea" until they're right on the edge of not being able to take it back. And I've had relationships that started exactly this way go on for years (and are still going) and that ended in a way completely unrelated to pedestals, and fame and whatever else.

But if you're managing some level of fame, you might find this sort of interaction happening not so much as a "Hey, that's life," pace, but more like a couple of times a month. That's just because you are in a position of high exposure (and possibly vulnerability) to it. And you're going to have to learn to deal with it if you don't want to shrivel up and hate everyone who ever sends you an e-mail that they think you're great, with an offer to maybe get a cup of coffee some day. 

I came up with my own way to navigate these moments, but whatever you do, be sure and consider your own feelings in these interactions as well as the other person's. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fortune Cookie Wisdom XVIII

The number one cause of writer's block is not trusting the process. It's when you think your first "first sentence" has to be absolutely perfect that you freeze up. When you truly accept that you're going to change it fifty times, the stakes are low enough that you can just start.


All writing is political. Even if you are trying to write in a completely and deliberately apolitical way, what comes through is complacency and comfort with the status quo. "Nothing is wrong, so let's not talk about it!" is absolutely a social and political stance. Look around you at the world. What do you see? Inequality? Injustice? Inhumanity? Poor people? Rich people? Exploitation? What does the political landscape look like? Who is getting screwed? Whose story is being ignored (or more likely shouted down) by others? And whose lives are pretty good so that they would want to avoid those topics at any cost? What are the truths we cling to, and how do they depend greatly on our own point of view? How are the stories of who we are and how we got here shaping and framing the way we look at (and avoid looking at) things?

You can enjoy writing exactly when and how and where and for as long as you want as a hobby, and even fling stuff around when you want for some spending money, but the minute you want writing to be your paycheck, you're going to spend some annoying-as-fuck days doing shit that isn't writing and you don't want to do.

We treat our brains like they're these psychic entities that live on other planes of existence that can only be reached by astral projection from the psi-vortexes within our skulls but our brains are right there with us not getting enough sleep, hurting from stress, and feeling kind of sick when we eat too much greasy food. Exercise a little (if you can). Eat decently (if you can). Drink enough water. Take your meds (if you can). Your brain is an organ. It's pretty awesome, but it has never NOT been a part of your body.


Your mindset is more attuned to geography than you're probably ready to deal with. It's the reason you can switch rooms and forget what you were thinking of, but if you go back into the old room, you'll often remember. It's the reason that as soon as you come over the hill on the way to the next town over, you start thinking of how good that one restaurant is.

And it's gonna mess with you when you try to work from home.

You've got all those spaces that are for other things. If your couch is for relaxing, that's not a good work spot. If you basically only sleep in bed, even propping yourself up, you're going to be tired. If the kitchen table is where you eat, you're going to be hungry all the time.

We writers learned long ago to carve out a spot that's just for working.


A body count will never raise the emotional stakes by itself, and it's usually bad writing to try. You have to rely on other tools––and better writing.
A lot of people feel a lot of different ways. And that's all okay. There are no wrong answers when you're sheltering in place, worried about the entire world but especially Nana and your friend who had chemo and radiation for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma five years ago, and watching your leadership strategically NOT CARE how many people are going to die so that Game Stop and Starbucks can open back up right away. It's okay to not be okay.  In fact, you probably shouldn't be okay.  We're deep in uncharted waters and someone used the map back to normal as a quick fix, back when we thought we were going to run out of toilet paper forever.


One of the problems with our deepest and darkest anxieties is that we let them hang out in dark corners and imagine that they are huge and insurmountable. We listen with half an ear or try to distract ourselves or cover our (proverbial) ears and refuse to listen as soon as we realize that they are voices we don't like. When we only get part of the message, it becomes so easy to imagine that the rest is even worse. Sometimes we make fears and anxieties a hundred times worse by letting them live in shadowy corners where we can imagine they are so much more powerful and have so much more to say than we've ever even heard.

Fans are not friends. They can become friends, but most will come and go very capriciously. More so than people you meet through regular channels. It is important that artists and entertainers who are beginning to touch that spark of fame keep themselves protected by not assuming (initially) that those relationships bear resemblance to true friendships, no matter how much adulation or seeming intimacy pours out from them.

When we book nerds go to see movies, we can accept that (if we're lucky) we're going to see a bit of audio/visual media roughly similar to the book we like with some familiar moments that hopefully cleave close to the spirit of its source material. But we're not going to get "THE BOOK ON SCREEN™," so it's important to remember that we're watching the movie for a MOVIE'S sake and that it's an adaptation.

Content/developmental editing is probably the hardest to deal with, the most expensive per page, and THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. for your fiction. You need someone who is able to identify what's not working in a story. You need someone who doesn't KNOW your character to tell you if they're making sense or not. You need someone who doesn't understand the plot to tell you they're confused. You need someone who isn't in your head to point out that your words aren't doing what you think they are. THEN you fix the commas. 

You don't even have to lie in order to frame a narrative. You just have to decide where to start, where to stop, and which parts to leave out. By not letting certain people speak for themselves, suddenly you have a story that is factually accurate, but not truth.

Reading with compassion is the great equalizer when it comes to trite advice like "write what you know." (None of us know what dragons or space cruisers are like, but writers have been doing just fine with them by using their reading, empathy, and imagination.) Because given time, a good reader can "know" almost anything. Not because we go through the experiences ourselves, but because those who do often write about them. And we have the whole of human experience at our very adept fingertips.

Yes, there are influences that are unearned advantages of birth and cannot be controlled, like being a cishet white dude, or being raised middle class by formally educated parents. There are a few things that are like "force multipliers," like having social media outreach, nepotistic connections in publishing, or some entirely-unrelated-to-writing fame. But no one ever EVER "made it" without working outrageously hard and probably pretty close to daily.

Not a racist who walks this Earth does not justify their behavior with STORIES. Not a single misogynist. Not a single transphobe. Not a single bigot. It might be stories their parents told them. It might be lies repeated so often they accepted them as truth. It might be narratives they never unpacked that come from poor representation in media. But it's stories all the way down, and that is part of the reason fiction can be so fucking powerful.

I know it's shitty to realize that you probably won't establish a writing career if you don't overdo it at LEAST a little, and everyone has to find their own peace with that and their personal strategy for surviving capitalism. Probably most people you ever knew who were fantastically good at something overdid it a little. Had long days. Worked weekends. Gave it more gas than the folks who wanted a functional work/life balance and a robust set of complementary priorities. And while you absolutely want to make sure you know that writing (or art of any kind) is work even when it feels like it isn't, and that you factor in enough self-care to safeguard your health both physical and mental, you also have to understand that you are your own "boss" when it comes to writing, and your ambitions are directly tied to just one fucking metric asston of hard work.

GIVE ME MORE FORTUNE COOKIE WISDOM

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Facebook Gems Top of June 2020

Maybe don't try telling a six year old that
someone who will enjoy you doing it for an hour or so
is one thing you're actively hoping to find in a partner.

Since shelter in place and global pandemics and political landfill infernos tend to fracture my already ADD attention, I've been doing a lot more writing during Shelter In Place in bite sized chunks on Facebook. I'm still writing, it's just fewer long hours of focus on a single good article a day. So until Sh.I.P. ends or my ADD gets used to the new normal, I'm going to put some of my best posts (including some of the memes) every couple of weeks into a compilation post.

If you are demanding that fascists, bigots, and Nazis get a seat at the table and be heard out because "The Marketplace of Ideas!", but dismiss "defund the police" or socialism outright as worth listening to, you are less about boundless and limitless free speech than you think you are, and a LOT less slick than you imagine about covering up what ideas you're kind of okay with.

Ack!
Stop that!


The word “set” has 430 different definitions and the word “run” comes in a distant second at nearly 400, and we successfully manage to work out from context which one is meant.

Which is just to say, I’m fairly certain English, Western Civilization, and the future of humanity will be okay if “literally” joins “cleave,” “oversight,” and “sanction,” as a contronym.


The left and the right have different meanings when they talk about "cancel culture."

For the left it is often a nuanced issue when an individual is harassed (in very abusive patterns and for a very long time) by their former peer group, in stark contrast to the claims of valuing restorative justice, and usually with exact proportionality to their social marginalization. (Cishet white men are not held as accountable and given WAY more second chances.) It intersects with ableism as people with rejection sensitive dysphoria and various mental illnesses can be severely traumatized, often for years, by many of the most commonly used tactics, simply for not being contrite enough, fast enough. I'm not going to say where I land to someone who isn't smiling at me over broken bread, but it IS complicated.

For the right and it's staunchest critics "cancel culture" is pointing out that dead white slavers maybe don't deserve to be lionized on an actual pedestal. Or it is celebrities receiving literally ANY consequence for bad behavior, even as minor as a few all-caps tweets that hurt their feels in response to open, naked bigotry.

The sooner that little disconnect is understood, the easier it is to deal with the fact that our terminology and harm-reduction introspection will be commandeered to shame us for looking sideways at their ideologies the MINUTE they hear of it.



I really think it's time for Gen X to do the work of our generation and make a difficult choice.

We can either keep responding to Artax memes with "TOO SOON!" some thirty-six years later in a display of entire-generational trauma, or dropping paragraphs about how the Skeksies legit fucked us up, and thus acknowledge that the kids movies of our day were sort of the media equivalent of the playground with the corrugated sheet metal you could tetanus-cut yourself on and the teeter totter that would send you to the hospital...

OR....

We gotta stop giving today's kids' movies shit about how fluffy they are. By which we usually don't mean "fails to tackle real, topical, and serious issues by allegory," but rather "doesn't have characters or scenes that are immediately traumatizing." 

HAAAAAAAVE to.

Let us do this ONE thing to better the world instead of just watching millennials and boomers yell at each other as we eat Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner.


I had an avocado tonight as a capstone on dinner. But I didn't eat any toast. And it had been an hour since I had a bread product of any kind.

So hopefully I haven't destroyed my financial future forever.



If you ever want to “get it,” run a nice big page for a while. Compare the reactions to a few bigoted slurs or naked bigotry itself to the reaction to “irregardless.” See what makes people actually angrier. See about what they equivocate and about what they are unyielding. Notice what moves them to vitriol. See the patterns in the big numbers merit out over and over.

It’ll be quite the experience for you.



It's probably worth it for anyone at the upper end of social hierarchies to consider how many interactions happening at the social/cultural level, couched in slick language and well rehearsed scripts (and injected with everything from politics to motive), still boil down to this:

Person 1 - You're hurting me.

More powerful person - No I'm not. And if I am, you deserve it.




There's an op-ed in the NYT by Paul Krugman identifying this moment as the total breakdown in the US response.

It is.

This is the moment Trump decided to cheer protestors because they were protesting Democrats who had shut down businesses in response to the pandemic. He did this because they had (D)'s after their name, and he has come to see Democrats as his enemies because he is an egomaniac and everything is about him. 

And they don't properly fellate his genius. 

In cheering on those protesting a (reasonable) leadership response to the pandemic, he signaled several things at once.

1- He abandoned leadership. Basically, by not having a federal response, he told the states they were on their own.

2- BUT he cheered the protesters who were protesting the governors of those states that weren't doing what he wanted. So he may not have overtly and outloudly coordinated zero response, but he clearly favored it.

3- He signaled to every governor in the country that he would support their ignoring the virus and condemn any leadership response to it. He emboldened those who were calling it a hoax or overblown and cowed those who were trying to keep their citizens safe.

4- He engaged in a very official, top-down, conservative response (even if that response was to do nothing). He voiced official support for coordinated, well-funded, backed-by-billionaires, totally-not-grassroots political protests calling for ZERO response to the pandemic (trading lives for jobs). He may have done this as a personal move because those people were protesting his political enemies, but in doing so, he firmly put himself on the side of those rushing to reopen despite having no control.

5- He essentially ginned up the folks who would become the anti-mask movement today--,wearing masks being the ONE thing people could do to make everyone much, much safer, and the one thing other countries are doing that is getting them back to (a somewhat adjusted) normal.


Dudebro: I am an egalitarian. An equalist. I would march for equality. I would fight for equality. I would DIE for equality.

Peep from marginalized group: What I would like you to do is name this and acknowledge the particular ways that inequality affects me.

Dudebro: YOU HAVE LOST AN ALLY TODAY.....



I think it's very likely that we just have to start thinking of masks in the same way we do shirts. I mean you might see someone without one, but indoors it'll probably get some stiff glances. And mostly, it'll just be something people wear.

Find a comfy one that you like and matches your outfit. If you don't the tight one you have, invest in the looser ones. Have a whole set with logos that fly your geek or nerd or sports or whatever flag high. Get ones with some snarky political statements on them.Go unapologetically Disney. Find the tie or loops that you like the most. Fashion statement with your mask. Consider rhinestones!

("Oh, that mask does NOT go with your pants. Wear THIS one. Much better.")

Get used to it. This is probably going to be our lives now. Possibly forever. We don't even know how well a vaccine will work, especially not with an active antivaxxer movement. New normal. Adapt.


Look, if you want my Game of Thrones/House of Cards piping hot take, what is happening with schools isn't any goddamned different than anything else the GOP does. They may want things to look like they're back to normal, but that's not WHY they're doing this.

They walk in, break things, and then shout, "THIS IS BROKEN. WE HAVE A POLITICAL IMPERATIVE TO GET RID OF IT." They did it with healthcare. They did it with SNAP. They've tried to do it with welfare to some success. They are trying to do it with social security, but they have to tread lightly or they'll lose the over-65 vote they can't win without. They can't get their way when most people LIKE the programs they want to eliminate, so first they have to sabotage them.

Now they're doing it with schools. Because public education costs a lot, and private education can bust the public school teachers union and otherwise circumvent many of the reasons WHY public education is expensive (usually at the cost of the the teacher and/or the quality of education, but who cares about that when there's money to be made).

They are going to CREATE a teaching crisis by causing a body count. By forcing everyone back into physical classes, hundreds of thousands of teachers will either die, get terribly sick, or be out for weeks––and those are the ones who don't quit or retire early. And then the Republicans will swoop in: "Shame about that public education system that is collapsing! Good thing we have vouchers and privatization."

That's my piping hot take. This is the long game for them, and they exploited a global pandemic to get their way because literally nothing is beneath them.

But, of course, at this point, Machiavellian doesn't matter. The consequence-oblivious sledgehammer has joined the fray.

About three days ago, Trump threw his ego into the argument (and everyone who says no to his plantation-sized, but two-year-old mature ego,"hates him"), so now schools will reopen and if he has to bluster because it's about HIM and his "authoritah" instead of children and health (or even the long game of breaking public education). He will threaten governors and take to twitter and turn yet another aspect of managing human health and safety into a partisan issue. Which means folks with Republican governors and purple states where people won't stand up to him are going to be even WORSE off.



The worst part is being absolutely 100% certain that there will be viral videos of openly weeping parents wishing to anything and everything that they could just go back and let their kid have a shitty semester or two.


Epidemiologists in April: Close the schools.

The Trump administration actively ignoring epidemiologists in June: Open the schools! Or I'll defund your asses.

I hate to be the one to point this out, but when you apply the law of big numbers to low statistical chances, you get SOME results. This is absolutely going to cause the deaths of tens of thousands of teachers. That's just the math of it. And hundreds of thousands more will be hospitalized, have organ damage, or be out of school for weeks.

But kids are going to die too. And no one thinks it'll be their kid until it is. Covid-19 affects kids less (and thank the UNIVERSE for it), but it doesn't NOT affect them at all, and by ten that fortuitous resistance is all but gone. So as soon as you start having MILLIONS of kids go back to school, the law of large numbers will kick in, and the math will show no mercy. Some are going to be in hospitals. Some are going to have lifelong organ damage. And some are going to die.



This isn't the absence of leadership. That's not actually even an accurate appraisal of our Coronavirus response.

It's ANTI-leadership.

Trump didn't just ghost his executive duties and abdicate to the states––in many cases explicitly.

He abdicated to the states and then kneecapped the ones who made him look bad by doing a good job. He got on stage and said shit that was actively harmful. He's out there consciously undoing the state and local leadership that has tried to step up into his vacuum of initiative.

"Lack of leadership" doesn't even cover it.





Disney parks didn't reopen because it was safe.

Disney parks reopened because they got indemnity shielding from the government (slickly folded into one of the stimulus packages). Translation=Disney parks reopened because now they can't be sued unless someone can PROVE Disney "intended" to violate the already lax social distancing rules the government has set down.

I like Disney as far as evil corporations go, and I am generally pretty happy with what I get back when I give them my money, but they are NOT looking out for you.



It is now statistically more dangerous to go out than it was in April, we're still in the first wave. There are people I love and haven't held in four months. Most countries have this thing under a semblance-of-normalcy-returning degree of control, but our numbers are in a "runaway scenario" because we have anti-leadership and no check on base behavior so abhorrent that it is telling us to get over the deaths of ten thousand kids and a hundred thousand teachers so we can have a good financial fall.

I will never ever forget that it is because you groomed your base to be anti-science, anti-media, and anti-expertise for thirty years, turned masks into a culture war issue, exploited a pandemic to slide through ever more ultraconservative policies that even you constituents wouldn't want if they were paying attention, covered up your criminally negligent failures (and your just plain criminal scandals), cared more about the stock market than literally anything, and assumed that hundreds of thousands dead was a conspiracy to make your cult leader look bad.

And guess what? Our economy's tanking anyway because you won't actually fix what's WRONG with it.

I can be compassionate, empathetic, love nuance, and still be so angry with you that my fury burns like ice.

I just hope I'm not alone in that long, long memory.



Conservatives: Free Market free market freemarket freemarketfreemarket.

Liberals: Okay but human live–

Conservatives: FREE MARKET!

Walmart: We've determined that it's in our long term financial interests to require masks given the customers we will lose and "lose" if we don't.

Conservatives: Not....like.....THA **NAZGUL SCREAM**