“Not caring about things since 1971, so that you don’t have to.”
7. Scott Stapp jokes – Sort of falls in the same category as Shia LaBeouf jokes and Gary Busey jokes and Margot Kidder jokes. Hugely public mental/emotional breakdowns brought on primarily by cocaine, booze and/or depression are for some reason fair game when the celebrity in question dips below an arbitrary “cultural respect” test, although the next step is often the same as it was for Robin Williams or Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but because we liked Fisher King and Boogie Nights more, endless asshole tweets and snide comments about Stapp, including that he let Creed assassinate music way before he threatened to kill the president, are okay.
6. Deep Scholarly Appraisals of the cultural impact of The Simpsons – It’s a cartoon. It’s been on a long time. Often it was very funny. Other times not so much. What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. In any respect. Except possibly to signal a tectonic shift in the willingness of adults to absorb decades of cheap animation like gamma rays. Bart has a catchphrase. The clown is amusingly cynical. Mr. Burns is an amalgam of the Koch brothers and the Walmart heirs. Fine. But significance? None.
5. Petty Crime – I live in a ridiculously quaint neighborhood. The kind where you don’t stress leaving your laptop behind when you go take a piss at the cafe, or worry about referring to yourself in the third person. Both of which I just did. When I came back out, I noticed a hippie a few tables away eyeing my gear. Obviously considering his options. Distance to table, distance to door, my relative 6-foot-ness vs his sandled footspeed. I almost laughed. Then sat down and started typing again. This paragraph, in fact. But I couldn’t get back to work. Instead, I began to wonder why I’ve come to loathe dirty hippies (all hippies are dirty) in a visceral way, just as older men no doubt once hated me for looking and talking like a cheap 52nd Street Sal Paradise, which I (correctly) dismissed at the time as reactionary and small-minded. Is it the predictability with which they continue to haul around African drums without ever showing the ability to play them? Or how they all seem to shop at the same mysterious store that only sells fingerless wool gloves and Rocky & Bullwinkle aviator hats? Furthermore, what if the niacin-starved, sensitive hash-scrape of a young man actually had tried to make off with my laptop? Would Vince Navy have chased him down and made him eat boot? Probably not, but it occurred to me that every single pot-smoking, afternoon sun splash, philosophy spouting, good-vibes hippie I had once known, who I even for a short stretch believed really were people who had found a slightly better way to live, who were forgiving, kind, non-violent, and interested in concepts others had become too cynical to even utter, like peace and justice and community, were in the end completely full of shit. If only because at some point their wheels came off. They started drinking to supplement their buzz. They snapped at one another, hoarded food, cheated, stole, and basically displayed the same small, petty traits as anyone else. But somehow with them it was worse, because their behavior had to bubble up through a vat of bullshit so deep and delusional that it had metastasized into something far uglier than it would have been if they’d simply allowed themselves to be as small as the rest of us. Dirty hippies.
4. Guys who wear khaki shorts year-round no matter how cold it is – It’s cold! Unless you function on a seal meat diet or are prone to venting dangerous amounts of excess heat even in sub-Arctic temperatures, thereby endangering the girls in your Economics class like an unstable isotope, put on some goddamned pants already. Christ, it makes Mrs. Navy cold just looking at your hairless legs.
3. The near-universal compulsion to appear more evolved and reasonable than we actually are – It’s one of the main drivers of our ever increasing dysfunction, both personally and online. Hey, we’re all horrible to some degree. It’s the people who are eminently skilled at hiding their less-savory natures, who have the discipline or cynicism to never slip and reveal any of their prejudices, who always appear to be so damn together, that end up running a hedge fund Ponzi scheme. Or kicking dogs when they think they’re not on camera. Or juggling sexual partners for sport. The smart man embraces his inner tool. And then folds it up and leaves it on a shelf down in the garage.
2. Chris Christie’s Size – Grandma Navy is a big fan of His Bigness. She just likes a boy who’s well-fed, mainly since she lived through the Depression and can’t stand to see anyone go hungry, ever. Fair enough. So the guy likes to eat? I say leave him alone already. Especially since there’s so much else to jump all over his ass for instead: utter hypocrisy, ineptitude, the cruelty to pigs veto, his abrasive, bullying style, using state troopers to throw people who don’t agree with him out of town hall meetings, Jersey-style graft and corruption, the malleability of his beliefs, the Bridge Scandal, his love of Jerry Jones, the fact that he has no chance whatsoever of winning a national election.
1. The way Americans refuse to acknowledge a liberating truth: that the vast majority of its truly great artists–from the very beginning and in every single medium—were either black, gay, or drug addicts.
And in the case of Billy Strayhorn, all three at once.