Bow Tie Tuesday

Hey there.

It's snowing in Ann Arbor today.  Long slow snow of wet thick flake-clumps.  I'm loving it.

I went to pick up some bagels late this afternoon, and just after they brought them out to my Jeep, the verdicts in the George Floyd murder came in.  It was such a flood of emotion, taking it in, barely believing it could be true, and hating that it's so chance-y, and the history has been what it has been, and is what it continues to be, but here was this thing.  I wasn't crying too much to drive, but I kept thinking the people in the other cars---many of 'em anyway---must be feeling a lot too, but we can't show each other.  There was one car driving along with its hazard lights on, but, like, that probably wasn't cuzza the desire to share the experience.

Here's me in the new tie
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TV commercials are absurd.

So for some time I've been seeing this family of bears who use toilet paper, and it seems they're concerned not only with poop being left in the area of their buttholes (more cuz it itches than cuz, like, ewww) (but hey, they're bears, so of course standards of hygiene are different) but---every bit as much---with whether any of the family members are using "too much" toilet paper.  This concern is related to the brand presenting itself as not requiring so many squares per butt/poop as other brands.  Why it's vital that the family police the usage is never explained, beyond it being why the brand is better.  But it's like there's no need for the larger why to be explained.  Like to suggest they're trying to save the planet or something would detract from some assumed straightforwardness to their of-course not wanting anyone in the family to go overboard in sheet usage.

There's another I've seen several times with an older couple wrinkling their clothes while engaged in some non-sexual activity, but then a younger family member (like their son) hearing the noice they were making (while adjusting things in the closet) and then seeing wrinkles in their cloting and OH MY GOD drawing the wrong conclusion--- like they were fucking in the closet!  Then the punchline is that of course you don't want people mistakenly thinking you've just been fucking, so the way to fix that is to use the product that keeps your clothes from getting wrinkled, or unwrinkles them promptly & properly.

Now there's one about how your sneezing can put your friends in uncomfortable positions, as illustrated by someone having a sneezing fit while holding another person on his back, in some kind of yoga or bodywork class.  So that's why it's important that you control your sneezing fit---the way it might absurdly affect someone in some rare situation in which your body jerking as you sneeze jerks theirs, and be "wrong", as evidenced by other participants in the class/group coming forward to offer anti-sneezing solutions, so OH MY GOD that won't happen again.

The bizarre subtext of insane presumptions in ads like these is a kind of gaslighting, I swear.  Beyond the way we can be convinced that, like, our teeth need to be white.  Like, deeper.  Weirder.  Somehow more insidious, the way it fucks with more than shallow values.  By making the premise more absurd, and buried deeper, they stretch any understand that things should make sense so much that they might as well be directly arguing that things shouldn't make sense.

Drug ads are a whole other ball of wax, with tricks like including in their warnings the suggestion that we shouldn't take them if we're allergic to them, and thus making the other effects also sound like "duh" sort of fine-print ignorable crap.  Oh, and conveniently switching to passive voice to say that things like death "have occurred"--- not even connecting, in the sentence, the occurrence to the taking of the drug.  Just saying those bad things have occurred, out there in the world, somehow, ain't it a pity, whatcha gonna do.  The other thing that changed about those ads in the last few years is how they move right to telling us to tell our doctors if we experience certain things, you know, once we're taking the drugs, sort of assuming that of course we'll soon be on these drugs now that we've heard about them (vs. the old way they'd just prompt us to ask our doctors about the drugs, and see if maybe the doc thinks they're called for).  It's like they're gone as far as they can go with the focus-groupy flavor and rhetorical tricks.  In the past I'd think the next thing coming would be a sort of jumping the shark, like they'll have to go to irony because people will be too savvy for their shenanigans any more.  But the increasing savvy thing stopped happening.

It all seems inextricably linked to the resurgence of unquestioned guerilla capitalism.

If I were in charge of education, I'd put forward for all students the teaching of deconstruction of advertising and development of a critical ear for its tricks.

Never did give you a postcard yesterday.

My internet was out all afternoon, for one thing.  Plus, I dunno.  I went for a long walk and was gonna write when I got back about a heaviness on my mind slash in my heart, then just didn't feel like it.

Thing was, well, back when I was working for Bernie last year, I didn't exactly make a lot of buds, doing remote work on the campaign, but I did come out of it with a few connections.  Like this one guy was looking for people who wanted to play backgammon, and I played with him a while, via an app he suggested.  My game got better, I'm pretty sure, but I was never anywhere near as good as he.  Dude loved him some backgammon.  And had tons of patience with a mediocre (and sometimes impulsive) player.  I never really "got" the doubling cube before that, but I think I have a sense now of how it functions, beyond just one-upping the "bet".

So he and I texted for a stretch there too.  Then we kinda faded away.  The games were more fun when we were both "live" and playing fairly close to in the moment, and we seem to be synching up less & less.  But I had a good feeling about him.  And then I found out he was the partner of this other person I'd connected with, and had in fact promoted from one status to another, after I "moved up" a smidge in the hierarchy of that part of the campaign.  She was in Baltimore, so she & I kinda bonded over that, in a small way, and I started following her on twitter.  She lives just a few blocks from where I did, in my first years in downtown Charm City, and she & the backgammon partner were both into letter design.  You know, typography.  I really dig that stuff.

So she posts on twitter a fair amount, and yesterday, bam, she up and posted that the day before, he'd killed himself, and she'd found him.  She was with friends and turned off comments to the post, not wanting to be fawned over in the app, as he hated twitter, lmao.  Yeah, there was an lmao in her heartbreaking post.  But of course she's torn up, and said something about him being "home", and wishing she could go home.  I mean, I can't even imagine, but I sure keep trying, somehow.  Don't know why.  You know how things like that sometimes get to you in some real grabbing-ahold way?

It also reminded me of when an old friend mine got all obsessed with the video of that woman in Iran dying.  Maybe you remember.  And that reminded me of her having written me a snail mail letter, except she wouldn't have liked me calling it that, finding something perjorative about the term.  Anyway somehow I never did answer that letter, and I wished that I had, before it felt too late somehow, but then it probably wasn't really too late, and once it was, I guess, I dunno, maybe it's just as well?  So confusing, that whole situation.  Great practice for letting go of something that's clearly about the other person, and deliberately leaving me in the dark.

But of course it's not exactly happy stuff, and backgammon guy--- I just don't get it.  All I saw of him from things his partner would occasionally say was only a little glimpse at someone, and SHE is the one really left wondering.  It seems inappropriate for me even to wonder.  But I do.

Meanwhile the word's come down about a surgery date for an actual person I know and am close to, at it all seems scary if promising in the medical-miracle improvements that have been come up with in the past several decades, a.k.a. during the course of my lifetime.  I think of that a lot---how medical things have progressed in just the past so-long.  Probably because of this time my mother pointed out that, although my brother was seeming to assume he'd die of heart disease at the same age my father did, there'd already been major improvements in treatments at that point.  And that was probably closer to the time my father died than we are now to when my mother made that observation.

Time continues to be weird.

Somehow the news of the suicide made me not sweat getting back into work things too much last night, after the internet came back, but just taking the excused time.

It's all chilly out there today.  Supposedly there was snow.  We're having a not-so-warm stretch for a good chunk, it seems.  And the virus is still goin' nuts around here, and people are still acting like it's not.