Anyone trained on the mean streets of our dog-eat-dog economy is constantly on guard for the bait-and-switch, the fine print, and the “free credits” that aren’t really “free.” Thankfully, the calendar has been devoid of such shenanigans. When you buy something tied to a specific date, and especially when that something isn’t reliant on production supplies, you get it. Thus, the modern social contract reads something like,  “Yes, go aggressively make money. Even rip people off. We are okay with that. Just don’t start messing with time.”

xxxxxxxxx chose to disregard society’s very firm (time)line in the sand. Knowing full well when she would and would not be home (calendars are powerful, practical, and ubiquitous), xxxxxxxxx listed her property on Airbnb when it wasn’t actually available. She did this, this messing with time, as some maleficent marketing. No apologies. No “oops, I forgot to uncheck those weeks.” Just straight pushing me toward a “special offer” and requesting I come 14 days earlier, as if travelers are randomly picking the week they purchase and can seamlessly pivot. The audacity of such behavior is only possible from someone attempting to corrupt the underpinnings of our great modern society. It’s either we go back to sundials… or we excommunicate xxxxxxxxx

Sic ‘em. Woof, woof, woof!

will eventually lose because the coolest, smartest, and most emulatable kids of any generation rebel against overbearing falseness. It can take a long time for the overturning because most will do what they are told, but the coolest, smartest, and most emulatable ultimately set society’s course, and so what they believe becomes the “answer,” even if the majority still disagree.

Get Serious

Supreme anger and motivation are not normal reactions to Don’t Look Up. The anger, sure, Adam McKay hoped you would feel that. But motivation? Inspiration? Not on some grand political level, but on a personal level? Yet, here I am deeply motivated to change my own life.

My how we have become a deeply unserious people. We spend so much of our time listening to absolute buffoons talk about absolutely irrelevant stuff. We rapturously watch vapid people live their shallow lives. And then we complain about all of it … only to turn on The Bachelor as soon as the new season commences. Twenty-six seasons!!! How? Why? This is the anger. This is the don’t blame the media since they are only what they are because that is what we will buy. This is also the smugness, the looking down on all those people who stupidly consume trash TV and who consider themselves “informed” after “reading” takes from partisan hacks who are so clearly not thinking completely that a total novice could listen to them once, with no background information, and ask them obviously important questions that any serious person who seriously was after the truth would have investigated and yet when asked such questions, tada, the hollow mind tasked with nobly carrying the “news” to the population meekly says, “Let me get back to you on that.” And so when you are the person who not only knows the questions but the answers, you get to feel all smart. You’ll ask the heavens why people don’t just drop the hacks and come roam with the real minds, but you’ll not actually want them to join you, for then you’ll lose your aura of superiority. When everyone knows what you know, how will anyone know you are smart?

But that pretension isn’t the problem per se because it’s all quite accurate. The problem is that its accuracy lets you off the hook. While you might not be watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians, are you really 100% hardcore devoted to only SERIOUS things? Like, are sports all that different from reality TV? And isn’t all wandering on the Internet equally unproductive, not just scrolling through celebrity blogs? If you browse “smart” content without ever giving over your attention, who cares if it’s smart? Checked out and passing time is checked out and passing time. You might soothe yourself with rationalizations of how there’s the chance you’ll learn something important that the celebrity-blog-checker doesn’t have, but how often has that long-shot hit?

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One Thing at Once

Distraction, like addiction, comes in many forms. And just like addiction, the fundamental texture of distraction is wanting.

This, whatever this is, isn’t good enough for my complete attention, so give me something else and surely I’ll feel better. The greater the boredom, the greater the distraction temptation.

Increasingly, though, the temptation seems untethered to anything that can plausibly be called “boredom.” It’s more of a twitch to split my attention just ’cause, and to do so across tiny time horizons. This is not about having music on in the background for an extended study session; this is about craving to turn on the TV – to an absolutely irrelevant sporting event – while I walk to the kitchen to put dishes in the dishwasher. That chore is so minute, so quick, so easy: there can’t be true boredom in it. What it is, rather, is my mind increasingly rejecting doing one thing at once. I must listen to a podcast while changing clothes. I must open a second tab while the first one loads. I must read AND listen to music while I eat.

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2021: Things

Movies

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • James Bond: No Time to Die
  • Inside
  • The Dawn Wall
  • Happiest Season
  • The Sound of Metal
  • Driveways
  • In and of Itself
  • Our Friend

Books

  • Will // Will Smith
  • The Three-Body Problem // Liu Cixin
  • Woke Racism // John McWhorter

New Music

  • Inside // Bo Burnham
  • Saosin // Saosin
  • Chuck // Sum 41
  • Duality // Duke Dumont
  • POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR // Bring Me the Horizon
  • Constellations // August Burns Red
  • Greatest Hits // Waterparks
  • Donda // Kanye West

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Do you actually know it’s wrong, a lie, another bit of misinformation?

Or do you just hate the people associated with the thing?

Making sure the last question isn’t “yes” is an easy way to increase your attachment to what is real.

 

Excel in Uncertainty

There you are waiting. Maybe it’s seven years from now. Maybe it’s seventeen. But I see you clearly struggling with the lack of clarity. Your parents will have taught you well, loved you well, supported you well: that won’t be the issue.

No, the procrastination is the natural result of unavoidable uncertainty inherent to the human experience. Path A will look preferable on certain days … only to be supplanted – in your mind – by Path B on different days. Around and around your mind will spin with such relentless force you’ll sometimes wish someone else would just decide for you – a free man pleading for less freedom.

I implore you to pause in moments like this and consider your parents. Just look at this house! Their jobs! Their vast networks of friends! Everything is so idyllic! Sure, absorbing those outcomes may lead to the conclusion that your parents followed a simple blueprint devoid of the endless machinations currently racking your mind. Yet it is the wrong conclusion, for your parents were extended stay tenants in the land of uncertainty. Most people make a decision and are awarded a long period of tranquil certainty; your parents, on the other hand, earned their “extended stay” status because their decisions were so often abruptly followed by ever more uncertainty. Which could turn someone cold, or paralyze him, or make him feel justified to constantly complain, could fill him with rage and jealousy. Not your parents. No way.

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Having something to check

is a great way to avoid the emptiness of truly being in the moment. You say you want the moment, but you really don’t. You want to have something to look forward to. You want to have something to take your mind off the boredom inherent to the moment.

So go ahead and check the weather (even as you are one foot from stepping outside), or the scores (even as it’s still the first quarter and you checked, what, two minutes ago), or your texts (even as your dings are turned on and you haven’t heard any). Just do it. It feels so good. And that goodness never expires – you can just check again in the next moment because it’s always possible that something has changed.