Sunday, October 25, 2020

How 2020 feels

Basically the only way I can engage with the horribleness of modernity, politics, society, economics, and human-built institutions which degrade everything about the human condition, is through other people's senses of humor.

For example, Tycho of Penny Arcade on the Google monopoly lawsuit:

There's a lot of odd dialogue that surrounds this stuff, like if you hate the naked exertion of monopoly power you're just hating the player or some shit. That you have a problem with people winning or something, issues with the concept of profit fundamentally. What an incredible rhetorical dodge! We're not talking about profit, and even if we were, it matters how the profit was generated. What we're talking about is a Draconic hoarding of wealth, collected in a vessel made from illegal mergers and filled by illegal acts.

... You can't really make the case to younger people that "capitalism," broadly writ, is gonna do shit for them. ... if money is allowed to pool like this, devils grow in it. If you don't fucking govern, if you don't moat these things in a circle of salt, they will invariably become something uncontainable - something too big to fail, part of the walls.  

Or Alice Fraser on reasons that the money-vampires who rule us hate the idea of minimum wage:

In the news today, debates about minimum wage rage on in America despite the entire economy collapsing in all directions. Because if you can't argue about how much money you shouldn't be paying the employees you're itching to replace with robots, how can you even call yourself a bloated blutocrat? 

Isn't it actually more insulting to pay someone a minimum wage that they can afford to feed their children with, than have them work for free while sucking at the milky teat of a rhetorical belief in forward momentum to a Trumpian future? Do you even want a job if you don't want to work for free? Have you ever thought that working for tips is just charity by c**ts who can refuse to give it to you if they don't like your smile, and let's be honest, you've got a shitty smile 'cause you can't afford teeth in your goddamn mess of a country. 

European countries have suggested that if you can't afford to pay your employees then you shouldn't have employees, if you can't run an economy on businesses that can afford to pay their employees, your economy is a lie, and if you're paying your employees in hopes for some sort of amorphous future advancement, you're not a business, you're a religion. (The Last Post 248: Arts in Crisis, 1m59s -- 2m51s, bleeping in original)

... or basically any episode of TRASHFUTURE, although I warn you that listening to educated people describe the state of the world has flung me into intense despair several times. (The hosts do lighten it with comedy but it's very much a sarcastic look at how horrible everything is.)

If you want something hopeful instead, I suggest following Cory Doctorow's excellent advocacy work, for example  the several articles, books, and links offered here.

This post's theme word is scamander (v. intr.), "to take a winding course." Most dystopias do not reasonably portray the slow scamander preface.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Gianni Schicchi

I enjoyed the all-video chat performance of Gianni Schicchi by Opera Ithaca. It's a quick, cute comedic opera, so having it set as a family video chat call worked for the story and setting.

The audio recording was surprisingly clear (my ears kept expecting laptop-microphone quality and being impressed at the actual recording of voices and orchestra), and the video editing included some unexpected surprises, like when... everyone's singing faces were live-photoshopped onto a flock of chickens running around? The lines of libretto that explicitly describe taking actions (like hiding the body, or putting on hats, or passing around the will) were all handled cleverly as a video call, and while it wasn't clear if everyone was supposed to be in different rooms of the same house, it overall worked and was adorable.

This post's theme word is equipollent (adj), "equal in power, force, or effect." The potential heirs found the profits from forgery to be equipollent with the dangers of exile.