1. Is there anything more depressing than the pushing and shoving and punches thrown every Black Friday? And doesn’t Black Friday feel especially apt this year? Isn’t 2016 a kind of Black Friday bildungsroman for all of us? No? I kind of think it is. Because don’t you kind of enjoy it? You shake your head and watch people fighting over a flat screen TV and admit it, this is like reality TV and wrestling all rolled into one. The cameras are there, so those crazed consumers are egged on and they lose all sense of themselves and they snatch toys from kids. Without thinking about it. Search this stuff on YouTube. There are annual compilation videos of consumers fighting over just about anything. (I’m not going to include those videos here. But you know how to search things on the internet.) But then… then you remember real life. You recall your empathy. You realize that everytime you said “this is like a TV show” in real life, you ended up in a world of Brexit and Trump. Those are real people fighting over real TVs because the marketing industry figured out how to kick start Christmas sales. And it involves real kicks.
2. If it’s a food fad, chances are the harm to nature is big. You name the fad (quinoa!), bad things are happening. The new bad thing is happening to…coconuts because now everyone wants to drink coconut water. I really think beer is a lot more refreshing.
3. Lists are starting to come out. Everyone has a favorite list, even people who hate lists. I hate lists. But I’m writing one now. I’m just as awful. (We live in an era of cognitive dissonance so there.) I don’t think these lists should come out until January. There’s little to do in January anyhow. I understand why these lists come out in December, before the year is out (everything is about consumption, right?), but deleting December from the year is like Congress deleting the last year from President Obama’s term to justify not approving his nominee for the Supreme Court. Of course it counts. The year lasts right through to the end. To December 31st. Anyhow, here’s The Guardian’s list of books of the year, and here’s the New York Times (and here), and here’s Quill & Quire’s.
4. Isn’t getting more and more obvious that Trump was a grift all along? That he’s in this to make his family richer than it already is and that his cabinet is going to run the country and the world? That he doesn’t care about the truth and thus challenges some basic things about, oh, everything? He’s more than just post-truth. He embodies a kind of fluidity with language that is either appalling or amazing or both. And for whatever reason, journalists continue to report on his ridiculously unhinged tweetstorms. There is no reason to. Either way, journalism is completely and totally screwed. Unless…
5. …your newspaper is bought by a billionaire and then learn that “fast” doesn’t equal “bad.” A great read about The Washington Post in the digital era.
6. Speaking of lying, what is fiction but a lie well told? Michael Chabon is one of the our finest prose stylists, constantly evolving, a surprising classicist in the best sense of the world. And says this:
The entire interview is worth a read. It really is a post-truth world.
7. The only show I might watch on broadcast TV right now is Bob’s Burgers (the most realistic families on television are almost all animated – Bojack Horseman may be the most human character on TV). I have no idea what’s on any channels. If I’m not binge watching something on Netflix (last one: The Crown and I highly recommend it), I’m watching something else on cable (Westworld). The only reason I haven’t cut the cord yet is live sports and I’m going to figure this one out soon enough. But apparently there are some decent shows on broadcast TV (so decent they are already “overlooked”). But barely. (I still think the best show of all time was M*A*S*H).
8. RIP Florence Henderson.
9. This baby, for real, is your antidote to 2016 (as is this gesture).