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Vol. #45 - September 11, 2020

Hello, I hope you're holding up. I hope your sky is not red all day but if it is I hope you are safe. I hope you don't have COVID but if you do I hope you're on the mend. I hope your money situation isn't scary but if it I hope you catch a break soon.i hope your ballot will be counted. I hope you don't get arrested. I hope you are happy and loved.

It's been a rough week for sleep (which is happening pretty often these days). Most of that has been a mixture of excitement about current projects I'm working on combined with anxiety about the ever-more-likely end of the world. However a not insignificant part of it has been staying up past 4am on multiple nights this week to watch Ozark. It's a show I've hear a lot of hype about but never watched until this past weekend. The hype...was deserved. If you're unfamiliar the show is basically Breaking Bad but instead of being a mild mannered chemistry wiz who cooks meth and falls further and further into a moral abyss so that he can provide for his family Jason Bateman plays a mild mannered accounting/business whiz who launders drug money and falls further and further into a moral abyss so that he can provide for his family. Also, it's set in a lakeside mountain region instead of the desert. I love the acting and the plots are so intricate and well developed. I really appreciate how deep the show goes into the various motivations and life-shaping incidents that prompt us each to make decisions that, on the outside, may seem like the essence of stupidity or rashness, no matter how much sense they make to us. I am also intrigued by the fact that this is perhaps the most *white* show that I've seen in adulthood. By that I mean that rarely have I watched (much less enjoyed) a show that communicates to me at almost every turn that it is not for me. This is America, so yeah, my entire life I have watched countless shows with basically all white casts and directors and writers and I've loved plenty of them (Cheers, Full House, Seinfeld, etc) but in those shows either race was rarely/never acknowledged or else there was a cosmopolitan "everybody's awesome" vibe where you could tell that difference was esteemed or at least welcomed. Not so in Ozark. So far there's one Black character with a regular speaking part and he is most definitely an outsider in this environment and you get the sense that everybody else either wants to keep it that way or else they never think about race at all because they don't have to because there are only white people around. Like I said, I dig the show but it's so weird to see Jason Bateman's son with his Jared Kushner haircut presented as this brave/precocious/free-thinking little ubermensch as he hoards guns, spouts anarcho-capitalist ideology, and challenges his teachers with Jordan Petersen-esque arguments against supposed herd-mentality. I like the character but watching him and the rest of the show is fascinating in that feels like a conversation white people have with each other when there are only white people around. All of this is compounded by the fact that the show is made by white liberal urban elites, about white liberal urban elites, who must uproot their lives and live among white conservative rural elites and hillbillies, and then watched by...a lot of different people. These thoughts all seem convoluted rn, but I just started the show and I'm sure my perceptions will settle a bit more as I go on.

That was more words than I intended to write about a Netflix drama I started less than a week ago, but oh well.

Speaking of TV:
Before the pandemic I was paying my rent mainly as a background actor on NYC film & TV productions. I love the work because each day is different, you get a bunch of on-set experience, you eat well, and even the most boring days provide an interesting story or two. In order to commemorate the first time I've submitted for BG work in 6 months I'm sharing these 2 on-set and on-costume pics. I want to say these are from Dickinson & Bull respectively but don't quote me on that.

Anyway that's enough of a preamble. Here we go with WesRecs 45. Be kind to each other, I love you all.
WesRecs is the weekly newsletter where I (comedian/storyteller/TV Host) Wes Hazard recommend a bunch of cool content (recs) to YOU (the person reading this). There's no particular reason for this other than the fact that I love curating stuff and I'm always excited to share items that I personally have found worthwhile, exciting, or necessary. If you like what you see please be sure to subscribe to get each week's edition delivered straight to your inbox and if you know someone else who might be into it definitely share with them. You can check out all past issues HERE.


As this newsletter's title would indicate, I recommend everything you'll find below. It's all stuff which I've personally found rewarding this week and I think you will too! But for the benefit of all you skimmers out there here are links to a few items that I'm happy to briefly highlight for you. You can find more detailed commentary/context below:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

by James Joyce

A Princess of Mars
by Edgar Rice Burroughs

WES Around the WEB

F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
So last week's WesRecs was...a little bleak. That's largely due to the fact that climate change, a pandemic, state-sanctioned police murder, an probable collapse of American democracy, and the ever-present stranglehold of capitalism are all making the the world and the U.S. fairly bleak right now and this is kind of affecting my mood.

STILL, I will never embrace hopelessness and there is so much to love and be thrilled by in this world and people are basically good and we are not powerless and it is a miracle just to be alive every day and I truly believe these these things so I am making an effort to intersperse some more random/joyous/WTF content throughout these weekly communiques so that WesRecs doesn't turn into a fearmongering depression diary. If I truly thought there was no point I would just crack a beer at 10am and play Starcraft II all day. So far I prevail.

All of that is to explain why I am dropping this fascinating and somewhat unsettling video of a talking raven at the top of this week's edition. You will notice a raven fact included at the very bottom of this newsletter, which led me to look further into this, which led me to this video (which you can find embedded in this helpful Mental Floss listicle detailing interesting Raven facts).

I do not know which disturbs me more:
  • Seeing a raven talk at all (I honestly thought the whole Poe thing was just poetic license)
  • Knowing that this one raven's voice sounds exactly like AOL's iconic "You've got mail!" voice
  • The fact that someone seems to have familiarized this bird with the work of Fozzie Bear from the Muppets.
  • That ravens can learn computer tones and app notification sounds.

COVID Corner

Findings in Plagueland

A Doctor Went to His Own Employer for a COVID-19 Antibody Test. It Cost $10,984. - ProPublica

Pure insanity from a patient who has the insight provided by also being a doctor within the system that charged him 10K for an $8 COVID test. In this case the healthcare provider wasn't even trying to stick the patient with this asinine bill, just the insurance company and so much the btter for them because the insurance company paid it, no questions asked. This is either the most inefficient system ever designed or some AP level laundering/embezzlement/fraud. Someone is getting rich off of a lack of oversight created by the urgency and overwhelming nature of COVID. It's def not patients and it's prob not hospital staff or low level insurance reps making low to mid level salaries. Only in America.
"During the brief visit, Sussman said he chatted with the emergency room doctor, whom he didn’t know. He said there was no physical examination. “Never laid a hand on me,” he said. His vitals were checked and his blood was drawn. He tested negative. He said the whole encounter took about 30 minutes."


"Sussman’s insurer, Golden Rule, agreed to pay 100% of Physicians Premier’s $8,884.16 facility charges for a COVID-19 antibody test. According to Sussman, the materials to make each test cost about $8.

Now Sussman said he felt spooked. He knew Physicians Premier provided top-notch care and testing on the medical side of things. But somehow his employer had charged his health plan $10,984.16 for a quick visit for a COVID-19 test. And even more troubling to Sussman: Golden Rule paid the whole thing."

Make A Plan Now

On Getting Your Mind Right For November

I spent a huge chunk of WesRecs 44 talking about the seeming inevitability of Trump willingly leaving office, regardless of whatever the election outcome happens to be. I took all of that and added a few things and cleaned up some typos and grammar errors and released it as this article on Medium. People seem to be responding to it and many more people than I'd thought expressed agreement which gives me a little bit of hope that Americans will be able to resist what's coming.

Anyway here's the post: Your Worst Fear Is Already Here: On Getting Your Mind Right For November

In this section here I'm also included a bunch of work from others in the same vein. I don't think any of this is hyperbole and once again I'm glad that so many people are raising the alarm, even if it's entirely unsure as to whether or not the responses will be effective in any way.

Bottom line: the only thing that we, the people, have is numbers and...potentially..unity. If things between November and January go down like they're looking to go down I need you to grab your most comfortable pair of shows and your most sweat-resistant mask and hit the streets.
Is Trump Planning a Coup d’État? - The Nation

Pretty straightforward, and this is coming from a mainstream GOP operative. Just think of where we are that such a question even has to be asked regarding a sitting president.
"Fried, a student of history who chooses his words carefully, has concluded that Trump and his team are “certainly racist, contemptuous of ordinary democratic and constitutional norms, and they believe their cause, their interests, are really the interests of the nation and therefore anything that keeps them in power is in the national interest. Does that make you a fascist? It kind of looks that way, doesn’t it?”"


"Levin is well aware that what they are planning isn’t a run-of-the-mill protest; rather, they will have to coordinate a national campaign capable of bringing millions of people into the streets—and not just for a day but for weeks and potentially months. They are going to have to develop a durable movement that could operate like the democracy movement in Hong Kong or the movements that peacefully brought down Communist rule in Eastern Europe a generation ago.14

Levin argues that Trump “can try to cling to power and use extraconstitutional means,” but “the tool we have is people at the local level. That’s how a democracy works. The one tool in our toolbox is participation. We need mass participation in that moment.”"
We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder. America is Dying. - Eudaimonia & Co. (Medium)

The problem so many Americans have with recognizing the current political threat is that we've never experienced anything like it here at home. We've shoved a foot (and some Tomahawk misses and looming aircraft carriers) up the asses of a lot of other countries where things have been similar to the current U.S. situation in the name of preserving/generating 'democracy" but we haven't seen it firsthand. Thankfully there are a lot of Americans who have seen such things and well...they're worried.
"Take it from us survivors and scholars of authoritarianism. This is exactly how it happens. The situation could not — could not — be any worse. The odds are now very much against American democracy surviving."


"We survivors are experiencing this terrible feeling of deja vu right now as a group, as a class. We talk about it, how eerie and grim this sense of deja vu is. It’s happening all over again! Do you remember this part of your childhood? When the armed men roamed the streets? When the secret police disappeared opponents? When the fascist masses united — and that was enough to destroy democracy for good? We talk about it, believe me — but you don’t hear it because we have no real voice. America’s pundits are named Chris and Jake and Tucker. They are not named Eduardo and Ravi and Xiao and Umair. But Chris and Jake and Tucker can’t help you now. They don’t know what the hell they’re dealing with. They literally have no idea because they have no experience whatsoever."


"There is a crucial lesson there. America already has an ISIS, a Taliban, an SS waiting to be born. A group of young men willing to do violence at the drop of a hat, because they’ve been brainwashed into hating. The demagogue has blamed hated minorities and advocates of democracy and peace for those young men’s stunted life chances, and they believe him. That’s exactly what an ISIS is, what a Taliban is, what an SS is. The only thing left to do by an authoritarian is to formalize it."
I’m Doomsday Prepping for the End of Democracy - NYT

Same vibe as the piece immediately above. This isn't fringe, there are many people now saying as much.
"Helen thinks I’m being alarmist — that I’m LARPing “The Handmaid’s Tale,” nursing some revolutionary fantasy of escape from Gilead. But I think she — like a lot of other white, Gen X native-born Americans who’ve known mostly domestic peace and stability — is being entirely too blasé about the approaching storm.

As an immigrant who escaped to America from apartheid-era South Africa, I feel that I’ve cultivated a sharper appreciation for political trouble. To me, the signs on the American horizon are flashing blood red."


"The party’s complete submission to Trump was on full display at the convention. It adopted a platform that was essentially no new platform other than to “enthusiastically support the president’s America-first agenda.” There was no mention of Obamacare, the repeal of which was once a Republican policy obsession. There wasn’t a single reference to the number of Americans who’ve died from the coronavirus, nor even a passing recognition of the threats of a changing climate.

Instead, we saw a dynastic cult of personality: Of the six convention speakers who spoke for longer than 10 minutes, four were Trumps."


"It’s not the lies themselves that worry me most, but the fact that millions of people might accept them. Can America endure such mendacity? When you don’t have social trust, when you don’t have a shared view of reality, do you even have a country?"
Donald Trump is Just a Taste of What’s to Come. - Dialogue & Discourse (Medium)

Seriously, the stances that will get you labeled "a Radical left democrat" in this country if you advocate (medicare for all, free public college, a strong pandemic response from the national government, incarcerating fewer than 2.2M people, the truth of climate change, etc) are positions that "the right" in most democracies would never even dream of calling controversial. Whatever happens, "going back to normal" is not an option for anyone. Normal doesn't work here.
"It cannot be understated just how terrifying it is that the country has moved so far to the right, one of the most popular people on cable news is conflating domestic terrorism with “maintaining order”.

That does not go away with one election cycle. That kind of language and the damage that it does will not simply disappear and fade in to the history books with Donald Trump. This sort of mindset and the damage to not just political discourse but far more importantly the nation overall will take years if not decades to overcome, and given the United States’ track record of dealing with the ugly realities of its past, I’m not getting my hopes up."


"One thing that bothers me most about Joe Biden’s team’s approach to campaigning is — for a number of reasons — the focus on the notion of return to normalcy. Putting aside the fact that the previous “normal” wasn’t cutting it for tens of millions of people, the idea that we can simply put the Trump era behind us serves as nothing more than a false counter-narrative to the reality that the mindsets and grievances that brought him to victory will not simply go away once he leaves power. Some might make the case that at least the right wing will feel less emboldened. I would argue the opposite. A loss in November if anything for them will serve as affirmation of the idea that they are indeed “under attack”, and all their anger and resentment will — in their eyes — be vindicated."
a diagram of Norway's flag showing how parts of it resemble theflags of several other nations.
Norway's flag is every flag and this is wildly interesting and has been right in front of my face the whole time and just, damn. From this IG post.

Race & Policing

Towards The Reduction Of Harm

I remember reading Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (who of course took this account of his year embedded in Baltimore's homicide detective squad and turned it into the hit shows Homicide: Life on the Street & The Wire). It was a crazy interesting read, whatever you happen to feel about police. One thing I specifically remember is the opinion of the detectives who are trying to interrogate someone. Namely: Anyone who talks to the cops without a lawyer present is a stone cold idiot.

Listen to the cops on this one: whether you're guilty, innocent, on the street, in an interrogation room, being formally interviewed or just chatted up by someone with a badge....keep your mouth shut. It's like trying to flirt with a restaurant server: they're at work, and they have a job to do, and all day long they talk to people just like you who are sitting exactly where you're sitting, and they will say what they need to say to get that job done.
"End of the road, pal. It’s over. It’s history. And if that police detective wasn’t so busy committing your weak bullshit to paper, he’d probably look you in the eye and tell you so. He'd give you another cigarette and say, son, you are ignorance personified and you just put yourself in for the fatal stabbing of a human being. He might even tell you that the other witnesses in the other rooms are too drunk to identify their own reflections, much less the kid who had the knife, or that it’s always a long shot for the lab to pull a latent off a knife hilt, or that your $95 sneakers are as clean as the day you bought them. If he was feeling particularly expansive, he might tell you that everyone who leaves the homicide unit in handcuffs does so charged with first-degree murder, that it’s for the lawyers to decide what kind of deal will be cut. He might even go on to say that even after all these years working homicides, there is still a small part of him that finds it completely mystifying that anyone ever utters a single word in a police interrogation. To illustrate this point, he could hold up your Form 69, on which you waived away every last one of your rights, and say, “Lookit here, pistonhead, I told you twice that you were deep in the shit and what whatever you said could put you in deeper.”" Homicide David Simon
American Christianity’s White-Supremacy Problem - The New Yorker

There's faith, and then there's practice/ritual, and then there's identity politics. Know the differences. Respect the differences. Ask yourself what matters most to you.
"Auld was ostentatious about his piety—praying “morning, noon, and night,” participating in revivals, and opening his home to travelling preachers—but he used his faith as license to inflict pain and suffering upon his slaves. “I have seen him tie up a lame young woman, and whip her with a heavy cowskin upon her naked shoulders, causing the warm red blood to drip; and, in justification of the bloody deed, he would quote this passage of Scripture—‘He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes,’ ” Douglass writes. Douglass is so scornful about Christianity in his memoir that he felt a need to append an explanation clarifying that he was not an opponent of all religion. In fact, he argued that what he had written about was not “Christianity proper,” and labelling it as such would be “the boldest of all frauds.” Douglass believed that “the widest possible difference” existed between the “slaveholding religion of this land” and “the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ.”"


"In the end, however, ameliorating the theology of white Christianity is likely inadequate. In “Taking America Back for God” (Oxford), published earlier this year, the sociologists Andrew L. Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry examine racist and xenophobic attitudes among white Christians through the lens of a distinct set of cultural beliefs—most notably, the idea that America is, and should be, a Christian nation. They find that this collection of cultural markers, which they call “Christian nationalism,” was a better predictor of support for Trump in the 2016 election than economic discontent, religious affiliation, sexism, or any number of other variables. The defining concern of Christian nationalism is the preservation of a certain kind of social order, one threatened by people of color, immigrants, and Muslims. Crucially, Whitehead and Perry find that Christian nationalism is not the same as personal religiosity. In fact, religious commitment—as measured by church attendance, prayer, and Scripture reading—tends to improve attitudes on race, serving as a progressive influence. This suggests the root of the white church’s problem may not be “Christianity proper,” as Douglass put it, so much as the culture around white Christianity, which narrows and diminishes the American project. Today’s “slave-holding religion” is preached on Fox News, conservative talk radio, and the rest of the right-wing media ecosystem; they daily bear false witness. Jesus’ blessing for peacemakers may demand that Christians confront these institutions of demagoguery and division in the name of the kingdom."
Crack, Mass Incarceration and Black Trauma: Jeffrey’s Story - Filter

Putting someone in a cage for several decades, ripping them from their community and family, curbing their opportunities for learning & growth, subjecting them to deprivation and brutalization, and then making them ineligible for a full participation in society once they are released (with massive amounts of PTSD) does absolutely NOTHING to make victims whole, get the offender back on track, or keep society safe at large.

We should probably stop doing it.
"Jeffrey Calhoun has been shot seven times and sent to prison three. Had he not been granted clemency by President Obama, he would still be in prison today. But when asked which aspect of his experience he wants to focus on, his answer is unequivocal: trauma. Now an undergraduate psychology major, he is acutely aware of the role that trauma played in his life and those of others around him."


"Soon enough, 18 years old and terrified, Jeffrey sat in jail facing a distribution charge. If he just pled guilty, they said, he could go home. Sure, he’d have a five-year suspended sentence and a felony record, but those things were abstractions to the teenager. “I just heard, ‘You can go home,’ so I signed.”

On a physiological level, adolescents placed in this position struggle to weigh short-term benefits versus long-term consequences. Yet in the United States, district attorneys routinely impose these impossible decisions on teenagers.

Two years and 11 months into Jeffrey’s three-year term of probation, Long Beach police found five bags of marijuana in his pocket. For that, he was sentenced to every day of his five-year suspended sentence."


"On the day of his release, his wife was already facing an eviction. Locked out of the living-wage legal economy by having to register with Los Angeles County as a narcotics offender, he promptly returned to what he knew. Avoiding homelessness is powerful motivation. He sold drugs."


"According to his original sentence, Jeffrey should have been in prison without parole until 2025, at a cost of over $36,000 per year to the American taxpayer. Instead, he is a vibrant member of his family and a boon to his community."
Attorneys: Texas border facility is neglecting migrant kids - AP News

History will not be kind to us here.

Also...these are the stories that actually managed to get out. I guarantee you 10z worse happens multiple times every day at multiple such sites across the country. Barbarism, plain & simple.
"A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they’ve been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago. Lawyers warn that kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station."


"Three girls told attorneys they were trying to take care of the 2-year-old boy, who had wet his pants and had no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.

“A Border Patrol agent came in our room with a 2-year-old boy and asked us, ‘Who wants to take care of this little boy?’ Another girl said she would take care of him, but she lost interest after a few hours and so I started taking care of him yesterday,” one of the girls said in an interview with attorneys."


"“In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity,” said Holly Cooper, who co-directs University of California, Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic and represents detained youth."
‘He’s a small child’: Utah police shot a 13-year-old boy with autism after his mother called 911 for help - Washington Post

A 13 year old autistic boy was having a mental health emergncy. His mom called the cops. She asked them to come. She said to dispatch & the responding officers he was just a good (but troubled) kid who needed help. Within 5 minutes of their arrival on the scene the cops shot this kid.

Not that it should matter but it's America so of course it: the kid was white.

As I've said here before about violent fascist state institutions: they are hungry. At first they'll hunt & devour only the members of the outside groups that have been deemed by the ruling cabal to be expendable outsiders. But once those groups have been neutralized or the state's needs change they'll start getting more and more expansive with regard to who gets targeted. Like so many Black men & women before him who've been turned into countless hashtags this boy's death was a tragedy that never needed to happen and shouldn't have.
"When Golda Barton dialed 911 on Friday, she hoped emergency responders could help hospitalize her 13-year-old son, who has Asperger syndrome and was having a mental crisis.

Instead, a Salt Lake City police officer repeatedly shot Linden Cameron after he ran away, leaving the boy in serious condition with injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles. Barton says he was unarmed, and police said they didn’t find a weapon at the scene.

“He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tackle him?” Barton said in a tearful interview with KUTV on Sunday. “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”"


"When police arrived, she said she told them that Cameron was not armed and just needed to be taken to a hospital.


“I said, ‘He’s unarmed. He doesn’t have anything. He just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming,’” she said. “He’s a kid. He’s trying to get attention. He doesn’t know how to regulate.”


Police told her to stay outside while they entered her house, she said. Barely five minutes later, she said she heard them ordering her son to the ground and then, a volley of gunfire."

Great thread that touches on the attitudes/biases/preconceived notions that feed the school to prison pipeline (and a host of other unnecessary student traumas). All it takes is for a student to be labeled "difficult" or "troublesome" and you can shift the path of an 11 year old for life.

This thread was particularly resonant for me because I saw my mom fight (and win) a very similar battle on my behalf as a child. Heading into 3rd grade I was originally scheduled to be placed in the class of a "Mrs. B". In the academic year that had just wrapped S., my childhood friend (and the daughter of one of my mom's closest friends), who was a year ahead of me, had had Mrs. B and it....was a difficult experience.

S. was bright, talkative, precocious, and curious and she would go on to thrive at a top university and be a successful independent filmmaker in adulthood, but at the time Mrs. B had taken a strong and inexplicable dislike to her and had lobbied hard to have her placed on the special needs education track for her supposed difficulties as a student. That totally unfounded move never ended up happening but my mom's friend saw what was up and warned my mom that perhaps it'd be best if I was placed in a different class for the upcoming year.

Let's just say that my elementary school was initially resistant to the suggestion (after all these homeroom selections were random and pretty much never challenged). But my mother can be quite...persuasive... and about 10 minutes into Mrs. Hazard's in-person visit to the school office that summer (a visit that I overheard at times from my seat way out in the lobby) the administration came to see the wisdom of her argument and I was reassigned into Mrs. Baxter's class (there were two 3rd grade teachers with B names) and I had a very successful academic year.

It sucks that some parents even have to think about things like this, but they do and it action or inaction can have grave ramifications for the course of their child's entire life.
I met Jamie Loftus on the Boston comedy scene. She is a friend and one of the most original comedy minds I know. I included her awesome podcast mini-series My Year in MENSA way back in WesRecs Vol. 12 and she regularly takes on singular comedy/journalistic projects such as butt-chugging portions of the 1000+ pg novel Infinite Jest. In this IG post Jamie details her attempt to get a Zamboni (generic name "ice resurfacer") enshrined as an emoji...which is a whole process. It was ultimately rejected but this is a really cool insight into a process we don't often think about while also incorporating her long-standing obsession with Zambonis.

The only other time I've seen emoji making explored like this was in Episode #272: Person in Lotus Position of 99% Invisible (a podcast about design and one of my favorite pods). If this sort of thing interests you I'd absolutely recommend this as well.

🎵To The Left! To The Left!🎵

On That Commie Pinko Tip

Kimya Dawson - At The Seams (A cappella)

As far as musical genres go folk-y protest music has never really been my jam. I appreciate artists like Woody Guthrie & Pete Seeger and their creative commitment to social change, but I personally don't find a lot of bangers on the acoustic guitar and banjo scene. Regardless, I heard this track as the musical interlude on a particularly rewarding episode of The Intercepted Podcast: The Rebellion Against Racial Capitalism w/ Robin D.G. Kelley and liked it so I'm sharing it. I could get into this.
Vital/super-quick Twitter thread reminder about the inherent conflict between a culture where organizations (regardless of their goals) center individuals, notoriety, and material successes vs. a political/societal mission that is in opposition to that culture and which is advanced mainly by work that usually goes unrecognized.
"It is glamorous to take a selfie with Angela Davis, but it is not glamorous to do weekly prison visits."


"TL:DR, mad love to the people on the ground giving rides, taking care of old people, prescribing suboxone to unhoused folks, visiting people in prison, cooking, cleaning, caring, loving, and not writing or instagramming a lick about it."
a graph which plots Tom Cruise's age against the ages of his ex-wives year-by-year for the duration of his marriages
Ummmm....I *truly* cannot imagine a more esoteric, singular, or unneeded data graphic than this one which plots Tom Cruise's age against the ages of his ex-wives year-by-year for the duration of his marriages. HOWEVER I am delighted that someone took the time to make this and yeah odd to see that Cruise has thus far always ended it once his spouses hit that Jesus year.

(P.S. I watched the Scientology documentary Going Clear earlier in the summer and it seems like all of these women are likely to have escaped a very weird/controlling situation. P.P.S. that is is of course entirely *speculation* on my part, please David Miscavige don't sue me).

Things Read

Worthwhile Words

The Conscience of Silicon Valley - GQ

We really really need to get off Facebook. Easier said than done since everyone I know is there but yeah this is just untenable.
"Lanier had been early to the idea that these platforms were addictive and even harmful—that their algorithms made people feel bad, divided them against one another, and actually changed who they were, in an insidious and threatening manner. That because of this, social media was in some ways “worse than cigarettes,” as Lanier put it at one point, “in that cigarettes don't degrade you. They kill you, but you're still you.”"


"One of the most depressing theories Lanier proposes in Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now concerns the efficacy of social-media-based activism. In the book, he suggests that the very same media used to organize and connect people with a shared viewpoint—this powerful resource for activists looking to foment change—can end up emboldening their opponents. The way it works, according to Lanier, is that the algorithm takes a positive social movement, such as Black Lives Matter, and shows it to a bunch of people who are inclined to be enraged by it, introduces them to one another, and then continues to rile them up for profit, until they're even more fearsome and effective than the movement to which they were reacting. So, Arab Spring feeds the raw material for Isis; GamerGate opens the door for the men's rights movement. Earlier incarnations of the Black Lives Matter protests, Lanier wrote in Ten Arguments, helped galvanize the alt-right and white supremacist movements—Ferguson 2014 inevitably led, in this formulation, to Charlottesville 2017. (Or more recently, on the other side of the ideological spectrum, Trump's use of Twitter seems to have fueled a resurgent left-center that feeds off of his daily inflammatory posts.)"


"Lanier is the father of a 13-year-old girl, and “one thing that's really cool,” he said, was how the protest movement had been able “to get teenagers focused on real things, instead of garbage. Like, I've seen this real emphasis toward Wait, how did this happen in history? What happened with Reconstruction? Where did all these statues come from? They are focused on reality instead of the latest stupid thing that's on Instagram or TikTok, and it's pretty cool.”"
What Really Happens in the VIP Room of a Strip Club - Sexography (Medium)

This was a deeply human piece about needs and desires and expectations and vulnerability and I like it quite a bit.
"But the agenda of a strip club is not a hidden one; the massive buildings with no windows and winding staircases are attractive and flashy — designed to make you forget what time it is, how much money you’ve spent so far, or where you should be instead.

And the women who work there will do just that — they’ll entertain you into nirvana. If you want us to dance, we’ll dance. If you want us to talk, we’ll talk (as long as you’re paying). If you want us to come home with you, we’ll play along and nod suggestively as if we will, even though you know, and we know, it will never happen. And if you want us to listen while you cry, even hold your hand, we’ll do that. It’s just part of the job."


"It’s no secret that many people have strong negative opinions of strip clubs and, by association, strippers. These places are not for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with accepting that you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing naked women prance around making thousands of dollars a night–or watching your significant other getting rubbed on by an attractive woman wearing almost nothing. It’s not for everyone, and it says nothing bad about you or your relationship.

But I write this story to provide a glimpse into the human side of the club.

Strippers are not there to steal your men. We’re working, paying our bills, feeding our families, and just trying to make the best of our situation. Many of us are there because we want to be. Some of us are not there by choice.

Most of the time, we’re there to be a pretty companion and listen. We listen to the most boring conversations about the latest episode of Big Bang Theory and pretend to be interested. We listen to married men cry about their failing marriage. We listen to men who can’t get it up in the bedroom and are looking for Viagra. And we listen with an open mind because it’s part of the job."

Things Seen

Watched Recently By Wes

This man is living my best life.
I'm still recovering from the disappointment of my first attempt at growing blue oyster mushrooms in a bucket from per-ordered spawn. I haven't really had the time to do the research on what may have gone wrong but I'll absolutely be making another attempt soon. In the meantime I'll just be consumed with envy as this taller guy with a full head of hair lives the dream. I am also looking to try my hand at the lions mane variety and if so I'll check out his company for a pre-made grow box.
Random Sights:

Word of The Week

Up That Vocab Game

autogolpe, n.
[ oww - TOH - gohl - pay]

Meaning: In Latin America: a military coup initiated or abetted by a country's elected leader, esp. in order to establish absolute control of the state.

Etymology: A borrowing from Spanish. 1964 or earlier) < auto- auto- comb. form1 + golpe coup n.3

Somebody Said This

Words To Admire

Octavia Butler Parable of the Sower

Fun Facts

Trivia To Bend Your Brain

  • Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world with no rivers.
  • The legal definition for “free range” poultry in the U.S. only requires that the birds have access to the outside for at least some part of the day. This can mean as little as a door to their indoor enclosure being opened for a few minutes a day.
  • Ravens can learn to talk better than some parrots and they can mimic other noises like car engines and other bird calls. Ravens have been known to imitate the sounds of wolves & foxes in order to attract them to fresh carcasses that the raven is unable to break open. They eat what’s left when the other predators are done.
  • Horseshoe crabs have been on this planet longer than trees.

Copyright © 2020 Wes Hazard -- Comic. Poet. Performer., All rights reserved.

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