Too heavy a thing to carry around every day

It's just a fad

Too heavy a thing to carry around every day
Photo by Jem Sanchez

I was listening to a lot of The War on Drugs a year or two ago when I was writing A Creature Wanting Form and every time I went into Spotify (sorry) and started typing the name into the thing a prompt would come up that said “Are you looking for information on the war on Ukraine?” and I always thought that that was such a peculiar question. Of all the places to be searching for that. 

Anyway I just noticed they don’t ask you that anymore. They must have decided no one was asking about that these days not even in the made up scenario they set up for themselves there in the first place. 

And to answer the question you’re probably thinking of next they obviously do not bring up Gaza when you’re just trying to space out to A Deeper Understanding. 

One of my favorite things about being online is when you stumble across a series of words that were heretofore never strung together as far as you can tell that amount to a kind of accidental poetry. (This is mostly what poetry is by the way. The specific and novel and thrilling ordering of words to convey the universal.) I wrote about this a bit for the fine folks at the Embedded newsletter a couple years ago.

You know what I mean right? The kind of phrases that stick in your head and you think of time and again against your will. “Food restaurant” and “don’t e-mail my wife” were two examples. “Jeff Brain of Clouthub” is another I just remembered. “Non-jabbed sperm,” or “food diaper” or “nippy refers to breast nipples,” or “adult journalist’s mom.”

Crypto losers are good for this kind of thing. For example I read a new sentence just the other day. A special new sentence: 

“My kids know me as this ape.”

More often than not these kind of things are funny but I just read a couple of sentences that are the exact opposite of that. The first was about an action protesting the send off of a Navy ship from San Francisco on Friday. As the San Francisco Chronicle described it:

“Timed to disrupt a commemoration ceremony for the USNS Harvey Milk — the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for an openly gay person — the protest was one in a series of efforts to intercede in maritime travel ‘that would support Israel’s war in Gaza...'"

The first U.S. Navy ship to be named for an openly gay person.

Now that’s progress baby. 

Here’s a bit more on that particular ship from Wikipedia 

“USNS Harvey Milk is the second of the John Lewis-class of underway replenishment oilers…The class is named for its lead ship, John Lewis, which is named for American politician and civil rights leader John Lewis. The remaining John Lewis-class oilers will be named after prominent civil rights leaders and activists.”

Admittedly that whole situation is just a bit of a come on guys type of deal but this next collection of words – which I’m sure has been used all the time by these type of war ghouls but is nonetheless new to me – is the truly galling one. 

From the Washington Post

The Biden administration in recent days quietly authorized the transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel despite Washington’s concerns about an anticipated military offensive in southern Gaza that could threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, according to Pentagon and State Department officials familiar with the matter. The 2,000-pound bombs have been linked to previous mass-casualty events throughout Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. These officials, like some others, spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because recent authorizations have not been disclosed publicly.

The development underscores that while rifts have emerged between the United States and Israel over the war’s conduct, the Biden administration views weapons transfers as off-limits when considering how to influence the actions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We have continued to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” said a White House official. “Conditioning aid has not been our policy.”

Sorry it’s not in there I just wanted to quote all of that first to remind us where we are on Biden's famous efforts at getting a ceasefire that we hear so much about.

Here’s the phrase that’s stuck in my head coming up…

AIPAC, alongside congressional Republicans and several Democrats, oppose any conditions on U.S. military assistance to Israel. “The U.S. can protect civilians, on both sides of the conflict, by continuing to ensure Israel receives as much U.S. assistance as is needed, as expeditiously as possible, to keep its stockpiles full of lifesaving munitions,” Reps. August Pfluger (R-Tex.) and Don Davis (D-N.C.), and Michael Makovsky, president of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, wrote in a recent column. “Doing so is also morally right and in the U.S. interest.”

Lifesaving munitions.

Jesus fucking Christ. (Sorry probably shouldn’t curse like that on today of all days.)

I'd also like to say at this time real quick if I may: August Pfluger.

Now I know what you're probably thinking. Luke are you telling me that the military industrial complex is bad? And that they often use newspeak and double talk to sell war crimes?

Yes yes I know we all already know that but it's important to maintain our disgust over this sort of thing. To not let ourselves become hardened to it over time.

Lest me end up like this guy.

I wonder if he'll get in any trouble for that with his peers in Congress like Ilhan Omar does anytime she says the sky is blue?

All of which brings me to the next thing.

You may have seen this piece from the other day in The Atlantic titled The War at Stanford. Even if you didn't read it you have already read it because it's the exact same lefty intolerance on elite campuses shit The Atlantic and the NYT churn out every other week so you're not missing much. Which I guess is apparently a very lucrative space to be in. No wonder they keep playing the hits!

This one was a bit notable however for being written by a 19 year old Stanford student named Theo Baker who certainly did not get the gig because his father is the prominent shitty NYT political writer Peter Baker – so impartial he infamously refuses to vote! – and his mother is New Yorker writer Susan Glasser (who made a cameo in the Welcome to Hell World book for posting this absolute heater during John McCain's funeral.)

My daddy was proud of me the first time I made a poo poo all by myself in the toilet too.

There's really not much worth engaging with in the piece itself but here are two paragraphs that stuck out to me.

It’s not that there isn’t real anger and anxiety over what is happening in Gaza—there is, and justifiably so. I know that among the protesters are many people who are deeply connected to this issue. But they are not the majority. What really activates the crowds now seems less a principled devotion to Palestine or to pacifism than a desire for collective action, to fit in by embracing the fashionable cause of the moment—as if a centuries-old conflict in which both sides have stolen and killed could ever be a simple matter of right and wrong. In their haste to exhibit moral righteousness, many of the least informed protesters end up being the loudest and most uncompromising.

Today’s students grew up in the Trump era, in which violent rhetoric has become a normal part of political discourse and activism is as easy as reposting an infographic. Many young people have come to feel that being angry is enough to foment change. Furious at the world’s injustices and desperate for a simple way to express that fury, they don’t seem interested in any form of engagement more nuanced than backing a pure protagonist and denouncing an evil enemy. They don’t, always, seem that concerned with the truth.

Setting aside a few of the lies and factual errors in there what Larry Sellers flunking fucking social studies here is arguing is that people protesting this ongoing slaughter of innocents – with the full backing of our own government – are just doing it to be cool. There's no way that they actually believe any of this stuff it's just a fad.

You will not be surprised to hear this is the exact same type of shit centrists and the right and many liberals for that matter always say about anything that is important to the left and specifically youth on the left.

No really the exact same shit. Check out this clip from a documentary about student life on campus at Stanford from the 1960s (h/t).

"They're sort of alienated," one of the student voiceovers says.

"They come to the university. They're cut off first from their family, second from their friends in high school, and they've got to find a new niche to fit into. And one of the niches is this civil rights student activist niche they fit into. And as soon as they're there their independent thought stops. And they follow the thought that's going on by others."

(Try not to get too hung up on the apparently grammatical usage of "they're there their" there.)

What I'm saying is that there is a very long and storied tradition of trying to explain away young people's natural and instinctive horror at war and racism and segregation – and our desire to commiserate and organize collectively against them – as a fleeting and unserious dalliance of youth to make the adult warmongers and racists feel less bad about the faint tug of conscience they're struck by from time to time.

When some amoral loser tells you the kids are being brainwashed by TikTok into opposing genocide in Gaza they're basically some guy from decades ago blaming civil rights protests on the hula-hoop or whatever.

The contemporary liberal will say today retroactively that the civil rights protests were righteous of course because unlike then they have nothing at stake right now. Just like they will say the same thing about protests against Israel down the line. Sooner or later when they find the humanity they've tucked away somewhere deep in their hearts because they convinced themselves it was a silly thing – or too heavy a thing – to carry around every day.

Here's one more novel phrase for you for the road which also coincides with my This Fucking Guy of the week:

Our freedoms in Vietnam.

To paraphrase a great man none of the couple million we killed in Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia ever did a single thing to my freedoms. Despicable monster of a man in more ways than one.

Check out this perhaps related story real quick:

All three of John Fetterman’s top communications staffers have resigned in the last month.

Another thing I love to stumble across online is embodied in this recent tweet from Justin Trudeau. This kind of rope-a-dope post is what’s known as The Liberal’s Prestige. You think it's going to go one way but then it goes in a direction you never would have expected.

Wow thanks man.

You may remember these two other all time instant classics of the genre.

Speaking of propaganda on social media here's a cool ad I just saw. (h/t)

Yes of course I am obviously going to share one of the pieces from ACWF that concerns donating blood now.

Maria Bustillos has a piece in The Nation this week about worker-run journalism collectives (like our thing Flaming Hydra) titled The Future of Media Is Journalist-Run.

Flaming Hydra404 MediaAftermath, and Hell Gate are worker-owned cooperatives, and so is Defector, which celebrated its third birthday last fall. Other journalist-run publications are nonprofits, like Documented, the Colorado Sun, and Block Club Chicago. Some of these projects rebuilt over the foundations of badly managed or shuttered publications, and others started from scratch; some have achieved profitability, and others are just starting to build it. What they have in common is that the primary goal is doing real journalism. These publishers want to find and keep intelligent, engaged readers—and that means that serving those readers well, and sustainably, comes before maximizing profits.

In it you can also find mentioned a number of the Flaming Hydra pieces from this past month that we took out from behind the paywall like these:

Check Out the Punk Scene
All told, I’ve probably spent more hours of my life in libraries than any other kind of place save restaurants. I like libraries because I like books, yes, but I also like them because I like music. One night my freshman year of high school, I caught an episode
Belt Buckle
by Gabriel Snyder Ah! I am very glad you asked me about my belt buckle. When I was growing up in the South, I kind of always had an obsession with big leather belts with the showy Honky Tonk buckles. They were a little glamorous, as well as a little
One Weird Trick to Avoid Possible Cult Recruitment
by Anna Merlan Perhaps you are too young or high-minded to remember pickup artists, who roamed the mid-2000s landscape, sometimes wearing accessories like top hats and enormous goggles, attempting desperately to attract women in bars through a series of increasingly counterintuitive tricks and flop-sweaty group maneuvers. (The top hats, part

Consider checking it out.

"It's a pretty good magazine"
- Luke

That's all for today. Here's a new song to enjoy.