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I guess we're doing this again.
Life in America now is when you get an email from your kids’ school’s “Weather Account” at 5:34 am telling you that school will be closed today “due to the evolving safety situation.” Shooter weather. Grandma texts: “How do you explain to a 10 year old why their school is closed?” Grandma doesn’t know, because she retired from teaching before the safety situation really started evolving. Before the active shooter drills were normal. Of course you just told the kids “hey, no school today because there was a mass shooting in Lewiston last night and they haven’t caught the guy yet,” and they say “ok” and go back to sleep. They’re not surprised. All the kids expect that it will be their turn eventually.
Life in America now is when your middle son has an orthodontist’s appointment today, and it will be easier than it would have been get him there because his school is closed and your work is closed. Because it’s shooter weather. But on the other hand, you have to consider how likely are you to be mass-murdered at your orthodontist in Falmouth today. You decide it’s probably not more likely today than any other day. This isn’t really because you think it’s not likely any day. The safety situation is always evolving, everywhere.
Eighteen dead so far in Lewiston, but only eight identified. That’s probably because of what the Armalite rifle platform does to human flesh. If you don’t already know what it does, The Washington Post went to a good deal of trouble to make sure you could find out. Kinetic energy equals half the projectile’s mass times the square of its velocity. A high velocity .223 round “lands with a shock wave intense enough to blow apart a skull and demolish vital organs.” The bullet’s passage through flesh creates a wake, like a boat, but in three dimensions. It spreads out and pulps whatever’s around the bullet path. It creates exit wounds that make bodies very hard to identify, visually. “Exit wounds can be the size of an orange.” We’ve talked about this before. I still don’t know what to do. My oldest kid plans to leave this country next year, and I think I’ll be relieved when he does. We probably all should.
What we are witnessing… is perhaps the first fusion of old-school colonial and genocidal violence with advanced state-of-the-art heavy weapons; a twisted amalgamation of the 17th century and the 21st, packaged and wrapped up in language that harks back to primitive times and thunderous biblical scenes involving the smiting of whole peoples—the Jebusites, the Amelikites, the Canaanites, and of course the Philistines.
Hey I wonder if this environment of pervasive violence and despair is having any effect on the kids today. Intern Meggie, you’re almost “the kids today.” What do we know about that?
Adults on Twitter are about to be mad yet again at Gen Z’s moderate views on sex. In the new UCLA “Teens and Screens Study” conducted by the Center for Scholars & Storytellers, researchers found that kids aged 13 to 24 would like to see more platonic relationships and less sex in television and film. Out of the 1,500 interviewed, 48% said sexual content is not necessary for the plot of most shows and movies while 51.5% wanted to see content focused on friendships. In fact, many Gen Z want to remain single, with 56% saying their social circles prefer to be unattached and 44% saying they’d rather clean a toilet than go on a date.
Makes sense. Is anyone focused on sex at a time like this? (See: Doomsday Clock.)
This comes following years of articles essentially asking “are the kids alright?” regarding Gen Z’s conservative views on sex. Older journalists stay up late into the night worrying over the youth’s libidinal apathy: is it less alcohol? Depression? Pandemic? Could it be that the “anti-fandom” translates to a less than popping bedroom? Maybe they just have a better grasp on consent? Maybe they’re holding out for someone who respects their boundaries?
Only one thing is for certain: We need all hands on deck to get our kids to fuck more.
—Meggie Gates would rather clean a toilet, tbh
So you’re saying the kids with dirty toilets are the only ones dating? That’s a real Catch-22.
Anyway it’s not all bad news: In the Shire, the llamas and alpacas went for a wander toward Penrith, home of the great wizard Penrithynn the Gray. We love this for them.
The Wall St. Journal reports that “Long Misunderstood, Baked Beans Are Busting Loose.” Is there a baked beans on toast stipple portrait, you ask? Buddy, you know there is. But surely there couldn’t also be a bean-themed Josh Groban power ballad? This thing goes deeper than you can imagine. Even the Puriteens are going Puri-beans: “The hot Gen Z bar in L.A. is Barney’s Beanery” reports Lina Abascal in The LA Times.
Jude Doyle is great on almost any subject but his attempt “to see Labyrinth anew, cleansed of its reputation, appearing (like Bowie himself) in a cloud of glitter and fluttering gauze curtains, floor-length velvet cape billowing in the wind machine” is exceptional. His 2010 Awl post about Rivers Cuomo is just about the only blog post I make time to re-read every couple years.
And official Lit It Girl™ Delia Cai talked to Taylor Lorenz about how traditional media interviews don’t sell books, among other things:
This is so funny because I'm saying this in a traditional media interview, but this doesn't sell. Traditional media has value for perception of prestige. But in terms of sales, I found that podcasts were the thing that really converted most effectively; I sold 600 books from replying to an Elon Musk tweet about me.
“Why haven’t you quit yet?” is another question, which: lol. Why haven’t we all quit yet? I think I’ll quit right now.
Today’s Song: Linkin Park, “One Step Closer” (100 gecs Reanimation)
This is my comfort music. Music Intern Sam is not to blame.
TOMORROW is Intern Meggie’s graduation Tabs, so a rare Friday post for everyone. You should subscribe anyway though, just on general principle. Everyone made it home from the orthodontist safe. Check in with your people, I don’t know.