GUEST Dog went back Monday night. Can’t say I was sad, because this meant I could sleep a bit more on Tuesday morn. The dog is apparently used to rising early, and begins to bark at the sound of a shower. So it was up and downstairs at 7:30 AM, which wouldn’t be a problem if I hadn’t stayed up until 2:40 watching NASA press conferences. I just had to. Couldn’t stop watching them bask and grin and exult. So when the Yipes! began this morning I knew the day would be long and weary. Long and weary it was.
But good. Daughter biked to the beach, one of those things you do here in the summer, one of those memories she’ll always have about growing up in this great good place. I wrote outside and sweated. Already have enough memories of that. It was cool last night, fall’s coming attraction trailer. In a world where green goes to brown and skeletons appear in the stores, a change is about to happen. They were proud of their summer, proud of their lush and lovely world. But pride is about to goeth before . . . SWOOSHING SOUND / ANVIL STRIKE / SCREAM the fall.” Fast cuts of leaves falling, people raking, trick or treaters, faster and faster until the music reaches a crescendo and there’s a small child’s voice singing . Then SWOOSH / ANVIL STRIKE.
Yes, it was just like that.
Anyway, the dog’s modus vivendi is go outside, then stand on the steps waiting for you to come out and throw the ball, then chase the ball and not return it. I always take this as a breach of faith. Fine. I’m not going to chase you. It’s 91 degrees. I go inside, and the dog comes back to the door and barks. Open the door to let her in. She runs away. They can keep this up all day, so you ignore them, and then look out ten minutes later to see the beast’s hindquarters protruding from a hole she dug in the lawn.
The dog took over the stoop today. Poor Jasper.
“A gust of wind pours through my open dressing room window. Is it the wind?” It takes a certain talent to write a line like that. It takes . . .
It was a pilot for a TV show that never happened.
It has his style, all right.
Just watch. Just watch and wait to see if it ever gets around to something one might call “a plot.” It's utter drivel - and this is Wood trying to make something that'll really set those TV boys back on their heels.
It starts with a typically incompetent shot of a theater:
The Santa Monica Dome, about which much more can be found here. If nothing else, Ed gave us a documentary about the old theater.
Correction: Ed Wood made a documentary about the old theater, and gave us nothing else.
Let me bring up last week’s semi-polarizing subject, because it goes to something I’ve been struggling to name. Sudden Polarizing Political Tweet Spurt Syndrome, or SPPTSS. People can say any stupid thing they wish on twitter, and they usually do. For some, however, twitter has a purpose. For the political types it’s a newswire, archery practice, furious dust-devils of debate, leavened with the occasional YouTube link or a story that’s blessedly free of political interpretation. (Although those are fewer and fewer these days. Some were unhappy that the Obama Administration’s Science Guy appeared at the press conference, when the Curiosity mission was started before his tenure. This is absolutely right and Richard Nixon should not have congratulated the Apollo XI astronauts, but had Vaughn Meader made the call in JFK’s voice.) Some people use it to promote what they do, from music to fashion to sports to drawing. Fine. It’s an incredibly elastic platform. Fits everything. There are epigram masters and there are babbling illiterates.
SPPTSS happens when people who generally tweet funny, witty things suddenly fire off a political tweet with the confidence that everyone else will agree, or be impressed, or care. If it’s a simplistic reductive argument, it makes the person look silly: really, that’s how you think the argument goes? That’s your understanding of the other side? Cheerful blunt mischaracterizations are standard fare in longer pieces, if you're swinging wide and throwing deep. Fair game. But in Twitter it's like you stand up at the Thanksgiving table and say GRANDMA HAS AN UGLY MOLE THERE I SAID IT.
So sometimes I just unfollow for a while until I miss them, then go back and hope the spasms have passed. The worst thing about the internet is that it feels like family. The best thing about the internet is the same.
Today I got a retweet to this, which SETTLES THE ARGUMENT:
Something of a false dichotomy, isn’t it? No religious person steps off a cliff and imagines angels will carry them across. Heck, I’ll go way out on a limb here, unsupported by anthropomorphic spirits with feathers growing from their shoulderblades: I’ll bet a few engineers who built bridges were religious, and didn’t see any contradiction between feeling a sense of unsettled humble wonder over the Unknowable Above and knowing the stress limits of a piece of steel. I know, I know, but c’mon, it’s possible.
It's also a false analogy. Religion seeks the metaphysical truth to existence, and science explains the physical truth. The former is predicated on accepting the unprovable, and hence science is not its opposite. That’s the part I don’t get: the need to set up science as a contrapositive model. It’s like saying you shouldn’t want to see the Batman movie because the jetstream is dipping south and dragging cold moist Canadian air over the planes. Huh? I want to see Batman. But rain will be falling over most of the Dakotas. Why does that matter? It’s the Batman movie. The rain will be too late for the small grains, but may prepare the soil for next year. I think we’re talking about two different things.
Now, the tendentious meta-question: did I just mischaracterize atheism in the service of pointing out how the illustration mischaracterizes belief? No; didn’t say this was emblematic of atheism, just a subset. I don’t think there is anything immoral or unethical about atheism; how you act, that’s what counts. But you could turn the picture into something else - say, set it at night. Pitch black. There’s a bridge, and a sign that says UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Some might say there’s something that connects to the other side; others would insist there’s no proof of that, and they’d be right. If either advanced they probably wouldn't speed. Then there are the agnostics, who double back, find a motel, and wait for light. Oh, you could extend this analogy forever. Be my guest.
By the way, if I seem to be suggesting any sort of rules here, I'm well aware I have violated them in the past, and will probably do so in the future. So say we all!
New Comics over there; the existence of Li’l Genius is sufficient evidence against the presence of a loving, involved God, for some. I find the argument compelling.