It was a beautiful week. It was a horrible week. You have to let the two walk side by side, neither one taking the lead. But the bad news was almost full-spectrum A-to-Z, wasn't it? The attack itself. Then the quantity of foolishness we've seen since Sunday, notable for its predictability and irrelevance. Nothing anyone said will change anything. Everyone just wanted to let everyone else know what the real issue was, since nothing is ever what it seems. They think they are sitting on a rearing stallion as they command the internet to go forth and be abashed; they usually resemble little children rocking on a quarter-a-throw mechanical horse outside the Ben Franklin. Then the sight of politicians insisting that due process is the problem, and the onset of do-something brain fever encouraging others to find old rights that now look like barn doors in need of closing. Disney in the mix twice, once because the guys who watched the security cameras apparently profiled the hell out of the shooter, and once because an alligator got a toddler.

If there's anything that should make you just grieve for people, it's an alligator taking a toddler at Disneyworld, but when the news presents a square peg and all you have are round holes and a hammer, you do what you can.

Like I said, a beautiful week. Green and sunny, except when the sky was moody and thoughtful. Thunder and peals when a storm muttered through. Summer at its best, a textbook June. But then you go online, and you're reminded that everything is wrong and you're doing it wrong and the cruelties stack up until they crack the plaster on the roof of heaven itself. Example:

Taking children to an aquarium is a lesson in cruelty

Fish should be released, where they can be eaten. There is nothing children can learn from seeing fish close up; the children should just sit very close to a TV screen showing "Finding Nemo."

Speaking of which: some headlines from some reviews of the new Pixar movie.

Finding Dory review: it isn't about family, it's about living with disability

When it comes to mass shootings, we all share 'Finding Dory's' memory loss

In ‘Finding Dory,’ a Forgetful Fish and a Warm Celebration of Differences

The last one is the New York Times. More:

". . . in time-honored tradition, the movie also has lessons to impart. “Nemo” made the case for indomitability in the face of fear. “Dory” is more about the acceptance of chaos. Dory’s inability to make or stick to plans is shown, in the long run, to be an advantage."

At the risk of reading too much into the movie - haven't seen it, but I will - no one wants to accept chaos. The point of civilization is to make order out of chaos. The inability to make a plan or stick to a plan is not an advantage, and people who live this way do so because they live in a society that makes plans and sticks to them so there's food in the store and juice in the sockets.

But we have to celebrate chaos-acceptance! It is not enough to be indifferent to people who thrive on chaos and can't make plans. You must celebrate, because they are different, and that is all that's necessary these days to get a gold medal.

"And her memory issues, played mostly for laughs in the first movie, take on a deeper meaning here. She and Nemo, who was born with a deformed flipper, are both people — well, actually, anthropomorphized fish, but you know what I mean — with disabilities, an identity shared by most of the new secondary characters." The movie "argues, with lovely ingenuity and understatement, that what appear to be impairments might better be understood as strengths."

Uh huh. Now, an impairment might produce a strength of character, or strengthen bonds within a family or social group, or encourage a person to develop alternative skills that are impressive for the amount of determination required to overcome a handicap, but an impairment does not automatically bestow strength, and it is not in itself a strength. If something appears to be an impairment but it's actually a strength, it's probably not, you know, an impairment.

There is a fetish among some for identifying differences so they can be celebrated - cake and ice cream for all, and make sure you use compostable utensils. What the differences are isn't subject to scrutiny; the existence of differences if proof of diversity, which is an unalloyed good. It's a fixation on cosmetic, surface appearances, a superficial read of human complexity. Look, everyone's different. That's a given. The challenge is finding similarities, which is healthier for a polity in the long run. Fixation on your differences leads to solipsistic tantrums like this, where someone interrupted an Orlando memorial service because no one was talking about her particular set of tremendously illustrative differences.

The atomization of the culture into a set of competing differences, some exalted and some derided according to fashion, does not lead to social cohesion. It puts people in boxes and puts the boxes on the shelf and then hoorah for us, because look how neat these boxes are lined up.

Here's an interesting impairment: the belief that you are a TI, or "Targeted Individual," who is followed around by government agents and zapped by remote control. (The NYT review linked to a story on these folks.)

For the few specialists who have looked closely, these individuals represent an alarming development in the history of mental illness: thousands of sick people, banded together and demanding recognition on the basis of shared paranoias.

They raise money, hold awareness campaigns, host international conferences and fight for their causes in courts and legislatures.

This line seemed interesting: "Perhaps their biggest victory came last year, when believers in Richmond, Calif., persuaded the City Council to pass a resolution banning space-based weapons that they believe could be used for mind control."

Sure enough:

The Richmond City Council passed a resolution Tuesday supporting a ban on space-based weapons after a lengthy discussion over whether individuals are being psychologically and physically harmed by exotic government-patented attacks from high in the sky.

Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), introduced the resolution, saying it begins to address concerns of a Richmond resident who claims she’s been targeted by “remote transmission” from space-based weaponry.

Others claiming to have suffered physical and psychological attacks traveled from around the country to speak at Tuesday’s council meeting. One speaker claimed to have been zapped multiple times right before his testimony at council.

The comments are full of people who are being tortured by unseen government devices and poisoned by chemicals that their apartment manager is pumping through the vents. They're obviously mentally ill; they're obviously impaired, and none the stronger for it. They're different, and there's nothing to celebrate.

Anyway. The end of the review:

" . . . the repetitiveness of the story is related to its moral, a Disney legacy reanimated by Pixar again and again. Solidarity and kinship are two sides of the same coin. 'Friends and family' is a distinction without a difference."

Yes, that's certainly the lesson I took away from "The Incredibles."

Of course there's a difference between friends and family. They're two different types of social arrangements. One involves choice; the other involves shared history and obligations the voluntary aggregation of friends can't match. But the process of diminishing the old tired conceptions of "family" - the necessity of which the endlessly uninteresting Laurie Penny blathers about here - requires that the former be elevated to equal status before it's finally declared superior. It makes you wonder if "Finding Nemo" could be made today - it's so patriarchal and controlling. At least it's about a boy fish; if it had been about a young girl fish, it would have been insulting. She doesn't need finding! She's found herself through her journey!

Since Dory is a female-identifying fish, her "lost"ness must be explained by a disability. But that's really a strength, because of awesome chaos which makes everything turn out great.

I have no doubt the movie's general message is "be kind and accepting to good-hearted people who, like everyone else, have their flaws," which is timeless and necessary. But it lacks the proper consciousness. Cue the Salon piece: Dumbo Predicted the Plight of the Working Single Mother 70 Years Ago


A break from holes and cranes. It's construction, though - and it's an interminable project.

You're looking at the boring plaza for the Government Center. They had to replace the bricks after they realized that they got slick in the winter. Imagine that! Winter. In these parts. Who'd have thought. The green areas are not for lounging; they are there to be GREEN AREAS. The planters are benches for people to sit and look longingly at the grass. The circular area is a fountain that manages to be underwhelming in two directions: the big pool has a few spouts that throw up a yard of burbling water. The sinkhole gives people in the basement area a sheet of water coming down into a glassed-in area that must have looked nice on paper.

There's a tunnel from the Government Center; it goes around the underground fountain and proceeds on to the city hall, under the rail tracks.

Anyway, it's often broken and leaks. This project is expected to be finished in time for everyone to enjoy it for three weeks before it's shut off for winter.




Back to music cues for "The Little Things in Life," Peg Lynch's last continuously running sitcom. The cues run from substandard 60s cues to cringingly 70s, and I'm surprised at how few there were. I think I'm already repeating what I previously played. In fact I know I'm already repeating the fact that I think I'm repeating myself, but on we go: this is the sound of narrative radio in its strange last gasp.


From the past: a cue from CND.


Short enough for a custom ringtone for people you don't mind hearing from, but they're not top on your list.


A bit ambivalent.



From 1975, the verbal misery of the worst decade ever:


She has pain.



She's a homemaker, so she gets headaches. And money's tight.

This played every morning on TLIL for a few months. Her weary voice was probably not welcome after a few repetitions.

Let us spend some time with the Pittmans.


How long will it take?


How long before you realize what they were spoofing?

Confession: I never watched it. Held absolutely no appeal.




The record that spawned one of the most popular, and ridiculous, songs of its era.


He couldn't sing in the traditional sense of "being able to sing," but everyone loved him post-Camelot, and when you paired him with Jimmy Webb, great modern things would happen. A tramp, shining! Because tramps are romantic and have great wisdom, you know.




This is not the song where the recipe can never be had again.




Oh, er, ahem:


Well, that was the week that was. Next up: the week that is! See you Monday.



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