My Problem With Everything Right Now

It’s basically this: Whenever I start trying to encapsulate my general thoughts on the events of the week, at home and abroad, in a coherent and logical fashion, I end up having a ten second adrenaline spike, followed by a minute of spittle-flinging profanity, followed by about two hours of anomie, during which the only things I want to do are pet my cat, watch Looney Tunes and eat ice cream. It’s not a good way to spend the day, especially when one runs out of ice cream.

I’ll get over it. This is not the first instance of the “Gaah-FUCK-uuuunh” cycle in my lifetime experience, believe me. But, yeah. For the moment, taking a pass, folks.

107 thoughts on “My Problem With Everything Right Now

  1. God damn it, do I feel the same way. Infuriating. Time to hug the kids again. And to figure out what to do with the bastards that are doing all this crap to their future.

  2. For once I am glad to be busy with finishing up one job, starting a new one, and moving all in the next week or so. I just don’t have much energy to follow the world right now.

  3. I like to think of myself as a fairly articulate chap, but I also find myself unable to coherently express what I feel about what’s happening in this lovely country of mine.

    I just hope the casualties end, and the violence stops, so we can take stock, and try to figure how:
    a) why this happened
    b) how this happened
    c) how we can prevent it from ever happening again.

    I’m an optimist, I know…

  4. my daughter posted on my facebook feed “1) read dad’s posts 2) collapse in a ball of depression”
    so i’m posting kittens today.

  5. It’s nice to come to an American guy’s website, and see my feelings as a Brit right now written down. If you can’t find words for this situation, I think it might be because there aren’t really any.

  6. I understand entirely.

    I’ve stopped reading anything online that may contain politics within about two hours of going to bed, or I won’t sleep. I’ll just lay in bed and seethe.

  7. Silly John “with the wind” Scalzi [because all you have is wind]… You’re a man [I think], only women can pet their “cats”… Or you can pet theirs. Anyways, on topic… You can always yell: STUFF HAPPENS! GET OFF MY LAWN! Oh well, oh well…

  8. Yeah, my blog has turned into cat and dog pictures, books and TV and movies, whining about my health, and drinking. Lots of drinking. I snapped at my wife at the bookstore this weekend for picking up a political book and showing it to me. I just can’t take it anymore.

  9. Yeah, this week is a little beyond summary. I’d mail you some Blue Bell, but I see you’ve got Schwann’s.

  10. Western civilization’s had better days. Dulce de lece could be the answer; think I’ll give it a go.

  11. And not just any cat, at that. It looks like you’ve got a nice, brown Ragdoll there. I was a cat hater until we adopted one of those; I wouldn’t have any other kind!

  12. A dude name of Sam Pepper has an excellent idea: the anti-riot. Wherever you are, when it gets to be 8:30 tonight, stop what you’re doing, and have a cup of tea, and post a pic of it. Because, well, tea, dammit! It’s the quintessentially British thing to do when the fertilizer hits the blades. https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=261568193854371

    Have a cup of tea. And maybe a biccie and some jam. Hug your people and your four-foots, and generally promote domestic tranquility. Ghu knows we need more of that now.

  13. I’m so glad to hear someone else say this. I asked a friend of mine yesterday, very politely, if she would be willing to serve as intermediary between the world and I, because I just…can’t right now.

    What kind of ice cream, because inquiring minds want to know!

  14. Looney Tunes got America through World War II, so I think it can get us through this. Maybe we need a comic book with Captain America punching the board of Standard & Poor’s (or Congress).

  15. While it isn’t the first instance of the Garfunkel cycle, it certainly seems that they are occurring more frequently than before. Regardless of cause (increased volume of information, increased polarization of said information and its pundits or proselytizers, or just the fact that with more people there are more chances for people to do bad, misguided or misinterpreted things), it has drastically ramped up my ice cream budget.

    I’m sure Ben, Jerry, and the good folks at Lochmead Dairy appreciate it.

  16. I’ve often found when things are overwhelming that watching videos on my Mac helps. :D

    My cat also sits by me in roughly the same position, as well. Strange.

  17. John, if it helps any, I get the impression that a significant percentage of the population is having similar reactions to the state of the world. Including me.

    What makes it harder for me is realizing:

    1) It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
    2) It might not get better.

    In general, I think that while #1 is a near-certainty, #2 is unlikely. But there are times when I have a hard time convincing myself of the latter.

    There’s a bumper-sticker that says, “Another world is possible”, and it’s meant to be a positive and empowering message. At this point, another world seems *inevitable*, but it’s hard to feel positive or empowered by that knowledge.

  18. I was okay with losing a dozen or two thousand dollars in Monopoly money in the stock market in the last few days. I think my two friends leaving today for London will probably be okay. But on Saturday, one of my friends’ kids died, and yesterday, a different friend’s kid showed up and explained how the doctors say his old man has about a week to live. So for me it’s really no longer just a global Attack of the Week From Hell, now it’s personal.

    Fuck you, week.

  19. Huey at 23:

    Virtual hugs if you want ‘em.

    Hell, virtual hugs all around for anyone who wants ‘em.

  20. Pretty much what JS said. Except for the ice cream. I’m lactose intolerant, so frozen yogurt instead.

    Sadly,
    Jack Tingle

  21. I’m not saying I’m dealing well with the current global “situations” in the news, but I know I’m better prepared, having read “Stand on Zanzibar” a couple of decades ago. That’s why the novel received one of my 10 votes on the NPR poll.

    Eerily prescient.

  22. I’ve been reading some new books, eating snacks that are bad for me and avoiding the news. And hugging my kids. A lot.

    It might be avoidance, but I’m at the point where I’m more unsure about the future than I’ve been in a long time. It’s a scary place to be.

  23. We are in need of some smart adults to take charge and do what is needed. Unfortunate none are to be found. Or the ones that are around have no power. At all (this includes most voters)

  24. If it makes you feel any better, the riots in and around London are apolitical.
    It’s just a bunch of criminal punks seizing the opportunity to make mischief.

    The police response is what should be criticized. They need to get off their asses and protect the innocent shop owners and citizens who are being terrorized by these punks.

  25. So here are the good points of the day 1) Friends in the UK are all fine and mostly untouched by this idiocy. 2) learned a new word and can now use ‘anomie’ in a sentence (thanks John) 3) Spent an hour with my friend’s dogs 4) there is expensive cheese and Rainier cherries in the fridge.

    It would be nice to fold the events in the UK into some wonderfully pat and woefully simplistic political theory, but the truth is that it is both far more complex and far more ignoble than I care to think about at the moment.

  26. Yeah, this is the kind of week that makes one want to take a week off and escape somewhere you can forget about the world for a few days. Somewhere you can just hang out with friends, drink, party, make music. Maybe someplace like Reno…

  27. Billy at 30:
    It’s just a bunch of criminal punks seizing the opportunity to make mischief.

    In England, they’re on the streets. In the US, they’re on Wall Street and K Street.

  28. British cops shot a black man in a black neighborhood that has to put up with a lot of racial problems from cops. Afterwards, the very same cops apparently tried to lie about it saying the guy shot first and tried to cover it all up.

    What the British government and police are running into right now is that unless you’re a military/police state, then government, the state, day to day affairs, and society(*) as a whole, all operates on a grease that everyone contributes to more or less voluntarily because doing so is to their benefit. When it becomes apparent that the state, the government, and society(*) as a whole, have no intention of treating some group even remotely fairly, that group tends to withdraw their cooperation in being part of society.

    (*) in some weird sense of poetic justice, I suppose, this is happening to a country who’s previous prime minister said “There’s no such thing as society”, and implemented “trickle down” economics that has since completely dried up, and has since made her proclomation a self fullfilling prophecy.

    When the state creates an entire subset of its population that has absolutely nothing to lose, no jobs, no property, no stake in society operating successfully whatsoever, and then you go and shoot someone from that group for no legitimate reason, this is what you get.

    Of course, the trickle-down nutjobs think the problem isnt’ that they have created an entire subset of population who have nothing to lose if society goes up in flames, they think the problem is there aren’t enough cops with firehoses, tear gas, billy clubs, and guns to beat down this population into submission, making it abundantly clear that they don’t care what conditions they’ve put these people into, and making it even more clear to these people that they have no legal recourse.

  29. John, one thing you’ll have to do is buy more ice cream. Are there any local dairy farms that make flavors you enjoy?

    Also – thanks for posting that Starman video a few posts down. I’ve been a long time David Bowie fan, but that video got me wondering what he has done recently….and I went on a binge. Thanks to you, I finally checked out his albums “Heathen” and “Reality” (each has 3 or 4 excellent songs). I don’t know why I hadn’t done that before, but you got me in the right mood, so I owe you.

  30. John,

    Well, at least there is ice cream. If you run out I am sure you can find more.

    As for the world’s problems…well…did someone say ice cream???????

    Ya, it’s a dodge, but I have not thought of anything else either.

    Cheers
    Michael

  31. I don’t get the folks who keep sayign this isn’t politically motivated. Of course it’s politically motivated. The litmus test is brain-dead simple:

    If Mark Duggan had been killed by a lightning bolt, would any of this be happening now?

    The reason it’s happening is because Mark Duggan was killed by state actors, the police, apparently because he was black, the cops were white, and the cops show racial bias against black people in his neighborhood.

    Anyone saying there’s no political motive to this is blind.

  32. gaah-FUCK-uuunh. Does say it all. For me, it seems like anything more tends to be wasted breath.

  33. Doesn’t it just gore your ox when you crawl into your Happy Place to escape and people crawl into it after you, dragging their explanation of whatever it is you crawled into it to escape in the first place?

    If you can figure out what I just said, you need more ice cream. (Ben & Jerry’s Creme Brulee or Peach Cobbler, please. And keep them coming until closing time.)

  34. Yeah, me too. Tried the ice cream and feel bloated. Guess I’m lactose intolerant as well. I’m feeling as though our leaders failed to lead. At least I’m not alone. Thanks, everybody.

  35. I ate Frosted Flakes instead. I’ll save the ice cream for later tonight. Cats I have in abundance. One of them did not want to get off my lap today.

  36. Hey Greg, If you see “poetic justice” or any other kind of justice in the actions of these shitbags, you might want to reexamine your thinking. Sometimes it isn’t about politics. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of punks being punks. Justifying their actions comes perilously close to excusing their actions.

  37. Nick @#27: +1 on “Stand on Zanzibar”. Read it as last in the set of three (“Shockwave Rider” and “The Sheep Look Up”) way back when.. Always thought the other two were more likely to happen / happen first. Shows what I know, I guess….

    Hugs and ice cream are a start, need to retrench and ponder next steps…

  38. All I can say is, good thing my mom owns her house outright. That way I’ll have somewhere to live when the economy completely collapses and we start the Second Great Depression.

  39. One thing I did some time ago to help keep me on an even keel: I was fiddling around with the Parental Controls on my cable box, even though there are no children in my household (well, there’s a six-year old Maine Coon cat, but she doesn’t seem much affected by what’s on TV). I was able to parentally block the Fox News channel. I’ve left it blocked since then, and I haven’t missed it. Of course, I am still somewhat exposed to clips from Fox, primarily through Comedy Central, but I am more than happy to allow Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to filter my exposure. ;-)

  40. Blah!

    Yeah, I’m with you, except single-malt instead of ice cream.

    When does it get better?

  41. I am very familiar with what you are talking about. I read news articles and have “WTF?!?” moments and then feel prompted to share something on Facebook or make a blog post ranting about it or to scream at someone or to just lay down in the fetal position and cry. Usually those things don’t really help. Either because they don’t actually do anything, or someone comes by trying to defend the idiotic, further increasing my amount of WTF.

    Fortunately, there can be light at the end of the tunnel. I came to this conclusion at the bottom of a flabbergasted state. Better explained here (http://therogues.net/blog/2011/08/freesociety/), but in summary it just takes conscious effort to make the craziness stop. Just don’t give it credence, wherever it comes from. Shun the stupid. It’s as ridiculously easy as it is incredibly hard.

    And failing that, there is always the Daily Show. It helps to laugh at the stupid.

  42. #14: Aren’t Ragdolls wonderful? Mine’s a 14 year old female named Caitlin. As you say, I wouldn’t have any other kind (except full-blooded Siamese, but Ragdolls are an offshoot breed, so they count). We also have two other cats, one of whom is actually a bluepoint Siamese, other’s just a tigerstripe “mutt”. Cats are marvelous stress relievers. They’ve been a big help to me so far this week, the end of last week was a bit more than I cared to take, since my father was in the hospital for surgery. I slept over at the hospital from Friday night until they let him go home yesterday morning. I’m not sure who was happier to see whom, me/the cats, or vice versa.

  43. People always want to act like there’s something wrong or immoral with anyone who doesn’t follow the news for a while, but I have zero control over London and not very much say in Washington. There are things you want to do, and things you have to do, and even things you are morally obligated to do, and at the moment following the national and international meltdowns is none of the above.
    Plus I spent all weekend out of town, barely checking into Facebook, and I can’t be bothered to catch up with what I missed. I have a long list of things that is either more enjoyable or more necessary, and most things are both.

  44. O Great Scalzi, what an excellent picture of Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiant Perfection.

    You could have dramatically improved the composition of the picture by eliminating all of the clutter. We presume it has some sort of relevance to you but we could not be bothered to actually read the text to find out what.

    We also note that the picture above Her seems to be a picture of a bus on fire. Normally Magnificent She controls Her Supreme Radiance to prevent such unfortunate incidents, but something clearly went awry here. It is probably your fault – you must have upset Her somehow.

    Stop it.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  45. Ahhh…I was waiting for chang =/= chang’s report….which strangely makes no mention of the decision of the Executive Committee.

    No matter. The day is looking brighter already. Time for some ice cream (Tahitian vanilla!) and the Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

  46. My self-medication today: Two tabby cats, ABFAB reruns and Bryers chocolate ice cream with toasted almonds and whipped cream. Some cream shared with the tabbies. :-)

  47. Thank you. Hadn’t thought of Looney Tunes as an anti-anxiety thing, but you’re right, they help. (And the Hannah-cat has been snuggling close, which also is a help.)

    Am out of ice cream, but I’ll remedy that tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be any dairy/creamery making a dark cherry ice cream out here; I’ve searched forever. Second choice I think will be dulce le leche.

    Oh, and while on the Seattle side yesterday, running an errand for one friend and grabbing another to just go places for not much reason, went to Carpinito’s for produce. There’ll be apricot jam and nectarine/ginger jam in a couple of days. And… they have buckwheat honey, which is another thing I’ve been seeking for a few years now.

    –g, happy about the little things

  48. I sympathize, having been dealing with Garfunkel moments (typically over things in the news) several times a week for most of the past eight years or so, complicated in my case by some serious trust issues. Got them down to no more than one every week and a half or so in the last few months. Having a very sweet lady enter my life helped a lot (I spent half the day with her today). While I can also attest to the therapeutic value of Looney Tunes, I hope you’re getting loads of affection from your nearest and dearest as well.

  49. Our dog smiled at me, a big toothy smile, and that made me laugh hard enough to enjoy the day after all.

  50. Well, the idiots haven’t reached the Heathrow area so I’m safe. Ice cream and Looney Tunes sounds a lot better than the footage I’ve been seeing on Sky and the BBC. I wish I still had my cat to pet..
    These mindless fools probably haven’t thought through the implications of having a criminal record. There should be quite a few job vacancies opening up soon.

  51. Thank you, #58. That was soothing:). I don’t doubt that frustration is fuelling the punkery, but what we are actually having to deal with *is* the punkery. And I am one who remembers the ’85 riots in Tottenham – was living in London then.

  52. LAJ@67: These mindless fools probably haven’t thought through the implications of having a criminal record. There should be quite a few job vacancies opening up soon.

    Irony makes me smile. Dramatic irony makes me giggle.

    I giggled.

  53. Anomie is a structural condition of society, what people feel is a symptom of anomie. Anomie is not depression, anomie is not not the feeling of being out of place. Anomie arises from, according to Durkheim, too low a level of regulation in society. Too much freedom, lack of moral consensus.. often called a condition of normlessness. But that is a societal feature, not a personal feeling.

    Regulation (control of the individual by the group) can be too low, or too high. Integration (the connection of the individual to the group) can be too low or too high. The extremes of both are his four types of suicide in his classic work. He thought groups worked best when they had somebutnottoomuch regulation and people had somebutnottoomuch connection to the group.

    Basically, the term is Durkheim’s, and Durheim did not really think one needed or should pay attention to the individual level of analysis. Social structures matter, people don’t… not for sociology. If you care about the individual level, that’s psychology which is fine and dandy for some things, but Durkheim focused on social facts as the core of sociology… things that are external to and coercive of the individual.

    Even if we take the individual (psychological not sociological) and common use of the term, I doubt our beloved author actually has no personal sense of social obligation, trust in others, or concern about their welfare, and can’t bond with others. Even for a couple of hours.

    Yes, I am being pedantic. No, you people are not alone in your use of the term to mean a personal feeling.

    FWIW, and with no expectations about this being useful or used.

  54. I see no point in trying to analyse causes here and now in the UK. There’s too much fear and anger around.

    There is also some hope – there are groups of people turning up with brooms and starting the cleanup.

  55. Biannual anon comment @ 72

    Alas, your post was far too interesting and provocative not to be useful. Off to research now.

  56. biannual anon content:

    “I doubt our beloved author actually has no personal sense of social obligation, trust in others, or concern about their welfare, and can’t bond with others.”

    And that’s where you’re wrong, because the sense of “you’re all fuckers, fuck you all, fuck this entire world, where the fuck is my ice cream” is indeed what I’m describing. Fortunately, it does go away.

    You know, I do tend to use the word I want to use, particular when I use words that are of less-than-common usage. And also, I have read Durkheim (he was required reading in college, don’t you know).

  57. Luckily, our local art house cinema just featured a Looney Tunes compilation (on the big screen!) and we had an excellent family kayak trip (including cows in the water as navigational obstacles–that was different).

    But I think we may need more Ben & Jerrys. I like Cherry Garcia. I’m still bitter that the ginger snap stuff was only a temporary offering.

  58. I spent last night watching TV, then went to bed early, like you do, when the day has been kinda ‘gah’. I snuggled with my cats during the evening, and again at bedtime. Glad I don’t have to do without my pets. They help so much when days are dark.

    (as per usual, chang, who is not chang, manages to get to the heart of the matter – that being magnificent cats) :)

  59. When it comes to US politics, the thing that really gets me down is the feeling of a positive political feedback loop, in which failure helps the people actually causing it: e.g. Republicans threaten to make the country default on debt, it hurts the economy, this gets scored in the media and the polls as hurting the Democratic President and therefore good for Republicans. Or the way that failure to stop terrorist attacks can actually be good for a sitting administration, by keeping people scared and hungry for authority, whereas success hurts them by ramping down the general level of fear.

    I felt a lot better about the events of the past few weeks in the US once I learned that opinion is actually turning against Republicans as a result of them. It wasn’t visible in the polls for a long time: mostly you’d see declining approval for Obama–heck, I’d personally state declining approval for Obama, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to respond by voting Republican.

    Anyway, even if it’s temporary, it’s a sign that some political restoring force still exists.

  60. I knew there was a reason I’ve burned through two pints of Phish Phood in three days….
    Where’s my cat?

  61. @72, I didnt know what anomie meant but thats an interesting concept as presented.

    speaking of meaning, someone just told me I am using ‘ironic’ wrong. If Marie says ‘let them eat cake’ and any minimally informed member of the audience could reply ‘but they dont *have* any cake, that is the *point*’, is Marie’s comment within the definition of irony?

    I am pretty sure Irony does NOT mean rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you’re already there, good advice that you just didnt take….

  62. As a Los Angeleno, I wrote a few pithy remarks about the disposition of rioters in modern urban centers, but I deleted them so that Mr. Scalzi doesn’t have to. I just want it known that I saw what you did there. (Not you, Mr. Scalzi, the other “you”.)

    I should probably delete this too, but I’m allergic to cats, and have no ice cream, though I do love Looney Tunes.

  63. quote of the day

    “Whatever tactics the police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so.”

    and they wonder why people are rioting.

  64. Not sure accidie is exactly like anomie. I think it is more like “whatever–I guess there might be some ice cream over there, if I care to reach it and that might be OK, but life, don’t talk to me about life, or stuff, unless you feel like getting that ice cream for me and then if you feel like it you can put on the loony tunes, but otherwise I am going to do whatever tasks I do everyday as long as you don’t change any of them err yeah” rather than John’s colorful description of how anomie feels to him.

  65. Love this post. Yes yes yes yes! Feel the same way, but feel obliged to post the following:

    WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER, but need to acknowledge the rise from life being nasty, brutish, and short to one of post-scarcity happiness has just taken a tumble. How far have we fallen? In some places, pretty far. But we have a lot of people in this country and others who want to get things back on track. As my three year old would say, “YES, LET’S DO IT!”

    So, have a bit of ice cream for me and let’s pull ourselves up, dust ourselves off, shake off the anomie, and figure out a way to move forward together.

  66. Unholy guy at 86:

    That quote is particularly unimpressive, given that police already have legal backing … and then some. As evidenced by the triggering incident.

  67. I don’t normally swear.
    However, I’m beginning to suspect that the human race could use a good meteor.
    I don’t much like my species right now.

  68. I think it hilarious that the Tea party and right winger folks who think it perfectly legitimate to threaten overthrowing the government because their candidate lost a democratic election (or because they are paying some of the lowest taxes in the last hundred years), are the same folks condeming a group of people who are angry because the police shot one of their group as part of a larger issue of systemic police bias towards their group.

    lose an election-> threaten to murder the winning politician->justified behavior

    suffer systemic pollice brutality->have member of your group apparently murdered by police amd covered up by police->riots ensue->completely unjustified behavior.

    interesting take on things.

  69. Dark sweet cherry ice cream is an excellent choice. I have a bag of cherries in the fridge demanding cobblerization right now, but that requires more motivation than opening a carton of ice cream.

  70. Yes, LAJ, it’s almost as though there was something deeper and more insidious at the cause here than just punks and thugs being idiots and fools.

    Almost.

  71. So I live in Ealing, the shops at the end of my street are boarded up. 400 yards away, rioters set a rubbish bin on fire, and a 50 year old man tried to put it out. So they knocked him to the ground, and (it seems) stamped on his head. Reading between the lines of the news reports, and the increasingly desperate attempts to get in touch with his family, he’s not going to survive.

    So glad to hear Greg @ 92 thinks it hilarious.

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs (*), some people really need to think about their flipping tone.

    (*) By which I mean “reasonable people may differ”, not “I don’t care about right and wrong”.

  72. Dave @ 96

    I have disagreed with Greg on a number of subjects over the last few years on this blog but this time I think you misread what he was saying. It was a bit off topic, but it did not find humor in these horrible events.
    I’m just sorry this has hit so close to your home and some one who was trying to do the right thing became a victim.
    I’m just glad we’re a bit more controlled here than the average comment section you see other places. CNN for instance. Troll city over there right now.
    Jeff S.

  73. Post-scarcity? This concept seems to have become quite popular lately. I am afraid that until machines are literally doing most or all of our mining, smelting, milling, farming, construction, manufacturing and shipping for us — meaning no human need break a sweat in the earning of his daily bread — the notion of “post-scarcity” is something of a daydream. Pleasant, perhaps even desireable, but not at all certain. Perhaps not even likely?

  74. Dave@96: he’s not going to survive. So glad to hear Greg @ 92 thinks it hilarious.

    Right, Dave, because clearly the thing I found so hilarious in #92 was that some innocent bystander was going to die. It’s all right there in black and white.

    between the lines.

    subliminally

    via ESP.

    Everything is bigger

    and yet smaller

    It’s computers

    ….

    San Dimas High School Football Rules!

  75. Scalzi, I understand. I really do. Please take this advice: download and then play Katie Goodman’s “I didn’t f*ck it up,” and listen to it at least twice.

    This, too, will pass.

  76. @76, re: “You know, I do tend to use the word I want to use.”

    Yeah, y’know, about that? Have you ever considered writing professionally as a career? Your blog posts make it seem like you’d be really good at it.

  77. our beloved author:

    “And that’s where you’re wrong, because the sense of “you’re all fuckers, fuck you all, fuck this entire world, where the fuck is my ice cream” is indeed what I’m describing. Fortunately, it does go away.

    You know, I do tend to use the word I want to use, particular when I use words that are of less-than-common usage. And also, I have read Durkheim (he was required reading in college, don’t you know).”

    Anomie in the psychological sense requires more than a couple of hours for a time frame. Not that your inaccuracy in usage interfered with the sense you were trying to communicate, it worked at that level. Which you know and I would expect given your ability to string together words in a pleasing way.

    But do you really want to claim you don’t trust your wife at those times? What with inability to trust others being a part of anomie as you intended to use it and all?

    I’ll wait.

    /insert Admiral Ackbar gif

    I am sure you read Durkheim, many have. But most for some reason ignore his arguments that social forces are real and powerful, and translate the arguments to the level of psychology. Which is odd, since Suicide was basically an argument that something most people think of as purely psychological (suicide) has a large component that is NOT psychological. (level of social obligations of groups one belongs to). He wasn’t saying that Protestants get more depressed than Catholics, that they “feel” more anomie, not at all. It is the structure of the rules of the religion that he identifies as a specific cause of differential suicide rates, the level of social obligations. Catholics have to do a lot more as Catholics than Protestants have to do as Protestants.

    In general, any group with higher levels of social obligations (throws them in contact with other members of the group) will have lower suicide rates than groups with lower levels of intragroup contact. All other things being equal.

    Gah, I don’t even like Durkheim! So, one other point, to move towards something you might find much more relevant to your interests and might enjoy thinking about for a few seconds at least.

    Consider “Player of Games” by Banks. This is a great example, imo, of using social forces as a driver of the story. The protagonist comes to see more and more of what the characters do as being a reflection of their societies, and how they tend to act in ways that reflect those societal structures and norms even though they are not aware of them. There is still a great deal of psychologically drive action of course, but the social context of it, the use of social forces to shape the actions and dialogue, adds a great deal of richness.

    Compare that blending and mutual influence of the social and psychological with… just about any “lone agent of good battles the evil empire” story you know. Which approach is more likely to yield interesting story developments and full rich characters? And which is likely to lead to a Laumeresque “Retief Saves the World” bit of bubble gum?

  78. biannual anon comment:

    “But do you really want to claim you don’t trust your wife at those times?”

    Fortunately the wife isn’t usually home when it happens.

  79. “you’re all fuckers, fuck you all, fuck this entire world, where the fuck is my ice cream”

    on second thought never mind…

  80. I have no advice for the state of the world, but should you run out of Looney Tunes, I recommend Phineas and Ferb – modern absurdity that is not true and very fantastic ( as opposed to the state of the world, which is both true and not fantastic)

  81. John Scalzi :”Fortunately the wife isn’t usually home when it happens.”

    Which fits nicely with what Durkheim said, really.

  82. Kevin@52 — It gets better when WE make it better: We have to take over. Get your money out of Wall Street, don’t patronize big corporations, start businesses that are democratically run worker-owned cooperatives, and start local sustainable economies, so they (the banksters and CEOs) lose power. It’s too late to expect the government to save us, we have to do it ourselves. We can do it! but, just in case, vote in the most progressive people we can. Get rid of the Regressives who want to crash our economy so they can steal the rest of it.

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