Various and Sundry, 7/31/23

John Scalzi

Some thoughts on things on this last day of July, 2023:

RIP, Paul Reubens: Better known to at least a couple of generations of Americans as Pee-wee Herman, Reubens had apparently been contending with cancer over the last several years. In his final statement on his Facebook page, Reuben apologized for not going public with his cancer diagnosis and treatment, which was kind of him but I think also unnecessary. We all deal with our lives as we will, and his choice to keep his cancer private was what he needed to do for himself. Personally, when I think of Reubens, I think not only of his own talents but the fact that he was a springboard for other talents as well: Pee-wee’s Playhouse was the first place most people heard or saw of people like Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne, and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was the directorial debut of Tim Burton and the film score debut of Danny Elfman. That’s a pretty nifty peer group to share a spotlight with.

X Threatens to Sue Non-Profit For Noting X Is Hate-Filled as Fuck: Because apparently it’s cheaper to threaten to sue people reporting on your trash-filled site than it is to take out said trash. This is not an entirely surprising move by Elon Musk, who likes to threaten people with legal suits on the regular, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not a crappy act by a lousy person. Speaking of lousy people, X is also letting Kayne West back onto the site; apparently West has promised not to post anymore antisemitic bullshit. This is where we all start a betting pool to see how long that lasts. Speaking of trash:

Trump Thwarted in Georgia: Seems that you can’t have a criminal investigation of your attempt to interfere with the election tossed just because it hurts your precious fee-fees, even if you are a former president. Which likely means that there will be indictments coming from that state in relatively short order. Which, well: Good. Mind you, the vast majority of Republican primary voters don’t care and Trump is still the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Bless their hearts. Apparently a majority of Republican primary voters also think Trump is “fun,” which is a hell of thing. He’s about as much fun as a rash.

Issue 1 in Ohio Has Polling Parity: Issue 1 being the transparent attempt by the Ohio GOP to keep Ohio voters from amending the state constitution to keep abortion safe and legal in the state, as it is entirely likely they will do if Issue 1 does not pass. More formally it changes how citizen initiatives are done in the state. As an Ohioan I will note that the people who are for Issue 1, who thought they would pass it in a walk because they scheduled it for a time when people never bother to vote, are now panicking about it; the signs I see for Yes also have things like “Protect the 2nd Amendment,” which Issue 1 will absolutely do nothing for or against (The 2nd Amendment is in the US Constitution, not the Ohio one), or “Preserve our Constitution,” which is an outright lie, since Issue 1 specifically make changes to a constitutional process unchanged for more than a century.

I don’t mind them panicking, but I also want to remind Ohioans to remember to vote on Issue 1 on or before August 8, which is coming up a lot sooner than you might think.

— JS

16 Comments on “Various and Sundry, 7/31/23”

  1. My friend had a PeeWee Herman doll and would watch it with the kids she nannied.

    I feel people never need to apologize for not sharing their personal trials and illnesses. Some people are very private.

    Then you have me who hasn’t had a private thought since she learned to form sentences.

  2. Really enjoying your shorter, more frequent roundup posts. (Of course I enjoy your longform posts too!) Twitter’s loss is our gain.

    Thank you for continuing to make your blog a priority. It’s always been the place I read your stuff outside of buying your books.

  3. I voted No on 1. The BoE was busy but not crowded here in Hamilton. Staff said it has been pretty consistent volume-wise.

  4. As for Issue 1, I am as a rule in favor of supermajority requirements for plebescites, referenda, voter ballot initiatives, &c. “Bypass the normal workings of government” should be a tough row to hoe and it ought only to work if people seriously think their lawmakers are refusing to do the job.

    I’m also against changing the rules in the middle of the game, and against changing the rules with a campaign that involves a lot of lying about the effects of the change, which would be enough for me to vote No if I were an Ohioan.

  5. Are you saying that most Americans don’t know Fishburne from Apocalypse Now!?

    OK, you might be right, but I’m old and that was my first exposure to Clean Fishburne. (And I was overseas during the heyday of Playhouse.)

  6. Do we have to say X when we mean twitter? Notorious antisemite, Kanye, is back on twitter. I refuse to dignify Mad Lonnie’s rebrand with my time.

  7. Although I sometimes have my doubts, being a generally uninformed voter, I don’t usually cast my vote for someone who just killed himself rather than face charges, as a good many did in my district not long ago. So I console myself that I am up enough on current events, and try to maintain my peace of mind by not following the news all that closely. It’s a tradeoff.

  8. The name change is nice, because now I can say “Twitter was a fun (mostly) social media site, and X is a fascist child pornography site, so there’s no reason for me to use it.”

  9. 1) Supermajorities for constitutional changes would be a good idea, but when you’ve worked hard to prevent people’s votes from mattering, and haven’t shown particular respect for your constitution (we have multiple outstanding rulings against our school funding system which the legislature has for the most part ignored), it doesn’t seem like hindering one of the main ways that your people can actually have a voice is a good idea. I don’t think you’re on the side of the angels when your actions are mostly directed at making sure people you don’t like or agree with can’t vote.
    2) I’m not sure what is “fun” about Trump – I guess he and select people like him get to do whatever they want (which is fun for them), and lots of people would like that. The problem is that “Everything Trump touches dies.” is overdetermined at this point, and thinking that you (or your kind) will be the exception seems either stupid or evil.
    He’s fun in the way a disaster novel is fun, except people read disaster novels and don’t live them.

  10. John,

    I know you prefer comments to be on point with the post but I don’t know another way to ask you:

    What do you think of Strange New Worlds (and Discovery , if you will)? Specifically, what are your thinky-thoughts on the retconning, the more advanced tech (and sets) than previous shows and whatever else.

    I rather enjoy SNW and don’t mind the changes but the cesspool that is the comment section of many articles and pages about the show seems to be in a tizzy about any slight threat to Canon.

  11. I made a point of donating for the first time to the Center for Countering Digital Hate, hoping they’ll countersue Musk into the ground. Here’s a link; they seem to be doing good work:

    @Random22: we can call Twitter anything we want to call Twitter. If a company wants me to use its name change, it can pay me to do so.

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