Letters to Harrison: 8

Esquire has a podcast now where they go back and look at old articles that had been popular over the years and you will not be surprised that they covered your food column The Raw and the Cooked. They discuss your article The Days of Wine and Pig Hocks which I found to be funny and highly entertaining. Having never been on a book tour, only slinging paperback copies at local libraries and different venues where the odds of finding anyone who reads is like finding bigfoot, I have a hard time understanding the dreaded tour. I was glad to see you made a go of it, ingesting anything that looked or smelled good, and bringing a little extra weight back home with you. Bud is doing a gallery at the Lansing library and I have to say I’m excited to go. You must be the one person on the planet that doesn’t have more that five pictures of yourself on the internet but your friend Bud has enough to do a show. Have it be my luck to drive over an hour one way only to discover Bud has five photos to share and no prints. I could try to be less pessimistic but what is the point. Living my life as if the world is out to get me leaves me with a lack of surprise and yet it still finds a way to throw me a curve ball and beam me in the head. I heard that you had a knack for going into restaurants and ordering everything on the menu. I have never tried this for several reasons, for one my wallet would not allow it and I was raised not to waste food regardless of how bad it is. Well, until my parents tried it and almost threw up in their own disgust. I have always played the Guinea pig and while it has worked in my favor most of the time, I have to admit that there have been long days sweating in bed and mornings that drifted into afternoons while sitting on the toilet. This was in the days before cells phones so a good book came in handy. Try to grab something you checked out from the local library and share the love. There is a local Mexican restaurant that serves traditional tacos not far from my house and while I will say they have the best food in this category their service for the longest time was lacking. My wife convinced us to try it out again and forget the nightmare that happened a few years ago. There was only one thing I wanted to do when I arrived and that was to order every style of taco they had and try them all, which I did. I tried this before and I must have had the order that the cook decided was a pain in the ass. Still, how hard is it to make seven corn tortilla tacos with only onions, cilantro, and a wedge of lime? I waited one hour and fifteen minutes before my food arrived and the server never came back to check on me. The tacos were delicious, that wasn’t what left a bad taste in my mouth it was the lack of apathy to the customer. I ate the food and therefore paid for it but when it came to recommending the place years later, I pointed people to their reviews online and I wasn’t the only one. At some point the manager that the place was presumably named after, a tall blonde-haired white man with Buddy Holly glasses, either left or was finally fired, and the place named the Big White Cock in Spanish finally turned things around. I should do this more often, go into a place and order random things, but isn’t that what a buffet is for? Is the buffet just another form of cheating when it comes to good food even when you simply want to sit on your ass and stuff your face? I had a really good Sangiovese from Tuscany last night and slept like a rock. One of the five wine racks in the basement is drying up and I think it’s time to fill it up again. Maybe I will pick up some lunch along the way.

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The Catch 22 of Journalism

An idea came to me recently and for some reason I felt the urge to follow it to its ultimate conclusion of disappointment. There is a debated scheduled for April 19th between Jordan B Peterson and Slovaj Zizek regarding Happiness: Capitalism vs Marxism and it’s being broadcast live online. The idea that came to me was covering the event for a magazine or some kind of online source. While it has been a while since I have done such a thing, the last I can remember is the series of articles I wrote about my daughter being born and staying in the NICU for 90 days, I realized that things like this are not being covered by the media anymore. I never saw a write up about the two times that Peterson had a discussion with Sam Harris, a sold-out event with millions of views online.
I thought about the historical aspect of magazines over the years and the part they played in cultural events. Rolling Stone once featured writers like Hunter S Thompson and David Foster Wallace. Esquire had the rebuttle to the Buckley and Vidal debate where the men continued their argument in the pages of their magazine. I could go on but let’s be honest and say that magazines played a big role in out culture during the last century.
When I did a little bit of research into what magazines would cover a story like Peterson vs Zizek I was stunned to find none. I knew things had gotten bad but I didn’t think it was that bad. Rolling Stone is now a victim of the click bate bullshit market and I have a feeling it will go the way of the dodo soon. Esquire has become the homepage of the SJW propaganda for men, not real men, just the men who hang out in the crowd and still try to get laid without appearing aggressive about it. Let’s face it they don’t get laid. Maxim is click bate with testosterone. GQ I can’t figure out, it says its for men but more like what women want men to look like while complaining they no longer look like men. The Atlantic, well the Atlantic appears to be real journalism but has never touched the subject of Jordan Peterson.
When I reached out to these magazines the first night was a complete waste of time. I spent an hour writing the query or pitch email and when I hit send I received a reply right away from the Rolling Stone address stating the inbox was full. The Atlantic got back to me but decided they would pass, I wasn’t surprised. With no responses from other magazines I have come to the conclusion that I am on my own.
A part of me can not blame them for this. Recently the New York Times published an investigative piece into the financial history of Donald Trump. The piece took over a year to put together and write. It was the top story for a day, one day. Then Trump tweeted something stupid and everyone forgot. A year’s worth of work had been forgotten before it was really discussed. It’s our fault, and the media’s fault for what is happening. Our brains have become soft, obese things that no longer function as they should. They live on a shitty diet of click bate and victim porn that only makes us more lazy and less likely to think. We have done this to ourselves snacking all day on garbage instead of sitting down to have a meal.
Media has forgotten what made it worth watching. There were talented writers that brought the reader in and hooked them to finish the story asking the question “where are you taking me.” Instead articles are limited to 50-500 word sound bites that only give the reader enough to feel like they know what is going on and in all likelihood giving them a dose of bullshit. In depth reporting is a thing of the past and out society is feeding off the same circle of trash that it once despised. Media is eating itself into a grave.
I have to think that somebody out there is trying to stay relevant and not go down the rabbit hole of fake readership numbers, click bate, and SJW porn that is the new chic. Trends come and go but if you are running adds that appear sexist or patriarchal good luck having those readers come to your page. And if you stop running those adds you aren’t making money. Welcome to the catch 22 of journalism, try to attract your readers while not offending them. Good fucking luck.
Two great minds from opposing worlds are going to face off and talk about what should be the topic of the day. Our next election will likely have a far-right capitalist and a socialist of one form or another. These two ideas are going to be featured whether we like it or not and the country will have to decide which road to take without really thinking about it. The debate that is going to take place is the conversation we should be having but we don’t talk to one another. There was a time when our media would show a side to the public that had not been considered. Stories weren’t just written for shock value but to help the public think. These days thinking is not required and from what I can tell not desired for publication.
Rolling Stone was recently sold and the magazine overwent an overhaul. The biweekly publication changed to monthly and sections changed for the new management. The first cover featured a pregnant rapper and the man who might be her baby daddy. I say might because, well, we know how these things go.
Meanwhile, I have never seen Peterson on the cover of a magazine. A man who wrote a book selling 3 million copies with the idea of personal responsibility A self help book that put the responsibility of the individual in their hands sold 3 million copies, and nobody wants to talk about this. When you built your marketing model around selling victim porn the best thing to do is not sell responsibility or as I like to call it the social condom.
Maybe I should apologize at this point, I didn’t include a number in the title of my article. The subject wasn’t about sex or how men fucked up the world. The story didn’t have an equal number of women in the topic. Instead of focusing on one side the story would have included thoughts from both sides of the debate. The people the article was about have an education and deep background on the subjects they would be discussing. The story was clearly racist because it featured to middle aged white males. Did I mention the two guys are straight?
Our media is fucked and until somebody stands up and says we are no longer publishing garbage it will continue this way. On our end we need to stop looking at the bullshit they are feeding us and demand some kind of real content. I remember a time when writing was a skill not something that could be mass produce from a sweat shop in idea. It is only a matter of time until our news article sound like the customer service rep from a cell phone company. We will see names like John Smith, Jim Anderson, and Mike Dunhill writing our story with stock photos used to show people who are not real. Companies will write articles for women to sell items with titles like: top 10 eye liner colors, the three sexiest outfits to get him in bed, five ways to cook with butter, 1 in the loneliest number so come to match.cum.
I will still write my article. I still have my blog and I love all five of you for reading it. We might not have the media that we want but we do have the media that we deserve.

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This is the only time we get

While listing to the latest podcast by Joe Rogan I felt like I was listening to myself and friends discussing the life of Hunter S Thompson. Like many things in my life I was late to discovering Thompson and other members of his generation. Growing up in a blue-collar house I wasn’t exposed to the hippie movement and was far from understanding the peace and love movement. I wasn’t allowed to listen to the Beatles when I was growing up because they were ‘Satanic.” To this day I still don’t enjoy the Beatles but I will admit they made a huge contribution to music, boybands.
A new book about Thompson is coming out called Freak Kingdom and covers Thompson’s career as a journalist before he was known as a drunken Wildman. For full disclosure, I have read most of Hunter’s works and this includes his collected letters, huge volumes of letters compiled in a way to jump from a letter to the president to complaining about NRA membership fees and seeing nothing for it. most amusing was his book club fees and how he begged them to come after him because he was poor.
There was a time for people like Hunter and luckily for Hunter he knew his place during those years. Most of us drift through our lives looking at the small things that drive us, paying bills, getting laid, or where to eat next. The great generation stepped up to something greater than themselves. The Hippies and counter culture, well they… I don’t know what the hell they were doing but at least they did it. for the last thirty years I haven’t seen anyone doing much of anything. People protest like they did in the 60s but in far fewer numbers. Less than 1% of the US population fought in the Iraq or Afghan wars. Women’s lib movement has turned into destroying a man’s life because she really didn’t want to give that blowjob and he should have known by reading her mind. There are no heroes these days. We don’t have a Mohammed Ali to say “no” to the big problems in our society. Journalist no longer ask the hard questions going after Cheeto von Fuckstick, Nixon’s non-aborted result of anal sex. The public doesn’t help in this regard preferring to read 3rd grade level click bate or look at the latest pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass.
It’s not just this generation that will be judged as a waste of space to humankind. The previous few, generation X to the present hasn’t produced a human being worth talking about in the years to come. The life of a writer used to be as big as the tales they told. Actors and directors once had talent and the ability to make due with what they had. Music was more than just a beat and shitty lyrics.
Times are different compared to when Hunter was alive. Newspapers were still around. The internet did not exist yet. People cared about what was going on in the world. People read books. Things were happening and people were participating. People were divided back then but they also talked to one another. The types of conversations Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley had on national television are regarded as hate speech now on YouTube. This system is breaking down and there is no one to stop it.
I enjoy learning about these men of their times because I think there is still something to learn from them. If you planted any of them into our current situation odds are they would have died unknown and broke. They were the men of their times and to try and place the anywhere else is pointless. That isn’t to say that we don’t need a Hunter s Thompson or a Gore Vidal for our own time. I hope that these people will emerge and that the world will embrace them for what they are. An example of how we can better ourselves and in doing so make the world a better place, even if its only a little bit.
We can’t go back to the previous times that we though were more wonderful than they really were. I once heard a person say they wished they could have gone back to Studio 54 and experience what it was like. Of course, they skipped the part were most of the bartenders and the owner died later on from AIDs because of the party lifestyle that was Studio 54. As a culture we like to romanticize the highlights of certain times while ignoring the repercussions of those events. I don’t mind talking about the past, learning from what people have to offer, but it is foolish to wish that you could have been there. It is even more foolish to think that somehow, in some way, you are going to recreate that feeling, the mood of the time and transport yourself into a place you had never been and weren’t meant to experience.
All we have is what is before us. The world is forever changing and it is for us to exist in it, engage it, and participate in a way that you are seen and remembered. Make your mark in your own way and perhaps if you are lucky you can leave the world a better place than how you found it. those are the people who are remembered later, the ones they build the mausoleum dicks for. The others, the people who eat, sleep, and fuck their way through life not giving a shit about anyone but themselves, those are the future worm food that time will forget. The coal chugging mouth breathers that history will remember for one thing, destroying the world. The world is filled with knuckle draggers and when there are many few will stand apart. That isn’t to say we don’t have the mouth breathing elite, also known as white trash with money, they are money and it proves something that I have always said, having money doesn’t prove you are smart.
There is a line I am waiting to hear, one that will project someone out of the crowd with this social justice bullshit and the slew of simple-minded motherfuckers that the world is infested with. I don’t want to hear an apology, I don’t want a list of excuses, I want someone to look these losers in the face and tell them to “fuck off.” We have life really good these days. I have more information on my phone than all the libraries in the world from a hundred years ago combined. We have less wars, less poverty, less crime, and for some reason people are now making up things to be pissed about like pronouns.
The times of Hunter, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Tom Wolf, Ginsburg, Kerouac, etc. are gone. We have to accept that and when we do we may finally acknowledge that it is up to us to be the heroes of our time. The most common phrase a man says after accomplishing something great is “who else was going to do it?”

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71Republic, Teaching Economics While NOT Understanding it

I read an article today written by Atilla Sulker called “No Andrew Yang, Technology Is Not Killing Jobs.” One should not be surprised to find that such an ignorant article was written by a high school student and depends on Patreon to pay what ever Fortnite bills he might have. Getting past his young age, Atilla tried to argue that technology creates more jobs than it eliminates. I don’t know how much experience Atilla has in the job market but I would guess it isn’t much.
My first job doesn’t exist anymore. I was a bagger at a grocery store when I was in high school. A few years after I left that job and started college that job no longer existed. Other jobs that disappeared from that grocery store includes the people working the bottle return stand, now a series of machines managed part time by one of the stock boys. The normal Sunday shopping would see twenty lanes open for check out all day long. The last Sunday I went shopping I saw four cashiers working at the store’s peak hours and a long line at both self-checkout lanes. The army of cart retrieval boys who would be in the parking lot was replaced with one guy and a “Quick Cart” robot that pushes up to thirty carts at a time back to the main entrance. 25-30% of the jobs this supermarket once had are now gone.
Over the last twenty years the jobs that technology replaced eliminated jobs from the market permanently. With every wave of invention, the participation numbers of Americans declined with the majority of those lost workers leaving the work force permanently. Currently, the US job force is 62% of the population. As the baby boomers continue to lose their jobs to automation, they will choose to leave the work force, retiring years earlier, and those jobs are not opening up to the younger generation coming into the workforce. Atilla, good luck finding a job in journalism when you graduate.
At the Library I work for we have several volunteers who once worked for the Kalamazoo Gazette. The news paper is only printed three times a week now and the majority of their material is found online. What was once a powerhouse of media is now a small office with twenty people writing their witty little click bate adds and offering the poor examples of journalism that litter the internet. Journalist, editors, and photographers now spend their hours sorting through donated books hoping for the day that they might see a job opening at the library they volunteer for.
Technology is killing jobs and it’s doing more than that, it’s taking away meaning from people’s lives. Suicide and overdoses now outnumber deaths from car accidents in the United States. I lost two cousins to both of these in the span of a year. Whatever jobs that are created when trucks start driving themselves, food service is replaced by robots, trees are cut down by machines, and people start checking out their own groceries at the store are going to be such a small fraction of the jobs that are lost you will have massive unemployment, an increase in suicide, and more people turning to drugs to deal with their pain. Add the fact that wages have not increased since the 1970’s to match inflation and that student loan debt is now at 1.2 trillion dollars we are now at a tipping point where the American workers can not support themselves in this economy.
One part of Atilla’s article that made me laugh was the idea that if the production of bolts was automated the abundance of those bolts would create jobs in places like automotive. I live in Michigan, those jobs, installing the bolts in cars, is automated now. I can let my uncle who worked for GM for thirty years tell you about that. Forced to retire early with a fraction of his pension he is one of those people I mentioned that left the work for years before he should have because there were no jobs for him to move to in his field.
Atilla may be onto something. He noticed Andrew Yang popping up in the news and heard his message and like the pseudo journalist infesting the internet he saw a click bate opportunity and took it. Atilla may have a future but he is ignoring the fact that the majority of America’s work force has no future in the current economy. You can help support Atilla and 71Republic on Patreon because automation and the internet killed real journalism in America and producing click-bate they are not directly paid for is the new shitty business model plaguing the industry. This is why we have Trump for president.

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