A buddy was telling me that Nietzsche often wrote in little bursts, or aphorisms. I am not Nietzsche, to put it lightly, but that mode is an efficient way to get a wide variety of things on my mind off it.
- Restaurants in Toronto are increasingly wonderful, but there’s a kind of person who only enjoys the best ones because a publication endorses it. This person eats status, not food. The people who want a good chill with good good look identical to the status eater; the point isn’t to judge who is who, it’s that people ought to consider what kind of restaurant-goer they are.
- I considered bringing my Leafs jersey to India, but expect that team’s shame has travelled that far, and mutilated beggars with leprosy will feel sorry for me.
- Capitalism is a Ponzi scheme, but instead of new investors to keep the fraud known as the economy afloat, they raise inflation to insane levels and incrementally enforce austerity measures on poor people.
- The musician’s goal is to transcend the physical instrument, so that when they feel a sound or hear it in their head, the fingers simply move so that they produce that sound. This is a hard stage to reach, but is only a prerequisite to the next stage: the sounds you hear and feel must be good ones.
- Human rights and consumerism each have a Sisyphean aspect, an endless escalator, I find interesting, even if there’s no causal connection; addressing one oppressed group inevitably but accidentally excludes another, or a subdivision of it, but including them excludes another, and so on. While in consumerism things like car models are of a year time hasn’t reached yet. In 2016 they sell the 2017, etc. Burgers were promoted for their size, then grade, then for the extent they were organic/natural, then the aioli, then for its gourmet cheese, some other highly local or exotic ingredient…it never ends. On the one hand, it’s delicious, but often the real purpose isn’t to serve a delicious, it’s to advertise the ingredients to justify the higher cost.
- Money/currency being unshackled from the gold standard has a parallel in consumer goods; neither currency nor goods have any intrinsic worth anymore, so since things are only worth what people will pay for them, making people insane makes their value insanely high.
- Young males, and immature older males, are an absolute threat to females, and have no idea that they are. Their obliviousness is mirrored in themselves, as fuckboys are anything but self-actualized. Intellectual or self-proclaimed progressive males, of course, can be slimey towards women too. When considering this topic, seek input from females, which I don’t say because it’s a trendy progressive thing to say, but because I’d ask a musician about music or a scientist about science.
- Novels can be assessed for their social and artistic worth. Each written document is a separate entity that may have value in one category, both, or neither. “Don’t write for the day, write for the ages” is the battle cry of aesthetic artist, but those who wave this flag either get enough sustenance from this niche specialty to look at the world’s ills and shrug, they separate aesthetics from their socially engaged essays or, more likely, they aren’t marginalized. It’s noble to be dedicated to functionless art, but it’s wrong to sneer at the artist whose art uplifts or serves people who need that.
- Serious thinkers let go of certainty. Anyone who believes they’re infallible isn’t just wrong, they will suffer; embracing uncertainty permits spitballing halfbaked ideas until they develop into better ideas, while those who believe they’re always right shy from saying anything potentially wrong, and this ego deprives them of a great tool for learning, or developing ideas. Also the incorrigible think everyone around them is stupid, and this embitters them.
- The only person more despised than a liar is the person who tells the truth.
- People sometimes brag about the volume or quality of what they read. Some art presupposes a certain intelligence in the audience, but remember, idiots claim to love and understand great art. Anyway, anyone can read a novel if they look at all its words. Bragging should be reserved for the person who wrote it, not read it, and the point of reading isn’t to own a cultural claim but to experience pleasure or, better, ecstasy.
- I get why wealthy white people don’t read about the marginalized—it’s uncomfortable and they don’t see an immediate need to do so. The ignorance it breeds, tragic but understandable, continues bc most major papers have predominantly white writers. Editors should fix this, but they reasonably assume that publishing important but unpopular writers won’t save a dying industry. Their position is about hopeless.
- Compassionate, intelligent people can be extremely racist, because racism doesn’t derive from a deficit of these things, but from being unaware of how things are when you have a different body. We’re hard-wired to live in smaller communities because we evolved in tiny bands for 10,000 years, and multiculturalism in a globalized world is new and hard for not being suited to our brain in its default setting.
- The caveman who ruled the cave by various permutations of brawn and intelligence—who supplied food by hunting, pleasure by charisma, safety by cleverness, or some mix—is regarded roughly the same way by his community as the Porsche driver, the Hollywood celeb, and the good family provider. The underlying impulse has never changed, only the expression has. Responding to these qualities are ingrained in us, but look for more in a lover than excellent survival skills. Maybe humans alone have the capacity to process and appreciate abstract, complex things, so revel in this.
- The prude bore who dismisses art because it’s lewd or funny is the most sad but contemptible idiot. This describes every government sensor, but also self-important smug academic types. Lewdness alone doesn’t make art good, obviously, but consider that masterpieces like Madame Bovary, Ulysses and Lolita were not just frowned upon when released, but were made illegal.
- I imagine even the biggest meathead sports fan would be mildly affronted to learn how much of their tax dollars go to subsidize billionaire sports owners. Cities pay hundreds of millions of dollars so the owner has a free or hugely discounted stadium, usually in a prime downtown location, needed for him to generate tens millions of dollars annually. The cities never get paid back. Diehard sports fans should question if this is a waste of money, and those who hate sports but love education and clean water should be rioting.
- Everyone knows that the only force that commands respect is physical force, yet many who watch oppressed people riot from afar sympathize with the cause, but wish they expressed justifiable anger peacefully, forgetting violence is all that’s ever created change. I don’t like violence either, but I get it. (Not all violence is justified, of course.)
18. It’s a shame that the truest things are often expressed in such corny banal terms, but that doesn’t invalidate the underlying sentiment. Love is nearly impossible to write about. It often appears on walls in stand-alone form, “love,” as if that alone says it all. It’s a directive, a reminder. Don’t confuse the sophistication of a phrase for the truth of it. A lot of garbage is expressed very cleverly, too.
19. Ace Ventura has a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, so on the Halperin meter I rate Rotten Tomatoes 0%. I hate it when brilliance dressed in silliness is thought to be stupid, and there isn’t a prison sentence long enough for the people who gave this movie a failed rating. Ace Ventura is a modern masterpiece, comparable to Gogol’s Dead Souls.
19. If you light a candle at night and listen carefully to Robert Johnson, you will feel the ghosts that eluded you as a kid when you looked in the mirror and said “Bloody Mary” three times.
20. As TVs grew in size and quality, the systems people commonly hear music on got worse. MP4s, Apple’s music, compress the sound waves so they fit onto little devices, so they sound terrible. The difference between a good phonograph and digital music is as palpable as that of a colour and a black and white TV. Seriously.
21. The most brutal, vicious, and psychologically demanding sport in the world is chess.
22. Creating a laugh where otherwise there’d silence is the closest thing to a godly act. It’s creation, and the pleasure borders on ecstasy and the sublime. It’s just from the gut. A genius without a sense of humour is an enormous waste.