Making Junk-Drink Junkies

Somehow, you suspected this all along. There’s a special pit in hell for those who pushed tobacco and garbage food, especially on children.

I saw the change happen. When I was in Jr. High, soft drinks were not served anywhere in the school and the clear word was that they were bad for you. (But who could miss how many kids zipped across the street to the convenience store to buy a hit of bubbles?)

By the time I was a High School Senior, in 1970, Park High was getting a nice yearly check from Pepsi to have a soda dispensary right in the hall next to the cafeteria.


There Is No Bottom For the Bar to Reach

Charlie Pierce knows this is a day for reflection on evil acts and scumbag behavior.

First there was this incredibly evil development. Which was kinda hidden and kinda not. I didn’t understand back then just how well “noise” of events could conceal the most important messages.

Next, another ugly history lesson. I thought Starr was going to be the  phony-scumbag bottom. HA! This is a key insight that had not occurred to me:

(One of the worst things about the current media elite is that so many of them came of age during this extended kabuki and became convinced that this is the way things are supposed to work, an attitude many of them brought with them into their coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.)


For the Record: Denouncing a Boneheaded Idea About Pop Music

An unfortunate, lingering side-effect of the persistent remnants of high-culture arrogance 30 years ago was the following “reasoning”:

Theater and classical music were Serious Art best explained by serious writers for a serious, intelligent audience.

Films and jazz had earned a seat at the lower end of the Serious table, but they had a essential commercial streak that made denouncing big hits something to avoid.

Popular music was garbage and nothing but commerce. So a serious writer who took on pop was a fool. Writing for a tiny audience of other fools. The correct move was dumb writing for dumb people, which would attract a huge audience.

Of course this never worked in practice. (Pointing out that those who read about pop music were already the intellectual fans didn’t seem to make any difference.) So the nonsense has fallen out of favor.

What has replaced it is the notion that gossip and celebrity-drooling will make a lot more bucks than serious discussion. And that, sadly, is hard to deny.

The Flaws I Picked

I like to imagine that, before I was born, I was presented with a list of physical shortcomings and told I had to take several with me into life. I must have picked “Weak Eyes — with persistent stressful interludes,” but also, “Great Difficulty Tying Knots.” I was the last one in Kindergarten to learn how to tie my shoes. That bow knot was flat incomprehensible to me. But at least the knots on the extra garbage bags today were good enough.

Picking Up Whatever Little (Bittersweet) Sparkles I Can Find …

One of the most annoying and persistent complaints about “critics” that I’ve heard over the decades is that “critics” are arrogant assholes who want to tell everybody else what to think. I concluded long ago that the best explanation for this misreading is that it was self-projection. Always had a caveat: “But there can’t be that many of that kind of jerk in the world, can there?”

Well, I now know there can.