When I first approached, he told me that he was working on a business plan. We began talking, and eventually I asked him to tell me his greatest struggle. “It’s hard to do what you want to do,” he said. “Because there’s so much pressure to do what’s next.” Then he held up his business plan. “That’s why I’m working on this.”
Look at this video, filmed in 1998/1999 in Westwood, CA.
Nobody is using a cell phone.
Nobody is taking a photo for Facebook.
Nobody is tweeting about it.
There’s no trending hashtag about it.
There’s nobody uploading it to Instagram.
There’s nobody staring at their smart phone in the crowd.
Nobody has in earbuds, tuning out the world.
Everybody is just in the moment, enjoying the performance. There’s no capability to film it, or make a comment on twitter, or call friends to come check it out. The iPhone won’t even exist for another eight years. The first iPod wasn’t released until two years later.
I really worry about the world we created when people are unable to just sit back and experience things, and always have to worry about a simultaneous meta conversation about the world. I don’t know if what we created is better than this long term.
On March 15, 2009, during launch preparations for STS-119, a free-tailed bat, injured and frightened, latched on to the foam insulation of Space Shuttle Discovery’s external propellant tank. His wing was broken and thus his life would soon end. But in a moment of bravery and ambition, his little claws buried deep into his foamy vessel, he became master of his own fate. He would not succumb to starvation or predation. No, he would soar into bat legend. He would touch the stars.
As Discovery’s rockets roared to life, he held his ground, although he was certainly afraid. In his adrenaline-soaked brain he may have thought, “Can a bat still be brave if he’s afraid?” I imagine he heard the answer echo, as though off the walls of his dark, cavernous home:
“That is the only time a bat can be brave.”
Once the shuttle’s rockets began pushing its massive frame toward the heavens, he turned his little eyes skyward. The shuttle gained speed, terrifying speed, and he knew he would soon slip the surly bonds of the Earth. His grip would eventually fail as Discovery sped faster than a bullet toward the inky, Stygian blackness of space. Although his small body was incinerated by the bright hellfire of the shuttle’s exhaust, his legend will burn brighter.
We must never forget his shining example. We must never forget to be brave in the face of overwhelming adversity. We must never forget to strive every day to be more than we are. We must never forget the final, heroic flight of Space Bat.
They may sound like another metal/screamo band, but they call it “melodic wondercore.”
Traumatic Anal Devastation
Best known for interrupting a Newt Gingrich rally in Las Vegas in February with their music, which a staffer for the former House Speaker described as “the sound of a tank driving through a minefield.” Well done.
From San Francisco, of course. It’s the work of Greg Charles, whose smooth love songs seem constructed from karaoke backing tracks. He thanks listeners in a seven and a half minute video on his site, where he stands in front of green-screen footage of San Francisco and spends the better part of a minute rattling off all the countries he apparently has fans in. It almost seems like the work of Tim & Eric, especially when he mentions that A Nice Vibe is No. 1 on something called theSan Francisco Pop Chart—um, on ReverbNation, a website for musicians to promote their work. That’s probably where A Nice Vibe’s supposed No. 8 on the “U.S. Pop Chart” happened too, consideringBillboardhas no record of A Nice Vibe. Best to take the “Grammy nominated” note on its Facebook page with a grain of salt, too. Apress releasefrom A Nice Vibe’s label, Cut The Bull Entertainment, explains “The album has already put him on the Grammy ballot list in five categories for the nomination process.” So it was a on alistfor theballotfor nominations? What an honor! All of this nonsense is the result of Cut The Bull’s Al Walser, who recently made headlines for somehow gaming his way to a Grammy nomination.
“Mick’s Jaguar is the best Rolling Stones revival band to come out of Gowanus Bklyn. All members of the band are over 30, overweight, and enjoy dining at the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell/Dunkin Donuts combo spot around the corner from the practice hut… Real bands hate us.”
Last week, the Supreme Court decided to take up a pair of cases related to gay marriage, cases that will for the first time determine the constitutionality of laws denying marriage rights to same-sex couples. As a member of the nation’s highest court for the past 21 years, I can remember few rulings of such consequence as these two, which will affect the lives of so many people. So as the time approaches, I ask all Americans to think long and hard on what these decisions will mean for the future of our nation, and also think long and hard about the fact that I, Clarence Thomas, will get to determine whether gay people can marry each other.
That’s right, me: an embarrassingly undistinguished justice with a history of ethical misconduct who hasn’t spoken during an oral argument in almost seven years. I get to rule on whether gay people should have basic human rights.
Pretty crazy, right? I’m one of only nine Americans in a position to decide, in a matter of months, whether our democracy values the right of a group of human beings to get married.
Now, if you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around that one, you’re not alone. If you had told me in 1991 that I would one day have the power to decide the basic rights of millions of people, I would have laughed in your face. Back then, I was a 43-year-old appeals court judge with a flimsy record on civil rights and abortion who thought affirmative action was a form of “social engineering”—not exactly the kinds of views you’d expect in a jurist destined for the Supreme Court.
Yet lo and behold, that same year, despite accusations that I sexually harassed attorney Anita Hill, my appointment to replace retired justice Thurgood Marshall was confirmed. Soon enough, I was abstaining from oral arguments for years at a time and failing to disclose my wife’s sources of income.
I’ve spoken maybe two times in the past decade, for Christ’s sake. Think about that. That’s hundreds and hundreds of cases during which I’ve sat silently and twiddled my thumbs as my colleagues actively interrogated lawyers and posed tough questions about the scope and applications of laws—cases to which I barely paid attention, sometimes appearing to nap on the bench. And I get to have a say in deciding on a constitutional level whether or not all adult members of the human race have the right to recognize their unions? That historic judgment falls on my shoulders?
I’m not trying to belabor the point here. I just want you all to be fully aware that the future of gay and lesbian citizens in this country comes down to the opinion of nine people, one of whom—me—fell asleep during the inauguration of the first black president and believes states have the right to arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant.
Speaking of, here are some other things I believe: felons have the right to bear arms unless the state explicitly forbids it, Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned, corporations and unions should be permitted to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns, and those campaigns should not be required to disclose donors.
Oh, and in 2003 I dissented in the court’s decision to strike down a Texas law prohibiting homosexual acts.
Yet in six months, in the year 2013, I’ll have the opportunity to decide whether hospitals can legally bar gay people from visiting their loved ones.
Take a second and think about the gay people in your life. Your best friend, your mom, your dad, your teacher, your coworker, your partner, you. I get to decide whether these people face institutional discrimination. The same goes for bisexual people, transgender people, and anyone else whose right to marry may be prohibited at the state or federal level. They are all searching for happiness, and their happiness all depends on the opinion of a man who once asked if someone put pubic hair on his Coke.
You want to hear something even weirder? Antonin Scalia gets to decide all this too.
So before these two judicial decisions are upon us, take a moment to reflect on what they mean for the future of our nation. As the tide of history turns and decisions of tremendous importance reach the highest court in the land, I will be there to judge them. Now, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life.