« September 27, 2015 - October 3, 2015 | Main | October 18, 2015 - October 24, 2015 »

October 7, 2015

things to do when you're old

After this, here's another thing you can do while you're wondering where it all went. So take a pivotal moment of your youth. For me, it's senior year of high school, but you could pick college, first kiss, first sexy-time, first time you read Nabokov or Joan Didion, first time you parallel-parked, whatever. Take that year. Mean age of my compatriots skews younger than I am, so let's say, "1995."

Good! Now take that year, and figure out how long ago that was. In the case of our hypothetical, the answer is twenty years. Long time!

Okay. Now take that interval of time, and, starting at the pivotal moment, go backwards instead of forwards. I know it seems like there's some maths involved with this, or at the very least some geometry, but it's time we're dealing with and no one has the faintest how that works, so rest easy. Where were we?

Right! So twenty years before that is 1975. So as you sit wherever you are, or stand, I hear that standing is good for you, and you reminisce as one does, for all the neat stuff 1995 had to offer, like the publishing of the Unabomber Manifesto, or "Clueless" and "Batman Forever" in the movie theaters and TLC and the Squirrel Nut Zippers on the radio, or Pedro Martinez pitching a perfect game for the Expos, if your pivotal young self were to, way back in 1995 reminisce about things that were as long back then as 1995 is now, you would be reminiscing about the premiere of "Barney Miller" of "SNL" or the debut of the Sex Pistols or seeing "Jaws" or "Escape To Witch Mountain" or "Rooster Cogburn" in a movie theater (which allowed smoking cigarettes) or the New York Daily News headline of "Ford To City: Drop Dead".

Another way to play this game: the movie "Dazed and Confused", which has been on my mind lately because there is an SUV that parks in my neighborhood with an "ASS CASH OR GRASS/NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE" decal on it, which I swear I can hear Matthew McConaughey saying from the movie, was released in 1993. It was set in the year 1976, a year seventeen years previous to the date of release. So, if a new contemporary version of "Dazed and Confused" was to be produced, in order to keep up the verisimilitude with the original, it would have to be set in 1998. Which would be a pretty boring version .

Usually the end result of this process is feeling old. I don't have a name for this yet, maybe something like the Comparative Nostalgia Ratio, though it's certainly not really a ratio but more like some sort of thought exercise. I guess the second version you could call the Dazed and Confused Index with some clarity. But! Once you clear, say, the age of 23, it never stops working! In fact, it works better the older you get. Well, "better" in the sense that you feel old, which is not really something that anyone should get hung up on although pretty much everyone does, including your author.

Even though the alternate to getting older is clearly worse.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:24 PM

October 5, 2015

when the pope is standing, no one sits

Very brief post-script to l'Affair du Kim Davis, the woman whose lawyers had us believe captured the heart of a Pope, and then gave her a rosary etc. etc.

First, is the middle of the noise and the hand-wringing over how the Pope was just faking to be cool, Charles Pierce reliably and coolly got to the root of it and went one further than speculating that it was a step-and-repeat meeting. He actually surmised that there was a bit of palace intrigue involved, and pointed at some likely suspect.

By Friday, the Holy See had had just about enough of this and said so out loud , in a bit of a Papal pushback. In fact, there was someone invited to have an actual audience with the Pope, but it was not Kim Davis. It was an old student of the Pope's, who dropped by with his partner of 19 years. Which is about as big of a Fuck You that you can imagine coming from an institution that would never ever say that phrase out loud.

And then the NYT drops the mic , as it were, by profiling the archbishop, Carlo Maria Viganò, likely to have been behind the whole plot from the beginning. Viganò, protege of the former pope and culturally conservative (and not to mention acquainted with Davis' Liberty Council attorney Mat Staver), had been banished stateside after the Vatileaks controversy of a couple years ago. Viganò met Staver at an anti-gay marriage rally, and personally invited Davis in mid-September, representing that the invitation was coming directly from the Pope. The kicker:

In January, Archbishop Viganò will turn 75, the age at which bishops must submit a formal request to the Vatican for permission to resign. These requests are not automatically accepted, and bishops often stay in their appointments long after. It seems unlikely, church analysts say, that Archbishop Viganò will be one of them.

I know, I know, new week, and this is the last thing on anyone's minds — what we're actually thinking about is how much we love guns and what's a few dead kids between gun lovers? — but I couldn't resist getting one last shot in, in case you missed it.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:48 AM