Young Gamora, a green-skinned alien girl, stands in an orange landscape, looking beseechingly at her father Thanos.

“What did it cost?”

Covid is over, or hadn’t you heard! Or it was, for like an hour, before the latest spike in cases started. I dunno man. The government released this year’s vaccination guidelines at some point in the spring, and when I read them at the time they seemed to be built around the vague premise that the general population has achieved herd-immunity, and that we’d therefore be going opt-in, for high-risk groups, with vaccinations going forward. I might have misread the whole thing. My ability to read through — and focus on — Covid information has long since expired, if it was ever any good to begin with*, which makes me a Bad Person, or at least an ableist one. But I mask up for the protests, and the conventions, and the subway because the subway is gross. And sometimes the movie theatre, if I wanna feel comfy.

*also, remembering now — hilariously — that my family used to check with me for covid information, because I “knew all that stuff.” I guess I was the nag!

I will never — like, for the rest of my life, never — get over how badly “we” fucked this all up. (Not just my family. Society!) Plenty of concerns that were already well underway about the way we’ve set up our civilization hit their final straw with Covid-19. It was the final proof point on the poisoned chalice that is our conception of government and governance, and the end of my ability to stumble blindly through participation in what is, ultimately, a death cult. People have used that term to describe the Republican Party; here, I think it more generally applies to the whole premise of unregulated capitalism. This economic-model-cum-suicide-pact has got its cancer cells into every part of our body. We are dying. It will eat us until we are dead and then it will wonder what the fuck it’s supposed to do next — because it’s fucking cancer, not a project manager. It doesn’t know what it’s doing! It only wants to eat us!

To switch consumption metaphors, Covid took a big bite out of pretty much everybody’s life, as I’ve discussed previously. There were pandemic skips and there were pandemic gains. My pandemic gains were not insignificant — whatever happened with the novel definitely would not have happened without the screeching halt (followed by absolute pande-fucking-monium in my old career) that Covid obligingly threw into a life that was, perhaps, heading on its rails in a long-term direction that did not ultimately serve.

The thing I am genuinely curious to see — the reason I actually started down this thread when I opened the “add new post” dialogue on the blog today — is how the Gen Alphas feel about all this when they’re adults. The ones who did a couple years of high school online; the younger ones yet, pre-adolescents, who learned very early how fragile this entire setup of ours actually is. Maybe they’ll flow around it like water around rocks; maybe there’s no “there” there and I’m just projecting it based on my own assumptions and experiences. (Neuroplasticity is a fine thing if you’ve got it!) Maybe it will unlock some really interesting downstream superpowers as they try to make a go of it in what looks to be a very fragile century. Dunno. I hope so.

Moving things along

Time got weird in the last year, but I think maybe May and however much of June there’s been so far has been the weirdest for me yet. I can’t keep track of days particularly well and the things that happened on them since the last time I did something, even less so. People ask me how I’m doing and I can generally say “good,” sometimes with a question-mark lilt at the end; but if they ask me to run down a list of all the things I’ve been up to, my brain defaults to “nothing,” which is not correct.

I am simultaneously in the process on: a) finding an agent, b) finding a gig, c) pitching a script, and d) restarting the draft on the next novel (after what turned out to be quite an enjoyable bit of remedial worldbuilding and backstory-shoring-up). On a good day, I do a major chunk of creative work, then a major chunk of “holy shit I need money” work, and then a major chunk of what I would call administration. And then I goof off, watch a movie, take a nap, or all three. Honestly: I recommend this life to everyone, even with the “holy shit I need money” thing.

Good, Actually

Going off on the shit-for-brains Star Wars Theory and Fandom Menace crowd re: The Acolyte turned out to be a lot more like shooting fish in a barrel than any of us, myself included, could have hoped for. The show’s good, and those clowns are spinning out, and nearly none of what they’re posting makes sense (except as barely-veiled “hi I’m a racist!” dog whistles). I saw a dude last week (who was all jacked up with excitement because Hasbro is making a Catina-themed dollhouse for the Star Wars figures) claim that more people would buy that toy than would watch the show. As of this writing, 4,200 people have bought that bar; while 12 million people watched that show. So.

Of course, it’s all bad-faith argumentation to begin with; there are still a whole lot of people who do little more with their time than wander the internet scrawling “go woke go broke” in the comment section of any article that discusses any series, movie, or video game whose poster does not centre a white man. The point is not that if one does, as they say, “go woke,” they will in fact, as they say, “go broke.” The point is to make it clear to as many non-male non-white non-straight fans in the community as possible that they are not welcome. Us folks, on the other hand, are doing our level best to make sure it as clear as possible that the racists, misogynists, and queerphobes are not welcome. These two stances are not equivalent; bad faith argumentation, only, would even suggest that they are.

But it’s funny, I saw a different guy try to gatekeep Star Wars action figure collecting from “non-binary feminists who hate white people” and suddenly realized he was talking about… me. (Not me specifically, of course. In the general.) (I also wouldn’t say I hate white people so much as that I find us incredibly harmful.) That’s the thing about language, I guess: put a name to something and suddenly you have a defined space to defend. It’s… odd, this “coming out” thing. It has a cost too — more another time.

More Things

  • While we’re talking transness (and bad faith argumentation), this episode of Maintenance Phase takes a solid crack at one of the defining bad faith arguments of our time, the “won’t somebody think of the children!”-themed right-wing nonsense about young trans persons.
  • Yeah yeah I know, “stop thinking about The Rise of Skywalker, Matt.” And mostly, I have! But if you know me you know that my actual biggest beef with the Disney management of the brand is that they’re so tight-lipped about the creative shenanigans now, that we’ll never get a J.W. Rinzler-style “making of the Sequel Trilogy” sequence of chronicles. This video, about the story drafts of TROS, is maybe the next best thing. The author has done a superb job of tracking story development on Episode IX from the I.P. Development Group to the Trevorrow draft to the Abrams first draft (with which I had almost no familiarity) to the shooting draft. This must have been an immense jigsaw puzzle to put together from wide and varying sources, and the result is well worth your time.