Church Picnic

I found the perfect place for a picnic. It’s the field behind our church. Since nobody is coming to church, it’s very socially distanced.

Academic Achievements in Quarantine

Everybody on social media is sharing the amazing academic achievements their kids are accomplishing while in quarantine.

My kid is accomplishing no academic achievements whatsoever. Yesterday we lay in the grass and stared at the blue sky for two hours. The day before she built a puddle in the middle of the lawn and called it a lake. Then we found a worm and followed it around. Tomorrow we are planning to sunbathe in the verandah. Much of the day I don’t even know what she does because I have to work and if she’s not screaming, it means she’s not physically hurt and I don’t need to know the rest.

I’m not trying to structure her day or imitate the school schedule. And hey, I’m not saying that people who do it are wrong in any way. Good for them that they are so serious about it. But I’m probably the most anti-education professor I know. I don’t believe in homework or exams. I kind of think that everybody will end up learning whatever they need, and that can be anything and happen any time.

Schooling before college is extremely, gigantically, mega important for socialization. And absolutely nothing else.

But once again, I sincerely admire people who are trying to be all school-like in quarantine. This is not a criticism.

Movie Notes: The Invisible Man

I was actually going to wait to see The Hunt, which is a movie that had almost gotten banned by the right-wing version of sensitive snowflakes because it supposedly “encourages violence against Trump supporters.” But I don’t know if theaters will stay open next week, so I went to see this movie instead to further my movie resolution goals.

It’s a nice movie, very typically Hollywood. I was right when I said a little while ago that there’s now a trend for ugly actresses in Hollywood. First, there was that divorce movie where a gorgeous actress made herself look hideous to play… a gorgeous actress. And now there’s this movie where the lead role went to that dumpy Peggy character from Mad Men. She’s perfectly normal-looking for a regular person but not for a Hollywood actress. Curiously, this trend doesn’t touch male actors, it seems. The male lead in The Invisible Man is this stunningly gorgeous black actor with insane musculature.

Her looks aside, the Peggy actress is actually quite good at acting. So I’m glad that Hollywood is abandoning its obsession with inhumanly pretty androids with zero acting skills.

I responsibly went to the earliest showing, so it was just me and one other viewer in the room. Nice movie, very forgettable, but not in the least annoying.

Project Runway Fandom

So is anybody here watching Project Runway? Who are you rooting for?

I’m for the Moldovan lady because I love her clothes, plus I’m into regional solidarity. I’m also for the wokester dude. Not because of the wokesterism, obviously, but because he’s extremely talented.

I like the oldster lady as a person but her clothes look hideous to me. And the weird earrings dude I simply don’t get at all.

I haven’t watched last week’s episode yet, so please no spoilers.

Marshmallow Test

N tried to administer the marshmallow test to Klara but it failed miserably because this kid is too smart.

“Would you like me to buy you a little unicorn toy today or a big one tomorrow?” he asked.

“I don’t want you to spend too much money, Daddy,” Klara said. “You need to save. It’s important to save money and not spend everything on toys.”

This is the perfect thing to say to get N to buy both unicorns, of course.

With me she took a different tack. I’m not into saving, so she found a different method.

“Why do you need yet another unicorn toy?” I asked. “You already got a collection of them for your birthday.”

“I’m going to name her Union, mommy,” Klara explained. “I don’t have any toys called Union.”

I’m into unions like N is into saving so it was a brilliant strategy.

Book Notes: Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room

I’m not one of those sad weirdos who think people shouldn’t write novels about anybody except their own identity group. By all means, write about anybody you want. But you still got to make it at least somewhat believable. Don’t endow a twenty-bucks-a-pop stripper who is serving two life sentences for murdering a john with the fussy sensibility of a Vassar graduate, or whichever fancy wokester school Kushner graduated from.

It’s absolutely possible to write well about the lumpen classes without being lumpen yourself. But in order to do that, you have to be able to accept that people are not interchangeable widgets. And Kushner can’t do that because her whole worldview of an upper-middle-class wokester is based on the widget mentality.

The novel gets downright funny at times, with its obsession with trans issues and pronouns and its earnest belief that women – especially the ones locked up in jail for violent crimes – are completely asexual creatures. While male convicts obsess about sex, female convicts obsess about pronouns. The novel is set 20 years ago, which makes the whole thing even more bizarre.

The novel is valuable for its glimpse into the utter cluelessness of wealthy people but very little else.