more stars than in the heavens

not in our stars, but in ourselves

slightly post-midweek roundup

What’s on my mind?  My skull.  Ha!  Great joke.  I got a million of ’em. (Jokes, not skulls.)


1. If you recall, during the height of the MBTApocalypse, Governor Baker ordered a special commission to look into what was wrong with the T, and how to fix it.  They released their report, which you can read here if you’re so inclined, but I’d recommend reading this instead.  Basically, the report makes a few good points, but essentially sticks to the narrative that Baker wants to establish.  The second link there, by former Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi, correctly identifies that this is just more “kicking the can” – and the T has suffered massively due to previous governors and legislatures kicking the can.  Baker is pushing for “reform before revenue”, because the T is such an unholy mess that it can’t be trusted to spend any new money wisely, and so they just won’t get any new money at all.  Here’s an analogy I read in the comments on a Universal Hub article about the report: “reform before revenue” is like putting a morbidly obese person on a starvation diet.  It won’t work, and it could be disastrous.  To lose weight, you need to fuel your body (intelligently) so that you can exercise, because exercise is the magic ingredient in any healthy lifestyle.  Simply starving yourself will prevent you from being able to exercise – and will also probably end up doing immense harm to the body you’re trying to fix.  So please, Massachusetts legislators and other stakeholders: don’t fuck this up.  The T absolutely needs a structural overhaul. One thing the report gets right is highlighting the stranglehold that the unions have on the T.  America is mostly a lost cause for unions these days – but they’re powerful forces working on the T, usually to the detriment of the actual customers.  Check out last year’s payroll – lots and LOTS of people making well over $100K annually, and some receiving backpay as well.  Address that, address the management fiascoes, address all those problems – but please, for crying out loud, look at what’s actually happening to the T.  I know none of you ride it.  Baker was going to take what I call a Potemkin T ride back in February, but then he didn’t even do that.  If he had, he’d have seen that Orange Line cars are literally corroded with rust.  He’d have seen people crammed into cars on all lines like sardines during rush hour due to too-long headways between trains.  He’d have seen how Green Line doors get stuck on the very platform because they were designed wrong in the first place, and are now sagging under the weight of their years and too many passengers.  In short, he’d have seen that the T is in dire financial straits (which he helped create, by saddling it with Big Dig debt that it could never pay off), and that the solution isn’t to cut off every available source of revenue except fare increases.  Baker, please, for fuck’s sake.  Don’t follow the precedent set by every other governor over the past 20 years.  Man up and do something worthwhile.


2. Last week, I think I mentioned how John Fish – a real-life cartoon villain if ever there was one – was getting all cranky about Boston not supporting the Olympics bid.  Hilariously, paid media analyst Emily Rooney (who is usually not as ridiculous as she’s about to make herself out to be) actually said this on WGBH: “There’s nothing…like the combination of being wealthy, extremely handsome, and extremely successful to make you the target, especially of the Boston media.” Adam Reilly, also of WGBH, rebutted her argument here.  But, I mean, I can’t get over that.  We’re mad at him because he’s so pretty.  We look at that wannabe Patrick Bateman, and we just get all pouty and throw our mashed peas on the floor and kick our little legs.  We’re just jealous, that’s all.  Why can’t we look like we regularly hire high-end escorts and beat them and get away with it?  Sadface! (N.B. There is no suggestion that Fish does hire escorts of any kind, nor that he beats anyone in any physical way.  Please don’t sue me.  I have no money.  I only mean to say that he’s a bully, but only in the most cowardly way possible: with financial power.)

“See? The women WE sexualize are thicker, but still conventionally attractive! Gold stars for us!”

3. Dove is doin’ the most again, and I wish they’d fucking stop it.  So does Arwa Mahdawi of The Guardian: Dove doesn’t give a shit if you think you’re beautiful.  They just want you to think you need to buy their soaps and lotions.  More than that, however, a friend of mine struck right at the heart of Dove’s cynical wrongheadedness:

You know, I was totally on board with Dove’s “Real Beauty” shtick back when it was new (and I still think it’s hugely important for us to be exposed to more media containing human females who don’t look like models), but I’m getting really sick of this campaign. I reject the idea that it is a tragedy that more women don’t think they’re/we’re beautiful. Why isn’t there a “smart” or “worthy” or “interesting” door? This perpetuates the idea that a woman’s single greatest contribution to the world is beauty, and that beauty is synonymous with value. Because truthfully, we’re NOT all “beautiful,” and throwing that term around not only devalues it but undermines and dismisses the more important, substantial qualities that truly make us special, worthwhile human beings. Feeling average is FINE as long as we don’t equate “average” with “ugly” or “inadequate,” which is the sinister (sometimes fatal) idea that drives the entire beauty industry. Fuck beautiful.

You said it, Kaley. (Kaley will remain surnameless, to protect her from you creeps.) Is it such a crime for a woman to esteem herself for reasons other than her looks?  No.  Obviously, it’s fine by me if you think you’re hot shit, but it’s stupid to keep forcing this women-must-be-beautiful-to-be-valued pap down our throats, especially if it’s just to sell toiletries.  Gendered soaps and the like are nothing new, but the values attached to each gendered product are downright Stone Age.  For the record: men’s products usually work a hell of a lot better than women’s products.  I use Old Spice and I use a sandalwood-scented shave gel (for my legs, not for my face), and I honestly love how masc I smell.  As if that weren’t enough, they actually work better than the piddling nonsense sold to women.  Where was I?  Oh, right.  My point is: don’t let advertisers fool you into thinking they want you to feel good about yourself, because they don’t.  They want you to feel that you’re lacking something important – something only they can provide.  Tell ’em to fuck off.  Girls, use Old Spice.  Boys, use bath bombs.  Fuck the patriarchy.  Treat yo’ self.


4. In more serious news, the jury decided that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is guilty of all 30 counts.  Now they get to decide whether he lives or dies.  I still feel pretty disconnected from this case, so I don’t know what will happen, or what should happen, or anything.  I am against the death penalty.  I have to say, however, that I’m not sure I’m crazy about the supermax prison he’d be sent to if he received life.  It’s called ADX Florence, and it is no joke.  He did something reprehensible.  Everyone in that prison did something reprehensible.  I don’t think they deserve freedom, or anything like that, but…well, I don’t know.  Maybe I think that they all deserve to be in a place that cruel, but I have a problem with thinking that we built a facility like that specifically to reduce these convicted men to sensory-deprived zombies.  Land of the free, etc.  American hypocrisy is getting to be a bit too much for me lately.



5. Y’all are quiet, aren’t you?  There are about 1800 of you following this blog, and barely a peep from anyone.  I mean, I don’t mind, but it’s weird.  Why are you following me?  How did you find me?  Why do you visit every day (not everyone visits every day, but I am able to see how many views I get per day, where those views are from, etc.) without saying anything?  Keep lurking in the bushes, it’s no skin off my nose, but I have to say: you are a bizarre group of apparently opinionless readers.


6. Finished season 1 of The Fall.  Will start 2 tonight.  It’s still great.  More soon, maybe.


2 comments on “slightly post-midweek roundup

  1. Karen
    April 10, 2015

    True fact: Old Spice was originally made for women! I like lots of spicy scents and the nautical packaging is excellent, and I would likely wear it myself (I often wear men’s scents) except it would probably remind me too much of my great uncle. The Dove campaigns are annoying.

    I liked The Fall a lot, but the ending. Well. That’s all I’ll say since you’re not finished with it.

    • mcwhirk
      April 10, 2015

      Uh oh. It doesn’t end with Stella and Paul riding off together into the sunset, does it?

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