Tragedy vs. Comedy Modes

As Brown notes, Meeker argues that Western Civilization is mostly founded on the “tragic mode,” inspired by the great tragedies in which a “larger-than-life character attempts to bend the world to his (and it’s always his) image.” The character’s success “is also his undoing,” and tragedies end in bloodshed, death, and a funeral of some kind. Our civilization has been built on the tragic idea that we can bend nature to our will, the result of which has been complete ecological catastrophe.

Meeker proposes an alternative for surviving our disastrous times: the “comic mode,” inspired by comedy:

Comedy is not a philosophy of despair or pessimism, but one which permits people to respond with health and clear vision despite the miseries the world has to offer. Its mode is immediacy of attention, adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances, joy in small things, the avoidance of pain wherever possible, the love of life and kinship with all its parts, the sharpening of intelligence, complexity of thought and action, and strategic responsiveness to novel situations. It permits people to accept themselves and the world as they are, and it helps us make the best of the messes around us and within us.

Upon reading this, I was immediately struck by how well the tragic and comic modes map to Brian Eno’s concept of genius vs. scenius, with one being a egosystem and the other being an ecosystem. Our world is an ecosystem inwhich our only real chance at survival as a species is cooperation, community, and care, but it’s being lead by people who believe in an egosystem, run on competition, power, and self-interest.

Comedy and scenius show us a way forward. A chance at survival that, in Meeker’s words, “depends upon our ability to change ourselves rather than our environment, and upon our ability to accept limitations rather than to curse fate for limiting us.” Comedy, like scenius, gives all the characters in the story a surviving role and a chance to live to see another day.

-Austin Kleon, “The comedy of survival.” austinkleon.com November 19, 2020

Make the best of the messes around us and within us is great advice. Recommend the whole bit.

Judgmental About Your Drink Order

“The secret truth of the martini is that ordering it up is for dorks. Order that shit on the rocks and have your goddamn drink without having to balance it on a pancake. I’m sure there are people who think they look more sophisticated drinking martini glass drinks, but they’re wrong. Almost spilling your drink at all times isn’t sophisticated by any metric I’ve ever been hipped to. You are vastly more sophisticated knowing what you don’t have to do and doing what works for you. this is the lesson of the day, apparently.”

-Brendan Kelly, “Sir, a drink please….Bad Sandwich Chronicles. February 19, 2021

Enjoyed this judgmental rant. I haven’t had half the drinks on the list, but I kind of want to collect the whole set. As an up martini drinker, the only response I can make is that if it has ice (or worse, vodka), it isn’t a martini. If that means you either need a little balance or have a little spillage, such is life.

Also, daiquiris are fine. You can drink four daiquiris. If you are in Chicago, space them out with a little Malört, and shift the whole thing into weird territory.

Assistant Account Executive at Public Relations Agency Uses Talkwalker.com

“Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages.”

  • Two views with two likes.
  • Talkwalk.com’s artificial intelligence decides a conversation might be happening or could potentially happen that would be critical of plastic production and quickly publishes it to the dashboard on their portal.
  • *Bing* A desktop notification sounds.
  • Bored assistant account executive at a public relations agency looks up. Yet another desktop notification about that damn The Intercept article? She decides it’s time to stop scrolling through Slack, Facebook and complaining about the cost of Matouk towels to her friend in Messenger (so expensive, even on Amazon!) and decides to finally look into what all the fuss was about in case their client, a ginormous chemical company producing plastic, decides to call and ask the account director what she is doing to minimize the damage from that small time publication The Intercept. Time to get some intel! Take me away, Talkwalker.com.
  • Clicks on a promising link. See a few quotes and a link to The Intercept article. Thinks to herself, “What is this shit?”
  • Decides to go back to shopping on Amazon, her home page and accidentally hits the refresh button instead.
  • Woohoo, four views! Another exciting day here at cafebedouin.org, the veritable tip of the tongue of the “global conversation.”
  • Meanwhile, Big Plastic has dumped another few tons of plastic in the ocean, and I’m going to have a McDonald’s fish filet and wait for the microplastic to reduce the sperm counts of men to the point that every birth will require artificial fertilization. Nothing to see here folks! The problem of plastic and patriarchy is solving itself! Try the Matouk Factory Store!

Ave Maria Bamford: The Gift of Mental Illness, aka Looking at The Bright Side of Life

Maria Bamford on Mental Illness, Climate Change, Losing, Dying Young, Addiction, Being a Single Mother, Relationship Failure, Financial Ruin, Loneliness and Unspeakable Tragedy. Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it? And it is! Once the Joneses hear about the advantages of mental illness, everyone’s going to want it.

Want more good news? You probably already have a mental illness. Luckily, there’s probably a prescription medication that’s just right for you. Ask your doctor!

https://www.topic.com/ave-maria-bamford/ave-maria-bamford-the-gift-of-mental-illness