Steam Whistle News Feed – August 19, 2022

So, you want to be a writer, do you, kid?  Well, the first thing you have to realize is that no one cares about your meritless blog, the fictionalized, slice-of-life vignettes you’ve written based on your unremarkable existence, your ghetto zombie apocalypse, your girlie shojo manga, your period piece sci-fi romance set on the high seas of Proxima Centauri b, and no one cares about the brilliant blockbuster that’s going to make you millions if only you can get it into the hands of [FAMOUS ACTOR]’s agent, eleven years after you first sat down to write it.  Because it won’t.  Because you won’t.  Because no one cares.

You can trust me on all that. 

Unless you make them care.  But that’s a whole different conversation.  And good luck with finding a sympathetic ear.

You want to be a writer?  Then give us five or six 1,500 word pieces every week, 48 weeks of the year, exactly what you’re told to write about, replete with SEO functionality, links, photos, feedback from every one of our departments, the client (who knows nothing about writing, by the way, marketing or even how the internet actually works), written exactly in our brand voice, and do it until you’re so burnt out you make crème brulee look like a week’s paycheck worth of sashimi, and then do it all over again.  Otherwise you’re fired.

And you know what you’ll be?  Bunch of losers, sitting in a bar: “Yeah, I used to be a writer.  It’s a tough racket.” 

Talent doesn’t come from ideas, kid.  It comes solely from being able to make disposable sense out of nonstop nonsense.  Over and over and over again.

But here we are.  Every week, I’m asked to make sense out of a week’s worth of nonsense.  That’s what I do.  And don’t go thinking the news is anything more than that.  It is; it just comes in varying degrees.  My job is to determine which stories have the least coefficient of nonsense value attached.  And your job is to dig deeper than I do, to find out what makes these stories nonsense in the first place by discovering that which is actually informative about them; that which yields the bigger picture.  The history.  Why it came to be in the first place.  All the things you’re not nose-tube fed by the 24-hour, mega-conglomerate news networks every single waking moment of your life.

And good luck with all that, too.

I mean, it’s not that hard.  I just think most people don’t have the attention span these days to pull it off. 

But let’s begin.  School-age children in America are experiencing a mental health crisis like nothing documented in recent years, because why?  Because of the isolation and distancing they experienced during the pandemic.  And guess what?  Just like in politics, while half of America seems to care about it, taking steps that may seem overly-sensitive to the untrained eye, the other half is screaming that Social Emotional Learning and the like are turning kids into a generation of sissies unable to beat up America’s foreign enemies, storm the tyrannical American Capitol (again), cancel liberal Hollywood and take action against any threats to their own dysfunctional, atomized well-being.  Meanwhile, kids are experiencing mental health crises like nothing documented in recent times…and the situation remains stuck in a viciously lopsided vicious circle.

Rep. Liz Cheney lost her Wyoming primary as predicted this week, and journalists, political analysts and pundits are now spuriously bleating: ‘Party of Trump!  PARTY OF TRUMP!  The old party is dead!’ about the GOP.  Which it isn’t.  The man’s got an influence, and his time in office will have left its mark on politics, no doubt, but one politician being swapped for another in a heavily conservative state like Wyoming—even if that other candidate regurgitates the lies rife in the Trump Circus of Political Disingenuity and Stupidity—doesn’t really mean anything at all, in and of itself. 

It actually only gains meaning when talking about the slim majority Democrats have over Republicans in Congress right now.  And all it takes is for a handful of these political clowns and scourges to get elected into office and all of a sudden…well, you’ve got a few more clowns and scourges in political office.

It’s because she’s Dick Cheney’s daughter that people are freaking out, talking about the ushering in of a (scary) new era in conservative politics.  But don’t let them fool you.  It’s still the Republican Party.  It’s always been scary.  Just ask someone who wants to drive their friend or daughter across state lines to get an abortion. 

You want another example?  How about repeatedly threatening to kill someone you never met—a judge, say, who merely signed off on a search warrant like he’d done a hundred times before in his career—because of hearsay, because it revealed how bad of a f—up the Circus really is, or because you basically live your life under the influence of right wing media’s hypnotic suggestion, for all the independent thought you’re able to procure for yourself over the course of a lifetime while you’re awake.

It doesn’t help that the Trump administration never told you the whole truth when it gave interviews via those right wing channels.  I mean, not that any administration is going to tell you the whole truth, through any channel, but a story came out this week that former Attorney General William Barr—back when he assessed Robert Mueller’s final report on the administration’s possible efforts of collusion with Russia to disrupt the 2016 election, and summarily deemed there was none—deliberately omitted crucial information he received from an internal memo before he went public about that collusion, after the memo was finally unearthed as part of a lawsuit in the D.C. branch of the Circuit Court of Appeals.

Joe Biden finally signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law this week—the big earth-friendly bill the media’s been talking about—and scientists paying attention to the world’s changing climate and rising global temperatures gave a resounding, “Meh,” in respone.  Global warming will be reduced “not a lot, but not insignificantly,” an analysis published on the bill’s climate mitigation efforts noted recently.  Which is about what you’d expect to hear from efforts made by America’s Democratic Party on the broadest of the world’s most pressing issues, which the U.S. needs to be at the forefront of solving. 

Meh.

Meanwhile, at the throw-your-face-into-climate-change hot spot du jour—the Mediterranean—scientists are saying the same thing they’re saying everywhere about everyplace heating up at an unconscionably rapid pace–it’s going to kill the animals first, according to mass and mobility, then the humans, then make it virtually uninhabitable for any other humans in the future.  And it’s mostly humankind’s fault.  This time they’re talking about water temperatures, not air, but in the end, the difference amounts to the same amount of sums. 

Mega-pharmacies CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart got dragged through litigious mud this week for their role in America’s opioid epidemic.  In Ohio, a jury decided the companies did, in fact, play an “outsized role” in exacerbating the country’s well-known pain-killer epidemic in the methods by which they willy-nilly doled out medication.  This, at the same time Big Pharma bros Johnson & Johnson are trying to get out of having to go to trial over some 38,000 lawsuits alleging the key ingredient in their baby powder causes uterine cancer and mesothelioma, and just now getting around to pulling all the remaining ingredient-containing powder products from European shelves.

The war in Ukraine—spurred singlehandedly into motion by that potentate son-of-a-bitch Vladimir Putin—is closing in on six months already.  You believe that?  With munitions and advanced tech provided by the U.S., Ukrainian forces turned the clock back some 8 years and levied serious damage against Russian forces at an air base on the Crimea peninsula, a landmass(ish) which Russia stole in the exact same way they’ve been trying to steal much of Ukraine since February.  Meanwhile, Turkey and the U.N. met with Ukraine this week to help reach a solution to the ongoing war.  And they did. It was for Russia to stop being a colossal bag of Kamchatka bear feces, and cease all its hostilities. 

Too bad Russia wasn’t anywhere around to hear it.