Friday reading roundup.
It is here that the contemporary remix of that Elvis song “A Little Less Conversation” begins playing. Yes, that version you’re thinking of. Jim plays a Dance Dance Revolution ripoff with some holograms, wolfs down food from the ship’s fanciest restaurants, and stops shaving. After roughly one year of montaging, Jim decides that the ship’s many delights are no fun when alone. So he wanders into the spacewalk chamber and contemplates having a little less conversation, and a little more suicide. Unable to pull the trigger (or, in this case, a push a button that opens a hatch that would suck him out into space), Jim returns to the room filled with hibernation pods, trips on an empty liquor bottle, and falls at the foot of a pod inhabited by a woman named Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence). After looking at her sleeping, might-as-well-be-dead face, he becomes hornier than he’s ever been. This is the Passengers idea of a meet-cute.
Imagine if you woke up this morning and Disney’s 1998 animation A Bug’s Life did not exist. After endlessly scouring the internet, you’d come up with nothing, despite your own distinct memories of a bunch of ants going on wild hijinks through the undergrowth. You’d turn to your best friend, your brother, your mum, and say, “Hey, remember A Bug’s Life? It was about ants”, and your friend/brother/mum would turn to you and says: “No, darling. You’re thinking about Antz.”
This is how those who believe in the “Sinbad genie movie” feel when people say they are simply getting confused about Shaq’s Kazaam.
As my dear, soon-departing president well understood, in this world there is only incremental progress. Only the willfully blind can ignore that the history of human existence is simultaneously the history of pain: of brutality, murder, mass extinction, every form of venality and cyclical horror. No land is free of it; no people are without their bloodstain; no tribe entirely innocent. But there is still this redeeming matter of incremental progress. It might look small to those with apocalyptic perspectives, but to she who not so long ago could not vote, or drink from the same water fountain as her fellow citizens, or marry the person she chose, or live in a certain neighborhood, such incremental change feels enormous.
Moisturize your body heavily and don’t look at the Instagram accounts of people you don’t like. That’s basically all you can do.
“I would ask people, do you think that reality TV has an impact on people?” Pozner recalled. “And a lot of the time they’d say yes. And I’d ask those same people, do you think it has an impact on you? And they’d say, ‘Oh no, no, I’m way too smart. It affects other people.’ We all think media affects everybody but us.”