RL210 - Parents and Other Dingalings

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problem: You’re not here to disco, referring to the strict dress codes at John’s mom’s workplace when she was at SafeCo Insurance in the 1970s.

The show title refers to screen time and how parents and other dingalings don’t understand the march of technology.

It is early, but John was on time today at 10am, just like every time, right on the button.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John joining SnapChat in a sleepless night (RL210)

John could not stay asleep last night. He had a dream of a spider and when he woke up he had to move all his pillows around and couldn’t go back to sleep because he thought there was a spider in his pillows. Around 3:30am he did some admin and thought it was about time for him to join SnapChat. He went through the rigmarole, but he was not going to start snapchatting right now and he was not going to choose his avatar at 4am because he has some sense.

When he woke up this morning he had some congratulations from people about him having joined SnapChat, which felt good. He was just keeping the lines right (see RL209). He also reorganized the apps on his phone, he got rid of some, he moved them around, he foldered a few, but mainly he has differently themed pages like the literary page and the banking page.

Wanting to keep a 5-year diary (RL210)

For the last 5 years John has had a 5-year diary sitting on top of a book shelf and every morning he looks at it and tells himself that tomorrow is the day when he was going to start keeping a 5-year diary. That would be a great thing to have! His mom and dad kept check registers and John has those back into the 1970s and you can just flip through it and see the check that paid for the first piano lesson and the day it happened. They were fighting for custody for a while and it is very interesting to see how much time John actually spent with them and what they were doing.

There was a brief period where he downloaded apps that for example let you take a picture of yourself every day, it was Adam Lisagor who got John thinking about it. He was sitting on a park bench, sadly eating a sandwich, and he took a picture of himself each time. John wanted to be that and he took some pictures of himself every day for a week and then he forgot to keep doing it, so he deleted all those.

John trying to change his ringtone (RL210)

John really wants that a capella ringtone (RL209) and Merlin is more than happy to help him with this because there is an app by his friend Paul Kafasis where you drop the file on there and it turns it into a ring tone. John wants it edited and there is also an app for that called Fission. They haven’t done super tech support in a while. John downloaded two apps and he spent two hours in iTunes trying to figure out how to work it, but iTunes is not a good place to start anything and so he stopped doing that, but he still doesn’t have the ringtone.

Reorganizing your apps, trying to stay in touch with the progress of technology (RL210)

When Merlin gets started a little bit with manscaping his apps 45 minutes go by. All the games that his daughter downloaded are now pushing everything way off the screen and he will make folders for them and he wishes Apple would help us a little bit with that and it would show him the 6 apps he uses constantly and the 30 he has used in the last month and automatically move dumb stuff away, but that would drive some people crazy.

Merlin recently installed a ringtone of comedian Patton Oswalt shouting ”What are you doing?” that he likes to yell at his cat and tell her that she is a hideous monster. John also wants his life to be full of fun and memes. He should have fun with his devices, they should represent the inner Me, because when he is fucked up that is the real Me. That is when he is ”in da club!”. This is ”what I want…” (reference to The Godfather) - ”… no more attempts on my father’s life!” He wants to be a fun guy who opens his garage door remotely like Matt Haughey, but he has no access to these worlds and he feels like life is passing him by, which they call FOMO (Fear of missing out).

Mobile games (RL210)

John was watching people catching Pokémon and they are all very nice and very happy to tell you what they are doing. John is a curious person and asks them which Pokémon they are catching today, and they explain it to him while watching their phone screen, appearing to be photographing the sidewalk. John still doesn’t understand it, but he is curious about it. He also does not know what Minecraft is. It is a digital version of LEGO with unlimited bricks. Merlin will not play Pokémon Go, it is absolutely not for him, but he is happy that people are having fun with it. It is not a franchise that Merlin wants to get into. His daughter is showing some interest in it, though.

Merlin has family sharing on his Apple ID and sometimes his daughter will use one of his devices to get a game, which is why it appears on his phone. They either buy games for money or they get free games, but they never do in-app purchases and they don’t buy magic coins. That can be a dumb thing they argue about once she gets an allowance. Her cooking games are fun, you have to make some Teriyaki or similar, which is fun for a little kid, but John doesn’t think any part of that is fun.

It is like playing Threes, which Merlin still plays, but he hasn’t gotten any better and still maxes out at around 9000. John went through a long period where he didn’t play it, and he has the weird sense that he used to be better at it than he is now. He was able to do some amazing feats, but now he can’t and it feels like the algorithm has changed. They might have rewritten the encryption and every time you are about to create an amazing feat they just give you 7 red ones and you are dead! Merlin visited the developer of that game who confirmed that it is true that it is trying to fuck with you on purpose.

Feeling out of touch with technology (RL210)

Yesterday John was in a house where there was a very advance pre-teen who still has to decide whether he is really going to do a dissertation or whether he is going to become a carpenter. He was playing Pokémon and his mother expressed a lot of apprehension about it, not that Pokémon itself was bad, but she did not like augmented reality. John said that in a couple of years it is all going to be the Google Glass, but she said that the Google Glass failed and John had the sudden awareness that millions of people think that Google Glass failed and therefore we are are never going to have heads-up displays.

John told her that life is going to be like Mario Brothers. Pokémon Go is now introducing this to everybody. You are going to walk down the street and if you grab that virtual coin you are going to get a free ice cream cone at McDonalds. That is going to be everywhere. John’s augmented reality is going to tell him about all the places where he can access Seattle’s underground sewer network, all the manhole covers that are unlocked. People are going to have light bulbs over their head, elucidating their marriage status, it is exciting!

The mom John was talking to was younger than him, but she didn’t want anything to do with it. That is why John joined SnapChat. Merlin has been talking about this a lot lately on other programs with other people. As you get older it is harder to not develop heuristics about things you are going to dismiss because they seem silly or dangerous and you never bother to learn much more than the thing they showed on the news for 2 minutes, and that is no way to grow as a person. John also wants to use the word Heuristics. Merlin started to use Hermeneutics more.

The other thing about parents and other dingalings is: Anything Merlin’s kid is a dick about with screens is nobody’s fault but his own. If your kid is a dick with the iPhone, it is because you let them become one, it is not the iPhones fault. Both Merlin and John are dicks with the iPhone. It is incredibly hypocritical.

John being with his daughter in the Seafair parade (RL210)

The other day John was in the big Seafair parade and his job was to ride in the back of a 1976 Eldorado Convertible in root beer brown color in a sash and wave. He thought this would be fun for his daughter because last year when he was running for office they were at several parades where they walked the length of the parade, waving at people and waving signs with his name on it and she started to think that being in parades was normal and that is one of the things you do with Daddy.

It is not a torch light parade that ends at a rally, there is no Kristallnacht experience, there were a lot of Tubas, there were several fire department bagpipe bands, there were a lot of floats featuring princesses, like the apple blossom princess and the under-the-sea princess, all the princesses were there, there are the Seafair pirates in an enormous ship with a cannon, there was the US Army and the US Navy band. John and his daughter were in the Cadillac and the driver was doing S-turns he knew what he was doing. You forget what car horns were like in the 1970s, it sounded like a ferry boat came into port.

She was totally amazing for the entire thing until when they were doing it for 4 hours and there was no end in sight and she had the experience that she had waved at 100.000 people and now she was a little freaked out and ”Where is the end?” She wanted to hide and she went down into the footwell and John was not sure at which point he became a bad father because this was intense and he did what his dad would have done, saying: ”Get your ass back up here! What are you doing? We got parading to do here? Don’t leave daddy up here, just waving by himself!” while she was down there with her little bunny rabbit, sucking her thumb: ”God dammit! Get up here! People paid no money to watch this! Come up here and help Daddy!”

This was maybe not a unique parenting problem, but there were not a lot of role models and he couldn’t call a hotline and ask them what they do when their daughter doesn’t want to fulfill the entire parade at 5 years old. John admonished her a little bit, then afterwards he was sorry, but also you don’t want to be a quitter, but he also understood that she was tired and that she didn’t know what she was getting into, but also Daddy has weird things to do sometimes.

John’s dad leaving him in Alaska bars for hours, having whipped cream in shot glasses (RL210)

It was just like John’s dad left him sitting in Alaska bars for 2 hours while he did something and he justified it to himself by feeling like he was teaching him how to sit in a bar, meet adults, and keep them from stealing him. Then when he came back 2 hours later John was sitting on the bar, they would be feeding him whipped cream out of shot glasses, he would be dancing and regaling them with stories, he didn’t sit demurely, hoping the big men in their wolf skin coats would leave him alone.

The bar tenders loved it, John would order a shot glass of whipped cream, and he would be sitting at the bar all hardbitten, his shot-glas in front of him, and they would come back: ”Another round?” - ”Hit me!” and they would laugh and laugh. It is like when you put peanut butter in a Kong and give it to a dog: He was sitting there, trying to get the last bit of whipped cream out of the bottom of the shot glass, but you can’t quite get in there. John would pay $600 to watch a supercut of all the times he did that as a child. Merlin would especially like to see the dancing, he has seen adult John Roderick bust out a dance with very little provocation, but he wants to see the mascot of the bar with his Highland whipped cream.

John’s first dance steps in an Alaskan bar (RL210)

John’s first dance instruction came from a woman in an Alaska bar where he had been deposited. She was a working lady, she was certainly the barfly, and in was Alaska, everybody was wearing a wolfskin coat, she was nicely attired, and there was some music playing, John was sitting there with his whipped cream and she asked him: ”Do you want to dance?” - ”I don’t know how to dance!” - ”I will teach you how to dance!” John was probably 10 at this point, and she took him out on the dance floor and taught him how to dance pretty well, she gave him the top 6-8 moves and told him that he would have to lead and taught him.

It stuck with him and even now when he dances there is a little connection to that first time. Merlin is not a big public dancer, but he knows that if you are not moving your butt you are not really dancing. It is the junk in the trunk that makes the funk! Merlin just made that up. John says that a lot of people don’t know that you do not dance to the guitar, the vocals, or the drums, but you dance to the bass. 99% of the people are completely unconscious of it and 90% of people in the world couldn’t pick the bass out of a musical composition.

When you are starting out playing Rock music as a teenage kid you don’t understand why you would want to play the bass because it is not flashy and everybody wants to be a guitar player, but along the way you realize that the whole thing is just sitting on top of the bass, it is the thing that is motivating the whole song. Then you start watching what people are doing with their bodies and that is why bass players are creeps. They are moving people’s butts, they are Rasputins! You also move to the 2 and 4, not to the 1 and 3, unless you are Stewart Copeland, he dances to the beat of his own drum. Don’t clap on the 1 unless you really know what you are doing!

Cultural heritage that has been lost to time, like everybody playing the piano or being able to dance (RL210)

Things have been lost, for example the accordion has been lost, there are very few people learning how to play it now and most of them are doing it somewhat hilariously. Merlin was forced to learn accordion and there are not many who say: ”Hey Mom, can I get an accordion?”, there is also not much exposure to it anymore, there was a lot more in the 1970s. In 1950 a lot of people learned the accordion out of their own avidity because it was a great way to entertain at parties. In 1920 everybody played the piano, you couldn’t go to a party and not play the piano. Now all that stuff has been lost to time like Tears in Rain (reference to Blade Runner).

John will occasionally be inspired and grab a partner and say: ”Dance with me!” and he will dance around and they are almost always thrilled and excited, but even in the course of his own lifetime the number of people who know what that means has declined. When he was 14 he could grab ahold of somebody he didn’t know and he could hold them and was dancing.

A lot of times you will be on a cliff or in the surf or in the forest and you think: ”I would like to ask this person to dance!”, but there is no big band here, this is not what other people would consider a dance opportunity, but it actually is, you just have to identify it. You don’t have to Jitterbug, but you can do some slow moves and dance to your own singing. If you know a little bit of Jazz you can improvise the song, which John does all the time.

In recent years John has found very excited partners who go: ”Wow, are we really doing this?”, but they don’t know their job, there is no longer a sense of the one leading around the other, they don’t know how to be led, and they think it is a dominance thing, but it is not, it is more like one person is driving and the other person is riding. In old-fashioned dancing the man’s job was to not make a big show of themselves, but to show off their partner to their best advantage. That intellectual group knowledge has been lost and can’t be recaptured.

The casual Friday problem, clothing and dress standards declining (RL210)

It is the casual Friday problem: It was seen as an element of freedom to be able to got to work dressed as a furnace repair person, and in one generation it was completely lost how to dress or be professional and you have a culture of young people who are dressing up as a special thing. It has spawned a generation of Macklemore-haircuts who are really into men’s wear. Young women have always had an opportunity to express themselves in their clothes, but men not so much, and you really have to make a point of it now because you are not forced anymore by professionalism.

Even through the 1960s men’s fashion was a way of how well you could fit in by looking like a polished version of everything else, and women would distinguish themselves by looking different, but still fitting in. Merlin was looking at old photos of their neighborhood and the guy getting into his workman’s truck was wearing a hat and had his sleeves rolled up. You couldn’t go out without a hat on, and if you were working as a professional person you had to wear a white shirt. People working in an office were all dressed exactly the same and you didn’t have to make any choice at all, you just had to iron your shirt and it had to be laundered and your hair had to be combed.

John’s mom said that at SafeCo Insurance Company where she worked in the 1970s until 1979 when she left the company you could not undo the top-button of your shirt and loosen your tie in the course of a work day. This was an insurance company, you were not here to Disco! If your boss saw you at lunch time, sitting at a lunch counter with your tie unfastened, that would be cause for reprimand because as you were out in town having your lunch you were also representing SafeCo.

Casual Friday and the casualization of professionalism sought to undo that and it was regarded as a perk when you worked at a company where you could loosen your tie at lunch time. Now as an engineer at a tech company you get to wear a diaper to work and nobody can tell us ”No!” because we will make their garage doors go up and down if they push us around.

John sees young men’s wear enthusiasts all the time and he appreciates the effort, but there is also a self-conscious Peaky Blinders oldtimeiness to it. It is a bit like a costume in some ways. At one point will we have come around and there is some really cutting-edge new tech company that everyone wants to work for because the work is interesting, it is pre-IPO, all the shit, and some 26 year old entrepreneur says: ”Rather than ping pong tables and endless Cheetos we are all going to wear tailored black suits and shoes and ties!”, like Don Draper (from Mad Men).

All the tech companies now have mid-century modern furniture, they are very conscious of aesthetics, but every single person there is like the Gingham (fabric style) brothers, they are all dressed like Scott Simpson. The question is that when, not if, the leading entrepreneurs of some hot company are conscious of the fact that they are trying to distinguish themselves and it is going to be suits, does that catch a fire? For a time it was a way of telegraphing your power that for example Steve Jobs was not going to show up in a monkey suit and you just have to deal with him because he is Steve Jobs.

Merlin read an article last week where Eddy Cue is trying to negotiate deals with TV places and he showed up with gym shoes and no socks and apparently it really put off the people he was meeting with. Part of it is the ethos that historically Silicon Valley has been about the mavericks and the casual people, seeing themselves as a meritocracy who are known for the quality of what you produce rather than how much you hue to this IBM-like idea of looking like the model worker.

This becomes an arms-race of casual where pretty soon you are actually demonstrating your power by how much of a slob you are and how much Cheetos dust there is on your sweat shirt, and then we are living in a world where standards have declined, as John has described many times on this program. The dot-com that Merlin was at was funded by a well-known VC company, and in the rare occasion that the guy whose name was in the company name came to the office he looked like he just came from the gym and on top of it he brought his dog.

John’s lady friend is a lawyer in the San Francisco tech world, and when John first met her she would go to work in a hoodie and yoga pants, which seemed weird to John. She was doing real work, she had to deal with law suits and stuff and she is on the executive board, and she said that you have to dress this way in order not to make the engineers uncomfortable because they are the most important people and if you walk around dressed up they feel that you are creating an uncomfortable work environment for them.

There is a Twilight Zone episode where the kid has magic powers and everybody in the town is super-scared of him, but the appearance of the town is that everybody is happy and friendly: ”Of course, why don’t we open chocolate sauce over our heads, that is a great idea!” It has that feeling, where the engineers think that your shoes are creaking too much. John encouraged her over time to think of herself as a member of the professional community and wear shoes to work that she not also exercises in. Women love getting fashion advice from men, but her whole career she has been in tech and she has never even had a female mentor that told her she liked the way she dressed. Everybody is just wearing fleece from head to toe.

The billionaires in Seattle dress like they are renting kayaks and even in the nicest restaurants there is no dress code. They could never demand you to have a blazer because then some billionaire will sweep in with his pet seal and ask to get some water and some fish for Garfunkel, his seal. John had people come visit from the Midwest or from back East and they were wondering if they should put on something else for dinner because in New York City you just don’t go out like that. Because this is now and we can’t see 5 hours into the future it is assumed that this will always be the case, but things are cyclical and this will cycle back and there will be another era after a gradual realization that appearances do matter and you are not communicating that you are trying.

Merlin talks briefly how Casual Friday at his dot-com job still was all about status and about who had which Tommy Hilfiger shirt, there were still standards about it, you couldn’t wear denim. That is why Dockers became a brand, they were the Casual Friday brand. They should have a PBS Special ”Merlin and John go back through Western History” or ”All the things you thought you understood: Turns out!” When this sea change comes it will be a reaction to something in the world.

People voting for Trump (RL210)

There is a rise of authoritarianism happening across the world, a thing we have all agreed for a very long time was not an aspiration. There were some petty despots around the world that we ally with of battle depending on how much oil is under the sand, but in America we were progressing away from despotism. Everybody is worried about Donald Trump, the guy who is on everybody’s lips, the A-line of modern fashion, but he isn’t the problem: The 40 million Americans who are going to vote for him are.

Every day that passes they become more certain that they are not going to change their mind. Trump isn’t going to win, but those 40 million people are happily ready to think of the president of the US as The Big Boss like Idi Amin. We are not that far from calling him Papa! It is not going to be Trump, but in the next however many years that is going to percolate, and then someone is going to come along who is appealing, who is dog-whistling and taking pages from Trump’s book, but he is not repulsive like Trump is.

The ”Nixon in China” move would be for it to be a woman with the ”Make America Great Again” motto and America is going to feel like Pink Floyd’s The Wall and that is when more severe fashion will come back in because we are going to be using all that Dockers fabric for parachutes, and it will be all white shirts for everybody.

Merlin read an article by David Frum in The Atlantic called ”Why Trump Supporters Think He’ll Win” related to what they talked about a couple of weeks ago on the OG Haoles episode (see RL206) that a lot of people liked. He essentially writes this in the first person in quotes in the voice of many Trump voters, which is really useful to read because he is not just taking the piss out of people, but there are so many elements of truth in what he is saying. This is not one group of people but many different individuals who see something.

If you treat this like a movement that is about Donald Trump, then you really lose the story. He is a cypher that everybody can project their desires, fears, anger, and in some cases their hatred on, although hatred is not nearly as big a deal as it looks like. It is the feeling of inequity and the feeling of being set aside and that feeling of being so over how this system works. Reading something like this is a thought experiment, to take yourself out of your own way of thinking, and put yourself into not just someone who is angry and powerful, but also someone who is sad and not powerful and who is looking for someone to make them feel powerful.

John contributing to Dave Eggers’ album for the Trump rally (RL210)

Their good friend Dave Eggers from the McSweeney’s empire told John that Trump rallies are using a lot of music to punctuate the event and almost universally the musicians who had made that music disapproved of it being used, so he wants to make an album of music where the songwriter approves of it being used at a Trump rally (called 30 Days 30 Songs). It is a very Eggers-y idea. In the past he has written the Future Dictionary for America and Future Sountrack for America during the second George W. Bush election in 2003. It was the debut-appearance of The Commander Thinks Aloud, mixed and shepherded by John Flansburgh, before it was released, and put on this album by Barsuk and Eggers as a support for not-Bush.

John went upstairs and started writing a song for this record. A lot of his friends and fellow musicians are going to be on there and he can guess how they will interpret the stated open-ended mission: ”Write a song for the RNC”, and John tried to write an anthem for them, not: ”Screw you guys, here is your song, I hope you choke on it!”, but: ”Yeah, this is the song that a Trump supporter would write!”, which sounds like a bit of Tom Petty and John Cougar Mellencamp, in the voice of somebody who is just fed up with the DMV and the Nanny State, a really ”Thanks Obama!” song.

Three quarters of the way through writing it and singing it it started to feel very dangerous because it was a bit like a Horst Wessel Lied. He was trying very hard not to sing it in a mocking Nashville accent (song see here) because a lot of the stuff the RNC chooses is Rock’n’Roll music and is not trying to be Country. John was getting into the whole ”Write a Rock Song” thing, it is in C, and he was enjoying himself, trying to make the lyrics not exaggerated for comedic effect, although it is obviously a sarcastic tune that is dog-whistle-y where you say ”Urban problems” or ”Make America Great Again” to cover your racism and it was turning into a good song and John is very curious to see how it will turn out!

As John was writing the lyrics he was very into the art of camouflaging the true meaning by using platitudinal language, which is very obvious and hilarious because he was using certain words and certain word order describing situations in a colored way, and the 4th time he was singing it to get the melody right he forgot the irony and he forgot he was being clever because the platitudes are easy to sing and hard to disagree with.

The reason people like Donald Trump is because he articulates something that they have trouble articulating on their own. Everything has changed so fast and nothing is getting better and they feel threatened and sad because the things that used to be a tradition in their community and family have gone away. People focus so heavily on racism and hatred, but that is what Donald Trump says, not all these people at the rally. They feel under thread because in a lot of cases they legitimately are. There is quite a bit of culture on the Internet now that says that white men can’t complain about their problems.

On the West Coast it is not considered radical that we are trying to have diversity, but in Oklahoma that effectively means is that it is mandated that they are no longer allowed to do business the way they always have. The diversity we are trumpeting in our West Coast cities is still not truly diversity and we are still struggling even in the hot bed of intellectual and practical pursuit of a world devoid of discrimination and we are a long way away from it. At the theoretical level we are pushing to expand the franchise and to be as radical as we can in terms of trying to be inclusive, while people in the center of the country are already struggling with the amount of diversity that we were aspiring in 1982.

Twitter being a toxic environment, the past, present and future of promoting your work (RL210)

John worries about Twitter. We have invested so much of our lives in Twitter and a lot of us are still back in 2011. We have been sounding the death knell for this cultural market place since 2011, but it is still there, and John still goes there multiple times a day and he is still trying to put his best thoughts there and has been for years. We are coming up on 10 years, and think about how long Twitter has been very central both to John’s news gathering, socializing, unwinding, making friends, it has been very key and each one of these new social media incursions, SnapChat being the latest, threatens John’s club.

John is very afraid that with each decline in the quality of Twitter… we have just weathered a period where it had become so toxic there, but we all stayed there and a lot of the people who make up John’s world are still tweeting at each other. Some have dropped away, (Jonathan) Coulton is barely there, (John) Hodgman is much less there, but John is still tweeting. A lot of it is just Instagram, he is not putting out as many words as he used to, his tweets are not as good, and he always hated people who tweeted links to their Tumblr, but now he is out there, tweeting links to his Instagram, which is not a positive sign.

Both John and Merlin have been really truncated in what they say and their language and they tweet within a modern context where it isn’t just a question of being actually sensitive to other people and actually changing ourselves in a positive way where we understand that there is responsibility to broadcasting, but also just fear of tweeting something that absolutely makes sense, but if it is potentially understood by the 2% of people that are looking for a problem, it is not worth the effort.

There was a time when Merlin was much more confident in trusting that whatever he said would be understood in a certain tone in a certain context by people who are familiar with certain references, and now he is much more sensitive to not saying things that are hurtful without knowing he is doing it. He doesn’t want to be hurtful and unkind to people, and you can no longer trust that people will understand what you meant to say and who you were saying it to. If you get that wrong there are such ramifications now, and all it has to do is go one iteration out from what you consider your family.

Merlin gets a lot of problems caused by people in suit and tie who say: ”Well actually, Bernie Sander is a sell-out!” There is an element of people swinging in on a vine, insulting him, and when he says: ”Good bye!” - ”Well I guess you are not interested in a debate!” - ”No, I am not!” - ”Then why are you publishing if you are not prepared to deal with every single monkey that comes at you?” - ”I am not coming to your Twitter feed, talking to you about your shit! This is not a public service. I am not obligated to you. This is my place and it made it to you and now you replied and Good Bye! Fuck you!”

Trying to imagine 5 years from now what his relationship is to this new public world… Dave Bazan said that his new goal for himself is to release an album every January 22nd for the next 5 years, which was very inspiring to John. Dave works very hard, and the date is probably just arbitrary, but looking ahead 5 years to the idea that he will have released 5 records. It feels like an act against vanity, in the sense that you have to be done with it August 22nd because it takes that long to manufacture stuff and that means you can not be precious about your songs. It seems crazy in a great way!

Thinking about how 5 years ago John would have tried to promote a new album if he had had one then, and thinking about how he would try to promote it now, he cannot imagine how he is going to try to promote it 5 years from now, particularly if he makes one a year, which he almost certainly will not. 5 years ago he would have used Twitter a certain way, but now every single day he logs on and sees his friends trying to promote their things, nobody is listening. Are we are the age now where we are gradually going to recede from that scene?

Part of the reason why John signed up for SnapChat today is that he is not quite ready to be over on Twitter with the Olds and not be inexplicably on SnapChat with the News, but he doesn’t know how many more of those progressions he is going to be able to make because the next one will probably require a knowledge of reference that will exclude him. Merlin thinks that the next one will be the one that John’s daughter will be on, or maybe not her, but there will be an interregnum. She is going to be on it sooner than John thinks, if she can climb her way out of the padded room in the basement where she lives. ”Let Daddy have his parade!”

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