Thursday, March 24, 2016

Un-Depress (Yourself) #19

This is installment #19 of an ongoing list I've been keeping for several years, and now I feel the need to share. I am only including things like movies, books, TV shows, and songs on here-- if I included actual events and phenomena from reality, this list would never end and I'd never stop thinking about depressing shit. Unavoidably, some of the items on this list touch on depressing stuff from reality, and that's part of what makes them so depressing. I am also not devaluing the quality of any of these artifacts; many of them are quite good, even great: touching, well-made, intelligent, and so on; but nonetheless, they bum me out. I'm sure it's at least partly because of the high quality that they depress me so.
   And these choices are all subjective, of course. If any of these things happen to not depress you, maybe you're just having a less depressing life than I (wink, wink). Lucky you! Also, some of the items on this list were suggested by friends (Thanks, Larry & Bobby!).
   I've alphabetized the items in each sub-list. If I tried to rank them some other way, that would depress me further.
   Maybe this list will help you avoid some things that could depress you, too. Or maybe not. Enjoy.


More Movies to avoid



The Comedy - A creepily realistic portrait (starring Tim and Eric of Tim & Eric) of a spoiled hipster who may also be a sociopath. Very well done, but bleak as shit. You may know this person. He definitely exists.

The Time Machine (1960 version) -- In the future, the people you know will be dead. And other terrible things.

Zardoz -- I remember it as having one (another!) of those the-passage-of-time, you-will-die kind of things in it. And some other bleakness.



TV shows

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, "a beautiful and very depressing depiction of the massacre of hundreds of Lakota people by the U.S. government in 1890" (from "Native Actors Deserve to Be Seen" by Julia Jones, in Lenny Letter)
Flaked - I don't know why contemporary AA-heads in Venice (L.A.) should be a bummer, it just is. Also, they make it look like Will Arnett is the most attractive man around for miles.


More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 
Part 13
Part 14 
Part 15 
Part 16 
Part 17
Part 18


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Un-Depress Yourself 18: Avoid sad thingies, more

 This is installment #18 of an ongoing list I've been keeping for several years, and now I feel the need to share. I am only including things like movies, books, TV shows, and songs on here-- if I included actual events and phenomena from reality, this list would never end and I'd never stop thinking about depressing shit. Unavoidably, some of the items on this list touch on depressing stuff from reality, and that's part of what makes them so depressing. I am also not devaluing the quality of any of these artifacts; many of them are quite good, even great: touching, well-made, intelligent, and so on; but nonetheless, they bum me out. I'm sure it's at least partly because of the high quality that they depress me so.
   And these choices are all subjective, of course. If any of these things happen to not depress you, maybe you're just having a less depressing life than I (wink, wink). Lucky you! Also, some of the items on this list were suggested by friends (Thanks, Larry & Bobby!).
   I've alphabetized the items in each sub-list. If I tried to rank them some other way, that would depress me further.
   Maybe this list will help you avoid some things that could depress you, too. Or maybe not. Enjoy.


More Movies to avoid

Heaven Knows What https://www.netflix.com/title/80016426


The True Cost http://www.netflix.com/title/80045667

S'all for now.

More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 
Part 13
Part 14 
Part 15 
Part 16 
Part 17


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Get Undepressed! the 17th (Things that say "Avoid me")

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 16.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID!


Books:
Streetwalkers by Scot Sothern
From http://www.booksoup.com/event/scot-sothern-discusses-and-signs-streetwalkers :
"Streetwalkers is a bleak, real examination of street prostitution in contemporary America by an artist and writer whose own illicit compulsions and literary muscle inform every page. This is the complete collection of Sothern's work from the "Lowlife" years as well as from recent shoots. In addition, included are his features from "Nocturnal Submissions," his online column for "VICE "magazine. With new work and previously unpublished stories, this 30-year project is now final and should continue to cause strong reactions from all who see it. (powerHouse Books)"

Thing:
Pictures of abused animals or euthanized pets
Jesus H. Et Cetera, I stumbled on some of these while innocently clicking on CUTE animal pics on Pinterest. Now I need to look at even more cute animals to undo the damage to my psyche. Yes, I know to always adopt and never buy pets from stores, breeders, and so on. I know not everybody has gotten the message yet, so I know some people post this stuff for good reason, but JAYZUZ! now I need a Xanax.
Got a Xanax for me, anyone?


And now, a picture of Turkey, who is alive and well.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Depress 16 (Go Avoid Things!)

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 16.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID!
 

Movies

The Sea Inside (Did I already list it before? You know how I like my bears: repeating. See http://www.refinery29.com/2016/01/101856/whats-leaving-netflix-february-2016#slide-52


Music

"The Living Bubba" by Drive-By Truckers
"Went Looking For Warren Zevon's Los Angeles" by Lucero


TV

Run (British series. Netflix reviewer said it was depressing, so that's all I need.)



...and I'm already building up more anti-recommendations for next time. (Why must there be a next time?!)


More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 
Part 13
Part 14 
Part 15 


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Depress 15

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 15.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID!
 

Movies

We Need To Talk About Kevin- My man called it depressing, I didn't. We both thought it was an excellent piece of filmmaking. Its main effect on me was to make me ever so glad I don't have a pathological kid.

Welcome To Sarajevo- Hmm, no thanks. Or tanks.


Music


From Wikipedia:
"[David] Bowie also recorded the song "Bring Me the Disco King," which Bowie described as "a depressing song summing up the sad late Seventies with a Philip Glass refrain running through it."[1] This track would not end up on the album, however, and would remained buried in Bowie's vault until its release on Bowie's 2003 album, Reality."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tie_White_Noise


Comedy 

(aka standup, comics)

Paul Mooney - ahh, white guilt. Maybe just I should avoid this. You? Go for it.

...and I know some other comics personally who happen to depress me, but I don't want to recommend you avoid them, 'cause they could use the publicity. Hey, I have conflicting interests!

So just beware all comics.


More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4! Are you depressed yet?!
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 
Part 13
Part 14 


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Depress 14 (Depressing Shit to Avoid series)

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 14.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID! AVOID!
 

Movies

The Good Lie
(Sudanese war orphans)
 
J. Edgar
(no likable characters; makes me think about how much I would have hated to be him; unpleasant overall)
 
Miss Evers' Boys
(Tuskegee syphilis experiment, racism. Could be under TV category, too, 'cause it was made for TV)

My Zinc Bed
(alcoholism, AA. Also a book!)

Sometimes In April
(Rwandan genocide)

Things We Lost In The Fire
(a "touching look at loss, addiction and recovery." Blech.)

This Is Where I Leave You
(Is this depressing? I have a feeling it might be. HBO calls it a comedy. I suspect otherwise.)

Yesterday
(AIDS in Africa. Did I already mention this 1? Still a bummer.)


Music

Neil Young, On the Beach
Read Dangerous Minds' post on "Neil Young’s ultra-depressing 1974 album ‘On the Beach’" here:
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/dance_troupe_interprets_neil_youngs_ultra_depressing_1974_album_on_the_beac?utm_source=Dangerous+Minds+newsletter&utm_campaign=f693fb8aa8-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ecada8d328-f693fb8aa8-65858297


More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4! Are you depressed yet?!
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 
Part 13


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Depressing Shit To Avoid, Part 13

I recommend you see part 1 of my Depressing Shit series and read my original disclaimer here; now here's installment 13.

I'm only telling you about these things for your own good. Unless you have the problem of too much happiness and too little awareness of bad things, AVOID! AVOID!
 

Movies:


About Schmidt
(my man G says it's depressing; I haven't seen)

Ararat
(haven't seen, don't wanna)

Maybe:
Beasts of No Nation
(think I might actually break my own rules and watch this one, 'cause, you know, Idris Elba. Has he ever been in anything bad?)

Blackfish (have I said that one already?)

Bunny Game (Thanks to Bobby Wilks for tipping me off to this.)

Maybe?:
Harry and Tonto (mixed  reports from Netflix reviewers)

The Road
from http://www.slashfilm.com/films-leaving-netflix-november-2015:
"John Hillcoat‘s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy‘s pitch-dark novel is one of the most miserable movies ever made, but it’s wholly intentional. By stripping the inherent romance, adventure and excitement out of the post-apocalypse, this film showcases a world dying with a whimper. The whole thing is essentially plotless, following Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee as an unnamed father and son duo on a episodic quest through a dead world, which means it can drag. Some sequences are better than others. But when The Road connects, it really connects. This is the best movie to watch if you’re ever having too good of a day."
[sounds like the book's no fun, neither]

Another Maybe, for some people:
Snowtown Murders (Definitely disturbing and would probably depress a lot of people, though, surprisingly, it didn't really depress me. I guess I'm too fascinated by the dead-on filmmaking and the eery crime-y-ness of it all.)

Una Noche (didn't watch, as I was warned that it was depressing by reviews on Netflix)


Books:


The Tears of Olive Trees (autobiographical, about Palestine. Yeesh.) 


More depressing stuff: Read Part 2 here.
And here's Part 3.
And Part 4! Are you depressed yet?!
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12 


As always, I welcome your suggestions for More Depressing Shit. Please comment, and I'll include any good suggestions in a future update.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

In REED Mag: NAPOLEON NEVER SLEPT: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy

Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy, by Maren McConnell-Collins ’98, coauthor (Maren Ink, 2015). Maren and her father, Randall Collins, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, investigate the common thread in highly successful individuals throughout history. They share their discovery that charismatic leaders motivate and are motivated by emotional energy. “Charismatic leaders set in motion positive feedback loops: people in the group build up a shared emotion; the stronger the emotion, the more they feel themselves in tune with each other, and the more tightly they focus together. And the more tightly they focus, the more their shared emotion pumps each other up.” More at www.maren.ink.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How Syrian Refugees Can Help America

I haven't worked out the details of how this might work, but here are the basics of my Great Big Plan For America.

Bring refugees here, have them live wherever they can be housed. I know this is complicated, but whatever the economic or political conditions, there are a lot of empty homes going untenanted in various parts of the country.

One area in particular should be considered: the Rust Belt. Not the best place to be in the winter, but if we put able-bodied refugees and Americans wanting work to work (at whatever time of year) making the empty and abandoned homes in these places livable, it would completely reboot the local economies. All sorts of infrastructure in places like Detroit need rebuilding, and with major funding and impetus from the federal government-- something like the New Deal programs that got people to work in the Depression era-- you could rebuild old cities, get lots of people working, house lots of people-- and heat their houses-- for whoever needs it, both Americans and refugees. You might even end up fostering goodwill between Americans and Syrians.

See also: Utah has a program called Housing First, which has proved an effective and MONEY-SAVING way to house people who need homes. Policymakers, activists, and others can learn a lot from this, not just in how it applies to the homeless, but in how to house anyone you don't know how to house, e.g., refugees. In other words, I think investing in low-income housing on a large scale, in a way that also helps the other people already living in underserved places like Detroit by getting people jobs and building infrastructure, would be a win-win for citizens, refugees, and taxpayers, as local governments could save money on any number of problems (crime, the need for emergency healthcare for the suffering) that are exacerbated by not housing people.

And hey, even Detroit can't be a worse place to be than Syria right now.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/352547477060333411/

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Use Your Powers For Good (For Those Who Love to Argue)

I love to argue.

But sometimes I just wanna go home.

Have you seen the internet? My, but people love to argue.

But I also like to DO stuff.

I want to support all marginalized people. But some of the arguments on the internet, like one I skimmed recently among lesbians and trans activists on a Facebook page [which I'd link here, except that it's disappeared] yesterday, make me sad because it's hard to see how it helps any good cause rather than harming it.

I could read and read... or I could just stop reading and start singing to myself to get the arguing out of my head. You could call that privilege, that I don't have to argue or pay attention to arguments all the time.

Do you/your social category have big problems? Undoubtedly. Are your problems bigger or more important than other people's problems? Impossible to say. They are to you, of course. "All suffering, however multiplied, is always individual," said Gandhi, possibly. (I read it somewhere and am having trouble finding the original quote.)

Do you have the right to be offended? Yes, at anything and at any time, and neither I nor anyone else has the right to tell you you shouldn't be offended at something. Maybe I don't think you should, maybe I think you're annoying, but that doesn't matter. Getting offended is free, free, free.

But what is the point of all the arguing? Changing minds is important, yes. But berating potential allies for your cause, people who may have some very major enemies in common with you-- e.g.,  THE PATRIARCHY!-- can be massively counter-productive. It's beneficial to limit your arguing to what is actually doing good, I think, which, though it sounds good, is also hard to determine.

But I'd offer everyone fighting for a cause this simple-ish advice: Take at least some of the time and energy you could spend arguing with potential allies and spend it on taking REAL action in the real world to benefit actual people. Fighting online may feel righteous, but there's a good chance a lot of the effect will NEVER result in any positive change for the people you claim to champion. Like real transwomen suffering real violence out there.

Let's lessen the arguing and try to DO SOMETHING.



---------

 Napoleon Never Slept: How Great Leaders Leverage Social Energy  
 Micro-sociological secrets of charismatic leaders from Jesus to Steve Jobs
E-book now available at Maren.ink and Amazon