So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #065: Grinding My Gears

I recognize that having column inches such as I do grants me a public space to air my grievances. A place, in plain sight, to shoot straight and vent with hope in finding sympathetic ears. Such as it were, we all have these spaces — take the social media platform of choice, and let loose. But here, on Pop Culture Squad, I’m given a bit more leeway to stretch a would-be status message and let it get some height. Normally I’d save my ire for something specifically in the pop culture space (#relevancy), but, here I am stuck in quarantine — a nebulous vacuum of pop culture at present. So, I’m detailing several things in my life that are at very least pop culture adjacent that have been grinding my gears. Hopefully with a little venting, this tightening in my chest might relieve itself a bit. On with the ranting!

1. Virtual Events

With remote learning, and businesses needing to flock to tele-meeting spaces like Zoom, Facebook rooms, Skype, and the like… the population is tired of virtual fraternization. Save perhaps the concerts being put on by various musical artists who all happen to have sophisticated recording equipment in their homes… Zoom and the like are fast becoming tiresome. Yes, we all get it. You throw on a normal shirt, and keep the pajamas on under the gaze of your web cam. Ha ha. Woo. But every virtual event remains the same. We speak over one another, or have dueling monologues. Our kids crash in, and suddenly we’re juggling staying engaged, and remembering we’d literally like to be anywhere else.

And to attempt to smash folks into a digital convention space to hold a comic con or the like? No offense, but no thanks. The appeal of attendance goes part-in-parcel with the space itself. To attend a con virtually removes true spontaneity and the tactile appeal that comes inherent to the event. And from my side of the table? It’s raising hopes, and taking my money on the promise of a virtual audience starved of content seeking more. On paper, it sounds great. In reality? When your audience is sitting at home, where they are reminded they are likely on furlough, extraneous purchases are the last thing on their mind.

Gretchen, stop trying to get Virtual Events to happen. It’s not going to happen.

2. Wear. A. Rao-Damned. Mask.

I shouldn’t have to add to the pile of folks pleading. If you’re going out in public? Wear a mask. Full stop. If you think that infringes on your rights? Buy a clue. Or, you know what? Do me a favor. Walk into the nearest hospital, and French kiss someone suffering from COVID-19. Then, pull up a cot, and enjoy gasping for air for the next 3-5 weeks.

3. President Trump and Joe Biden.

Make no bones about it. I firmly believe President Trump is absolutely the worst to hold the office in the history of the United States. I find anyone presently still supporting him to be a sycophant of the highest order. His handling of the outbreak of the coronavirus has added to the national hysteria and record rising death toll. His continued ignorance, inept intelligence, and lurching impulsivity feed his supporters at the cost of human lives.

The remaining glimmer of hope I have now sadly rests on the sniffed-shoulders of Joe Biden. As a moderate glass of water meant to put out any minor fires a young President Obama might have in his first term, he made sense. But the walking-talking gaffe-factory has since become yet-another-nail in the coffin of liberal response to the juggernaut Trump has been since entering the GOP Primaries. Each passing day, I sigh a bit harder when Biden takes to the airwaves. Let me be clear: he has my vote in November. He will be better than Trump in literally every metric possible. But it doesn’t take away from his faults, and that so many better options lost in the primary to him lo only because of the power of recognizability and worthless in-fighting.

4. The Need to Make This About You

We are all having to deal with furloughs, quarantines, remote learning, sports being canceled, and life generally sucking right now. So, I’ve about had it with folks needing to choose a camp and prep themselves for a color wars competition that’s not coming. Whether you’re a helicopter parent proudly posing your spawn for yet another candid shot of them doing some amazing Pinterest science experiment you’ve made time to do… a podcaster living vicariously off your dwindling rolodex and non-existent fan-base… or a malcontent needing to share that they put on clothes today, or their posting of the eighteenth meme of the day cycling between unfunny jokes about day-drinking, weight gain, essential employees, or all-three-in-one…

We get it. If you need actual help? Get it. Posting about your amazing life won’t actually make it great. We are absolutely in this together. The only way through it is to find whatever the new normal is, and make hay. Otherwise? You’re wasting valuable time just waiting on the world to change. It has. Catch up.