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Mark Lee and Matt Wrather encourage you to take care of yourself during stressful times, and have some suggested ways you can provide, and think about, your own self-care.
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Can you link the wisdom literature you mentioned at 55:00? Thanks
Yeah, of course! I think was talking about Pema Chödrön, who is a western teacher of Buddhism. One book I’d recommend for difficult times is called When Things Fall Apart.
Something to keep in mind on this topic (for those of us who are either not Black or just generally otherwise raised in a “we solved racism” household) is that most of us in the United States are trying to absorb four hundred (and one) years of intense, detailed history in a few weeks. So, people are going to get overwhelmed, because that’s an overwhelming amount of work to do that almost every curriculum couldn’t be bothered to cover it.
But, we’re not cramming for a test, so it’s OK to take a day off, as long as that break doesn’t come with forgetting the broad strokes of what you’ve learned and thinking it’s fine to spout a bunch of racial slurs, because hey, day off. The Man to whom “it” needs to be stuck will still be here for it-sticking needs after a couple of hours of cartoons.
Also, big thumbs-up on Schitt’s Creek; it’s worth dropping just about anything else being watched to get through it. I’m still holding out on Watchmen, though. The first episode dropped as a teaser was mind-blowing (even as one of the rare people who learned about the Tulsa Massacre years ago), but HBO Max has enough garbage I don’t care about that it’s probably the first streaming service I’ll just hit up for an occasional month to catch up on the handful of shows and movies that are worth the trouble. The comic series…I’ll probably get a lot of hate for saying this, but I find it more of an interesting world-building exercise than anything like a good story, unless the idea that altruistic people are all trouble is appealing.
That’s an interesting read on Watchmen considering Moore’s own later career and his attempts to reinvigorate the bright pulpiness of comic book heroes during the grim ‘n gritty phase that he helped usher in. His relationship with fictional heroism in general is… complicated… no more so than in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which is sort of like the Stranger Things of 19th century fiction in that it’s created by someone who never experienced, first-hand, the era that it’s referencing but who nevertheless pines for it nostalgically because of its perceived purity.
Yeah, Moore seems like an odd fish. I know he later tried to claim that Watchmen was satire of darker comics (after the backlash against it started and before he decided that DC “stole” the rights from him by continuously publishing it), but those comics he would have been satirizing didn’t really exist here, and a lot of his other early American work seems drawn directly from Robert Mayer’s Superfolks novel, which is a mean-spirited parody.
He seems to have spent a lot of time improving his approach to the material since then, but it’s hard for me to see Watchmen itself as meant to be skewering people who don’t like superheroes instead of the superheroes themselves. But, then, I also had problems with Hulu’s Mrs. America, which all external evidence (interviews, other viewers) says is pro-ERA, but I came away thinking it basically pitched Schlafly’s talking points and ended. So maybe I’m just not sufficiently hip to certain forms of satire…
Have the Overthinkers watched The Expanse yet? It’s nourishing and delicious TV. A great Meal at an excellent restaurant, to further employ the food metaphor.
In terms of comfort TV, when I get home from work (I’m not an “Essential” worker but I have a Government job I can’t do remotely) I sometimes catch a bit of Classic Trek or Next Generation.
I would re-watch some 24 but I don’t know if my DVD player still works. It’s pretty weird that I consider 24 comfort TV! I think it’s because, like Star Trek, I know that canon so thoroughly so I know what happens, and that’s comforting.
I live in Nova Scotia, and we have a long and shameful history with our own African Nova Scotian community, many of whom are defendants of slaves owned by British Loyalists who came to NS after the American Revolutionary War. I am humbled when I think about my black co-workers and acquaintances.
Decendents, not Defendants! My dyslexia is Hilarious when it’s not embarrassing
I’ve also been watching the original Star Trek (but I was doing that anyway), and that’s another that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend as “comfort,” even though it is because it’s so ingrained. I’ve been taking notes on what the background society seems to be like, and so far, just about every episode at a bare minimum throws in a famine, a plague, collapse of supply chains, hints of a looming race war with telepaths a couple of times early on, secret laws, and so much sexism. Some episodes, it feels like they’re just on the ship so that they don’t have to deal with that crap, but Kirk also has a nice speech at one point saying that they’re there to prove that humanity is willing to live up to its ideals.
I agree that Kirk was quite the white savior. That aside, TOS did deal with racism (somewhat heavy handedly) in that episode where everyone was black on one side and white on the other. Uhura was one of the first Black women on TV who was portrayed as a professional working person. Mad Scientist Doctor Richard Daystrom was Black. Star Trek also gave us TV’s first interracial kiss, non-consensual as it was.
Which brings us to McCoy. My love for Bones is such that the fact that he was a “Southern Country Doctor” who was racist towards Vulcans is something I try not to think about too rigorously.
So, the Original Trek was imperfect is addressing rascism, but it tried.
The funny thing about Kirk is that they make him insufferable later in the series, but first-season-Kirk is interested in everything (multiple episodes have him helping someone else, because he was reading journals outside his field) and what seems like the only person on the ship who doesn’t have a mile-long file in Human Resources. I think Space Seed (late in the first season) is the first time he’s dismissive of someone’s job as he openly mocks the presence of a historian.
Basically, as Spock gets better (he’s an absolute jackass for the first bunch of episodes, openly bullying Janice Rand), Kirk gets worse.
Actually, that ties into the racism angle, too. Early on, just about everybody has some racist sentiment against Vulcans, with Kirk being the only one who catches himself or calls anybody out on it. But at some point, that’s all given to McCoy as a running joke, and…yeah, best to just not think about that.
I always thought that the comforting aspects of Star Trek had to do with optimism, competence and community being able to withstand external, and internal, pressures.
In Trek, the perfect society is not one without race wars but one which can better weather them because of a commitment to the fundamental value of human life.
Realistically, that’s about as good as we’re going to get as a species.
It’s a weird show, especially the majority of the first season, because the few hints we get about “back home” suggest a society that’s only just “now” struggling to do better. For example, early Kirk is “woke” even for today’s viewers, a polymath who shuts down bigotry and sits down with victims to make sure they know he’ll back them. They’ve also been reforming prisons, though that may have been fraudulent. But that’s all in the last twenty years, and there’s also a surprising amount of racial tension, drug use and other crime, colonies that require expensive paramilitary deliveries to survive, and even slavery. Also, I don’t know what was going on a hundred years ago, but they find enough lost ships from that era that it seems like explorers were treated as disposable.
So, it feels like–and it’s an angle I like a lot–the show is about a society trying to claw its way out from some really bad times. Kirk’s actual line (from The Corbomite Maneuver) is, “What’s the mission of this vessel, Doctor? To seek out and contact alien life, and an opportunity to demonstrate what our high-sounding words mean.” That latter clause may as well be the mission statement for the show.
I’d like to provide a strong second to that recommendation of Bill McClintock’s channel. Good stuff.
One of the strange experiences I’ve had since 2020 started really catching fire is the realization that there are other people out there who also feel, “during these uncertain times”… a sense of relief?
There are certain personality types who are never more stressed than during periods of peace and quiet, because there’s only ever the eye of the hurricane to rest in. And safety is at its most unsure when you can’t actually sense the threats.
I think that some of that at least is universal. I know anecdotally of therapists having to deal with increased levels of anxiety in their patients because of Trump; not because of what is he doing but because of what he might do.
I think that this is what’s motivating these protests at their heart. The invisible wars of — count them off now: years of propaganda, families and support structures breaking apart, an economy that sounds good on paper but doesn’t work for most of us, a straight-up medieval plague and finally, after all of that, a tangible example of why we fear our own authorities. And that was enough. Something we could process directly, see video of and respond to with clarity.
That was the match.
It’s difficult to figure out how to self-care when everything, even work, feels like a distraction from an increasing, but distant beyond reckoning, sense of building pressure.
In all honesty, when people ask me how I’m doing now, I can answer back honestly: “just fine”. A shocking amount of people seem to feel the same way. If this was never going to end without fires then there’s calm in knowing that your neighbors are willing to set them to protect us all.
Maybe that’s even a primal reaction, something evolutionary. If we are capable of understanding that life is chaos then it should also follow to us that controlling that chaos is like controlling our own lives.
A lot of my own life has fallen apart over the past year, in the same way it’s done many times before, but I have to say that every time it does I sleep more soundly than usual.
Anyways, I’m never going back to work again. That’s the ultimate self-care for some of us. Hopefully a lot of us since over 90% of people are employed by small businesses that most likely won’t be returning. I hope that, in taking some time off and building solidarity with one another, and maybe even taking care of each other as much as we commit to taking care of ourselves, we can get back to realizing that community and care are fundamentally interrelated concepts.
And anything that says otherwise makes good kindling in my eyes.
I’ve been saying that this was the crisis I was born to live through. I have a lot of empathy for people who are stressed, but I already didn’t go out much, so my life is pretty similar (I was already between jobs) and the quality of life has been better with fewer cars driving past my house, no air traffic, and so forth. Oh, and when I interview, it’s a video call, instead of rushing three towns away to an office that looks like it’s never cleaned and can’t be bothered to hire someone to greet visitors…
If we can get a better economy and/or less-horrible law enforcement out of the deal, that’s even better.
Truth. One of the article types that got passed around a lot in the early days of the ‘rona was about offices being forced to finally go through long-awaited reforms regarding telecommuting. That’s one more issue where we collectively decided to murder the whole planet and make our own lives exponentially more stressful because of a combination of tradition and the slim possibility that a fraction of a percentage of productivity loss for some companies might — maybe, possibly, who knows for sure — not be offset by the fraction of a percentage of productivity gain by some other companies.
I’m glad that this society is ending.