Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today's PStUM: Pumpkins

Now that it is fall, every genteel suburban Romney voter has placed a small bale of hay on their porch alongside the obligatory pumpkin. Who the fuck decided that pumpkins were a symbol of Autumn? It's not like people say, "hey wow we best go down to the farmer's market and stock up, it's pumpkin harvest time." They serve as little function as a food item can and still be used. You know that awesome taste of pumpkin pie? That's cinnamon and nutmeg. Pumpkin itself has no flavor whatsoever, so that "pumpkin spice" bullshit you put in your coffee is a total farce. I bet in like 1946 or something some brilliant capitalist with an inherited pumpkin farm concocted all this shit up. "Hey Sherm, I'll just start telling people they are an arbitrary symbol of Autumn, going off the whole Jack-o-Lantern thing. yeah, they don't taste like anything or have any real culinary value, but they look pretty on your porch I guess." Pumpkins mean nothing, they have no use for anyone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today's PStUM: "Dance Punk"

This little tyke considers
James Murphy his muse, but
isn't too good at describing
First of all, I admit it: I can’t deflect the term “hipster.” I like good things- PBR is better than Keystone, good music is better than shitty music, irony is better than sincerity. Some, but not all. My pedigree is mostly comprised of the music I like- indie shit, post punk junk, unlistenable artiness. A lot of that music, like LCD Soundsystem, Matt and Kim, and Crystal Castles (Suicide or New Order if you apply the tag retroactively), are roughly grouped together by music critics (my cousins) into the bullshit category of “Dance Punk.” The problem is not the music itself or the desire of certain cultural gadflies to put some kind of genre tag on the music they like. The problem is that Dance Punk doesn’t mean fucking anything. The term applies two tags that are associated with an impossible diversity of sounds and moods, creating a pretty heavily overlapping Venn Diagram over the whole of contemporary music. None of the aforementioned artists are more “Punk” than any other thing on the radio, nor are they any more “Dance Music.” They are electronic-leaning poppy indie acts that do not in any way necessitate a genre description on their own. Dance Punk serves the same rhetorical function as the ignorant conservative slogan “Pro-Family;” they both assume a broad term reflects one’s own small-minded definition of its function. Gay people still have families, you can dance to whatever the fuck you actually want, and I think that if “punk” means anything today, (which is highly dubious) it applies to The Wiggles much more than it does to whatever garbage local deathgrind band whose 8-track you most recently bought. When punk came to describe half of all rock music and when someone started nodding their head to Swans, these two terms lost all meaning. Much like your local conservative senate candidate, the mavens of Dance-Punk exist in their own ignorant little sphere, immune to the modern world around them and oblivious to any values or opinions remotely different than their own. Dance-Punk is not real.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today's PStUM: The flag of Provo, Utah

This is not a fucking joke. There is a major American city with this flag.

For those of you who don't know, Provo, Utah is a mid-sized city that A. is home to Brigham Young University, a hotbed of everything that is awful about Mormons (men need a permit to grow a beard), and B. is apparently the most conservative city in the United States. Also, it's in Utah. So from the start, ya haven't got much to work with here. I would assume that Provoans would rather brand their city with a pennant that reads "Know your place" with like some guns and magic underwear and shit in the background. Instead, the wraparound sunglasses and north face jacket-wearing Gay Marriage opponents of the region took a lesson from the OTC vitamin school of graphic design and created this Centrum Silver-esque monstrosity. Honestly, I don't even know where to start with this piece of trash. See, there's a right way to make a city/ municipal flag- check out Pittsburgh, New York, Boston and Columbus. These city flags are simple, elegant, and traditional. They reflect their pride and regional history using simple fields of color and centrally located badges or coats of arms. The Provo flag shows not only an absolute lack of history, but a rejection of it. It suggests a city void of identity and self-awareness. It is a place that only exists in the modern era, with miles of McMansion sprawl, SUV's, venture capitalists, and a deep hatred of the estate tax. On a broader level, it suggests to me the absolute desolation of the inter-mountain west. There is no culture except what what is passed through focus groups, there are no restaurants but chains, there are no neighborhoods but strip malls and recent developments. Provo, Utah is a sad, ugly, and revoltingly modern place. I will never live anywhere like it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today's PStUM: Vegans who are selective about the morality of food consumption

Don’t like milk or honey because of your undying compassion for critters? Fine. Whatever. But know that the amount of suffering and environmental destruction brought on by eating the beefeater tomatoes you bought at Whole Foods is vastly worse than eating bee shit. Chances are, those were pretty much picked by slaves, and if you think that animal products are the only possible ethically and environmentally destructive food category, ask the migrants who endure pesticide exposure and heatstroke to pick your food, and realize the greenhouse gases that are created by flying your sweet (but not too sweet!) Oso onions in from Chile. If you want to be an ethical consumer of food, abstaining from animal products is one small component. Let’s face it, the animals we eat and use for food production are generally pretty retarded, and I care way more about the human suffering brought on by crop production than that which some barely sentient bird feels when it shits out eggs. Tasty, tasty, eggs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today's PStUM: politically ignorant "Libertarians"

We all know two libertarians- one is an actual libertarian, hates unions, hates the minimum wage, thinks no one is entitled to anything. Has a giant hard-on for Ayn Rand, has quasi-elaborate theories about how “competition breeds success,” and has drank the Neo-Liberal Koolaid so much it’s a miracle that he (and it almost always is a ‘he’) doesn’t constantly vomit purple. But he knows what he believes, and as barbaric as his worldview is, you have to respect him for being able to defend it, which he can.

Then there’s the other one. Like the first person, he or she constantly rails against “big government” destroying American liberties. He or she or it hates the Patriot Act, hates the wars, hate the war on drugs, and hate the intrusion of fundamentalist Christianity onto public life. Now, these are all absolutely legitimate positions, but this individual errs by thinking they define what it means to be a capital-L Libertarian. Chances are, he or she is also very disturbed by cuts to higher education funding, challenges to Social Security, and workplace anti-discrimination legislation. He or she may think of Martin Luther King, who called for an end to capitalism and codified legal federal protections for minorities, as an inspiration, or most revoltingly, a libertarian himself. They may also think that “Anarchist” and “Libertarian” are roughly synonyms. It goes without saying, then, that this person is a fucking fool who lacks the political understanding to realize the difference between the State and the Government, to recognize what the inequalities he or she rails against would only be inconceivably deeper with Ron Paul or Gary Johnson in charge, or to understand what the term “Libertarian” means. Don’t like the fact that the US has the deepest economic inequality in the developed world? Don’t like the fact that banks get away with murder and paying zero taxes? Don’t like getting treated like shit at work? Do you like having things like affordable healthcare, infrastructure, higher education, and an at least pseudo-protected environment? Well guess what, you aren’t a fucking Libertarian. There’s more to political identity than being against Marijuana prohibition and our current wars- I know, since I’m a Democratic Socialist and I oppose these things as well. The difference is that my political worldview responds to prevailing socioeconomic patterns in society, rather than a few wedge issues. Read a book or two, you morons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Today's PStUM: Algerian font

Gee Charlotte, these city folk certainly have diversity in food options. Myrtle Beach is so cosmopolitan! They’ve got a Denny’s, a Houlihan’s, gorsh. Wow, take a look at this place, I don’t think it’s a chain- the Tally-Ho? How exotic! And look at that font! I certainly never used that font in MS Word 95. It looks like we’re about to embark on a remarkable journey of flavor and ambiance never before experienced. Keep your hat on, Char, this place looks wild!

Wow, you put effort into that typeface. It's not
like I could have designed that myself.
I fucking despise Algerian. Anyone with any sense does. Comic sans is famously reviled for it’s overuse, but I propose that Algerian is the real culprit- Comic Sans never pretends to be anything other than what it is, which is absolutely retarded. Algerian is a font of deception- just as the Devil mixes his lies with the truth, Algerian mixes a true earnestness of a small bar and grill trying to succeed with a tacky quasi-orientalist bullshit aesthetic that is not acceptable past fifth grade power point presentations about turtles. This is "Algerian" like Wingdings is whatever the fuck Wingdings is supposed to be. Whatever these people think it may look like, it does not. Whatever effect they want it to convey, it will fail at. Algerian is a joke.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Today's PStUM: Cephalopods

When the Kingdom Animalia throws a big reunion after the rapture or whatever, these freaks are not invited. You have no bones, eight tentacles connected to your head, and have high intelligence? Get the fuck off my planet, you alien scum. Go back to Pluto or Mississippi or wherever the hell you evolved and stay away from my daughters. Don’t care if you’re delicious, don’t care if you can open jars, you are the stuff of goddamned nightmares.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today's PStUM: Sumac Trees

Sumac trees are a joke. I'm not referring to poison sumac, which is unrelated, but those stupid-ass pseudo-tropical looking trees that grow literally everywhere. They ruin everything, and I just can't say why. They almost seem like they aren't real. Was in the mountains a while ago and found this spot over the Youghiogheny river (the spellcheck for that word suggested I was trying to spell "toughener") and I swear to god the view was just about ruined by a large grove of sumac trees right in front of us. They remove any sense of whimsy or beauty from any scene and replace it with the subtle ambiance of a temperate-continental climate region highway shoulder. Never has a plant been so emblematic of everything that is the opposite of nature. It's like, get a job, you ugly trees. Stop growing everywhere. You're dumb.

Today's PStUM: "Are you still working on that?"

Today me and my girlfriend were eating at a local gay-themed breakfast establishment. Our waitress, as is common at any restaurant in the country, frequently "checked in" on us, asking "are you still working on that?" When we both responded that we indeed were, she replied with the affirmation that we would be given the privilege of "taking our time." Thank you friendly robot for granting us further time to finish the assignment at hand. With this kind of language, waiters suggest that we are executing a task rather than savoring a meal that should be enjoyable. No, this is not a pile that I am trying to remove, it is a breakfast quesadilla that I paid for with my own money and will enjoy by my own standards of time. It is a sad commentary on our culture that we describe eating a meal with terms that should be reserved for a high school midterm exam- I will enjoy the taste of my meal rather than laboring over it's consumption. I'm sorry mam, I'm not working on it, I am savoring it.