A few years ago, conservative commentators in America began using a term for young college students-mostly liberal-who insisted on #noplatforming speakers they disagreed with: Snowflakes. It was said with both a sneer and well-meaning wisdom because the world just isn’t going to work if you think you can block out or censure everything you find objectionable.
But here’s the problem. It’s totally _hypocritical. Because on all sides of the political debate we have this snowflake tendency. Conservatives freak out now when people question or criticize the president (indeed, the president himself loves to dish it out, but complains constantly about having to take it). You’d be amazed at the number of Donald Trump supporters-the same ones who accuse liberals of Trump Derangement Syndrome-who send in angry notes to DailyStoic.com that illustrate not just their inability to deal with views they disagree with, but also exhibit what ought to be called _Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
Why point this out?
Because the whole aim of Stoicism is to reduce the amount of offense we take from things that are outside our control. Remember, Epictetus says we are complicit when we allow someone to make us angry, when their words produce a disproportionate reaction from us. Intellectually, a philosopher has to be someone who can calmly entertain, consider, and engage with views and ideas different from their own. The notion that you would love listening to a band and then turn them off because they “brought politics into it” is positively infantile, whatever those politics are. Or that you’d turn away from a friend or a parent because they are on their own intellectual or social journey. (Or unsubscribe from a free email you otherwise liked!)
Snowflakes, whether they are on the left or the right, are miserable because they need the world to be a certain way-their way. They are constantly at risk of being upset and disturbed because someone else-someone with views different than their own-has the power to say or do or think for themselves. A Stoic, on the other hand, is open-minded and content to let others live and think as they wish. Not only that, but they relish the opportunity to have their own views challenged, because they know they grow stronger for it.
Don’t be a snowflake. Be a Stoic.
I like this.
I started using the term “snowflake” a long time ago to describe young adults who were ill prepared for the real world, like the twenty-something who wanted to bring his mom to a job interview with me.
Eventually I started using the term to mean anyone, myself included, who lack emotional or intellectual resiliency.
Once it became a common epithet of trolls and the right, I ditched it.
My interest in Stoicism developed independently, but I’m happy to merge the two as Daily Stoic lays out.
I did my KonMari before I knew I would relocate to Japan. I felt so good when I was done. There was a sad time where my house was insanely cluttered – my bedroom, living room, and basement were embarrassingly populated with stuff. It wasn’t dirty, per se, but was starting down the border slippery slope.
One I purged, I’ve not looked back. I want to start the process again as I’ve collected things here that no longer spark joy.
While I’m disappointed this happened and wish the best for those laid off, I don’t know how significant a loss this actually is. I think I learned BuzzFeed had a news department that wasn’t link-bait a few weeks ago.
Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “The Killing Jar” from Peepshow (1988) is easily one of the band’s finest tracks from an incredible body of work that has aged with grace. I consider this isolated recording below of Siouxsie’s soaring and hauntingly majestic vocals to be a gift from a time when I wore too much eyeliner and drove hundreds of miles with my best friend to see the Peepshow performance in a small Detroit theater. Yes, it was worth it.
And here is the full recording of “The Killing Jar”:
It couldn’t have lasted—a flame burning twice as bright, and so on. One of the best bands to emerge from the explosion of British new wave and post-punk in the 1980s, The Smiths built a template for thousands of mope-rock bands who followed. Longstanding animosity has meant that their brief time together contains their total legacy. No reunion shows or albums—despite rumors over the decades since they broke up in 1987; no ersatz version of the band, missing key members but limping ever on.
Live albums, compilations, and box sets may have appeared over the years, but they all contain music written, played, and recorded between 1982 and 1987, a period during which the songwriting duo of Morrissey and Marr had as much creative energy and purpose as any of the famous songwriting duos of twenty years earlier. Love them or hate them—there seem to be few people in-between—The Smiths’ importance to alternative and indie rock is inescapable.
Like many other hugely influential bands in popular music, the mythology can eclipse the complexities. Unmentioned in many a glowing account, for example, are the unsung onetime-members who played bass or guitar at points in the band’s short life—most significantly guitarist Craig Gannon, sometimes called the “fifth Smith.” Gannon played on such seminal hits as “Ask” and “Panic” before being let go from the band before they played their final concert, an Artists Against Apartheid benefit at London’s Brixton Academy on December 12th, 1986. See it above in a fan-recorded video.
Delayed after Marr was in a car accident, the concert shows them back to their core four lineup, reunited with fired, then rehired (then arrested) bass player, Andy Rourke. They play “Shoplifters of the World Unite” from their upcoming final album, 1987’s Strangeways, Here We Come; they play The Queen is Dead’s “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” for the first, and last, time live onstage; they end the night where they began, with their very first single, “Hand in Glove.” No one knew at the time that it would be their last gig, including the band.
They continued on for the next few months, recording, making TV appearances, and pondering a major label move. Differences personal, legal, and creative soon drove the four members apart. They have all continued to contribute significantly to the direction of alternative rock, as supporting players, superstar indie guitarists, and, well, Morrissey. We might wish for a more polished document of their last show, but so it is. Fans are extremely unlikely to ever get chance to see it happen again.
“Yes, time can heal,” wrote Morrissey in his often embittered autobiography. “But it can also disfigure. And surviving the Smiths is not something that should be attempted twice.” We should count ourselves lucky—those of us in the love-the-Smiths camp—that they survived as long as they did, producing jangly, gorgeous, snide, maudlin, and morbidly hilarious indie-pop gems from the very beginning to the very end of their maybe-perfectly-concise career.
See the full setlist below:
Ask Bigmouth Strikes Again London/Miserable Lie Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (only live performance) The Boy With The Thorn In His Side Shoplifters Of The World Unite There Is A Light That Never Goes Out Is It Really So Strange? Cemetry Gates This Night Has Opened My Eyes Still Ill Panic /The Queen Is Dead //William It Was Really Nothing //Hand In Glove
The side of our refrigerator is reserved for special mementos. I’m staring at it right now as I type: There’s a Polaroid of my now-wife and myself in our early days of dating, a photograph with our two-year-old at the beach last summer, there are food-themed novelty magnets from cities we traveled to over the years. Oh, I also see my health insurance card that I need to put back in my wallet. But, for the most part, important mile markers from our lives, memorable and flat enough to attach onto a fridge.
Curious enough, there’s a 8 1/2-by-11 sheet of paper on our fridge since 2010. Looking at it conjures a warm memory–it comes from a man I met nine years ago for one afternoon. His name is Lake E. High, a wonderful name of a wonderful man who met up with me in Columbia, South Carolina. At that time, High was president of the South Carolina Barbecue Association (he stepped down from the position this past July and is now president emeritus), and he agreed to show this Chicago newspaper reporter and barbecue neophyte the delicious foods of his home state.
I was young then, inexperienced in the food traditions of the American South. I told High I had tried pimento cheese for the first time only days earlier in Shelby, North Carolina at Bridges Barbecue Lodge. And with that cue, High launched into a 20-minute monologue about the particulars of pimento cheese. I sat listening to him, entranced that pimento cheese could yield 20 minutes of soliloquy.
Weeks later, I returned from my barbecue road trip week and discovered an e-mail in my inbox. It was from Lake High. It included a Microsoft Word attachment titled: Pimento Cheese. It read, in part:
> I gave this recipe to a friend who thought mine was the best he had ever had so he took the recipe and went out and bought some Piggly Wiggly sharp cheddar used the Hellmann’s mayonnaise his wife likes and had in the fridge. He was dumbfounded that it didn’t taste anything like mine and he said it was awful. I gave him a short lecture and had him re-read the recipe.
High included a number of secrets. He insisted only Kraft Reserve Sharp cheddar cheese be used, and if not available, Kraft’s Extra Sharp is also acceptable. He implored that only Duke’s mayonnaise be used (it has a higher egg yolk ratio, which gives it a “homemade” richness–plus it’s also the officially sanctioned mayo of the South). He add lots of black pepper. He mashes the jarred pimentos with a fork. And he adds a half teaspoon of sugar to “take the edge off the sharp cheese while leaving the flavor.” High says: “If you can taste the sugar, you’ve added too much sugar.”
I don’t know if using a different mayonnaise, or withholding the sugar, would make a taste difference that my palate could discern. But I also haven’t been consuming pimento cheese my entire life. And so I defer to the sage wisdom of Lake E. High, a gracious man who forever changed my worldview on pimento cheese. This is the only way I’ve made it, and the only way I’ll make it going forward. It’s absolutely delicious. That itself earns a place on our fridge forever.
Lake E. High’s Pimento Cheese
10 oz. Kraft Reserve Sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 small jar (4 oz.) chopped pimentos, mashed up with a fork
Lots of black pepper (and some red pepper flakes if you like it hot)
3-4 heaping Tbsp.Duke’s mayonnaise
Grate cheese into a bowl. Drain one small jar of pimentos and place onto plate. Mash with a fork into tiny pieces. Add cheese and pimentos into bowl, then add Duke’s mayonnaise to desired consistency. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and mix. Blacken the top of the cheese mixture with fresh ground black pepper, then stir it all up. Postscript: I e-mailed Lake E. High while writing this, asking for permission to reprint his recipe here. He graciously said yes, and added, “I tell people about your comment, ‘Pimento cheese has changed my life’ to much enjoyment.” He’s right.
Outside of inside of olives, I don’t know if I experienced pimentos much. Luckily I have two sisters, a brother, their families, and a mom to whom pimento cheese is a way of life.
I can’t say that I am a fan, but based off of this recipe I can see why I am not – that is a small amount of pepper (the pimentos, TIL) and black pepper to counter the sharpness of the cheddar. The sugar might not be best to cut the cheese sharpness – maybe lemon juice? The recipe misses the mayonnaise completely I presume at least 50% in volume to the total (UPDATE: They added it in and I reflected it above); I subscribe to the use of Duke’s in lieu of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise.
Librarian, artist, and bookbinder Sharalee Armitage Howard of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho decided that rather than dig up the stump of the 110-year-old cottonwood tree in her yard, she’d transform it into a little free library, or rather little tree library. Her creation sparks the imagination and exudes a sense of wonder and welcoming. Like a good book.
It’s the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry’s seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing.
Each of the developers was given one room to create, without any knowledge of the others developers’ rooms, making “each location … a different author’s take on a tribute to Anchorhead, or an original work of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, or a deconstruction of cosmic horror, or a gonzo parody of cosmic horror, or a parody of some other thing, or a portrait of life in Vermont, or a pure experiment in writing with Inform 7, or something else entirely. There are tons of puzzles. The puzzles get very weird.”
Early reviews are very positive: Zarf updates says “It’s glorious. It’s a mess. It’s a glorious mess… It’s a grand collection of vignettes by the biggest collective of IF authors ever gathered in one fictional Vermont town. It’s a demonstration of varied styles, varied approaches to puzzle design, and varied takes on the idea of ‘Lovecraftian/Anchorheadian game’. It’s creepy and funny and gross and poetic.”
Emily Short writes: “I can tell you already that if you like parser IF, you want to play this. It’s sometimes scary, sometimes disgusting, sometimes funny, sometimes weird, and sometimes all of those at once — but I’ll let you find the horse for yourself. And somehow all that surreal adds up to something greater than the sum of its parts.”
Your name is Naomi Cragne. Your husband is missing. That’s why you’re taking the train to Vermont, to look for him in his family’s old mansion. You’ll explore creepy environments, consult eldritch tomes, and solve bizarre puzzles as you search for Peter, but your surroundings, your past, and even your identity seem to change subtly—or dramatically—as you make your way through the town of Backwater and approach Cragne Manor.
In part 2 of Earworm’s series on jazz, Estelle Caswell talks to producer Michael Cuscuna about the iconic album covers of Blue Note Records.
I> Inspired by the ever present Swiss lettering style that defined 20th century graphic design (think Paul Rand), Blue Note captured the refined sophistication of jazz during the early 60s, particularly during the hard bop era, and gave it a definitive visual identity through album covers.
The covers were the work of Reid Miles, who was paid $50 per cover but later landed a gig making ads for the likes of Coca-Cola to the tune of $1 million per year. Here are a few of the covers designed by Miles for Blue Note:
Crazy stylish. I love these covers and the ones that stole liberally from them..