Friday, December 14, 2018

Ezzelino Live Cams, Epilogue

I spent the next few hours in a daze. The way this encounter unraveled seemed impossible, unbelievable, or even scripted. From the beginning where I was dragged through the hidden door by the strange man, to the discovery of this strange troupe that lived in an abandoned mall, to the part where I befriended and bonded with them, to the ending where their innocent claims of creative freedom slid away to reveal a paid complicity with some anonymous, sociopathic billionaire.

There's not much I know about life, but I do know this: life is a series of dishwater-dull days that slowly slide by and leave us reassured that we're civilized, smart, healthy and invincible. Those days are occasionally shattered by unpredictable accidents that remind us that we are, in actuality, absolutely none of these things.

I knew the instant I set foot in the studio that this was an extraordinary day, but I didn't expect what had to be the opposite of an epiphany. I recognized that I was meeting extraordinary people in an extraordinary place. I wanted time to slow down so I could record every second in my head. I held onto every word, every image, desperate to remember it forever, letting go only when new words and images overwhelmed me and I had to throw something overboard.

I remember the instant when I realized it was a sham. What I'd thought was a parade turned out to be a car wreck, and I recognized too late that I shouldn't have looked. I'd gone from wanting my own disheveled bed with ROMAN scrawled on the wall above it to literally looking over my shoulder as I fled into the dark. I felt betrayed: not just by these people, but by myself.

I felt like an infant again, like everything I'd known about life had evaporated right in front of my eyes. Hadn't I constructed a persona that protected me from harm? Hadn't I learned to maintain a distance from con men, tricksters, Nigerian princes, and handsome, unemployed men who are absolutely crazy about me? I knew my safety could be violated by horror movies, and the images of people being stabbed in the eyeball that bounce back into my brain when I'm chatting at a dinner party. I know not to go on roller coasters, because I've had bodily trauma result from carry-on luggage and shopping carts. So what exactly had happened here? How had my defenses been evaded? I didn't have the faintest clue, and not being able to understand -- or even describe -- the experience upended everything I knew about myself.

Aimlessly walking the streets of Wiesbaden, I felt a scrap of paper in my pocket. I had yet to start processing the mental notes I'd made, and realized these were evidence of one. Merkur and Melanie had given me their business cards. Of course I'd wondered why they'd had them, since it didn't seem like "making fantasy snuff films for reclusive Swedes" was the kind of occupation you'd want to advertise. Both had said, coincidentally, that they'd given away all of their real business cards so they had to handwrite the information on cardboard.

Both cards gave the same website address in freeform scrawl. Melanie's card also listed an Instagram user name, so I took a table at a coffee shop, ordered a cappuccino, pulled out my phone and searched for her name.

I scrolled through thirty-something photos like the ones I've posted here. In her first post, on August 22, she wrote that she was excited to start working with a new customer.

The Swedish guy? That couldn't be right. That was just three weeks before I'd met them. They'd supposedly been there for two years, I thought: that's when Merkur took over the Spielhalle lease. Unless the new customer was --


Suddenly a sharp new thought sliced through my mental haze. I flashed back on the strange man who'd drawn me into the hidden room. We'd had a short conversation that I'd discounted at the time. One of the first things he'd told me was that there was an explanation for everything. And I'd emailed it to myself.

I switched over to my email account and there it was.

I parsed the words and they slowly revealed their meaning. The alternative scenarios I'd constructed in my head fell away one by one to reveal a truth still cloaked in impossibility.

But the email couldn't have been more clear. The whole thing was fake.

In 1992, the novel Assisted Living was published by the pseudonymous Nikanor Teratologen. Described as a Satanic work of unending violence, incest, pedophilia, racism and cannibalism, it caused a scandal that provoked equal parts repulsion and fascination. What was this work? everyone wondered. Was it an innocent allegorical construction, a boundary-pushing cautionary tale, or the authentically-debauched sickness of a demented soul?

When nice young Niclas Lundkvist came forward to announce he'd written it, the world exhaled, relieved to see the best-case scenario. The book became a best-seller, and then a cult classic. Everyone applauded his ingenuity.

Twenty years later, though, investigative journalists found Lundkvist had an alternative online identity named Ezzelino. Ezzelino was a sadistic, racist, misogynistic Nazi. His 2,000+ posts about concentration camps and gas chambers contained statements like, "The Jews are enemies of the Swedish, German, French, and English people."

Naturally, Lundkvist's work was reappraised again. The reaction to the new information was lukewarm, and many critics stood by Lundkvist. It was clear to everyone, though, that the repellent opinions Ezzelino espoused were offered fully-formed in Assisted Living, albeit conveyed through the fictional lead.

The artists Thomas Bo Nilsson and Julian Eicke created a similar paradox within a convoluted fantasy world. Their installation asked one of the questions this incident raised: could something that seemed innocent, creative, interesting or extraordinary turn into something monstrous with just one added piece of information?

I'd experienced exactly what the artists intended, and what newspapers said about the unmasking of Lundkvist's secrets: how sad it was when something thought to be beautiful, provocative art was, in fact, a terrible, provocative reality.

And finally we get closure. We are left to explore, experience, and, finally, applaud a seamless universe created entirely to explore a moral quandary. I am returned to the best-case scenario: we circle back to the beginning, and I discover a group of artists and actors creating something impossible to imagine yet equally impossible to forget. I offer my congratulations to everyone involved for their most affecting work.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ezzelino Live Cams, Part Two

I was hooked. I'd entered a door into a magical realm that couldn't have contrasted more with the beer and bratwurst outside. I was Alice in Wonderland, and everyone surrounding me was young, fun, and infinitely creative. Sleeveless Black T-Shirt finished his introduction and I asked if I could look around.

"Absolutely," he said. In a dressing room to my left, the white-faced woman was painting a big red heart on her face. To my right, the costumed couple lazily lounged in the "kitchen" set, continually chatting but without emotion, their faces devoid of expression. I walked over slowly, mystified by their stilted acting and flat dialog, but Black T-Shirt Guy followed me. "A Swedish man sent us a script that we are acting out here," he explained. "It is about a young girl and her grandfather."

I stared for probably ten minutes. I couldn't understand anything they were saying but I was pretty sure I loved it. It definitely wasn't your grandma's Swedish cinema: while those movies are inarguably brilliant, they don't really comment on the world today, with eight hours of talking about truth and beauty before everyone dies on a beach underneath a burning scarecrow.

It reminded me of a play I saw last year called the Borderline Procession. A bunch of people sat around around in a bunch of full-sized houses constructed in a huge warehouse. One by one they were replaced by Britney Spears lookalikes. After everyone was replaced, they sang "Oops I Did It Again" and then the whole place went dark.

Because, you know, after you examine life, what's left to say? Nothing, really. There are no conclusions. So you'd might as well sing.

These two didn't exactly look like Britney, but I loved their postmodern clothes. I love it when characters are portrayed untraditionally to express the weirdness of their persona -- like having a person play a dog, or a bag of rocks portray a man. I was dying to know more but the German was impenetrable. Was the grandfather gay? No, that would be too obvious. He probably represented her burgeoning adolescent desires. With his porn mustache and hairy chest he certainly reminded me of mine.

Black T-Shirt Guy got involved with Heart-Face Actress so I walked over to a small room where a man and woman sat in front of a control panel. Mounted on the wall were eight small monitors, and a mixing board took up most of a table. They wore microphones and headphones but when I peered inside they stopped talking and waved me in.

The man introduced himself as Merkur, and he said his assistant was Amanda. He said he was the producer, which was a pretentious way of saying he sat there all day watching the rooms, making sure the actors followed the script, and sliding knobs up and down.

I glanced around the small office, overwhelmed. I couldn't begin to imagine the technological scope of this setup, even ignoring the artistic side. The TV screens, the microphones, the cameras, the internet setup: someone had a serious vision and the chops to back it up. I felt like the few scraps of information I had didn't really explain anything, and every time I talked to somebody it just raised more questions. Were the actors reciting memorized lines? Did the writers pay to get their work produced? How many subscribers did they have? Did they stick to avant-garde, allegorical pieces and hope people would appreciate them? In German I can barely ask people to point me toward a library so I started at the beginning here.

"So how did this end up in an abandoned shopping mall?"

"This is actually my second try," Merkur said. "I set up something similar but couldn't make it work. I had a job here, at the Spielhalle, when they went out of business, and they let me take over the lease. We've been here over two years."

"And now you work here full-time?"

"We all live here," he said, "in a big room in the back. We wake up at 4:30 in the afternoon and we work all night."

I absorbed this new piece of information and tried to add it to the picture in my head. Instead of explaining anything, though, it just made it seem more impossible. They lived here? For two years? The dedication, the artistry, the sheer edginess made Andy Warhol look like Chris Pratt.

"And all of this is happening because of some Swedish man?" I said, referring to their new script.

He shot me a surprised look. "Yes," he finally said. "Because of him. But we have had other customers before."

A red flag flew inside my head. I'd assumed the Swedish man had become recently involved, but his answer implied far more. Considering they'd had six studios for two years I'd assumed there'd been a lot of customers.

I sensed I'd worn out my welcome so I said goodbye and explored further, ending up at the communal bedroom. Yes, they clearly lived here. The refrigerator, the dirty clothes and the squiggly slashes of paint testified to that. It was three-quarters Salvation Army thrift shop and one-quarter artistic endeavor.

Eight beds sat side by side. Like in some demented Goldilocks set, names were painted on the wall above each bed.

While I was taking in all the details, a spunky young woman grabbed me from behind. "You speak English!" she said. "I speak English! I will explain everything to you!"

Melanie talked non-stop, mostly incomprehensibly. One thing I've learned in Germany is that the more someone insists they speak English, the less likely it is that they do. Maybe in her head she was fluent, but the sounds coming out of her mouth didn't even come close.

Melanie brought out an iPad and I thought I heard the word "chatroom." I still didn't know what their subscribers got for their money, so I looked with interest. The screen was completely blank.

My curiosity bumped up another notch. Melanie looked at it, then at me, and shrugged her shoulders. "No people yet," she announced. "I just turn it on."

One more question got added to the end of the list. How did this make sense? Wasn't it supposed to be a twenty-four hour operation? I assumed they had thousands of subscribers supporting them, so shouldn't there always be somebody in the chat room?

Still, I wrote it off. I glanced around the room and felt envious that people believed in art so strongly that they subjected themselves to this. Melanie practiced her English for a few more minutes and then held up the iPad again. "Busy now!" she said.

It wasn't busy. Two people were exchanging small talk. They clearly couldn't have been "subscribers," because instead of discussing art or film their conversation consisted solely of the lines "Where are you?" and "I'm in Australia."

We were staring at the iPad when we heard a scream. Melanie smiled and shrugged her shoulders again, not moving from her seat on the couch. I thought about ignoring it too until another scream followed, and then another. I ran toward the sound and discovered they came from the kitchen. The "young girl" was now sprawled on the ground and her "grandfather" stood over her.

He was trying to kill her.

The grandfather grabbed a hot iron and swung it at his granddaughter. She tried to fight him off but he was stronger. He pressed it against her face and she screamed again.

He grabbed the free end of the electrical cord and wrapped it tightly around her neck. He pulled on it, choking her, as she gasped for breath. That's when I noticed she was pregnant, probably five or six months along. He screamed in German. I didn't understand. He was mad about the pregnancy, maybe. She was too young. Maybe he didn't like the dad.

That's when he picked up a knife and started stabbing her in the stomach.

Or ... is it -- could he be the dad? I thought.

I took one last look at the pair and walked quickly for the door. On the monitors in the entryway the scene was playing out. I walked through the blackness of the abandoned mall as the questions circling inside my head were answered much too abruptly. Merkur had admitted it: there was no global audience that supported them: no, it was all for the Swedish man. He'd heard about Merkur's first, failed business, and then had him build the studio. He paid for everything. He scripted everything. These kids stayed locked away in this hamster cage and acted out everything he wrote. He had them perform everything he couldn't do in real life.

And so we abandon the Spielhalle, and our new acquaintances. We brush off everything we felt that afternoon: the jealousy, the admiration, the sense of adventure and fun. We abandon the young woman dying on the ground and we find our way back to the mall. It is dark and everyone is gone but noises still rattle the plywood boarding up the broken windows. Now the sounds evoke new images, of actors and a play about incest and infanticide. The meta-image of the author is also there: with his money, his power, and the lives he controls with his whim. Creating a world and then watching it, from far away, unfolding on the internet.

We glance over our shoulder for one last look. We know we've seen something we shouldn't have, as the images start to flash and swoop in our head like buzzards waiting for a kill.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Ezzelino Live Cams, Part One

I went to Wiesbaden, Germany last Friday. I didn't have any real reason to go. In fact, I didn't actually want to go, but you have to be somewhere in the universe and three days in Frankfurt was about two days too long. My boyfriend had to go there for work so I hitched a ride. It was pretty much a no-brainer: if you're lazy and like cappuccinos you can entertain yourself in any European city for a day or two. While looking for parking Boyfriend pointed out a sign advertising a Biennale -- an art festival held every other year. "You are lucky," he said. "Eh," I replied. Maybe some people would have been excited but to me it was like being in England and running into a street food fest.

After Boyfriend left for work, I glanced at the unimpressive buildings and made a snap decision: this was yet another German city where the highlight would be a cappuccino and a comfy chair. As I walked toward the old part of the city, though, another sign pointed to a temporary new art attraction so I ventured a few steps off my path.

My brain still tells me I couldn't have seen what I thought I saw. The city had a spectacular beaux arts theatre that had to be two hundred years old -- and they'd let an artist open a cheap little supermarket inside it.

The juxtaposition between the theatre and the market couldn't have been more dramatic. Half of me was dazzled by the murals, the statuary, the stone work, and the frescoes, and the other half couldn't believe that muffins were just $1.29.

This had to be the most exciting art piece I'd seen in a long time, and I'd just blown $247,000 to spend 17 years in New York.

Maybe the Biennale wouldn't be to art what Germany was to music, design, architecture, dance and comedy, I decided. After I had my fill of cappuccino and comfy chair, I went to check out more.

I've lived in Germany for 18 months now but I still don't speak the language. After a painstaking month-long course I learned a bit of grammar and vocabulary, but even asking for directions to the bathroom requires twenty-eight words, one of which is RAMPSPUTENUMFALLRICHTUNG. So, I've temporarily put off learning more and resigned myself to being permanently confused. I found a brochure for the Biennale but rather than try to decipher it -- even Artforum leaves me scratching my head, and it's allegedly in English -- I headed for their information booth.

The clerk described some of the works and it sounded like I'd already found the highlight. However, right next door was an art installation in an old shopping mall. It opened in half an hour so I wandered Wiesbaden and discovered that, like every other German city, it had an old church in an old square and forty miles of cobblestone streets lined with really boring chain stores. At opening time I was in front of the old mall next to maybe eight other people. This was probably the reason in Germany stores outnumber pop-up art galleries by 800,000 to 1.

I'm an avid fan of ruin, as you can see from my apartment and workout plan. While there's a lot of ruin in Germany, it's mostly seen in Medieval buildings and not malls built in 1972. This place had evidently suffered the same fate as the dated low-rise malls in America: tastes changed, shoppers left, and the place was just locked up tight.

They were right to abandon this place. Totally enclosed within a claustrophobic building, there was no sunlight and no fresh air. Now the escalators didn't move, the stores were shuttered, shop windows were smashed. Most of the doors were chained shut but flashing lights and strange noises beckoned me into others to confront the Biennale's theme, which was Bad News.

After fifteen minutes of wandering I started to feel a little freaked out. Seeing babies cut up rats with scissors can do that to you. The lighting, the setting, and the creepy sounds were straight out of a horror movie. I walked from floor to floor without seeing another soul, with the only signs of life spray-painted on the walls. I tried to dispassionately admire the artworks while ignoring the darker side, that they scared the shit out of me.

I ran out of water and started to get hungry but the Chinese restaurant I passed looked like it had closed fifty years before. I'd wandered in so far in and taken so many twists and turns I had no idea how to find my way out. Even the game room, or Spielhalle, seemed intimidating. The Bad News had gotten to me, that was obvious. Even when I wasn't being assaulted by some frightening new work I could hear the menace of the last one echoing in the halls. I'd clearly been in here too long when a simple blue facade seemed menacing.

Inside, a life-sized sculpture with a friendly cartoon face hung by a rope from its neck.

The darkened room was nearly empty. In one corner, a plywood door had a push-button combination lock. Next to it, a glass window looked onto a makeup table in a fully-stocked dressing room. Three television monitors hung from the ceiling, all showing the same image. Words in German listed a phone number and website, and small squares contained video footage from tiny white rooms somewhere. In some of the squares you could make out shadowy figures moving around. Across the bottom of the monitors were the words "Ezzelino Live Cams."

I didn't even notice the man approach. He had to be fifty, with handsome features, but his loose clothing couldn't disguise a hefty paunch. He said something to me in German but when I said I didn't speak the language he switched to broken English. "Google it," he said, pointing at the monitor. "There's an explanation online, in English. 'Ezzelino Live Cams.'"

Online porn doesn't interest me so I hesitated to follow his advice. He was kind of handsome, though, and I was curious, so I got out my cellphone and typed in the words. I didn't move as we both scanned the tiny screen and his arm rubbed against mine. Google turned up nothing. "Try 'Wiesbaden,'" he added. "Ezzelino Live Cams Wiesbaden."

I repeated the process but again found nothing. He took my phone. "This must be some kind of tourist Google," he said. "This is different from what I get."

He played with my phone for probably ten minutes while my interest dissipated. I reached to get it back but he was focused on the screen and missed the hint. "At three-thirty they will open the door," he said, nodding toward the corner. "I talked with them online and they told me to be here."

I looked at my phone and it was 3:26. "Oh," I said. I let him continue using my phone but fifteen minutes later the door remained shut. He tapped keys on his phone and then held it next to mine. "See the difference?" he said. On mine, the search had turned up nothing. On his was the explanatory link. I took his phone and emailed the URL to myself. Then, at 3:48, I gave up. I took back my phone and said goodbye.

I was retracing my steps down the frozen escalator when I heard the man shout. I turned and saw him in front of the Spielhalle, poised to run back in. "They opened the door!" he yelled. "They opened the door!"

He turned and ran back into the Spielhalle. I froze for a second, then sprinted up the escalator. I reached the Spielhalle just in time to see him dash through the unlocked door. I got there a second before it closed. Inside a young man with long hair and a wispy moustache shot me a cautionary look, and said something sharply in German. I guessed he was asking me if I had permission to be there, if I had talked to someone online and gotten an invitation. I nodded and said, "Ja."

To my right, the man I'd followed was sitting next to two young women who looked Scandinavian. I took an empty chair as the long-haired young man addressed the group in German. The handsome man pointed at me and said, "Can you speak English? For him?"

The guide nodded. "I am your tour guide," he said. "This is a studio for filming that is arranged like a house. There is a living room, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Ordinary people like yourselves send us scripts, and we act them out in webcasts that continue 365 days a year, 24 hours a day."

I looked around at the rooms. To my left was the bedroom, with the dressing area and makeup table. At it, a woman was painting her face white. Another strange figure, something like a cross between a skeleton and a scarecrow, hung in the corner behind her. In the kitchen to my right a man and a woman were acting out a scene. Judging by the costumes, this scene was not supposed to look natural: the woman had a beehive hairstyle and wore a 60s-style housewife dress, while the man wore a dress that was slightly more provocative, revealing chest hair. The woman sat on a counter, the man sat in a chair, and they stared at their new audience as they argued in German. Small microphones extended in front of their mouths.

The guide smiled at us with his hands clasped across his shirt. "Welcome to Ezzelino Live Cams," he said.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Poor Rebekah Mercer! Rolling around in shit all her life and now people act like she stinks.

Rebekah Mercer is one of the daughters of Robert Mercer, the right-wing’s version of George Soros if everything conservatives said about him was true. She inherited billions of dollars along with his right-wing beliefs and the crank media outlet Breitbart News. In today’s Wall Street Journal she develops Gloria Vanderbilt’s "Poor little rich girl" theme with an op-ed about how misunderstood she is. Her "natural reluctance to speak with reporters has left [her] vulnerable to the media’s sensational fantasies." All she has is money, a dozen houses, power, recognition, politicians at her beck and call, and a media outlet to defend herself.

Poor thing. No wonder she’s jealous of the rest of us. Any time we want we can scream to our eight followers on Twitter.

I’d love to put a succinct summary of her conservative oeuvre here, but, well, there’s just too much bad to write. She helped finance Trump’s presidential run, combined six condos in a Trump Tower to make a home larger than the one New York City gives the mayor, and defended Trump’s pussy-grabbing tape. She created and ran the Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC, and made the film "Clinton Cash" with Steve Bannon. She liked him so much she started a political committee with him, and supposedly was going to push him for president in 2020.

She’s a trustee, along with names like Koch and Coors, of the Heritage Foundation, a group that denies climate change, fights ObamaCare, and authors papers arguing that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty and Hispanic immigrants have lower IQ's than whites.

She didn’t start off as a villain. She tried working for daddy’s hedge fund before deciding, like Vanderbilt, to just take his money and do what she wanted. Where Vanderbilt did jeans, Mercer and her sisters started Ruby et Violette Bakery. It wasn't particularly ambitious considering they were already rolling in dough.

How does this questionable history translate in the story in the WSJ today? "Over the past 18 months," she writes, "I have been the subject of intense speculation and public scrutiny.... Some have recklessly described me as supporting toxic ideologies such as racism and anti-Semitism."

Huh? I think she’s being intentionally misleading here. It’s like Hitler defending himself with, "Right now critics are saying I’m a bad dancer." Dude, we might get to that eventually, but right now there are a few bigger fish to fry. I’m thinking misogyny and homophobia are the main complaints against Mercer, as seen in Breitbart headlines like, "Gay rights have made us dumber. It’s time to get back in the closet." and "Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?"

"Last month a writer for the Financial Times suggested mysteriously that my 'political goals are something she [sic] has never publicly defined.' In broad strokes this is what I believe:"

The next eight thousand words are a real shocker. She wants the hungry to be fed, the homeless to be sheltered, discrimination to vanish, immigrants to be welcomed, blah blah blah. Which makes me think she needs to find better advisors, because the politicians she pushes are against all of the above. "I am deeply committed to research and the scientific method," she says, though her family gave $200,000 to a politician who believes the government sprays chemicals on the public from airplanes flying overhead.

She supports "ideas and policies" rather than people. I feel better knowing maybe she didn’t like Trump but just told a lackey to put forty million dollars on the first person who said Ted Cruz’s dad shot JFK. "The only thing I ask of the politicians I back is that they be true to the promises that they made to their constituents during their campaigns." Apparently she dozed off in the seconds between Trump saying he’d never cut Medicaid or Social Security and Monday’s budget decimating both.

If she’s so smart and scientific, why does she support the voices of white supremacists, assholes and cranks through Republican politicians and "news" outlets like Breitbart? "I own a minority stake in Breitbart News," she says, implying you’d have to have 50+ percent before they’d give you the microphone at meetings. Why, 49% is hardly worth owning, since to influence Breitbart’s insanity in any way she’d have to make a deal with other owners. Sure, two are her sisters, but maybe it’s a long walk to their bedroom doors.

Segueing from "There’s nothing I can do about it!" To "It’s not really so bad," she says, "I believe [Breitbart] adds an important journalistic voice to the American conversation." I love the way this is phrased, implying differing voices are more important than honesty. No, Breitbart is part of the conversation like Uncle Hal screaming "JESSICA SIMPSON’S SURE GOT SOME TITTIES!" is an important part of the Thanksgiving conversation.

"Stephen Bannon, its former chairman, took Breitbart in the wrong direction." Hmm... He was the co-founder, so this is a little weird. It’s like getting on a bus and then shouting that the driver is going the wrong way. Next she'll say Bannon was just there to get coffee. "Now that Mr. Bannon has resigned, Breitbart has the opportunity to refine its message and expand its influence." Because nine years isn't long enough to refine your message. I can identify: I was only married thirty years and still when I tried to tell the hubby I loved him sometimes I accidentally yelled, "WHY IN GOD’S NAME DID I MARRY YOU?" Clearly that message needed some tweaking too. And they definitely need to expand their influence, because President Trump hasn’t retweeted them more than eight or nine hundred times.

"I have chosen to involve myself with important policy issues, and with some of the institutions that discuss them, because I am, first and foremost, a mother." Aw. She must be a good mom, too. I mean, mine never told me, like a Heritage Foundation panel on Feminism, that women have jobs foisted on them when what they really want are husbands.

"I hope that my children will show stoicism and perseverance through adversity," she writes. The girls will definitely find adversity at places like Breitbart, where a headline reads, "There's no hiring bias against women in tech. They just suck at interviews."

We get to her kind-of point in the last two paragraphs. It’s all about — ta dah! — free speech. "This country was founded on the principle of open discourse," Mercer writes, echoing bigots and assholes everywhere. For right-wing snowflakes it translates to, "Sure, I say offensive shit, but why do people get mad?"

It’s not an especially bright argument coming from a Stanford graduate, since it could be the defense of somebody yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater. "Well, nobody else was saying it," she could argue.

"But questioning the status quo is more important now than ever. America’s future depends on it." Rich Girl should write t-shirts instead of baking cookies. This "Question Authority" thing could really catch on. And though she’s just a minority shareholder clearly Breitbart agrees, offering their insightful retorts to accepted reality:

  • Homophobia is bad: "Trannies whine about hilarious Bruce Jenner billboard."

  • Racism is bad: "Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage"

  • Sexual harassment is bad: "The solution to online 'harassment' is simple: Women should log off"

  • Feminism is good: "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy"

Even the Founding Fathers would be applauding these sentient additions to the discourse, as well as Mercer's pushing Trump to appoint brainiacs like Michael Flynn, Kellyanne Conaway, and Jeff Sessions. Because nobody attacks the status quo like they do, asking the tough questions like, "Is white supremacy really bad?", "Do you seriously have to put people in jail for lying to Congress?" and "Is there really such a thing as a fact?"

Call her a poor little rich girl, but know one thing: she’ll keep adding to the conversation as long as she has money, and cookies to get that bad taste out of her mouth.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I am so excited about this new film coming out! I just know I'll love it as much as The First Appearance of the Third Avenger and The Fifth Time We Saw Avengers Four Through Twelve.