Brian Feeney
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Nature is Healing

My Twitter feed has slowly been filling with more design and development chatter. Less politics. It's a very noticeable difference, and so very welcome. If I were to unfollow all the lawyers and reporters I followed these last four years, I bet it would even feel more like 2016, again.

Of course, I should probably just leave Twitter altogether. I know I know.

December 04, 2020

journal


Cult of Ignorance

John posted this Isaac Asimov quote on Daring Fireball, and it's worth sharing further:

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”

The current state of this country leads one to assume a quote like this is a partisan attack. It's not. But it does accurately describe the position a troubling number of Americans have taken.

November 30, 2020

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Biden/Harris

On Saturday, November 7th, Lisa and I stepped out to visit the bank before taking a train into the city. Time was about 11:30am. As we approached the bank door, we heard a scream. Then some honking. And then some light clapping. A few cheers. It dawned on us pretty quickly that the election had been called. Within a few minutes, Smith St. Brooklyn became a party, as did the streets all over NYC and the country. Everyone was coming out of their homes and filling the sidewalks. Bells were rung in Paris. Fireworks were set off in London. Someone joked that Earth had "real Endor energy" and they weren't wrong. I honestly can't remember ever feeling so relieved. It was real joy.

The last four years were very difficult to live through. Awful things were happening on a weekly basis. And not just sad, unhelpful policy, but deeply damaging actions by the Trump Administration that hurt Americans in every corner of the country. I don't think it's worth listing out here the crimes and officialized bigotry. There's just too much.

For a late lunch on Saturday, Lisa and I ate outdoors. The cheers and the honking had relaxed a bit, but they weren't over. That audible hum of jubilation that had permeated the city had died down as we settled into the news. That night, we watched Kamala Harris and Joe Biden give their victory speeches. On Sunday, we relaxed outdoors in our makeshift yard in beautiful and warm November weather. It felt so good knowing that America had not completely broken, that we will be entering a time of healing.

What's next is what's next. For now, we're celebrating.

November 10, 2020

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November 08, 2020

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Door to the Unknown

“Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.”
— Rebecca Solnit

(via Tina)

September 28, 2020

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Stanley Crouch

Stanley Crouch died a few days ago. He was a good man.

When I remember my barista years, Stanley is the first person who comes to mind. How could he not? He was the most regular of regulars. His home was a few doors down from the café, and he'd stroll in nearly every day. Some days twice or more. He'd enter slowly, taking note of which neighbors were inside (he knew everyone). When he reached the counter, he'd quietly lean on it, eying me down. I'd eye him down too, knowing there was something on his mind. There always was.

I'm terrible at remembering exact conversations, but he'd ask my opinion on political news of the day, or about some movie he'd just watched, or about the books he was reading. Philosophical questions as often as trivial ones. I was a backboard for him to bounce ideas off of; one of many, I'm sure. He really did seem to value my opinion, though never hesitated to let me know when he thought I was wrong. The back and forth was the important thing to him. What I learned from Stanley was how to get more from a conversation by giving more.

We laughed a lot, too. Like me, his resting mood was a calm attentiveness, yet always quick to laugh if there was something funny in the moment. One day, he came in saying, "Ornette loved that joke you told yesterday," meaning Ornette Coleman. They were close friends. I wish I remember what it was I had joked about, but it doesn't matter. What mattered to me at the time was that I felt like a participant in a bigger community. Stanley made me understand I was a real person in the real world. I'm not sure it was his intention, but he gave me a source of confidence I had been lacking.

It had been so long since I'd run into him, nearly a decade, that I assumed he had moved. Maybe to Los Angelos, where his daughter had been living. I'm sad I won't see him again.

Before I left my gig at the café, he gifted me a copy of his novel with a kind — and funny — inscription. It will always be a nice momento. Rest in peace, Stanley.

September 21, 2020

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Anti Anti-Heroes

As I've walked deeper into my fandom of Marvel comics, I've stayed cognizant of why: pure escapism. The comics aren't just a trip into science fiction and fantasy, but also into the minds of people living in the 1960s and dreaming of future possibilities. They invent dystopias as often as utopias. Aliens invade Earth nearly every month. Strange villains appear from the weirdest corners of the planet. Threats jump from other dimensions or even different time streams. For the last four years, the real world has been hellish, making these comic baddies truly comical.

What I find reassuring in the comics is the insistence that science and invention will always save us. Society-saving devices or machinery are often devised and constructed within minutes of someone running into a lab. Absurd, but inspiring nonetheless. Scientists and inventors are heroes just as much as brawny super-powered people. Most of the original super-heroes were in fact also inventors, doctors, or scientists themselves: Hulk/Banner, Iron Man/Stark, Spider-Man/Parker, Mr. Fantastic/Richards, Ant-Man/Pym, or Thor/Blake. Sixty years ago, the most educated Americans held positions of esteem and honor in our country. It made sense to pair intelligence with science with heroism.

I don't believe in utopias, but I do want to live in a world where doctors and climate scientists and NASA engineers are considered among our leading voices. It is intolerable living among Americans who sneer at and reject them. The QAnon nonsense is related to this rejection of truth and standard virtue. How do we get back to a time when our best and brightest are again revered? I'm not about to say that decades-old comics have the answer. Nor do I believe that the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are going to sway opinion in this way. But I do think we should work our way out of the era of the anti-hero. If we can start reforming our cultural role modals after those who unreservedly deserve it, we might have a better chance at a brighter future. Maybe Hank Pym's Ant-Man is actually exactly what we need right now.

September 18, 2020

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Never Ending Gorillaz

Damon Albarn talks about his new working process for Gorillaz tunes:

Did you realise you were creating a potential new business model?
“It was an opportunity to be more fluid, be able to change track, sidestep, do anything that you want to do and not get bogged down with one trope. React, evolve, react, evolve. And I suppose that now seems to be a good model! I’ve really enjoyed listening to the Song Machine album, it’s like listening to an entirely different entity. I’d just been concentrating on each episode so to hear it like that was a joy. But it also exists in these episodes, so it’s not tied to that, and every song will have been listened to a lot by the time the album comes out, so it doesn’t matter. That’s for people who like that and the other way is for people who like that.”

So will there be a Song Machine Season Two?
“Yeah. The first season is going well so there’ll probably be demand for a season two. And the lovely thing about it is, you don’t have to wait until it’s all finished to start rolling it out.”

So it could go on forever, like a TV show?
“Basically, yeah, that’s the idea. And the thing is, we can work with anyone. Maybe we’ll do a season where it’s just completely unknown people because I’d love that. In multiple languages, all over the world. It would be nice to distill all that into a Gorillaz project; disparate, obscure folk artists, somebody in Paraguay or Iceland, someone in South Korea… North Korea even. I don’t know how that would go down but hey, anything is possible now.”

This sounds amazing to me. We get about one new Albarn track a month as Gorillaz, and he will still likely put out one or two album-sized projects a year, as well. It's always been a great time to be an Albarn fan. It's even better these days.

September 17, 2020

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In Remembrance Of

These lights are to remind us of those who died that day. They’re also to remind us that we are one country, and that NYC is our beating heart.

September 10, 2020

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No Likes, No Worries

This website has no Likes, Faves, Reposts, or Comments. It's a refreshing way to post stuff online. When I open up the site, I don't want to see who liked what or how many kudos a post received. To me, "engagement" is distracting. It's also less honest than you might think. Once I realized how compelled I was to heart every Instagram post I saw from friends, I became less interested in doing so. I resented feeling shame for not "liking" posts from friends. So I left Instagram entirely. I had stopped using Facebook years before that.

I still feel bad for not clicking that heart icon when I do occasionally scroll through Instagram (via Safari). I still hate Instagram for making me feel that way.

I'm now treating this site as my own personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Anything I'd want to post there, I post here instead. And you don't have to like it! But I'm happy you're here. :)

September 09, 2020

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