Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Okay, I cannot--nay, will not--allow this newsletter to just become a repository for my thoughts about "the aliens" (which, of course, boil down to "I don't give a flamin' hot damn about them"). But I remain so utterly gobsmacked about the extraterrestrial development out of Mexico recently and I have no choice but to respond just to let the record show! ("Why was Eric canceled?" "Too much alien talk." "Ah. So it goes.")
But! Like, what is this, honey bunnyyyy?
Last week, a ufologist (STOP) presented what he purported to be to mummified aliens to Mexican congress and, of course, every newspaper of record ran with the story because, well, when you roll into a congressional body with a dust muppet, attention must be paid. They've already been basically debunked but I still have a few questions for Mexican Congress, namely "WHY?" "HOW COME?" "FOR REAL THOUGH?" "HMM?" and "DO YOU HAVE ANY LEADS ON AN AFFORDABLE CONDO IN MEXICO CITY?"
Between this and the on-going general shenanigans of the United States Congress, I think it's time for me to get into politics because the job seems to be a lot of good ole fashioned nonsense and, boy-howdy, do I love that. I would like to make a business card that reads "R. Eric Thomas - Nonsense." Or, possibly "R. Eric Thomas - Oofologist"
I was raised to believe that being in Congress meant voting on the debt ceiling, knowing parliamentary procedure, retiring at a reasonable age, and naming rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike. But apparently being in Congress is mostly looking at papier mache dolls and going "yup, that's an alien!" and also getting to third base at Beetlejuice (I'm sorry, I love musicals--obviously--but the musical as a form is unsexy so what were they even doing? You want to get handsy, go to a Johnny Rockets like a normal teenager!)
(Oh, one additional thing about Beetlejuice-gate: the New York Times article about Boebert's behavior includes this phrase: "Ms. Boebert, who can be seen on the video touching and carrying on with her date" Touching and carrying on! I love that this article was apparently written by a group of Southern belles sitting on a porch, cracking string beans and gossiping.)
Back to aliens! (I am SORRY but I HAVE TO.)
Why the Mexican congress entertained this "bombshell" I do not know, but I'm glad they did because I adore tomfoolery. What I love most is that little mummy alien's pout. It's giving Jupiter's Next Top Model. Space Tyra Banks was like "Two mummified star creatures stand before me, but I only hold one Amy Adams Arrival Etch-a-sketch in my hand." Dramatics!
That pouty expression tells me that this is not just a regular alien, this is an alien diva and now, suddenly, I am interested. I have no interest in alien commoners, aliens who were known for their good works or their kindness or brains. I am exclusively trying to get information about aliens who were so pickled by their own vanity that they were mummified in full face. I want the alien version of Meryl Streep's character in Death Becomes Her.
How does one get on a Congressional agenda anyway? I imagine this is something I could google or ask Rep. Maxine Waters about but I'm just going to wonder aloud here instead and remain largely ignorant, as is my right and duty as an American citizen.
(By the by, speaking of civic education: I'm working on a new novel that has a subplot about a town governing board. It is definitely not the main plot [and I have been strongly encouraged to focus on the other parts of the book] but nevertheless I have spent hours poring over various charters, city council meeting minutes, and commissioners reports. If you want to know the difference between the governing structure of a municipality, a borough, and a township in Pennsylvania, I can tell you. Didn't I learn this in school? No, I was too busy taking 7,000 electives on The Modern Novel and zero graduation requirements. But now I am fully informed. I am up to speed! I am a citizen of Earth! Will this new information help my modern novel? No. [But also maybe!!] Will it make for interesting conversation at a party, state fair, or book club meeting? Also no! [This will not stop me from bringing it up.] It's just stuff that's sitting in my head, alongside the entirety of Julianne Moore's pharmacy monologue from Magnolia and the book and lyrics of Little Shop of Horrors. I cannot change who I am! I am an imperfect diva! Mummify me please!)
Anyway, if we're letting just anyone talk to Congress about any old thing, then I would absolutely like to put my name on the SignupGenius or however they do it and get a few hours to rant at our elected leaders about my own quixotic areas of interest. First, I would present an hour-long slide show of Beyoncé's outfits from the Renaissance tour. I would not add any commentary or illuminating information, but at the end I would turn off the projector, take a long sip of water from a gigantic Nalgene and ask "Any questions?" At my second congressional appearance I would have one of those huge poster boards made up at the K Street FedEx and it would read "On the TV show The Americans, was Renee a spy or not?!!" This feels like important information for our national security. My third congressional appearance would be called "ANN PATCHETT!" and I think that's self-explanatory. And my fourth congressional appearance would be me asking each congressperson directly "Who... are you?"
See you in DC!
Oh! I meant to tell you! The dinner party I wrote about a few weeks back was an incredible success! I was going to write about it today but there was an alien invasion. Maybe next week!
Let's hang out!
I'm at the Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors this weekend!
I've done some incredible podcasts recently and every conversation is different and surprising and fun. I recorded one that'll be out soon--for Reframeables--that was just so soul-filling and felt so great that after we finished I thought "Should I start a podcast so that I can have these kinds of conversations all the time?!" I think the answer is that I should just become a better conversationalist and nurture my curiosity, like the hosts of Reframeables and so many other podcasts. But why make a small adjustment to myself when I can instead create an expensive and time-consuming side business instead?
In any case, I made a page on my website where you can find all of the podcast interviews and conversations I've done.
Random thing on the internet
This TikTok has better storytelling than most Hollywood movies. I don't know if it'll show up in email, but the link is here.