Here for It w/ R. Eric Thomas #132

"Everybody likes to talk about soup."

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: MEGAN RAPINOE!!!!, Amazon x Death Star, someone named Tom Steyer, I believe.

As I mentioned last week, I am considering the idea of switching to Substack (which is what this is) for the newsletter solely for the opportunity for people to comment on newsletters (IF YOU WANT. NO PRESSURE. MANDATORY FUN!) and possibly for the option of doing open threads for, like, award show watching or when the apocalypse comes or something. I am not 100% sold yet so we’ll see and I’m not sure whether only paid subscribers can comment (capitalism remains a thing, apparently) but I have no interest in nor plans for making my newsletter cost money so basically I’m the real hero here.

David and I have had many conversations about this transition in platforms. (Can I handle change? Unclear at this time. Do I want to change? No yes maybe??? Will I make a huge deal out of it? Absolutely. I am every person who has appeared on Hoarders. [BTW, I watched my first one and one half episodes of Hoarders this morning and, let me say, y’all have some explaining to do. I was full on yelling at the television. There is some very bad therapy going on and also I do not like to watch television shows where there is a 95% chance I’m going to see many roaches and possibly a mouse.])

Where was I? Oh yeah: Me walking around our apartment, ranting about my anxiety about changing platforms like I’m Taylor Swift discussing the situation with Scooter Braun in her mansion. My hope is that it’s not disruptive at all and a net positive for everyone involved, especially Beyoncé, who I presume subscribes. I really just want to talk more. (BUT ONLY IF YOU WANT TO.) But also I am very bad at responding to emails and unclear on my ability to keep up with comments. This is, truly a mess already.

I have invented to narrative around myself that I am boring. It’s become a whole mania. Alert the Hoarders therapists, please; I need 15 to 20 minutes of help. I just have so few conversations these days! I work from home and I’ve given up with trying to make my local baristas like me and all of my favorite podcasts keep bringing their real friends on and talking about parties I didn’t go to and so a lot of time I feel like I don’t have anything interesting to say. I’ve decided it’s because I’m out of practice. I am Jodie Foster in the movie Nell and I have been talking to wolves or whatever for the last two decades so there’s a learning curve. I have devoted a lot of my own energy and David’s listening patience to the idea that I can solve this by being really annoying about it at home and also holding conversational rehearsals. I literally think of hypothetical situations and then try to think of what questions I would ask in these situations.

“Okay, what if I meet someone who works for the U.N.? Do I mention the Nicole Kidman movie where she’s a U.N. translator right away? Do I do my bit where I pretend I hate all other places that aren’t America or is that hashtag too real actually? Should I say ‘what’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to translate?’ Or do people maybe hate talking about work? Should I bring up soup? Everyone likes to talk about soup!”

Everyone likes to talk about soup.

Yesterday, I was on a ferry taking me from a New Jersey beach to Manhattan and I was sitting across from a woman in a tastefully distressed straw hat who had the most beautiful great pit bull puppy. She started up a conversation and I was like “THIS IS YOUR CHANCE, ERIC.” We had a really lovely chat about her life (the puppy has many allergies; she used to be on the school board; she runs a restaurant—WE TALKED ABOUT SOUP). I literally pretended that I was Oprah Winfrey and asked every question I could think of. She asked one (1) question of me (“Do you live in New York?”) Another successful interaction with a human.

I know that there isn’t always something to say and that’s very okay, too, although as a Talker I am very distrustful of silence. It’s like I’m a detective in a movie called The Silencer who is on a lifelong quest to figure out who is to blame for all this silence. The movie ends with the detective at dinner, he plays with his food, he looks out the window, finally—with a tremble in his lip and a tear in his eye—he looks at the camera and says, “I… just can’t think of anything to say. The Silencer… is me.”

So, we’ll see! (If it turns out that commenting is only possible if I turn on paid subscriptions, I’ll switch this whole thing back to TinyLetter next week and we’ll pretend none of this ever happened.)

This week, someone named Tom Steyer is getting on my nerves, Sebastian Gorka is not a Roald Dahl character apparently, and Amazon wants to make a war cloud. But first… SOCCER!

Can We Give Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT a Parade Every Day?

People got all shirty when Megan Rapinoe said that she didn't want to go to the White House for Trump's dimly lit fast food buffet like it was some kind of high honor. But, uh, no offense to a room temperature McDonald's fish filet, but being cheered in the streets like the cast of Hamilton whilst holding a trophy, day drunk in the sunshine does seem to be the kind of celebration that the Founders intended. Benjamin Franklin would definitely approve of all of this.

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Clowns Do Clownery at the Clown Palace

Some staffer really was tasked with taking a screenshot of a tweet that is, objectively, dumb, sending that screenshot to the White House print office, specifying that this screenshot needed to be enlarged to poster size and mounted on card stock like it's a presentation at a high school science fair. They did this in the White House. This was someone's job. They had to requisition an easel.

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Amazon Wants to Make a 'War Cloud' For the Pentagon and Everything Is Fine

A fun Prime Day surprise: Amazon and Microsoft are currently vying for a $10 billion contract to build the Pentagon its first "war cloud." Alexa, shower me with CBD, please. According to the Associated Press, the cloud "would store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the Pentagon to use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities." Alexa, search for bunkers with one-day shipping, please. I don't want to sound un-American but I feel speeding up war planning is not really at the top of my personal goals right now. But please don't tell my Echo that; I'm trying to stay on its good side.

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Oh, Joy: Another Presidential Candidate

You know, just this morning I was staring at my butler, Pilkington, over a freshly brewed cup of unfair trade coffee and saying, "Say, Pilks, old boy, it's been so long since we've had someone declare their candidacy for president. Days, I'd say, if not weeks. I have to say, Pilky-poo, I miss the old days when every 15 minutes I could open up Twitter, see a new candidate, shout 'WHO?' into the void, and then return to my afternoons of hunting people for sport."

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Let’s hang out!

TOMORROW! Monday July 15 - Hosting The Moth at City Winery DC, 7:30 pm

Random thing from the internet

I love this Thai Butternut Squash soup recipe. You can make it in the Instant Pot if you want! It’s currently my favorite but I am willing to consider other options.

I need 15 to 20 minutes of help,