Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: SLOW NEWS WEEK.
People are giving Martin Scorsese’s new movie The Irishman rave reviews and, Imma let you finish, but if Marty isn’t making a film that gives us a backstory on the rat from The Departed, frankly he can keep it. Second of all, from what I can see on trailers, much of The Irishman involves Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci playing younger versions of themselves using that cursed de-aging technology that films keep trying to make us accept. I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS.
It’s truly remarkable technology that I honestly do not understand. (Moisturizing? IDK.) But it is HIGH TREASON to try to convince me that what I want to watch is 76-year-old Robert De Niro playing 50ish Robert De Niro next to actual 50ish Ray Romano in a scene where one of them looks vaguely off in a way that is not unattractive but is still slightly unsettling. Your brain says, “Oh, it’s fine, he’s playing a robot or a hologram or something,” and then your other brain says “No, this takes place in the 60s in New York, the only people that had access to robots were the Illuminati and the Rockefellers.” And then your third brain says “PORES. WHERE ARE THE PORES?!”
Al Pacino plays a man who is afflicted with having no pores. Can you imagine such a life?
The Irishman is 3 and half hours long and I feel like I’m going to have a breakdown from that much skincare discourse in my head. That said, if a CGI-deaged De Niro did an informercial about hyaluronic acid and a magic pore-minimizing creme that he swears by I would definitely buy it. I do not like being scammed but I am the target audience for suspiciously vetted claims about miraculous products. The other day I walked by someone who was talking to a friend about brushing their teeth with charcoal and before I’d gotten to the corner I’d already ordered some charcoal from Amazon. (I just chomp on the little briquettes from the grill. Works like a charm!) The person wasn’t even vouching for the product. They literally just said “I brush my teeth with charcoal” and I was like “SOLD! MAKE ME PRETTY.”
I took stock of our bathroom pantry the other day and gave myself an intervention. (The fact that we have a bathroom pantry is bad enough as it is but don’t blame me for that. It was here when we moved in. What am I supposed to store in it? Spice?) It’s full of vitamins and supplements and beard oils and magic potions and skincare products and grilling supplies. Plus I’m a 38-year-old hypochondriac with sinus issues and allergies so I have 12 different kinds of Mucinex, a million things to make my back not hurt, and enough Neti-pots to serve a formal tea for 12. I may be getting out of control.
This self-improvement-by-product thing is really a problem, though, especially as I get older and realize that though black don’t crack you don’t just wake up looking like Lupita Nyong’o every day for the rest of your life. I really pivoted from “I’m black so basic moisturizer is fine” to “SLATHER MY FACE WITH 19 DIFFERENT TINCTURES. IS THERE AN ETHICAL WAY TO GET VOLCANIC ASH FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT? SPACE DUST: WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT IT AND CAN IT MAKE ME LOOK 21 BUT LIKE BETTER THAN I DID AT 21 CUZ I HADN’T REALLY FIGURED MY WHOLE THING OUT THEN AND ALL I REALLY HAD GOING FOR ME WAS YOUTH AND A BODY TYPE THAT CAN BEST BE DESCRIBED AS ‘E.T.-LIKE’?”
Anyway, the point is Marty Scorsese has a new movie and it’s supposed to be very good and also it sent me down an existential spiral but it’s okay because there’s probably something in the pantry for that.
In this week’s newsletter, we interrupt the rest of the year to bring you the treasonous version of the telephone song from Bye Bye Birdie.
It's a sad day in America when you can't ring up a friend on a monitored line and discuss quids and quos like a couple of Latin-speaking bros. We need to bring back the good old days where one dude could be like "Hey man, can I have some javelin rockets?" and the other dude could be like "Hmm, maybe. Say, unrelated, but do you think you could find any information on one of my enemies? LOL I'm so random. Totally fine either way."
I know this will shock you, but this morning the president of the United States logged on to Twitter and let loose a stream of nonsense. Every copy editor on the planet had to call in sick after reading this. The English language became sentient and filed a formal complaint. This is a Rorschach test made of words but the gag is when you look at it, all you see is another Rorschach test.
One of the hard things about book pre-publicity is that you want to build anticipation for the book and you want people to pre-order it (which really helps! Pre-ordering really helps in so many intersecting ways!) but sometimes it starts to feel like you’re teasing people about it. Especially when advance copies go out to reviewers and famous authors and such. This is largely beyond my control and I am sorry and I will send you a charcoal briquette to make things right. BUT I can also offer you a chance to be one of those people who gets an advance copy and can tweet about it like Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things, did yesterday:
Click on the link below to enter the GoodReads contest. It ends October 13, 2019.
Let’s hang out!
Thursday, Oct. 3 - Hosting The Moth at The Miracle Theater, Washington D.C.
Monday, Oct. 7 - Hosting The Moth at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia
Thursday, Oct. 17 - Speaking at the Rose O’Neill House at Washington College
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