Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: Trump explains a dog! Plus, non-political holiday conversation starters.
Okay, I’ll bite: what day of the week is it right now?
I love holiday half-weeks very much but at a certain point (usually what scientists refer to as “Friday”) I become totally disoriented. You get off work for two days and you really do forget what work is like altogether. My brain is like, “gainful employment? Sorry to this man.” I kept thinking about going to Mexico and working on a mystery novel. I got an email about cheap flights to China in February and actually mulled it over. I cannot go to China in February; I have a book coming out in America in February! Also?! I think I’m afraid of China? But Vacation Brain does not understand that at all. Vacation Brain does not respect time or borders.
It’s odd to me that Vacation Brain has even taken root as I’ve been fully working on other things the entire time I’ve been off. I spend every free moment finishing Reclaiming Her Time, the book on Maxine Waters I’m cowriting, I’m wrestling with an adaptation treatment, I hosted a Moth in D.C. on Thanksgiving Eve, and this morning I went to a planning retreat for an organization I volunteer with. I’ve got so much going on that when David and I went shopping for a Christmas tree and he, very generously, offered to cede creative control to me this year, I was like “I don’t have the capacity to think about a theme. Let’s just put up the ornaments that we have.” Can you believe this? Using the ornaments we have?! Forgoing an opportunity to have a Baby Yoda-themed tree?! Not spending money?!! Vacation/Side Hustle Brain has robbed me of one of my core competencies: being needlessly extra about Christmas tree decorations. This is a tragedy.
I will say, despite the lack of extraness, our annual Black Friday tree excursion was a nice respite from the otherwise uninterrupted stretch of typing on my laptop. My other respite was the two glorious hours I spent watching Knives Out, which is a phenomenal film! Highly recommend! Although, not to get on my soap box, but I am seeing many casual comparisons to Clue and, as a deeply committed Clue aficionado, this gives me pause. Knives Out has a very different project, formally and politically, than Clue and while both are very successful at their projects, going into one expecting the other is going to disappoint you. ::steps gingerly off of soap box::
::pauses before stepping completely off soap box and hovers:: Both are great, obviously. It just confuses me. There are other comedic whodunits out there (although I don’t even know that Knives Out really thinks of itself as a comedy first and foremost) that seem more akin to Clue. Radioland Murders! Maybe Crimes and Misdemeanors! (I haven’t seen Crimes and Misdemeanors actually but it seems likely.) ::looks around awkwardly; body-rolls off soap box::
::triple salchows back on to soap box:: It’s just that one is farcical and one is satirical. Clue and Knives Out, I mean. Sure, okay, yes, they are both mysteries but even their relationship to mystery is different. Why am I letting this stress me out? Vacation Brain. Think of them however you want! ::swan dives off soap box::
::chases down soap truck, pulls box off the back, scrambles back on it:: All that being said, I think a better way of categorizing the film, if one is going to categorize it, is by noting that Knives Out fits very comfortably into the non-Marvel film catalog of one Chris Evans. It feels very akin to Scott Pilgrim and Snowpiercer in that they are all extremely clever, sharply written, artful variations on an established trope. I remain very impressed by Evans as a thoughtful performer and also a very hot wearer of sweaters. That’s the point. ::eats soap box in its entirety.::
This week! A dog of a press conference and conversation starters for your relatives with bad opinions.
The Fake News media needs to stop spreading these lies that Donald Trump has never seen a dog before and has no idea what a dog is. Donald Trump is President of the United States and those states include many dogs so, yes, he does know what a dog is and to prove all of the haters and losers wrong he will explain it to you in great, befuddling detail for far longer than is necessary. Such was the case today when Trump spoke extemporaneously about Conan, the hero dog, outside of the White House.
In a world where every conversation somehow pivots to the present apocalypse and which party is at fault, have we lost the ability to break bread in a celebration of a politically fraught holiday rife with historical revisionism? What is this world coming to? If you'd rather a gentle ribbing about baked versus stovetop mac and cheese not escalate into a brawl about Hillary's emails, I hear you (and I hope you know what the correct opinions are on both of those subjects). Anytime conversation gets a little spicy, feel free to bring up one of the following topics that have nothing to do with politics.
Let’s Hang Out!
Thursday, Dec. 5 - The Moth StorySlam, Miracle Theater, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, Dec. 19 - The Moth Grand Slam, Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
Random Thing on the Internet
::feverishly reassembles soap box::