A Quick Note
It's been about a month since I last wrote here. There's no one reason for that. I've just been busy with life: getting my ice bath set up, taking my first ice bath, getting sick with Covid the next day, having Covid, watching a lot of old episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Louie, getting better, working a lot, etc.
To be fair to Covid, there were at least two weeks when I both (a) didn't have Covid and (b) didn't write anything. So those are on me.
This week, I returned from the bed and wrote The Progress Network's newsletter. It's all about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). You can read it here if that sort of thing interests you.
“A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied.” That's Larry David invoking deceased American statesman and great compromiser Henry Clay in a 2004 episode of Curb. In the scene, Larry's just hired a sex worker to sit in the car with him on his way to a Dodgers game so he can use the carpool lane. The sex worker's name is Monena. She wants $1,000 for the roughly five hours it will take to drive to the game, sit in the car until it's over, then drive back. Larry tries to talk her down. Monena says, "$750 and take me to the game." Larry lies and says he only has one ticket. Monena's not happy. Larry says, "Listen. You're unhappy, I'm unhappy, too. That's what a good compromise is all about." He asks her if she's familiar with Henry Clay. She says she's not. He says, "He was the Great Compromiser. This is a good compromise. A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied. And I think that's what we have here.”
Anyway, I thought about this scene a lot while reading and writing about the compromise that is the IRA. This scene from Louie also came to mind a lot while reading about the bill. But to be fair to the IRA, I think about this scene at least once a week.
Here's Wikipedia's description of Curb's ninth season:
Larry incurs a fatwa from the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, after lampooning the Ayatollahs while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote his latest, long-awaited project, a comedy musical called Fatwa!, centered on The Satanic Verses controversy, in which Ayatollah Khomeini ordered a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989.
I probably don't need to tell you that this also came to mind a lot recently.
I do, however, feel like I need to tell you that journalist Bari Weiss wrote an excellent piece about the attack on Rushdie. And I am just going to leave that here for you without further comment.
Words are not violence. Violence is violence.
The words are violence crowd is right about the power of language. Words can be vile, disgusting, offensive, and dehumanizing. They can make the speaker worthy of scorn, protest, and blistering criticism. But the difference between civilization and barbarism is that civilization responds to words with words. Not knives or guns or fire. That is the bright line. There can be no excuse for blurring that line—whether out of religious fanaticism or ideological orthodoxy of any other kind.
On a lighter but still dead f*ucking serious note, I will leave you with this valuable insight from Louis CK. Peace.