The headline on CDR this morning was that the Trump administration is thinking about restoring the ancient practice of requiring the use of biological sex on birth certificates rather than whatever it is a person would like to chose for the…um…self. The link under it is about public opinion in the UK, where, apparently, more and more people—and I guess I should also use that word advisedly—believe that other “people” should be able to change their identifying “species.” But, in a bright light of rationality, there seems to be some statistical walk back from believing that children should be able to make unalterable changes to themselves, hormonally or surgically. At the same time, a kindly older woman was horribly harassed on an flight from Paris to London by a man who took it upon himself to shout humiliating racial slurs.
But the real treat is this nice piece by Daniel Hannan, which is an effort to explain, in one go, the falling IQ levels of western countries (I prefer to blame plastic) and the insanity of our increasingly tribal politics. He says its because of screens, but it must be something else. Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, don’t take away my screens. Scientists are trying to figure it out—the IQ thing—and it’s a bit of a conundrum because men (I’m not being sexist, they only studied men, so of course that means we can ignore it completely, because that’s only half of the population, or probably even less) are becoming less intelligent within the same families by generation. If you were born in the 90s, your IQ is likely to be much lower than if you were born in the 70s. They had hoped to be able to blame immigration or something, but it must be something environmental. As I said, hopefully plastic and not the obvious reality that we all have phones attached to our arms.
I walked in on my children playing Minecraft on Sunday night, lying back in their luxurious chairs, slack jawed, eyes glazed, and said, “Boy, you guys look really intelligent. I look forward to trying to do school with you tomorrow.” They giggled like it was funny and stuck out their tongues and rolled their eyes into the back of their heads like they were zombies. It would have been the perfect time for them to pop out and vote in this upcoming election.
Anyway, its fine, Amy Schumer is having a baby. Did you know that she went out and got married, secretly? There’s a twitter moment that says this, “Amy Schumer and chef Chris Fischer are married thanks to comedian John Early, who officiated the wedding in character as Vicky with a V.” I don’t really know what that means because I’ve never heard of that person. Sounds charming, though.
And finally, in the most interesting and remarkable turn of events, it looks like I will actually finish my thirty hour listen of Bleak House today. It was the first book I downloaded when I got audible, in one of those fits where you lose your mind and think you’ll be a completely different person than you actually are. As in, for some perverse reason, I, someone with no attention span and not even an hour to spare, much less 30, stupidly thought I would have time to track uninterrupted through the labyrinthine plot with children shouting questions at me every thirty seconds, even having read it before. Fortunately, though I can’t concentrate very long on anything, I also can’t abide there being notifications or anything like that, left out there mocking me. So I had to finish the book because there it was. I am choosing to self-identify as someone who finishes every single audible download. And you know what? It’s true, Dickens wraps everything up too neatly in a bow right at the end. Someone pointed this out to me—because I have friends, really I do—and now the truth is unavoidable.
Well, there you are. All the news commentary you don’t really need for Tuesday. I will now go watch my brain slowly melt away into a puddle of jam.