But reader, learn to take breaks! Remember, after all, the first act of the Paris Communards: they shot out the clocks.
Mind and body cannot be divided (until we’re all uploaded to the cloud or transplanted into sexy robot bodies, of course). So while your guilt is an understandable result of our terrible atomized neoliberal society, it is ultimately a malfunction.
Like a lot of people, I spent the lead-up to the election expecting a Clinton victory and a rather business-as-usual political future. Even though I drifted to the left in the past year like many other millennial white guys (thanks Chapo!), I didn’t see it as a particularly awful outcome and planned a multi-month trip starting in December—a sort of once-in-a-lifetime, solo backpack around the world type deal I had been saving for since I graduated college.
It can be difficult to balance what you can live with and what you can live on. It usually takes experimentation, trial and error. That’s a luxury most people don’t have these precarious days, but creativity helps, and you have a good sense of what will grind your psyche into dust and what won’t.
You’ve touched on a curious new phenomenon I’ve been observing: I have recently noticed that more often than not, modern, culturally progressive young people no longer shamefully confess to me their perversions. It’s sad, really—I live for prurient gossip, and there’s no better tea than a bit of horny shame.
I am a twenty-one-year-old cisgendered, heterosexual woman, and I am not hot. I don’t mean that I am ugly, but I also don’t just need a makeover, and I don’t have low self-esteem; I just mean that I am not hot.
Conventional wisdom holds that “kitchen table activism” with kith and kin is somehow easier than talking to strangers, but I’ve never found that to be true. In my experience, people—especially conservative people—are more likely to accept disagreement from a stranger than they are their own family, especially if the dissenting leftist family member in question is younger than they are.
We tell ourselves that our circumstances are our own fault because we find it more reassuring to believe that we are to blame for our woes as opposed to, say, capitalism or basic misfortune. The sociopolitical or existential threat of a world beyond our control is far more menacing than our own shortcomings; if it’s our fault, then we can improve ourselves, and better our situation.
This guy is deep down the right-libertarian rabbit hole, but he’s also unsure enough that sometimes I think I could lead him down the right path. All I want to do is get him to channel that conspiratorial, paranoid energy into something resembling socialism, so that when he thinks about how frustrated he is, he thinks of neoliberalism instead of fluoride, lizards, and Hillary’s body doubles.
“Say it to my face” may sound righteous and brave, but the smug boors who shout that slogan the loudest are often the ones least prepared to listen. If you try to tell this person how her tokenism makes you feel, it could mean a lot of work for you.
Like many radicals, I assume, I burnt myself out in my early to mid-twenties trying to work on activist campaigns full time, and sold out a few years ago for an entry-level job at a software company. There are some legitimately great things about this job compared to being a full-time activist: the pay is great (by my standards), so I’m not living in a punk house with eight other people anymore.
Dear Your Sorry Ass,
I recently moved to the city after college and am in between not having a job and not having a job. While I remain impecunious, I live a life of abnegation: I never eat out, keeping a monkish diet with the barest possible grocery bills.