The only thing I really miss about living in San Francisco is the weather. The microclimate of the Bay Area meant the weather could really be anything on any given morning and be something completely different by afternoon. It felt like the weather really didn’t know what it was, or what it wanted to be. Its honesty was in its ambiguity. Its nature was steadiness through flexibility. I could really relate to that. (The rest of what life was like in SF, not so much.)

Los Angeles is a different beast. For the most part, it is one thing and one thing only. The blue sky is direct and determined. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why people here are so confident in their ambitions. Like the consistency of the weather reinforces the consistency of their nature; that the fleeting expressions of seasonal fashion or temporary gigs matches up with all the molting billboards and leased cars. Meanwhile, at the core of it all, is a certainty of the self. A, ‘The rest be damned, this is who I am,’ lease on life. A sentiment where only an earthquake will change anything.

It’s a difficult puzzle to try and fit in to—the type where people compete with one another to sell scripts or go viral not because they have something to actually say, but just because they want to ‘make it.’ Watching the idea of creativity become nothing more than a horse race for material success and not a meaningful cultural dialogue is grotesque, and the constant sun makes it feel almost like the Gods are rewarding such behavior.

One thing is for sure: there is a climate crisis in this world, and it’s not just about the weather.

BuzzFeed announced it was going to introduce Artificial Intelligence to create more content this year. An AI won an art contest last year. It’s just another day in America.

It doesn’t really disturb me that business-types will increasingly turn to technology to replace creatives, because creativity and business has always been a tenuous relationship at best. Of course nobody in America would want to pay artists, because in a consumer society, art is a product and not a language—the way people are commodities and not compatriots.

The difference between art made by a person and by a machine comes down to what any individual believes what art is, and why it exists. If art is just glorified wallpaper or a form of entertainment meant to provide a service for the consumer to pass the time with, sure it doesn’t matter how or why it was created. But if art is believed to be related to the core of what it means to be a human, it matters very much. In capitalist society, humanism is an afterthought to profits and material success, so of course the idea behind a piece of art is disposable.

To me, this isn’t a fight worth getting involved in because the details are representative of a much large issue: our society is built around the foundation that people are more important to consider as statistics rather than human beings. It’s why our healthcare is fucked, it’s why our politics are corrupt, it’s why poverty and homelessness appear on every street. If the very basis of our learning in the United States is that our peers are competition and our nature is consumption, then of course our art will be handed over to a machine programmed to produce thoughtless aesthetics.

An AI can be an interesting tool for a person to use, but given the results of mass acceptance of social media and allowing corporate technology dictate our personal lives and communication, it’s hard to imagine anything positive coming from doing the same with the essence of humanity—our creativity.

It seems like every few months for some years now, I find myself in a conversation with one of my left-wing friends about another incident of sexual misconduct. It doesn’t seem to split down any creed or color, but is usually perpetrated by a man who has ‘clout’ and is in some form of the limelight, be it local or national. This time it’s Andrew Callaghan, whose rise to gonzo-journalist fame and subsequent allegations regarding consent have been summed up by Rolling Stone.

The outrageous inequity and violence caused by the arms of this machine of late-capitalism that is the United States has certainly turned more on to Marxism (or some form of left-wing ideology) than any period in recent history. But with incidents like this—which, again and unfortunately, seem to pop up on the left too often—I wonder about the reason for it all.

One could be that left-wing spaces are rather inviting to all (outside of like, straight-up fascists), which someone with predatory behavior would see as ripe for taking advantage of. Part of me wonders if those who only understand socialism from an economic or socio-political structure don’t connect the dots to how it’s based on a humanist belief that all people are equal and deserve their own agency as well as a proper return on their labor. Then there’s the idea that the infection of social media and its influence is too severe for an individual to overcome—that the modern concept of fame corrupts anyone, no matter their ‘belief.’

(of course, the other side of the social media argument is that, without it, these allegations either never would have surfaced or taken a substantial amount of time and effort by the victims to get the attention of a mainstream publication like RS )

Using an ideology of hope as a way to con people is an act as old as time—I mean, just look at the Catholic Church. And perhaps this is just another example in a long line of corruption, and there is no rhyme or reason. Maybe it’s a good thing that the idea of the individual-as-hero is being continually shown as an impossibility. For now, I just hope Callaghan can actually learn a lesson from this and take some action that allows those he hurt to find some peace.

It took me a while before I realized why sports were such a big deal. I mean, I played basketball, soccer, and baseball as a kid and also knew about every statistic possible. But it always struck me as odd that adults would be so into them, at least to the point where Monday Night Football was such a phenomenon. To me it seemed like there’d be more important things to deal with than kid’s games.

Then when I grew older and realized how nobody wanted to talk about real-world events like war or inequality. Then, everything kind of clicked. Sports were the way that, especially men, could take their pent-up rage about whatever real-world bullshit they avoided talking about and put it into a singular focus: a team, a tradition, a logo, a name.

Now I see it everywhere: the all-consuming nature of cultural significance. The debate of opinions that will have no resolution—food, films, places, cars, clothes, art. And all for what? It’s a stone’s throw from talking about the fucking weather. A time of ‘culture wars,’ indeed.

So I dig this opening from Letterkenny because it knocks down this notion of superiority-by-opinion through a couple things LA is famous for being self-important about. This cultural vanity is not exclusive to Los Angeles, but it’s able to be acutely specific about how the most mundane aspects of culture are over-valued in the United States, likely because nobody wants to talk about anything that actually matters.