DRDB! 10: Fear Is the Mind-Killer

Doom and gloom, strikes and feuds, and Japanese environmental music

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

That’s the “Litany Against Fear” from Dune. Have you read Dune? It is objectively better than David Brooks. Dune is one of the most bonkers entries in the pop-culture/literary canon, inspiring mythical failed productions and a few unwieldy adaptations (the Lynch movie is insane and kinda good, the Sci-Fi miniseries is decent but feels like low-budget TV, and the new Villeneuve project is promising but I’m skeptical because this novel (like most novels) is too big for any single feature film). Now Dune is even inspiring some self-help posts on Medium.

I think about fear a lot because I’m an anxious person. Give me a situation and I can tell you all the numerous ways I can enter that situation and fail and screw up and do something horribly, irrevocably wrong. Anxiety is like fear combined with a hyperactive imagination.

This casual definition of anxiety from the NYT really hits the spot: “Anxiety is not fear, exactly, because fear is focused on something right in front of you, a real and objective danger. It is instead a kind of fear gone wild, a generalized sense of dread about something out there that seems menacing—but that in truth is not menacing, and may not even be out there. If you’re anxious, you find it difficult to talk yourself out of this foreboding; you become trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs.”

I don’t know what a Litany Against Anxiety would be, but I’ll take this one from Dune for now. The little-death is very real and it is TIRING.

  1. A Public Option Isn't Good Enough (Splinter)
    “The American healthcare system is fundamentally broken. We spend twice what other rich nations do for much worse outcomes, with the highest infant mortality and the lowest life expectancy. Like the Affordable Care Act before it, the public option would preserve the rotten system that leads to this. It is motivated by a cowardly, straight-up wrong idea of pragmatism, the kind of half-hearted idea that Democrats—willingly bullied for 30 years by Reaganite, anti-government, Chamber of Commerce-funded slimeballs—think is all we can possibly achieve.”

  2. Top Nancy Pelosi Aide Privately Tells Insurance Executives Not to Worry About Democrats Pushing “Medicare for All” (The Intercept)
    I’m pretty cold towards Pelosi and other democrats like her. Here’s one major example why. I mean, we could set the Medicare age of eligibility to zero right now.

  3. “Eight people in a single family made the choices that caused much of the opioid epidemic.” (Twitter/@AlecMacGillis)
    A new lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts against Purdue Pharmaceuticals spells out how the Sackler family encouraged and promoted OxyContin abuse on a national scale.

  4. The Family Business that Put Nashville Hot Chicken on the Map (New Yorker)
    Of all the unique regional foods we have (big shout out to Runza) I don’t think there’s one that deserves a New Yorker profile more than Prince’s Hot Chicken. At least the history is settled, unlike the birth of pizza in NYC.

  5. The Rent Strike That Sparked a Movement (The LAnd)
    Molly Lambert: “At a time when L.A. rents are becoming increasingly unaffordable for the working class, a landmark victory for tenants in Boyle Heights’ Mariachi Plaza provides a framework for other tenants to organize—and win.”

  6. Behind SimCity is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential (Logic)
    When creating the original SimCity, Will Wright based his simulation on many ideas from a 1969 book named Urban Dynamics. The book was popular with Nixon administration types and other conservatives/libertarians of the time because the author’s (very limited) computer model for how cities worked told them that most interventionist government policies (like welfare and public housing) would only make urban blight and poverty worse. It enabled what one author called “the perversity thesis.”

  7. You bet your ass Japan's '80s-era incidental music is worthy of its own compilation (AV Club)
    “As money from Japan’s booming manufacturing, design, and export businesses continued to roll in, corporations began to invest in art and music, principally in an effort to enhance the user and consumer experience, thus opening a lane for artists to subtly infuse the everyday world with their avant-garde musical forms: from in-store music for the Japanese high-end retailer Muji, to the companion music for a Sanyo Air Conditioning Unit, opportunities to create and innovate were everywhere.” Also, if you haven’t heard Hiroshi Yoshimura’s “Music for Nine Post Cards,” it was reissued two years ago and is GREAT.

  8. I’ve Been Committed To A Psych Ward Three Times—And It Never Helped (Buzzfeed.News)
    An excerpt from Esmé Weijun Wang’s book The Collected Schizophrenias. If this spooks you at all, do NOT go watch the movie Unsane.

  9. The world’s blackest black paint is available to order now, unless you’re Anish Kapoor (Fast Company)
    I love art and I love petty feuds. This is maybe the best possible combination of those two things.

  10. A hole opens up under Antarctic glacier—big enough to fit two-thirds of Manhattan (NBC News)
    What does catastrophic ice melt look like in arctic regions? Apparently it’s holes opening up under glaciers that, if they collapse (which looks very possible in 50-100 years), would cause a two foot rise in ocean levels, flooding coastal cities the world over. You know, on top of all the receding ice floes.

  11. Quick Lessons from John Oliver on How to Avoid Drowning in News (Quartz)
    It’s OK to be late. Pick your fights. If it matters—it matters. Do whatever you have to do because the unrelenting, Trump-driven news cycle has overwhelmed our fragile minds.

No more doom and gloom this week. Instead, please enjoy these two trench coats inside of a kid:

Eric Feurer is a weirdo genius and I’m just glad to know the guy.