Waiting for a punchline

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Nope, still can’t find it.

If I could synthesize my essence into a single phrase, I think it would be “well, this is awkward.”

Irony and authenticity are always tugging my brain in different directions. I’m an excitable, loud-mouthed nerd, who is compelled to temper everything they say with cynicism and just a teaspoon of morbidity.

Just think of me as the dullest Miyazaki film you’ve ever seen.

I’m 26, never lived anywhere but New York City, and have an innate revulsion toward doing things. I’m not very interesting, in other words. …


Give Pervis Payne a fighting chance.

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Dustin Higgs, a not guilty man murdered by the federal government on 1/15/21

I write this on the evening that Dustin Higgs is to be murdered by the federal government. I only learned his name a few hours ago, and the chill in my blood reminds me that having known it earlier might have made the slightest bit of difference.

According to Twitter, the white vans that signify that the prisoner is being taken to the execution chamber have just started up.

The death of Dustin Higgs signifies a record for the most federal executions committed by a single president in over a hundred years.

This is not a coincidence. Obviously. Like you need me to tell you that flooding the Supreme Court with blood thirsty racists was, in fact, a direct cause of this unjust death. …


Elliot Page isn’t confused, you’re just a TERF

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Yes, I am late to the party. And yes, I still have opinions about this.

When Elliot Page came out as trans a month ago, I felt about two seconds of joy for the person I knew would suddenly be feeling a lot more confident and happy with himself due to the announcement, followed by a prolonged period of dread when I realized I had not yet been on Twitter.

I think it’s wonderful that Page came out publicly, and their statement demonstrated an understanding of the context in which they were coming out.

Though he is AFAB and (seemingly?) white, Elliot Page recognized the extreme callousness with which we regard the lives of trans women of color. His statement did not attempt to apologize for his relatively safer status as a white person who is not a woman, but instead recognized the unity he shares with some of the most vulnerable people in our population. …


And being passionate about it

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Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Being a writer is sometimes about compromise.

Most artists in our culture are held up to such unreasonable standards that anything less than constant and tireless dedication to one’s craft is painted as laziness. What people do not seem to get is that loving one’s art does not have to translate into obsessive, borderline destructive, sole attention to that art.

We have lives outside of our art, after all. Aspirations that are not strictly tied to our art but are no less parts of us that need to be served if we are to be happy.

Or even survive.

And so, most artists have a day job. That, or they are probably scrambling to get a day job. …


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Celeste had been in the town of Virgil for just a few months. She was well-integrated into the GracePoint Church community, and could make out the vague outline of a core group of people. The Church itself was a single long room that might look like a camp cabin if the high-slotted windows didn’t render the rooms so dark. The rows of benches curved around the center of the room and this core group always occupied the front row during services. As though blocking the main community from Pastor Amity.

Celeste knew that she would have to become part of this group in order to learn what she came to this town to learn, and she was working on that. …


Without compromising your ability to like yourself

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Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that not being the subject of childhood abuse, neglect, or abandonment is not a shoo-in for perfect relationships with family. Even loving the individual members of your family and worrying about their well-being does not mean that you will enjoy their company all the time.

I’ve learned a little something about bad blood in the family. And now that we’re in the midst of the holiday season, my lessons are being put to the test yet again.

So as a refresher course for me, and maybe a source of good advice for you, here are some of the tips I’ve learned that will (hopefully) see us all though to the new year unscathed. …


Camus needed therapy, not a purpose

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It’s Ca-MOO, not Ca-MISS

Warning 1: This story is very pretentious. I’m sorry. I can’t help it.

Warning 2: I make a lot of statements that might be difficult to follow if you haven’t read The Stranger. It’s a short read, if you’re interested. And once you’ve read it, you’ll get to be as pretentious as me.

Being a non-man in a patriarchal world isn’t all doom and gloom. Sometimes, it’s just funny.

A majority of the deep, philosophical literature I’ve read revolves around problems that privileged men from the 19th or 20ths centuries seem to think are universal.

That’s not an unjustified generalization of men: it’s an unjustified generalization of a certain kind of man. …


The weird experience of being a 21st century Jew

Content warning: I will, with reluctance, be touching upon the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If this is an upsetting topic for you (as it is for me) you may wish to skip this story.

A black and white picture of a Jewish person wearing a prayer shawl in a wide, empty stretch of pavement.
A black and white picture of a Jewish person wearing a prayer shawl in a wide, empty stretch of pavement.
Photo by Matthew Angus on Unsplash

Es ist shver tsu zayn a yid.

Or as we’d say in the new country, it’s hard to be a Jew.

Less hard than very hard these days, mind you. I’d label the difficulty we face now as more confusion than anything else.

Being a modern Jew is about constantly being unsure where your culture ends and you begin… and possibly not liking the answer.

I’d like to give you a taste of some of the weirdness you get to think about when you’re a 21st century Jew. It’s a more nuanced and odd position than non-Jews might expect. And yes, I will be using the term “Jew,” as often if not more often than the term “Jewish person,” even…


Cancel culture, which does not exist, is still a bit of a problem. Seriously.

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Poor guys made a joke about clopping on Twitter

I just needed to lampshade the term cancel culture. Get it out in the open.

It’s the first word that pops into mind when you think of performative woke criticism. And even though I don’t use the word in complete sincerity anymore, it’s hard not to think about it when Oliver Thorne, the wokest cis person east of the Atlantic, is getting shit for making a dad joke.

We support her journey? I guess?

Oliver Thorn is the creator of the YouTube channel “Philosophy Tube,” where he breaks down philosophical topics that he learned about while getting his masters degree in the subject. …


As proven with facts and logic

Does this count as judicial precedent? ‘Cause that’s what I’m counting on.

As you know, the recent recount in Georgia has clarified beyond a shadow of a doubt that neither President Donald Trump nor former-Vice President Joe Biden have taken the 270 votes necessary to secure the electoral college.

Trump has stated in no uncertain terms that the Georgia recount is not in Biden’s favor. Yet officials in the state deny that Trump has taken the lead.

Because neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump won Georgia, due to my impeccably flimsy argument, there is only one logical conclusion to draw: I won the election. …

About

Shain Slepian

Shain is a screenwriter and screenplay editor. For more content, follow their blog and check out their YouTube channel, TimeCapsule.

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